July 2016 Military Coup in Turkey

Erdogan has lost his bid for a re-run of the election.

Turkey's election board rejects objection for decree-dismissed voters
FILE PHOTO: Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) addresses his supporters during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo
Turkey's high election board has rejected part of an effort by President Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party to have a re-run of elections in Istanbul, dismissing an appeal regarding voters who were dismissed by decrees from government jobs after an attempted coup in 2016, state news agency Anadolu said.

Turkey's sole communist mayor promises small steps to socialism
Tunceli Mayor Fatih Mehmet Macoglu from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) speaks during an interview at his office in Tunceli, Turkey April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Capitalism is too firmly entrenched in Turkey to be uprooted overnight, according to the country's sole communist mayor, but small steps to create local jobs and promote cooperative farming can help nudge it along "the path to socialism".
Video Apr 30, 2019 at 06:40.
Fire erupted on board of Turkish first aircraft carrier TCG ANADOLU (L-408), which is under construction in dry dock at Sedef Shipyard, Tuzla, Turkey, late at night Apr 29 or early in the morning Apr 30. Fire said to occur inside ship’s bow compartments. As of morning Apr 30, firefighting was still continuing.

Turkish Navy TCG Anadolu (L-408) amphibious assault ship (LHD) / light aircraft carrier, displacement around 26000 tons, up to 12 F-35Bs and 12 helicopters in "light aircraft carrier" configuration, keel laid 2018, to be launched 2019, to be commissioned in 2021.

As pointed out by @michaeltanchum, if #Sudan - under pressure from #SaudiArabia, #UAE, #Egypt - cancels military agreements with #Turkey, #Ankara will loose its strategic triangle of bases in the Arabian Peninsula.
Turkish opposition says re-run of Istanbul election sign of "dictatorship"
Turkey's main opposition said on Monday it was a "plain dictatorship" that had decided on a re-run of local elections in Istanbul, after the election board decided to annul vote results showing a painful defeat for President Tayyip Erdogan's party.

Turkey's main opposition Istanbul mayor says he is waiting for official statement on election
FILE PHOTO: Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) greets people during a May Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Turkey's main opposition Istanbul mayor said on Monday that he would wait for an official statement from the High Election Board (YSK) before speaking about its decision to annul and re-run mayoral elections in Istanbul.

Istanbul election annulled due to unsigned documents, unsuitable ballot box officials: AK Party's election board representative
The High Election Board (YSK) decided to re-run the mayoral election in Istanbul because of unsigned result documents and some ballot box officials not being civil servants, the ruling AK Party's representative to the board said on Monday.

Re-run of Istanbul election set for June 23: AK Party
A representative for Turkey's ruling AK Party (AKP) said on Monday the country's High Election Board has set June 23 for a re-run of local elections in Istanbul.

Turkey's High Election Board says to re-run Istanbul election on June 23: statement
Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) ruled to hold renewed Istanbul mayoral elections on June 23, it said in a statement late on Monday.

Turkey to re-run Istanbul election lost by Erdogan's AKP
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of Grand Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

Turkish authorities on Monday scrapped the result of a vote for Istanbul mayor lost by President Tayyip Erdogan's candidate, responding to calls by his AK Party for a re-run, in a move that hit the lira and drew opposition accusations of "dictatorship."
Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) on Wednesday cited a series of irregularities, notably in the appointment of polling station officials, in justifying its annulment of March's mayoral election in Istanbul.

Turkish election board cites polling station irregularities in annulment decision
FILE PHOTO - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gets off a vintage tram at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

FILE PHOTO - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gets off a vintage tram at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, May 12, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

In a 250-page document it released more than two weeks after announcing that the ballot - which resulted in a razor-thin defeat for President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party - was to be re-run on June 23, the YSK said the irregularities were sufficient to have an impact on the outcome.

“The irregularities were regarded as incidents which ...undermined election credibility,” said the document. Four of the 11-member panel, included its head, voted against the annulment decision.

Final results from the March 31 election gave victory to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), ending a 25-year rule by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors.

However, after weeks of appeals by the AKP and its nationalist MHP allies, the election board decided on May 6 to annul the mandate of CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu.

The decision to reverse what was a rare election setback for Erdogan was described by Turkey’s Western allies as incomprehensible. Critics said one of the last checks on his ever-tighter hold on power had suffered a damaging blow.

“It is a legal requirement that the heads of polling station be chosen from the list of civil servants,” Wednesday’s YSK document said.

Polling station heads were appointed in an illegal way for 754 ballot boxes and that this affected the result, given that the difference between the two top candidates was just 13,729 votes, it said.

Seven members of the electoral board voted in favor of the annulment, while four opposed it. Those against included YSK head Sadi Guven, who said the irregularities were not sufficient to justify voiding the election.

“Appeals after the election to the formation (of polling station committees) cannot alone be brought forward as a reason to annul the elections,” Guven said in Wednesday’s YSK statement.

The YSK had faced harsh criticism from opposition parties, who said the annulment had no legal basis and destroyed the last bastion of democracy under Erdogan.

Istanbul's ousted mayor says billions wasted under Erdogan's AKP
FILE PHOTO - Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), who was elected mayor after the March 31 elections, addresses his supporters after the High Election Board (YSK) decided to re-run the mayoral election, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party spent 80 million lira ($13 million) in three years on an Istanbul city website, the ousted opposition mayor said on Wednesday, part of what he said was a wider misspending of billions of lira of public money.

Turkey preparing for possible U.S. sanctions over S-400s: minister
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

Turkey's defense minister said it was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, even while he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.

Kremlin condemns alleged U.S. ultimatum to Turkey over missile deal
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a new S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Photo

The Kremlin on Wednesday condemned as unacceptable an alleged U.S. ultimatum to Turkey designed to force it to cancel a deal to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and purchase U.S. Patriot missile systems instead.

Turkey's Russia missile deal raises difficult questions: Germany
The German government on Wednesday said Turkey's decision to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems raised difficult questions for NATO and that it would welcome Ankara reconsidering the decision.

Turkey's Erdogan and Trump may meet soon: Turkish official
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump may soon have a face-to-face meeting, either in Turkey or on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan next month, a senior Turkish official said on Wednesday.

Turkey's AK Party says nothing wrong with intelligence meetings with Syria despite tensions
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, April 8, 2019. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The AK Party of President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday there was nothing wrong with Turkey's intelligence agency meeting Syrian counterparts to prevent conflict - even though Ankara has backed rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey told by U.N. to free and compensate Gulen-linked detainees
FILE PHOTO: U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

Turkey must release two men detained over suspected links to a cleric blamed for a 2016 coup attempt and pay them compensation for arbitrary detention, a U.N. body said on Wednesday.

Academic Ismet Ozcelik and school principal Turgay Karaman were deported in 2017 from Malaysia to Turkey, where they were accused of ties to the network of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who Ankara says sought an uprising the previous year.

U.S.-based Gulen and his followers deny coup-plotting.

Saying it had violated the two Turkish men’s freedoms, the U.N. Human Rights Committee gave Turkish authorities 180 days to comply with is ruling. But it lacks any enforcement authority.

Turkey had sought an exemption due to its state of emergency and the “serious and complex” nature of the pair’s alleged crimes, but the committee rejected that, saying it failed to explain how they posed a threat.

"Backsliding" Turkey's EU bid slips further away: Commission
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia April 8, 2019. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union are fading, the bloc's executive said on Wednesday, blaming authoritarian rule for worse conditions in courts, prisons and the economy.

Trump, Erdogan discuss bilateral issues, G20 meeting in call: White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.Tatyana Zenkovich/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed bilateral trade issues and Turkey's decision to buy a Russian missile system in a phone call on Thursday, the White House said.

Trump, Erdogan agree to meet at G-20 in June: Turkish official
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call on Wednesday to meet on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting set for June 28-29 in Japan, the Turkish Presidency's communications director said.
Blow to Turkey's Erdogan as opposition wins big in Istanbul
Supporters attend a rally of Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Turkey's main opposition claimed a decisive victory on Sunday in Istanbul's re-run election, dealing one of the biggest blows to President Tayyip Erdogan during his 16 years in power and promising a new beginning in the country's largest city.

Turkey's Erdogan congratulates opposition candidate for Istanbul win
Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), talks to the media at the CHP election coordination centre in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan congratulated opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu on Sunday for winning Istanbul's re-run mayoral election according to unofficial results.

Turkey's AK Party candidate says opposition leading Istanbul vote count
Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), speaks next to his wife Dilek and son Semih after casting their ballots at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Turkey's AK Party candidate for Istanbul mayor Binali Yildirim said on Sunday his opposition rival Ekrem Imamoglu was ahead for now, offering his congratulations and saying he hoped Imamoglu would serve the city well.
  • Like
Reactions: Ca.
Is Erdogan on his way - out? His influence seems to be waning? Turkey's economy would be better off, if Erdogan got out of Syria and Iraq.

New Istanbul mayor a catalyst for change in old Erdogan stronghold
Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and his wife Dilek greet his supporters from the top of a bus outside the City Hall in Istanbul, Turkey, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Through his 16 years in power, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been able to rely on the pious electorate of Istanbul's Eyup district, where for centuries Ottoman sultans received their ceremonial sword after ascending to the throne.

Istanbul's new mayor formally takes office: witness
Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), holds a rally in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

Istanbul's new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu formally took office on Thursday, a Reuters witness said, days after dealing President Tayyip Erdogan a stinging electoral blow in the re-run of a mayoral election that was seen as a test for Turkey's democracy.

Former allies of Turkey's Erdogan plan rival party after Istanbul defeat
FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan arrives for a G-20 finance ministers meeting during the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington October 10, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

Two senior figures in Turkish President’s Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party are planning to launch a rival political group this year, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could further erode support for the country’s long-time leader on the heels of a stinging electoral defeat in Istanbul.

Turkey's Erdogan says Trump may visit in July: report
FILE PHOTO - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting with members of the international media in Istanbul, Turkey, June 20, 2019. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump may visit Turkey in July, Turkey's President Tayip Erdogan said in an interview in Japan where he will attend the G20 summit and is expected to meet with his American counterpart.

Russia to deliver first S-400 missile to Turkey in July: reports
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meets at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Russia will make first delivery of the S-400 missile systems to Turkey in July, Russian news agencies cited the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport saying on Wednesday, in accordance with the earlier-stated plans.
Trump wants Turkey missile plans resolved without harming ties: Turkish presidency
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that he wanted the issue over Ankara's procurement of air defense systems to be resolved without damaging bilateral ties, the Turkish presidency said.

Trump Sends Highly Important Semi-Coded Message to Turkey
Trump Sends Highly Important Semi-Coded Message to Turkey - Eurasia Future

During the G20 summit, Donald Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the heated issue of Ankara’s purchase of Russian made S-400 missile systems in the wake of Washington suspending Turkey from participation in the F-35 programme that Turkey had long payed a key role in supporting. When speaking to the press beside Erdoğan, Trump blamed the apparent impasse between the NATO allies on Barack Obama.

Trump stated: “Turkey is a NATO member and was not treated fairly. They [Obama administration] wouldn’t sell him [Erdoğan], they wouldn’t let him buy the missile he wanted to buy which is the Patriot. And after he buys something else, they say now we will sell you the Patriot. So I have to tell you, he [Erdoğan] is a NATO member and he is somebody I have become friendly with. And you have to treat fairly. You understand that? You have to treat fairly. I don’t think he was treated fairly. I don’t think he was treated fairly”.

Trump went on to say the following: “The president [Erdoğan] was not allowed to buy the Patriot missiles, he wanted to do this, but he wasn’t allowed by the Obama administration to buy them until after he made a deal to buy the other missiles. So he buys the other missile and then all of a sudden, they say you can buy our missile. You can’t do business that way, it is not good. It is not good”.

Trump later stated that contrary to rumour, there would be no anti-Turkish sanctions over Ankara’s S-400 purchase.

There is far more to Trump’s statements than meets the eye. Although Trump has a tendency of bringing up the mistakes made by his predecessor Barack Obama in order to explain present difficulties, when speaking about Obama’s failure to provide Turkey with its initial weapons of choice, there was an added meaning that most Turks would have instantly understood. Whilst many in the US feign unaware, the majority of patriotic Turks blame the Obama administration for enabling or even orchestrating the treacherous coup of 2016 in which Gülenist terrorists (FETO) attempted to overthrow the Turkish state. Furthermore, it was under Obama that the US took up arms beside the YPG/PKK terror group in Syria whilst traditional avenues of cooperation contracted ever more.

Things have not exactly been smooth sailing for Turkey-US relations under Donald Trump, not least because close US ally Israel’s relations with Turkey have become so dismal that Tel Aviv is now allied with Nicosia and Cairo against Turkey’s gas rights in the eastern Mediterranean. But just as Trump defied the clear wishes of the neocons over war with Iran, he can certainly do so in respect of defying the the neocon elite of Washington over restoring normalcy in relations with fellow NATO ally Turkey.

By pinning the blame on Barack Obama for the poor state of US-Turkey relations, Trump is pinning the blame on a man largely hated for the role that many Turks believe he played in supporting Gülenist terror. Trump’s message to Turkey is one that is simple and effective. It can be summarised as follows: ‘I didn’t start these troubles but I will work with you to find a solution‘.

Given the intensity of rapidly declining relations between Ankara and Washington over issues ranging from the S-400s to disagreements over Syria, Trump used his rhetoric effectively and now must work to fight back against the neocons whose stupidity could push Turkey out of NATO.
Tanker blast at Turkish port kills 1 Italian crew member, 15 injured
An explosion at an LPG tanker killed one Italian crew member and injured 15 others at the port of Aliaga in Turkey's western Izmir province late on Monday, petrochemicals maker Petkim said.

The vessel was anchored at a harbor at the Petkim petrochemical plant operated by the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR.

Italian crew member Roberto Montegurdia died in the incident, Aliaga province’s sub-Governor Erhan Gunay told reporters.

“At Petkim Pier 5 around 23:20 (2020 GMT), a fire broke out due to an unspecified reason during the connection to the Italian flagged Synzania for the filling of liquid hydrocarbons,” Petkim said in a press statement.

“As a result of the immediate intervention of our teams, the fire was extinguished and cooling work on the ship is continuing,” it added.

Shipping agency Tribeca said Petkim facility was closed for operations as an investigation was carried out, while STAR refinery remained open.

Turkey orders arrest of 122 military personnel over suspected Gulen links
Turkey has ordered the arrest of 122 military personnel over suspected links to the network blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed military coup, prosecutors and the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.
Turkey begins receiving Russian missiles in challenge to U.S. and NATO
First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Turkish Military/Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Turkey began taking delivery of an advanced Russian Defense system on Friday, a move expected to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally and drive a wedge into the heart of the Western military alliance.

Russia delivers more air defense equipment to Turkey
FILE PHOTO: First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are seen after unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Turkish Military/Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Russia flew a fresh shipment of advanced air defense equipment to Turkey on Saturday, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, continuing to implement a deal that is likely to trigger U.S. sanctions against a NATO ally.

Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400s does not change strategic orientation: minister
Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems does not mean a change of the country's strategic orientation, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told his U.S. counterpart by phone on Friday, adding that the acquisition was a necessity.

Pentagon postpones press briefing on Russian missile system delivery to Turkey (Get OVER it!)
The Pentagon said on Friday it had indefinitely postponed a press briefing on Turkey accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system.

Pentagon chief to speak with Turkish counterpart, position on F-35 unchanged
FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper waits to greet Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that the United States had not changed its position on Turkey's role in the F-35 program if they accepted a Russian missile defense system and he would be speaking with his Turkish counterpart later in the day.

Turkey rejects Greek, EU claims that drilling off Cyprus illegitimate
Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, off the port of Dilovasi, Turkey, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkey said on Wednesday it rejected Greek and European Union assertions that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate, and said they showed the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem.

U.S. urges Turkey to halt drilling operations off Cyprus coast
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday urged Turkish authorities to halt energy drilling operations off the Cypriot coast in the Mediterranean, a day after Cyprus protested a Turkish ship dropping anchor there.

EU threatens Turkey with sanctions over Cyprus drilling: draft
The European Union is set to curb contacts and funding for Ankara in retaliation for what it calls Turkey's "illegal" drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus and stands ready to ramp up sanctions further, a draft statement seen by Reuters shows.
Turkey seizes $271 million in counterfeit U.S. currency: newspaper
Turkish authorities raided a printing press in Istanbul on Friday (July 19) where nearly $271 million worth of fake banknotes were being printed. Rough cut, no reporter narration.

Turkish authorities confiscated about $271 million in fake U.S. $100 banknotes in a raid on an Istanbul printing press - the country's biggest counterfeit currency seizure in recent years, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

The raid was carried out on Friday in Istanbul’s Esenyurt neighborhood and five people were arrested, it said.

Hurriyet said one of those arrested was previously released after being detained for suspected membership in a network that Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016.

Turkish authorities accuse the leader of this network, U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, of masterminding the attempted putsch in July 2016. He has denied any involvement.

Authorities are searching for two more suspects over the counterfeit currency and investigating whether the money was connected to Gulen’s network, Hurriyet reported. Turkish police had no immediate comment on the reported raid/

Istanbul gives Syrians one month to return to provinces in which they are registered
FILE PHOTO: Syrian musicians, refugees from Aleppo, perform in central Istanbul, Turkey, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Cansu Alkaya
Authorities in Istanbul set a four-week deadline on Monday for Syrians living without approval in Turkey's largest city to return to provinces where they are registered or face forced removal to those regions.

Turkey will retaliate if U.S. imposes sanctions over S-400s: minister
FILE PHOTO: First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane at Murted Airport, known as Akinci Air Base, near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Turkish Military/Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Turkey would retaliate against what it called an unacceptable threat of U.S. sanctions over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defenses, its foreign minister said on Monday, adding he thinks President Donald Trump wants to avoid such measures.

Timeline: Turkey's path to buying Russian air defense systems - and possible U.S. sanctions
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a new S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Photo
Turkey said on Monday it would retaliate against threatened U.S. sanctions over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

Russia, Turkey are in talks on joint production of S-400 missile parts: TASS
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a new S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar/File Photo
Russia and Turkey are in talks about the possibility of jointly manufacturing some components of Russia's S-400 missile defense system in Turkey, the TASS news agency cited Sergei Chemezov, head of Russia's Rostec state conglomerate, as saying.

Four Turks kidnapped in Nigeria, police launch rescue operation
Four Turkish nationals have been kidnapped in western Nigeria and police are conducting a rescue operation, a state police spokesman said on Sunday.
One can read from John Helmer on recent exchanges out of Turkey with the EU:


Under cover of its Russian S-400 air defence batteries, and ignoring US and European sanctions, Turkey is going on the offensive at sea, surrounding Cyprus, and by land, launching a weapon against the European Union against which there is no defence: a Turkish cannon firing 150,000 people at Europe’s borders each month. They are the refugees from the wars the US and NATO launched in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

A Russian analysis entitled “Turkey will open the door to Europe for millions of refugees”, written by Vladimir Dobrinin, was published in Vzglyad (“View”) on July 24. An English translation follows below.


This should be read in conjunction with the strategic consequences of the Greek and Cypriot governments not to mount a military defence of themselves and their territorial waters and seabed resources, but to apply instead to the European Union (EU) for sanctions against Turkey, and to the US Congress and Trump Administration for an American protectorate.

The terms of the protectorate which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades agreed to months ago include sanctions against Russia: a ban on Russian Navy portcalls; removal of Russian bank accounts in Cyprus; and censorship of Greek-language media reporting “pro-Russian” news or views. For more details, read this.

On July 7 Tsipras was defeated in the Greek election by the New Democracy (ND) party and Kyriacos Mitsotakis replaced him as prime minister. He took immediate and direct control of the Greek intelligence agency (EYP) and has so far retained its director as well as the serving Greek military commanders.

US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (left) met Kyriacos Mitsotakis (right) on June 6 following ND’s victory in European and local elections. Their “talks reportedly also centered on bilateral relations and regional developments. Mitsotakis reportedly repeated the party’s support for strengthening the process of Strategic Dialogue between Athens and Washington.” Pyatt was US Ambassador to Ukraine between 2013 and August 2016, and one of the principal plotters of the Maidan putsch of February 2014.

Source: https://twitter.com/ Follow Pyatt’s Twiiter account for details of his Greek schemes. Standing to Pyatt’s left in the Tweet picture in Athens is Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the region, Philip Reeker, and to his left, the new Greek Defence Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos. For “modernizing US-Greek military agreements” which Pyatt and Reeker discussed with Panagiotopoulos, Pyatt’s tweet text means the reversal of the 30-year old Greek policy of prohibiting US nuclear weapons, warheads and propulsion units, from being stored on Greek territory and loaded on US aircraft or naval vessels at Greek bases.

For Russian assessments of the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot strategies, read this.

Mitsotakis is visiting Cyprus this week. The most urgent issue for his talks with Cypriot officials is the Turkish military offensive in Cypriot waters.

On July 11, Cyprus sent to the United Nations Secretary-General a letter detailing the illegal maritime operations of two Turkish vessels for seismic testing and drilling of the seabed. The Turkish ships are the Yavuz (“Resolute”), operating off the northeast coast of the island and the Fatih (“Conqueror”), off the southwest of the island; for vessel details, read this. They are being protected by Turkish Navy escorts; they in turn are supported by Turkish air and naval exercises.

The letter and accompanying maps can be read here (in Greek). The headline reads: “Cyprus to the UN: Turkey has encircled the island”.

The Yavuz under way towards Cyprus, with Turkish naval escort. Source: https://www.liberal.gr/

The official letter is in English. The only available version, as reported by The Liberal, is in Greek. Translating back into English, the Cypriot Government charges the Turks with “continuing provocation and illegal actions against the Republic of Cyprus. I turn first to Turkey’s illegal drilling operations in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. On July 8, 2019, the navigable drilling vessel Yavuz of the state-owned Turkish Petroleum Company, accompanied by warships and support vessels, was deployed within the Republic of Cyprus’ Territorial Waters, approximately 10 nautical miles south of the Karpas peninsula, east of the Karpas Peninsula)… [Drilling is planned] to continue to September 30, 2019, as defined in an unauthorized Maritime Announcement issued by Turkey. I note that this is the second planned drilling operation within two months of the onset of ongoing illegal drilling operations within the EEZ[Exclusive Economic Zone] / Continental Shelf of Cyprus… Turkey claims that drilling is being carried out on the basis of a supposed license by the so-called TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, occupied by Turkish military invasion since July 1974]. It should be borne in mind that any exploration activity, including seismic surveys and drilling operations, carried out on behalf of the so-called TRNC is illegal as a matter of international law.”


Source: https://www.liberal.gr/

The Cyprus Government letter continues: “According to the relevant rules, Turkey, the occupying power, cannot exploit the natural resources of the area which is illegally occupied. With regard to illegal drilling operations in the EEZ / Continental Shelf of the Republic of Cyprus, I would like to remind you that on May 4, 2019, the state-owned oil company TPAO [Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı] [drilling vessel] Fatih, accompanied by warships, commenced operations within the continental shelf / EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and remains there about 36 nautical miles from the west coast of Cyprus. As shown in the map in Annex II, the drilling target is 30 nautical miles from the median line between the coasts of the two states, to the coast of Cyprus, and at least 83 nautical miles [northwest] from the nearest Turkish coast.”

Source: https://www.liberal.gr/

“Turkey has, in fact, encircled the island of Cyprus, carrying out illegal hydrocarbon exploration activities, accompanied by numerous warships, which, along with repeated Turkish military exercises led to the intensive militarization of the extensive maritime area around Cyprus. Turkey’s overall practice in these areas is not only a serious violation of applicable international law but also a misuse of freedom of navigation, violates the principle of peaceful use of the seas, jeopardizes maritime safety and constitutes a threat to peace and international security.”

On July 15, the European Council [EC] issued a statement condemning the Turkish drilling operations, with this one-paragraph announcement of sanctions: “In light of Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the Council decides to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being. The Council endorses the Commission’s proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invites the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.”
Source: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/

The Council also reported that before deciding on these sanctions, “foreign ministers discussed the external aspects of migration. Ministers agreed on the need to step up efforts to address the issue more effectively. In particular, they noted the need to increase financial resources, in particular for the EU Trust Fund for Africa. Foreign ministers discussed the importance of accelerating resettlements of persons in need of international protection. They also highlighted the need to make progress on the issue of disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea, which is the responsibility of Justice and Home Affairs ministers.”

The Vzglyad report doesn’t mince words with the forecast: “Turkey will open the door to Europe for millions of refugees. A wave of refugees threatens to flood Europe again.”

For details of the Turkey-EU agreement of March 18, 2016, start here. The map shows that following the commencement of the pact, refugee arrivals to the EU states in 2016 dropped from just over one million to just under 142,000.
Source: https://www.dw.com/ Here is a German summary of March 2018 of the people flows from Turkey in the two years from the signing of the refugee control agreement. Note that “according to the United Nations, Turkey has been hosting 2,900,000 refugees. Turkey, however, says that their number recently rose to around 3,500,000. Turkey repeatedly threatened to terminate the agreement because, firstly, the EU has not paid the stipulated amount, and secondly, the visa freedom for Turkish citizens provided for under the agreement has not been implemented.”

“For two days now the European Commission has had almost no words to answer the unprecedented démarche of Turkey. Ankara has now refused to fulfill the famous agreement reached at the time [March 2016] with Brussels – in response to the money and the promise of visa-free travel, Turkey undertook to stop the flow of thousands of refugees in the EU. What happened?

“On Monday, July 22, the Turkish government announced that it suspends the agreement on the readmission of immigrants signed with the European Union in 2016. This was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in an interview with radio station TGRT. The diplomat informed that ‘this measure is connected not only with the recent sanctions imposed by the European Union on Turkey for the exploration of gas fields in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus’, but also with the failure of the EU to fulfill the promise to cancel visas for Turkish citizens entering the EU. The readmission agreement and visa exemption were to enter into force simultaneously. They didn’t. We have suspended the readmission agreement,’ the Minister said.

“Recall that in accordance with the agreement, Turkey has pledged not only to become a barrier on the route ‘from Arabs to Europeans’, but also a point of reception of illegal immigrants forcibly returned from the Old World. For the service of depositing on its territory those hordes of seekers of a better life fleeing from the Middle East, the EU pledged to pay Ankara six billion euros and allow the Turks visa-free visit to the countries of the Schengen area.

“The latter, however, came with a number of reservations. To be precise, Turkey had to prove that it met 72 conditions set by Brussels. Among them there were ‘ensuring the rights of minorities (mainly sexual)’, ‘freedom of speech and non-persecution for political reasons’, ‘ensuring the independence of the courts’, and many others. Then numerous European media informed everyone that ‘already in June 2016, the visa-free regime for Turkey may become a reality.’ However, nothing has changed since then – no-visa for Turkey looks like an unattainable dream.

“Moreover, since July 15, 2016, Turkey has not aimed to fulfill the European requirements. The attempted coup [of that date] forced President Recep Erdogan to toughen his attitude to the opposition, and in March 2019 he called for the restoration of the death penalty as capital punishment in the country. All this actually put an end to the prospects of abolishing visas with Europe…

“It is possible that Brussels is not particularly worried about the visa-free failure, and maybe even sighed with relief. But regarding the [latest] statement of the Turkish side on the suspension of the agreement on the containment of migrants, the EU will be seriously concerned. Of the possible answers to the sanctions imposed by Brussels against Ankara for conducting gas exploration in the waters of Cyprus, this is the most unexpected for Europe, and the most painful.

“After the signing of the agreement in 2016, the number of immigrants arriving to the Greek Islands has decreased dramatically. If in the summer of 2015 to Europe (mostly through the land border with Greece and the Aegean Sea waters around the islands) through Turkey there were 150 000 people a month, a year later this figure fell to 50 000, and by the beginning of 2017, about 3000 people a month.

“But now along the back of the tolerant European Union runs a chill: a new tsunami of illegal immigrants becomes a realistic prospect. Erdogan has already proved his determination by acquiring the Russian S-400 missile defence system, despite the most severe pressure from NATO. It will not be difficult for him to open the gateways that restrain migrants. Moreover, the money received from the EU has already been consumed.

“And it seems that in the case of negotiations on the continuation of the [March 2016] treaty on the containment of refugees, the conversation will not be so much about the new sums of compensation, as about the gas fields near the Turkish (unrecognized, but in practice Turkish) part of Cyprus. And the position of Brussels is seen as weak. Cavusoglu, however, diplomatically asked Brussels to act as a ‘mediator’ in the negotiations between Turkey and Cyprus, and not to side with the latter.

“The head of the Turkish Ministry of Interior Süleyman Soylu spoke more directly. He hinted that Turkey can use the control of irregular migration as a tool of pressure on Brussels.

Left: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu; right: Interior Minister Süleyman Hasan Soylu.

“It is obvious that Europe has left us alone in this matter. An approving pat on the shoulder has ceased to suit us. If Turkey had not taken decisive measures in its time, no European government would have survived even six months [the invasion of refugees]. If you want, we will try [to open the doors to Europe]”, the Anadolu agency quotes Soylu. And the Spanish El Mundo found it necessary to remind: “at the moment in Turkey there are up to three million Syrian refugees who have not reached Europe.”

“Then what has Brussels responded to the démarche of Turkey? Almost nothing: the European Commission through the mouth of the commissioner for relations with the press Natasha Berto spoke in the traditional style: ‘guys, let’s live together.’ ‘ We believe that both parties will adhere to the signed agreement,’ the EC representative said.

“These words made exactly the same impression on Turkey as the protest marches of politicians with flowers in their hands and ‘We Are for Peace’ drawings on the asphalt made by adults with the minds of children. Ankara’s position is that it isn’t satisfied with Brussels; according to the German website World News Monitor, ‘Cavusoglu said in response that his country is not frightened by threats to exclude Turkey from NATO, because these threats are a priori unrealizable.’

“ ‘If the EU expects that we are ready to trample 50 years of waiting at the doors of the [EU] Bloc in anticipation of when we can open them, it’s in vain. We are developing new principles of our foreign policy and we will inform everybody about them in early August,’ the Turkish edition of Sabah quotes Ankara’s chief diplomat.

“It seems that the words of the Turkish Minister of Interior that the European Union states cannot cope with the invasion if the Turks open the door to Europe are not far from the truth.”
Turkey ousts three Kurdish mayors for suspected militant links, launches security operation
Turkish police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the replacement of Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, August 19, 2019. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

Turkey on Monday replaced Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities and detained more than 400 people for suspected militant links, the Interior Ministry said, a move likely to fuel tensions in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Turkish police detain 418 people in Kurdish militant probe: ministry
Turkish police walk in front of the Metropolitan Municipality headquarters in Diyarbakir, Turkey, August 19, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkish police have detained 418 people in 29 provinces in an investigation targeting suspects with links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

Turkish lawyer groups to boycott judicial ceremony over separation of powers
At least 19 bar associations representing lawyers from provinces across Turkey, including the three largest cities, have said they will boycott an annual ceremony for the judiciary because it will take place on the grounds of the presidential palace.

Many said holding the ceremony in a location related to the presidency signals a lack of separation of powers.

The independence of Turkey’s judiciary has been hotly debated in recent years, especially since a crackdown on the judiciary and other state bodies following the July 2016 abortive coup and after the country switched to an executive presidential system in June last year.

Critics say courts are under the influence of politics. President Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party have repeatedly said the judiciary is independent and makes its own decisions.

According to Reuters’ checks of tweets and statements by the individual bar associations and their heads, at least 19 said they would not attend the ceremony, organized by Turkey’s top appeals court, the Court of Cassation, for the start of the judicial year at the Presidential Congress and Culture Centre in Ankara on Sept. 2.

The 19 bar associations boycotting the ceremony, including those for the cities of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, represent some 77% of lawyers registered in Turkey’s 79 provincial bar associations as of Dec. 31, 2018, according to data from the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB).

Mehmet Durakoglu, head of the Istanbul Bar Association, said the executive presidential system was damaging the separation of powers.

“At a time when discussions [on the separation of powers] are ongoing with the utmost intensity ... the choice of location for the opening ceremony is not a simple matter,” he wrote in a letter, posted on his association’s website.

“The choice is extremely important in that it states the position of... the Court of Cassation in these discussions.”

The ceremony was held at the Presidential Congress and Culture Centre in 2016 and then again in 2018.

The TBB, an umbrella body, said on Saturday its head, Metin Feyzioglu, will attend the ceremony and make a speech, as is customary.

State-owned Anadolu news agency quoted the presidency of the Court of Cassation on Saturday as saying that most of the bar association heads that were invited had said they will attend.

Accusations that the Court of Cassation was under political influence were unjust, it said.
Turkish police use water cannon, batons on Kurdish protesters
Police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the replacement of Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

Police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against the replacement of Kurdish mayors with state officials in three cities, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey August 20, 2019 - Riot police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters demonstrating in southeast Turkey on Tuesday against the ousting of three Kurdish mayors five months after they were elected.

Ankara replaced the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors with state officials on Monday and detained more than 400 people for suspected militant links in a step sharply criticized by opposition parties.

In Diyarbakir, the region’s biggest city, police repeatedly used water cannon on small groups of protesters, who huddled on the streets to protect themselves from the water cannon and made victory signs with their hands.

Riot police struck protesters with batons as they fled the area. The protesters gathered near city hall, which was sealed off by metal barriers after a state administrator took office there on Monday in place of the elected mayor.

“You can see here today a regime of pressure and persecution,” HDP leader Sezai Temelli told reporters in a statement on the street in Diyarbakir as the police acted against the protesters. “We will continue to resist wherever we are because resistance is our legitimate right,” he said.

The Interior Ministry says the ousted HDP mayors of the three major cities - Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van - are accused of various crimes including membership of a terrorist organization and spreading terrorist group propaganda.

The HDP said the mayors’ removal was a political coup and that it is a hostile stance against the political will of the Kurdish people.

The ministry also said on Monday it had launched an operation with some 2,300 commandos against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in three southeastern provinces.

President Tayyip Erdogan had warned before nationwide local elections in March of such a move against elected officials if they were found to have had connections to the PKK.

Erdogan frequently accuses the HDP of links to the PKK, which is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The HDP denies such links.

The removal of the mayors echoed the dismissal of dozens of mayors in 2016 over similar accusations, part of a purge that began after a failed coup. Nearly 100 mayors and thousands of party members were jailed then in a crackdown that drew expressions of concern from the United States and European Union.

The PKK launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Turkish minister threatens Istanbul mayor over ousted Kurdish mayors
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference for foreign media correspondents in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019. Ahmet Bolat/Pool via REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference for foreign media correspondents in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019. Ahmet Bolat/Pool via REUTERS

Turkey's interior minister on Tuesday threatened "to devastate" the mayor of Istanbul over his support for three Kurdish mayors who were replaced by state officials over alleged terror links less than five months after the trio were elected.

Last month, Turkey replaced pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors in Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin with state officials, and detained more than 400 people over suspected militant links, in a move sharply criticized by the opposition.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu - who dealt President Tayyip Erdogan the biggest defeat of his career when he defeated the ruling AK Party (AKP) in June local elections - has slammed the move as illegal and undemocratic and called for it to be reversed.

At the weekend Imamoglu - of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who was backed by HDP when he was elected in June - visited Kurdish town of Diyarbakir and met with two of the ousted mayors.

Erdogan and his government accuse the HDP of links to the PKK militant group that is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The HDP denies such links.

Speaking in the northeastern province of Bursa on Tuesday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the dismissals of the three mayors, who were elected in late March, were in line with the law.

“Ignorant. Know your place and your limits,” Soylu said of Imamoglu. “This country has been handling this terrorist organization for 40 years... If you meddle in things that are not your job, we will devastate you.”

The minister added: “This is very clear... While there are people who have suffered from terror for years, such a support for men who mourn at terrorist funerals will hurt our hearts and those of our people.”

The comments come a week after Imamoglu’s announcement that the Istanbul municipality canceled the transfer of more than 350 million lira ($61 million) to some pro-AKP foundations, in one of his first moves against Erdogan since being elected.

Erdogan has previously said that his government would also replace mayors in other parts of the country if they were found to be linked to militants. But Imamoglu has dismissed those comments as meaningless and saddening. ($1 = 5.7589 liras)

Turkey ruling party seeks ejection of former PM: official
FILE PHOTO: Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Prime Minister speaks during opening ceremony in Banja Luka, May 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Turkey's ruling AK Party wants to eject former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and three other lawmakers, a senior official said on Monday, amid talk of a possible new breakaway movement.

Davutoglu, who fell out with President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016 and was later replaced as prime minister by Binali Yildirim, has previously criticized AKP policies, government economic management and Erdogan himself.

At a meeting on Monday, the AKP’s central executive committee demanded that Davutoglu, along with Ayhan Sefer Ustun, Selcuk Ozdag and Abdullah Basci, be dismissed from the party, the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

The party’s disciplinary council is expected to rubber-stamp that in the next few days.

The move comes amid rumors that dissident party members are seeking to form a rival party following a stinging AKP defeat in Istanbul local elections in June that was one of the biggest setbacks in Erdogan’s career.

In July, former Turkish deputy prime minister Ali Babacan resigned from the AKP, citing “deep differences” and hinting at the formation of a new party.

Babacan, along with former president Abdullah Gul, plans to launch a rival movement this year, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that could further challenge Erdogan’s political grip.

Davutoglu had been rumored to be mulling joining Babacan and Gul’s breakaway party. But a source close to him said he was not joining them for now, though he was planning a “new step”.
Top Bottom