July 2016 Military Coup in Turkey

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December 14, 2018 - Turkey orders arrest of 267 Gulen-linked suspects: Anadolu
Turkey orders arrest of 267 Gulen-linked suspects: Anadolu | Reuters

ISTANBUL - Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 267 people, mostly military officers and defense industry staff, for suspected links to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, state media said on Friday.

The orders marked an escalation of what has been a steady stream of raids against alleged supporters of preacher Fethullah Gulen since the coup attempt in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, has denied any involvement with the putsch.

Since the coup attempt more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, and widespread arrests are still routine. Authorities have suspended or sacked 150,000 civil servants and military personnel.

Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey would start new initiatives abroad to target the financing of Gulen supporters.

The Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office sought the arrest of 219 soldiers on active service, including four colonels, five lieutenant colonels and 10 majors, state-owned Anadolu news agency said. Over half of the suspects were sergeants, it said. The operation was based on investigations into pay phone communications between alleged Gulen network members, it added.

On the orders of the Istanbul chief prosecutor, an operation was launched at 1 a.m. (2200 GMT) to seize the suspects, the Hurriyet newspaper website reported.

Another 48 people were facing arrest in an inquiry by Ankara prosecutors targeting mostly defense industry company personnel who were suspected of supporting Gulen, Anadolu said. This investigation was also related to pay phone communications.

It was not clear how many people had so far been detained in the two operations.

Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the crackdown, which was pursued mainly under a state of emergency that was declared after the coup and remained in effect until July this year.

Erdogan’s critics accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkish authorities say the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the former chief of staff, told parliament last month more than 15,000 military personnel had been dismissed since the July 2016 putsch, including 150 generals and admirals.

Turkish authorities have taken control of hundreds of firms accused of links to Gulen and his supporters, and shut down more than 130 media outlets as part of the purges.


December 16, 2018 - Turkey says Trump working on extraditing wanted cleric Gulen
Turkey says Trump working on extraditing wanted cleric Gulen | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump has told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Washington is working on extraditing a U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed Turkish coup in 2016, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

“In Argentina, Trump told Erdogan they were working on extraditing (Fethullah) Gulen and other people,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, referring to the G20 summit where the leaders met two weeks ago.

Turkey has long sought the extradition of Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed U.S. exile for nearly two decades. A former ally of Erdogan, he is blamed by Turkish authorities for the failed coup when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and helicopters, attacked parliament and shot unarmed civilians.

Gulen denies any involvement in the failed putsch. Trump said last month he was not considering extraditing the preacher as part of efforts to ease Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Erdogan said last week Turkey would start new initiatives abroad to target the financing of Gulen supporters.

“I have recently seen a credible probe by the FBI on how the Gulen organization avoids taxes,” Cavusoglu told a conference in Doha.
 

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Turkey plans to buy 120 F-35 fighter jets from US: Erdogan

F-35.jpg

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Ankara intended to buy 120 US-made F-35 fighter jets amid speculations that the transfer might be halted.

“We will buy 120 F-35 aircraft produced by the United States. Some of the components for the aircraft are produced in Turkey,” Erdogan said, speaking at a rally in Istanbul, which was aired by the NTV broadcaster.

The president’s statement comes after Erdogan’s aide Ibrahim Kalin told reporters on Saturday on the sidelines of the Doha Forum that Ankara had doubts that the United States may cancel the deliveries of its F-35 fighters to Turkey if the latter buys the Russian air defense system S-400.

Earlier, US officials have warned that if Ankara goes ahead with its plans to purchase the S-400 systems, the United States could withhold the transfer of F-35 jets to Turkey.

In addition, the US Congress has passed legislation that would block the transfer of the jets.

On December 5, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that Ankara did not see any problems with the supply of F-35 fighter jets.

The first two F-35 fighter jets were transferred to Turkey at defence contractor Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas in June.

According to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the United States will hand over two more F-35s in March 2019.

The purchase is made under the US-sponsored multinational F-35 development program, which Ankara joined in 2002.
 

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Video: Turkey Continues To Deploy Battle Tanks, Other Military Equipment To Border With Syria
29.12.2018
As Syrian government forces continue to bargain with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and local YPG allies over the control of the northern Syrian town of Manbij [Syrian army troops have not entered the town yet], Turkey is deploying more and more military equipment on the border withthe country.


If the YPG and the Damascus government find no comprehensive political solution on the situation in Manbij, the situation may escalate rapidly in the Manbij countryside. Turkish-backed militant groups and the Turkish Army have concentrated a large force near the area and they are openly threatening to employ it against the YPG, which they concisder to be a terrorist group.

On December 29, a high-profile Turksih delegation is also visiting Moscow to negotiate on the situation in Syria.

[MEDIA=twitter]1079439210875179009[/MEDIA]
Russian warplanes took off from Hmeimim airbase in western Syria and intercepted an Israeli spy plane, which was escorted by several fighter jets, off the coast of Lebanon in the morning of December 30, according to Syrian pro-government activists.

Observers confirmed that a Gulfstream G550 Nahshon-Shavit signal intelligence (SIGINT) plane of the Israeli Air force (IAF) was carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the international waters off the shores of Syria and Lebanon at the morning. Furthermore, a local source in the Syrian city of Tartus told SouthFront that Russian warplanes were seen heading towards Lebanese coast.


Israel and Russia have not confirmed the encounter so far. Some experts also doubted that Russian warplanes were on their way to intercept the Israeli SIGINT plane.

This was not the first time when news about Russia intercepted Israeli warplane near Lebanon appeared online. Last May, several reports said that a Russian Su-34 warplane intercepted Israeli F-16s over northern Lebanon. Back then, local activists released a video showing the Su-30 over the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia threatened to jam any unfriendly aerial object that would approach Syrian coast following the downing of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane in September. However, it remains unknown if the Russian Aerospace Forces intercept Israeli military planes near the coast.

The pro-Turkish media outlet, Suriye Gündemi, released an infographics showing factions of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA). The SNA is a coalition of Turkish-backed groups created by Ankara in an attempt to centralize its control over proxies in Syria.


Graham: Withdrawal of US troops in Syria could lead to Kurdish deaths
Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT) December 30, 2018 Video / 1:40
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/30/politics/lindsey-graham-isis-syria-trump/index.html?ofs=fbia
Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that withdrawing US troops from Syria could directly result in the deaths of Kurdish people there and that he plans to make a case to President Donald Trump today to reconsider his plans.

"There are three things important for this country. Number one, make sure that ISIS never comes back in Syria," Graham said to CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "We need to keep our troops there. They're inside the ten-yard line in defeating ISIS, but we're not there yet. If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered."

"How are you going to convince President Trump to do that?" Bash asked.

"I'm going to talk to him at lunch," Graham replied, referring to a lunch meeting he is set to have with Trump on Sunday.
"The President is reconsidering how we do this, he's frustrated," he added.

Trump's decision earlier this month to order his staff to execute the "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of US military from Syria was met with harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle. Hours after the announcement, Graham decried the move as a "disaster" and "a stain on the honor of the United States."

On Sunday, he warned against the transfer of security in Syria from the US to Russian and Turkish forces, a change that could leave the Syrian Kurds, whom the United States has assisted and armed, at risk from both ISIS and Turkey.

"I'm asking the President to make sure that we have troops there to protect us. Don't outsource our national security to some foreign power," Graham said. "If we leave now the Kurds will get in a fight with Turkey, they could get slaughtered. Who would help you in the future?"

"And this is something you're going to tell the President today?" Bash asked.

"Yeah, I'm going to ask the President to do something President Obama would never do: reconsider," Graham replied.

What led Trump to decide to pull US troops from Syria? The president must now come up with a new str
Published on Dec 30, 2018 / 5:48 National Security Analyst Walid Phares
 

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Turkey has continued to periodically arrest a number of Gulen-linked suspects but there has been a noticeable increase in the Kurdish movement inside Turkey, partly due to developments in Syria and the Kurds fighting for "independent recognition" by the Syrian Government. They haven't given up the prospect of a Kurdistan but in Syria, the Kurds have confiscated and taken over valuable Syrian Real Estate, ideal for farming and agriculture and locations of several prosperous oil wells. The Syrian Government and Assad have held talks with representatives of the Kurds and have offered some concessions but are steadfast - the Kurds are on Syrian land and have taken up unlawful occupation. In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish movement has been limited.

March 27, 2019 - Ousted party seeks to reclaim Kurdish heartlands in Turkish vote
Actor Kemal Ulusoy, who has performed plays in Kurdish for nearly 30 years, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 20, 2019. Picture taken March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Actor Kemal Ulusoy and the rest of his Kurdish theater group lost their jobs along with thousands of others in southeast Turkey after the state seized control of about 100 town councils won by the main pro-Kurdish party at the last local elections.


Without papers, Uighurs fear for their future in Turkey
A masked Uighur boy takes part in a protest against China, at the courtyard of Fatih Mosque, a common meeting place for pro-Islamist demonstrators in Istanbul, Turkey, November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Without work or residency permits in Turkey and unable to renew their Chinese passports,
Qurbanjan Nourmuhammed and his family live in uncertainty in Istanbul, cut off from their son who returned to Xinjiang three years ago.
 

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Ismail Akin has voted for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's party for almost 20 years, but the father of three said that will change on Sunday because the plunging economy has forced him to shut his shop and take on debt.

In first vote since Turkey's crisis, Erdogan could lose capital city
A stallholder reads a newspaper as he waits for customers at a bazaar in Ankara, Turkey, March 26, 2019. Picture taken March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A stallholder reads a newspaper as he waits for customers at a bazaar in Ankara, Turkey, March 26, 2019. Picture taken March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Polls suggest Erdogan could be defeated in Ankara, the city from which he has ruled Turkey with an increasingly iron grip since 2003. His AK Party (AKP) could hang on to power in a tight race in Istanbul, where he was once mayor, but a defeat in Ankara would be a blow.

“The psychological factor of losing the capital, losing one of the big cities in Turkey, could be perceived by voters as the beginning of the decline,” said political analyst Murat Yetkin.

The nationwide local elections are the first since last year’s currency meltdown, and come as authorities fight a fresh wave of selling in the lira.

The currency has bounced back this week, in part because Turkey directed its banks to withhold lira liquidity in London, a key overseas market, until after Sunday’s election - blocking foreign investors from betting against the currency.

The stop-gap measure may save Erdogan the embarrassment of a currency meltdown on the eve of voting but economists say that longer-lasting reforms are needed to return to the strong growth which was a hallmark of the AKP’s early years in power.

Slideshow (5 Images)
In first vote since Turkey's crisis, Erdogan could lose capital city

U.S. consulate worker denies espionage charges at start of Turkish trial
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Consulate is pictured in Istanbul, Turkey, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

Weeping in court at the start of his trial on espionage charges, a U.S. consulate employee denied on Tuesday that he chose to contact suspected supporters of a Muslim cleric blamed for a failed military coup three years ago.

Turkish court rules to keep U.S. consulate worker in jail: lawyer
A Turkish court ruled on Thursday to keep U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz in jail until his trial resumes on May 15, a lawyer for Topuz said on Thursday.
 

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Turks voted on Sunday in local elections which President Tayyip Erdogan has described as a matter of survival for Turkey and which were tarnished by violence that left two party members dead in the country's southeast.

Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big cities
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend a voting at a polling station during the municipal elections in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend a voting at a polling station during the municipal elections in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years thanks in part to strong economic growth, has become the country’s most popular, yet also most divisive, leader in modern history.

However, he could be dealt an electoral blow with polls indicating his ruling AK Party (AKP) may lose control of the capital Ankara, and even Istanbul, the country’s largest city.

Voting started at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in eastern Turkey and an hour later in the rest of the country. Polling stations close at 4 p.m. in the east and 5 p.m. in the west.

Just over 57 million people are eligible to vote. A clear picture of the winners will probably emerge around midnight.

Defeat in Ankara or Istanbul would end nearly a quarter of a century of rule by Erdogan’s AKP or its predecessors in those cities and deal a symbolic blow to Turkey’s leader.

Slideshow (20 Images)

Turks vote in local polls, Erdogan's party could lose in big cities

Erdogan says Turkey will solve Syria issue 'on the field' after Sunday's elections
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Elmadag district of Ankara, Turkey March 28, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Turkey will solve the Syria issue "on the field" after Sunday's local elections, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, as he sought to drum up support for his AK Party in the vote.

Erdogan fights to hold Turkey's cities in bitter election battle
Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shout slogans and wave flags during a rally for the upcoming local elections in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Less than a year after Tayyip Erdogan celebrated election triumph with fireworks in Ankara, Turkey's all-powerful leader faces the embarrassment of losing his capital in local polls marred by bitter campaign rhetoric and economic storm clouds.
 

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Erdogan on track to lose Turkey's biggest cities in shock poll upset
Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) gather in front of the party's headquarters to celebrate the municipal elections results in Ankara, Turkey, March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party was on track on Monday to lose control of Turkey's two biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara,

in a stunning local election setback that could complicate the president's plans to combat recession.

Erdogan pays electoral price for Turkey's tumbling economy
Skyscrapers are seen in the business and financial district of Levent, which comprises of leading banks' and companies' headquarters, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

After a decade and a half of dominance built on Turkey's buoyant growth Tayyip Erdogan has paid a heavy electoral price for an economic slump and will make changes to his government to halt the damage, senior officials in his party said on Monday.

Erdogan's AK Party challenges Istanbul, Ankara election results
Supporters of Ekrem Imamoglu, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul, wait for him to visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey, April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party has submitted objections to local election results in all districts of Istanbul and Ankara,

party officials said on Tuesday, after results showed the opposition earned narrow victories in both cities.

Turkey's electoral board says votes in eight Istanbul districts to be recounted
Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) will recount local election votes in eight districts of Istanbul after objections, YSK head Sadi Guven said on Wednesday, after President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) appealed results across the city.

Turkey's main opposition mayor candidate in Istanbul demands mandate
Ekrem Imamoglu, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul, visits Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as he is flanked by his family members and supporters in Ankara, Turkey, April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkey's main opposition candidate in Istanbul called on the High Election Board (YSK) on Wednesday to mandate him as elected mayor, after the ruling AK Party objected to results that saw him earn a narrow victory over his rival.

Turkish opposition demands mandate as Istanbul recount continues
People walk past by AK Party billboards with pictures of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in Istanbul, Turkey, April 1, 2019. The billboards read:  Thank you Istanbul .  REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Turkey's main opposition candidate in Istanbul urged the High Election Board (YSK) on Wednesday to confirm him as the elected mayor
after it ruled in favour of a partial recount of votes in 18 of the city's 39 districts.

Turkey says need to explain to U.S. Congress why Ankara bought S-400
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The U.S. administration and Turkey should explain to the U.S. Congress why Ankara had to purchase the S-400 missile system from Russia,
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

Turkey says proposed working group to ease U.S. worries over Russian S-400s
FILE PHOTO: Russian servicemen drive S-400 missile air defence systems during the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin -/File Photo

Turkey has proposed to the United States that they form a working group to determine that Russian S-400 missile defense systems do not pose a threat to U.S. or NATO military equipment, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

Turkish lira down as U.S. halts fighter parts delivery, threatens sanctions
The lira dropped nearly 3 percent on Tuesday after the United States halted delivery of equipment related to a Turkish order of F-35 fighter planes,
warning Ankara's insistence on buying Russian defense systems risked triggering sanctions.
 

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Erdogan's AK Party appeals for annulment of Istanbul local elections: Haberturk
Supporters of AK Party wave flags in Istanbul, Turkey April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) has appealed to annul local elections in Istanbul, broadcaster Haberturk said on its website on Friday, after initial results showed the opposition won a narrow victory in the city.

Turkish opposition says it's leading after half Istanbul ballots recounted

Turkey's main opposition party said on Saturday its candidate for mayor of Istanbul retained his narrow lead over President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party candidate after recounts in nearly half of the city's ballot boxes.

Turkish opposition says maintains lead in Istanbul as recount continues
FILE PHOTO: Ekrem Imamoglu, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of Istanbul, embraces his supporter at his election campaign office in Istanbul, Turkey April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir/File Photo

Turkey's main opposition candidate in Istanbul's municipal election said on Friday he remained ahead of his rival after a recount of invalid votes in nearly half of the city's districts
demanded by President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party.

Last flight leaves Ataturk as Istanbul switches airports
A Turkish Airlines plane is seen on the tarmac of the city's new Istanbul Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The last commercial passenger flight took off from Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Saturday and convoys of trucks ferried thousands of tonnes of equipment across the city to a giant new airport which Turkey plans to make the biggest in the world.
 

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Erdogan isn't dealing very well with his losses. First, he demanded a recount of votes in the Districts where he lost and now he's requesting "a re-run" of the election, altogether?

April 8, 2019 - Erdogan casts doubt on Istanbul vote, hints at possible re-run
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, talks during a news confrence at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey April 8, 2019. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey's local elections were marred by "organized crime" at ballot boxes in Istanbul, raising the possibility of re-running a March 31 vote that handed a slim majority to the main opposition party.

Turkish opposition says electoral board risks damaging ballot security
FILE PHOTO - Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), greets his supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

The head of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said on Monday that the High Electoral Board, which has agreed to a partial recount of local votes in Istanbul, has entered a process that damages the security of ballot boxes.

Erdogan's AK Party to seek recount of all Istanbul votes
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is greeted by his supporters as he leaves a mosque after the Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkey April 5, 2019.  Cem Oksuz/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party is seeking a full recount of all votes cast in local elections in Istanbul,
a senior party official said on Sunday, a week after initial results showed a narrow victory for Turkey's main opposition party.

Erdogan's election setback dents hopes for big reforms in Turkey
FILE PHOTO: People walk past by AK Party billboards with pictures of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in Istanbul, Turkey, April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

President Tayyip Erdogan's losses in local elections have dented investors' hopes that Turkey will adopt painful reforms they say are needed to stabilize the economy as he moves to shore up his political base.
 

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said electoral authorities should annul Istanbul's local elections due to irregularities, notably over the appointment of ballot box officials, the pro-government Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.

April 10, 2019 - Turkey's Erdogan calls for annulment of Istanbul election
Initial results show the main opposition Republican People’s Party narrowly won control of Turkey’s biggest city in the mayoral elections, seemingly bringing an end to the 25-year rule there by Erdogan’s AK Party and its Islamist predecessors.


Speaking to reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Moscow this week, Erdogan said that regulations requiring that ballot box officials be civil servants had not been met everywhere, with regular workers placed in charge in some places.

“Our colleagues have established this. Naturally all this casts doubt. If they take a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he said.

Any decision to annul the elections would rest with the High Election Board.

A senior AKP official said on Tuesday it would demand a new vote in Istanbul after its bid was rejected for a citywide recount of the March 31 election results after a series of recounts since the vote.

Erdogan said on Monday the local elections were marred by “organized crime” at ballot boxes in Istanbul. The loss of control in the city would be a setback for Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than 16 years.

U.S. senators introduce bill to sanction Turkish officials over detentions
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump closes his eyes in prayer along with Pastor Andrew Brunson, after his release from two years of Turkish detention, in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, U.S., October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Theiler/File Photo

Two U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill requiring the imposition of sanctions on Turkish officials responsible for the detentions of U.S. citizens and local consulate staff in Turkey, a statement on the legislation said.
 

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Turkey's High Election Board overturned a local decision to order a second recount of votes in an Istanbul district on Monday, rejecting the latest appeal by President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party against results showing it lost city hall.

Appeals spark frustration as Istanbul vote count enters third week
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) wave flags as they listen to mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu during a gathering in Istanbul, Turkey, April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Initial results of the March 31 nationwide local elections showed the main opposition CHP narrowly won control of Turkey’s largest city,
a stunning setback for Erdogan who had campaigned hard for his AKP in the city where he launched his own career.

The loss of Ankara ended 25 years of control over the capital by the AK Party and its Islamist predecessors. Defeat in Istanbul, where Erdogan was mayor in the 1990s, would be an even greater blow to the president who has dominated Turkish politics through a decade and half of repeated election triumphs.

Erdogan's AK Party calls for rerun of Istanbul elections
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 8, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party formally requested on Tuesday an annulment and rerun of Istanbul's municipal elections over what it said were irregularities, prompting the main opposition to accuse it of damaging democracy.

Turkey's Albayrak, Trump discuss Russian missile defense issue: CNN Turk
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak attends a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak held talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday and he said Trump took a "reasonable" stance regarding Turkey's planned purchase of a Russian air defense missile system, Turkish media reported.

Turkey says buying Russian defense system should not trigger U.S. sanctions
FILE PHOTO: New S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia.  Picture taken March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Photo/File Photo
Turkey's purchase of a Russian air defense missile system should not trigger U.S. sanctions because Ankara is not an adversary of Washington and remains committed to the NATO alliance, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday.
 

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Erdogan is having a problem "with reality" and dealing with a major hit on his "all inclusive" power base?

Turkish opposition takes control of Istanbul, re-run appeal still pending
Newly elected Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) addresses his supporters after taking the office in Istanbul, Turkey, April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir
Turkey's main opposition candidate took office as Istanbul mayor on Wednesday after a stunning victory over President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, but the new head of the country's largest city still faces an appeal for the vote to be re-run.

Erdogan says to keep up election challenge but Turkey must move on
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 8, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday his AK Party would keep up its challenge to the Istanbul election results after the main opposition candidate became mayor, but Turkey needed to end debate on the issue and focus on issues like the economy.
 

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ANKARA: Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was attacked by an angry mob at a military funeral on Sunday.

April 21, 2019 - Turkey’s opposition leader attacked at soldier’s funeral

Turkey’s opposition leader attacked at soldier’s funeral
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The chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu arrives to address the crowd outside the CHP's Headquarters in Ankara after he was punched and kicked by a mob during a funeral for a soldier killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels, on April 21, 2019. (AFP)

Kilicdaroglu was reportedly kicked and punched by a number of assailants at the ceremony for one of four soldiers killed in clashes with the Kurdish separatist terror group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) along the Turkey-Iraq border on Friday.

Turkish nationalists and pro-government supporters have accused the CHP of working with the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) during Turkey’s local elections on March 31, when Kurdish votes for opposition candidates were instrumental in the government losing major cities including Ankara and Istanbul — although it is contesting the latter result.

Even after Kilicdaroglu was taken to a safe house, the attack continued as the mob gathered outside, throwing stones and chanting, “Burn down the house.”

The opposition leader was taken away in an armored vehicle just one hour after arriving. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar traveled to the area to try and calm the crowd.

The Ankara governor’s office announced that legal action is being taken against the perpetrators of the attack and that additional security forces have been provided to protect Kilicdaroglu. But the governor’s definition of the attack as “a protest,” rather than an attempted lynching, drew criticism.

Burhanettin Bulut, a lawmaker and member of the CHP, said the attack was the result of long-running provocation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its nationalistic ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as well as media outlets close to them. “Unfortunately, the danger of further escalation of such hate speech and violence still prevails in the country, especially in rural areas,” he told Arab News.

Kilicdaroglu escaped an assassination attempt by PKK militants three years ago in northwestern Anatolia. In 2014, he was punched by a member of the public in Parliament.

Several commentators have suggested that the ongoing climate of polarization in Turkey, where demonizing opponents of the government as “terrorists” has become the norm, ranks among the main reasons behind Sunday’s attack,
after which the CHP called an extraordinary meeting of its members.

On the same day, the pro-government Turkish daily Gunes blamed Istanbul’s new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu for the deaths of the four soldiers, running the headline, “Are You Happy, Ekrem?”

Sunday’s attack coincided with a rally held by the new mayor of Istanbul, Imamoglu, to thank the city’s inhabitants. Hundreds of thousand of people reportedly attended.

In June last year, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced the imposition of a ban on CHP officials attending soldiers’ funerals, suggesting that they should instead put in an appearance at the funerals of PKK militants killed by Turkish forces.

Turkish opposition leader safe after attack at soldier's funeral
FILE PHOTO: Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), greets his supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir/File Photo
The leader of Turkey's main opposition party was attacked at a soldier's funeral in Ankara before security guards led him away, in the latest fallout from contested local elections three weeks ago.

Erdogan's AKP lodges second call for rerun of Istanbul election: Anadolu
FILE PHOTO - People walk past by AK Party billboards with pictures of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim in Istanbul, Turkey, April 1, 2019. The billboards read:  Thank you Istanbul .  REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Turkey's ruling AK Party submitted a second petition to cancel and re-run Istanbul elections it lost three weeks ago, citing thousands of ballots cast by people it said were ineligible to vote due to previous government decrees, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday.

Four Turkish soldiers killed in clashes with PKK: ministry
Four Turkish soldiers and 20 armed assailants were killed
on Friday in clashes between the military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near the border with Iraq, Turkey's defense ministry and military said.
 

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The Living Force
Turkey has arrested nine people, including a member of the ruling AK Party, after the country's main opposition leader was punched and his car was stoned at a soldier's funeral at the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.

April 22, 2019 - Turkey detains nine people over attack on main opposition leader

Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) pose in front of a party bus with a picture of their leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on it, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) pose in front of a party bus with a picture of their leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on it, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Kilicdaroglu was attacked on Sunday as he attended a funeral in a northern district of Ankara for a soldier killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

The incident took place after his Republican People’s Party (CHP) defeated President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party in March 31 mayoral elections in the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, painful losses for the ruling party.

During campaigning, Erdogan often accused the CHP and Kilicdaroglu of links to terrorism because it had election deals in some constituencies with the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP, which Erdogan said has ties to the outlawed PKK.

The HDP denies links to the PKK, which has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984, and is deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that nine people had been detained, adding that Kilicdaroglu’s recent “contacts” with the Kurdish party (HDP) made him a target.

“CHP’s contacts with the HDP, and HDP’s policy that doesn’t distance itself from the PKK are all happening before the public eye. Kilicdaroglu should have informed the authorities if he wanted to attend the funeral,” Soylu told a new conference.

“It’s wrong to blame the interior ministry for such incidents while partnering with the political arm of the PKK at the same time,” Soylu added, saying Kilicdaroglu’s party was trying to make political gains from the attack.

Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, said heated political rhetoric had fueled the attack. “Likely inspired by hate speeches of ruling politicians. This radical polarization must end,” Piri said.

April 22, 2019 - Former Turkish PM Davutoglu sharply criticizes Erdogan's AK Party
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during an opening ceremony in Banja Luka, May 7, 2016.   REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
A former prime minister and close ally of President Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized the ruling AK Party on Monday, blaming policy changes and an alliance with nationalists for its poor performance in Turkey's local elections last month.
 
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