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Posts tagged ‘Ottoman Land of Anatolia’

Turkey OKs military intervention, warns Iraqi Kurds on vote

September 23, 2017

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Turkish parliament on Saturday renewed a bill allowing the military to intervene in Iraq and Syria if faced with national security threats — a move seen as a final warning to Iraqi Kurds to call off their Monday independence referendum.

The decree allows Turkey to send troops over its southern border if developments in Iraq or Syria are seen as national security threats. Turkish officials have repeatedly warned the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq to abandon its plans for independence.

Kurds are dispersed across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and lack a nation state. Turkey itself has a large ethnic Kurdish population and is battling a Kurdish insurgency on its own territory that it calls separatist.

The bill read in parliament Saturday listed combating Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq and the Islamic State group as national security requirements for Turkey. It also emphasized the importance of Iraq and Syria’s territorial integrity and said “separatism based on ethnicity” poses a threat to both Turkey and regional stability.

Speaking in parliament, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli likened Monday’s vote in northern Iraq to a brick that — if pulled out — could collapse an entire “structure built on sensitive and fragile balances.” The resulting conflict could be global, he warned.

Osman Baydemir, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party or HDP — the third biggest group in parliament — called the bill “a war mandate” and “a proclamation of enmity towards 40 million Kurds.” A dozen parliamentarians from the party are behind bars for alleged links to terror groups.

The HDP voted against the mandate Saturday. All other parties, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party, voted for it. Earlier Saturday, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the referendum “a mistake, an adventure.” He said Turkey would take diplomatic, political and economic measures according to “developments on the ground.” He added a cross-border military operation was also an option.

The renewed mandate is a combination of two previous bills that are based on a constitutional article on the “declaration of state of war and authorization to deploy the armed forces.” The Iraq Bill was passed in 2007 to combat outlawed Kurdish militants in northern Iraq to prevent attacks in Turkey. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK has its headquarters in Iraq’s Qandil mountains. Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider it a terror organization.

The Syria Bill of 2012 was in response to mortar attacks by Syrian government forces on a Turkish border town. The combined bill was passed in 2014 as IS waged a deadly campaign in Kobani, the Syrian Kurdish town on the Turkish border. IS failed to take over the town and the victory strengthened Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG, who are now a key U.S. ally against IS in Syria. Turkey, however, considers them a terror group.

The mandate has allowed Turkey to launch a cross-border military operation into northern Syria with Syrian opposition forces in August 2016 to clear its border of IS and YPG. Turkey’s air force has also been bombing targets in northern Iraq and Syria.

The Turkish military, meanwhile, said additional units joined this week’s previously unannounced exercises near the Iraqi border. The chief of staff also met his Iraqi counterpart in Ankara to discuss the Kurdish referendum and border security.

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Turkey warns Kurdish leaders on vote as parliament convenes

September 23, 2017

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish officials are pressing Iraqi Kurdish leaders to call off an upcoming independence referendum as Turkey’s parliament convenes to renew a mandate for the country’s military to intervene in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday called the Monday referendum to create a Kurdish state in neighboring Iraq “a mistake, an adventure.” Yildirim says Turkey would take diplomatic, political and economic measures according to “developments on the ground.” He added that a cross-border operation also was an option.

The prime minister has said Saturday’s vote would allow the military to get involved in “all kinds of developments” that threatened Turkey’s security. Meanwhile, the Turkish military said additional units joined exercises near the Iraqi border as the chief of staff welcomed his Iraqi counterpart to the country.

Venezuela’s Maduro meets Turkey’s Erdogan on European tour

October 06, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is meeting his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for talks on bilateral relations and international issues. Maduro’s visit on Friday comes amid stringent U.S. sanctions on the South American nation and a deepening political crisis in Venezuela, as the country struggles with triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages.

The foreign ministers of both countries will also participate in the second meeting of their joint “partnership commissions” aimed at forging cooperation between the two countries, according to the Turkish president’s office.

Maduro’s visit follows a tour to Russia and to Belarus, where he discussed expanding military ties with the ex-Soviet nation. In February 2016, Erdogan visited Chile, Peru and Ecuador to boost trade ties between Turkey and South America.

Putin to meet Erdogan as Russia-Turkey ties deepen

September 28, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling to Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on developments in Iraq and Syria, and Turkey’s decision to purchase a Russian-made missile defense system.

Putin’s visit on Thursday comes as Turkey and Russia are deepening ties in a turnaround for the two nations, which have backed opposing sides in Syria and nearly came to blows over Turkey’s downing of a Russian plane in 2015.

Russia and Turkey, together with Iran, are now working on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria that have helped reduce fighting. On Iraq, Turkey has strongly opposed an Iraqi Kurdish referendum on independence which Russia neither supported nor condemned.

Some of Turkey’s NATO allies have expressed concern over Turkey’s decision to purchase the Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

Turkey issues warrants for ex-agents for links to cleric

September 12, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants for 63 people, mostly ex-intelligence agency workers, for alleged ties to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup attempt.

Anadolu Agency reported that warrants were issued Tuesday for 45 former employees of the National Intelligence Agency, MIT, and 18 others suspected of being operatives of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Anadolu said that nine of the suspects have been detained in the capital, Ankara.

Turkey has launched a large-scale crackdown against Gulen’s movement after the July 2016 coup attempt, dismissing more than 110,000 people from government jobs and arresting more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups.

Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.

Erdogan to Muslim countries: ‘use every means available’ to stop ‘cruelty’ against Rohingya

September 10, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday urged Muslim countries to “use every means available” to stop the “cruelty” perpetrated against Myanmar’s Rohingya.

“We want to work with the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to prevent the humanitarian plight in the region,” he told the opening session of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Erdogan said Turkey had offered aid and said he expected that Bangladesh authorities admit and help Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence in Myanmar.

“International organisations, and we as Muslim countries in particular, should fight together by using every means available to stop that cruelty,” he said. Erdogan had previously promised to raise the Rohingya issue at the annual meeting of UN General Assembly later this month.

A final statement was agreed on at Sunday’s OIC summit – the first such summit on Science and Technology. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said it was thanks to the efforts of the Turkish delegation that such a statement was prepared.

OIC statement

Erdogan called on “the brothers around the table” to follow and implement the decisions.

“The meeting called upon the government of Myanmar to accept the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into all alleged violations of international human rights law and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the statement.

Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings – including infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched. On Saturday, the UN said at least 290,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh.

Erdogan arrived in the Kazakh capital on Saturday for a two-day visit, and has pledged to raise the issue of Rohingya’s at the UN.

Following the summit, the Turkish president also had a closed-door meeting with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid as well as with other leaders.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170910-erdogan-urges-muslim-countries-to-help-rohingya/.

Turkey releases ex-spokesman of opposition party

2017-09-08

ANKARA – A Turkish court on Friday ordered the release of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s former spokesman Ayhan Bilgen after his arrest in January, a party official said.

“Today a decision was made to release our (former) party spokesman. This is what was necessary,” current HDP spokesman Osman Baydemir told reporters in Ankara.

Bilgen, also a lawmaker, was formally charged on January 31 with “belonging to a terrorist organisation” and “incitement to crime”, a HDP official said.

He has been released pending trial but faces up to 25 years in prison, the official added.

The accusations are linked to a series of deadly protests in October 2014 by pro-Kurdish activists in support of Syrian Kurds threatened by the Islamic State group.

Officials hold the HDP responsible for the street protests led by demonstrators against Turkey’s policy on Syria. Clashes between police and protesters claimed at least 31 lives.

Eight MPs including co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas as well as former party co-leader Figen Yuksekdag, who was stripped of MP status, are currently in detention in Turkey.

Baydemir hit back at the detentions, saying lawmakers’ “one and only place” was in parliament rather than prison.

They are accused of belonging to or giving their support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organisation proscribed as a “terrorist” group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.

The HDP has always denied being a political front for the PKK.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=84753.

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