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Turkey – Azerbaijan Relations and Turkish Foreign Policy

Turkey - Azerbaijan Relations
Turkey - Azerbaijan Relations

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who is paying an official visit to Turkey, at the Presidential Complex.

Prior to the meeting, President Erdoğan welcomed Azerbaijani President Aliyev with an official ceremony. Following the ceremony, the two leaders posed for the press and headed inside to hold their tête-à-tête and co-chair the High Level Strategic Council (HLSC) Meeting.

Holding a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President Aliyev at the Presidential Complex, President Erdoğan said: “We will soon inaugurate the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). This inauguration, which will take place in early June, will be our glad tidings both to the world and our nation before the elections.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan held a joint press conference at the Presidential Complex following their tête-à-tête and the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting.

TURKEY, AZERBAIJAN TO CONTINUE COOPERATION IN EVERY FIELD

Congratulating President Alivey, who is paying his first foreign visit to Turkey following the elections in Azerbaijan, for his election victory, President Erdoğan recalled that he had also paid his first foreign visit to Azerbaijan after having been sworn into office, and added that the two countries will continue their cooperation and joint efforts in every field including politics, military, economy, trade and culture.

TANAP TO BE INAUGURATED IN EARLY JUNE

Pointing out that Turkey and Azerbaijan will implement new projects in the upcoming period as well, President Erdoğan described shift to trade in national currencies as the most important of these projects. Adding that they will soon inaugurate the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project, President Erdoğan stated that this inauguration, which will take place in early June, will be their glad tidings both to the world and the Turkish nation before the presidential and parliamentary elections slated for June 24, 2018.

AZERBAIJAN BIGGEST INVESTOR IN TURKEY

TANAP, an important leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, will not only contribute to the natural gas transfer between Turkey and Azerbaijan but also to the energy security of the whole Europe, underlined President Erdoğan and, describing Azerbaijan as the leading investor in Turkey, stated that their primary goal is to further strengthen economic and trade relations between the two countries and that there are more steps to jointly take in defense industry, too.

TRIPARTITE COOPERATION MECHANISMS

Also emphasizing the importance of Turkey’s tripartite cooperation mechanisms with Georgia, Turkmenistan, Iran and Pakistan besides Azerbaijan, President Erdoğan noted that these mechanisms play a crucial role in developing projects that are highly beneficial for the countries in question as well as for the entire region.

SHARED STANCE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH, AFRIN

Underlining that the cooperation and the solidarity between the two countries have been continuing with the same understanding since the victory of Çanakkale and the liberation of Baku, President Erdoğan noted: “The entire world has seen our shared stance both in Nagorno-Karabakh and Afrin. Both the government and the people of Azerbaijan have supported us during Operation Olive Branch conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces. And we have seen the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as our own problem since the very beginning. It is our strong desire that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict be immediately solved within the framework of the United Nations’ resolutions on the principles of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and non-violation of its borders.”

Speaking at AK Party’s Parliamentary Group Meeting, President Erdoğan had previously said: “We will never give up our conscientious foreign policy vision, which is to back the oppressed all over the world. As a country that develops global initiatives in crisis regions such as Al-Quds, Syria, Somalia and Myanmar, we are aware of the magnitude of our responsibilities. We are determined to take greater steps in the upcoming period in order to realize our thesis that the world is bigger than five.”

President and AK Party Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a speech at AK Party’s Parliamentary Group Meeting.

TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY BOTH TURKEY-ORIENTED AND OPEN TO WORLD

Stating that Turkey will continue to follow a foreign policy that is both Turkey-oriented and open to the world, President Erdoğan noted that they will shape Turkey’s relations with other countries and international organizations according to this understanding of foreign policy. Drawing attention to Turkey’s 360-degree view of the world and its efforts in order not to stay away from any economic or political formation, President Erdoğan said: “We will continue to implement our security policies on the ground by putting our nation and country at their center while also promoting justice, freedoms and humanitarian values.”

“WE WILL FURTHER DEEPEN OUR ALREADY CLOSE RELATIONS WITH OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN OUR GEOGRAPHY”

President Erdoğan continued: “We will speed up our efforts both at the international platforms and on the ground so as to reinforce our humanitarian solidarity and cooperation and to increase the number of our friends. We will carry on our determined efforts by benefiting from the experiences we have gained from the operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch in Syria, by prioritizing diplomacy in Tal Rifaat and Manbij, and in line with our security needs in other regions. We will put into action policies in accordance with the interests of our nation and country everywhere including Cyprus, the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Thrace. We will further deepen our already close relations with our brothers and sisters in our geography extending from the Balkans to the Caucasia, Central Asia and Africa.”

“WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP OUR CONSCIENTIOUS FOREIGN POLICY VISION”

President Erdoğan added: “We will never give up our conscientious foreign policy vision, which is to back the oppressed all over the world. As a country that develops global initiatives in crisis regions such as Al-Quds, Syria, Somalia and Myanmar, we are aware of the magnitude of our responsibilities. We are determined to take greater steps in the upcoming period in order to realize our thesis that the world is bigger than five.”

Russia to deliver S-300 air defence systems to Syria for free See

Turkey Tribune - Russia to deliver S-300 air defence systems to Syria for free See
Turkey Tribune - Russia to deliver S-300 air defence systems to Syria for free See
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge. Russia is determined to take a swift effort to create the echeloned air defence system for Syria. 

The question about the transfer of S-300 systems to Syria remains “mostly political” and has been practically resolved. Components of S-300 systems, including radar stations, transport vehicles, command posts and missile launchers, will be delivered to Syria by military transport aircraft or vessels of the Russian Navy. It is possible that Russia will deliver the systems that have already been used in the Russian Armed Forces.

On April 14, the Western coalition fired 103 missiles on Syria, but Syrian air defence forces shot down

Source (Pravda)

Can Turkey Attract Chinese?

Can Turkey Attract Chinese
Can Turkey Attract Chinese

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister, Numan Kurtulmuş is in China to boost relations between Turkey and China.

Kurtulmuş expects that China will soon become Turkey’s one of the “most important” tourism partners.

“China will become one of the most important tourism partners of Turkey in the very near future,” Kurtulmuş told reporters at the 14th China International Tourism and Travel Fair in the capital Beijing.

Turkey strives to diversify its tourists. Relatively the country is aims to attract more toursists from the Far East. In this framework, Kurtulmuş said it is Turkey’s tourism strategy to engage in promotional activities with countries such as China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We hope that close relations between Turkey and China will reflect also in the area of tourism,” he said. Kurtulmuş also added that Ankara would continue to aim to increase the number of Chinese tourists coming to Turkey in 2018.

“Around 250,000 tourists came to Turkey last year. There is no reason not to increase this number to 500,000.”

Kurtulmuş had previously mentioned that Turkey was hoping to attract at least 38 million tourists in 2018.

“Gradual increase in Chinese tourists since 2002.

During his visit, Kurtulmuş also met Chinese Culture Minister Luo Shugang. Following the meeting, Kurtulmuş said that the Chinese government was notified of Turkey’s demand to facilitate the visa processes for Turkish citizens and increase the flight frequencies of Turkish Airlines (THY) to the county. He said that China offers great potential for tourism cooperation.

Minister also said that the Turkish officials expressed their intention to establish a Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) branch – a worldwide nonprofit organization of the Turkish government that was founded in 2007 – in China and their intention for the quick completion of the legal process to found the institute.

Chinese Culture Minister Luo Shugang said that the Chinese government is working to accelerate the process to establish the YEE and that visa policies were conducted as part of general Chinese visa practices. Luo also mentioned that the flight frequencies will increase in proportion with the rise in Chinese tourists visiting Turkey. He continued that the government attaches the utmost importance to cultural and educational cooperation with Turkish people.

The Heart of Turkish Foreign Policy is Humanitarian Diplomacy

Humanitarian Diplomacy of Turkey is something more than Humanitarian Aid
Humanitarian Diplomacy of Turkey is something more than Humanitarian Aid

President Erdoğan addressed the coordinators of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) at the Presidential Complex. In his speech he emphasized that Turkey has increased its development assistance even during its most troubled periods, and said: “The sincere stance our country displays with regard to development assistance has attracted the attention of international organizations, as well. We especially focused on the 47 least developed countries while others were laying the groundwork for their own political and commercial interests under the cover of assistance.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a speech during his reception of the TİKA coordinators at the Presidential Complex.

Stating that Turkey has turned into a country which no longer receives aid but rather provides the largest amount of development aid globally as a result of the efforts made over the past 15 years, President Erdoğan said that Turkey ranked second only to the U.S. with the $6 billion aid it made in 2016 and that it is by far the top country in terms of development aid when the GDP is taken into account.

“IF THE OIL-RICH MUSLIM COUNTRIES GAVE THEIR ALMS, THERE WOULD BE NO POOR LEFT ACROSS THE WORLD”

Calling on the oil-rich countries, President Erdoğan said: “If the oil-rich Muslim countries determined and gave their alms to the poor countries, there would be no poor left across the world. Are they doing so? No, they aren’t. If they were to give their share of alms for only the oil they are extracting, those poor countries would become prosperous, as well.”

“THE MONEY SPENT ON ARMAMENT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO PROVIDE FOR ALL THE POOR IN THE WORLD”

Stressing that it would actually be possible to achieve at least a minimum level of prosperity in the rest of the world with the money that the West spends to stir up trouble, to encourage terrorist organizations and to make people kill one another, President Erdoğan said: “The money spent on armament or for the incidents in, no need to look farther, the Middle East alone, or the money spent for wars would be enough to provide for all the poor in the world.”

HUMANITARIAN DIPLOMACY AT THE HEART OF TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY

Underlining that Turkey has placed humanitarian diplomacy at the heart of its foreign policy, President Erdoğan said that the sincere stance Turkey displays with regard to development assistance has attracted the attention of international organizations, too, and that Turkey especially focused on the 47 least developed countries while others were laying the groundwork for their own political and commercial interests under the cover of assistance.

Presidency

Close Relations Between Turkey and Ukraine Despite Russia – Ukraine Conflict

Close Relations Between Turkey and Ukraine despite Russia - Ukraine Conflict
Close Relations Between Turkey and Ukraine Despite Russia - Ukraine Conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and his delegation in Istanbul on 9 April 2018.

At the meeting, Turkey-Ukraine relations and regional issues were discussed.

Relations between Turkey and Ukraine have not been affected by Turkey’s good relations with Russia. Quite the contrary, the relations are going extremely well.

Especially Turkey’s determined stance regarding the annexation of Crimea by Russia has not changed since relations between the two countries were revived after a crisis.

This “principled stance” over Crimea has ensured strong relations between Turkey and Ukraine.

As we know, Russia had occupied southern Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 following a referendum, which is regarded as illegal under international law. International community also strongly rejected the annexation and sided Ukraine.

Following the occupation, the United States and EU states relatively imposed political and economic sanctions against Russia.

Since then, Crimean Tatars, Muslim Turkish minority, have  been complaining about Russia’s repression, including arbitrary arrests and detentions.

Turkey has so far refused to recognize the Russian occupation of Crimea and has voiced support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Mutual trade between Turkey and Ukraine has also been booming.

Erdogan-visit-to-Kiev-consolidated-the-strategic-partnership-between-Turkey-Ukraine- Close Relations Between Turkey and Ukraine Despite Russia - Ukraine Conflict Homepage Slides
Erdogan visit to Kiev consolidated the strategic partnership between Turkey-Ukraine

The Passport-free travel agreement between Turkey and Ukraine entered into force on June 1, 2017. Citizens of both countries can go in and out, transit or remain within the territory of Ukraine or Turkey without a visa for 90 days. This was a remarkable move towards furthering social relations between two countries.

In an article aired on Insamer, Burak Çalışkan expresses following remarks regarding Ukraine – Turkey relations:

“Ukraine as a country with a developed defense industry and Turkey as a country wanting to make progress in this field have carried out some important projects together in recent years.”

“Relations between Turkey and Ukraine which gained a significant momentum in the last three years in terms of politics, military, diplomacy, culture and economy, have evolved into a strategical partnership. In particular, the joint actions of Turkey and Ukraine in the crises they have experienced with Russia and their cooperation in the Black Sea Region will provide important advantages for both parties in the future. Furthermore, considering the export and import goods of both countries, it is seen that they do not have competing economies; on the contrary, they are trading partners who can complement each other. All these developments will carry Turkey-Ukraine relations to a much more advanced level in the following period.”

Turkish-Ukrainian-Partnership-is-Important-for-both-countries- Close Relations Between Turkey and Ukraine Despite Russia - Ukraine Conflict Homepage Slides
Turkish Ukrainian Partnership is Important for both countries

Attack in Douma

Attack in Douma
Attack in Douma

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey issued the following press release regarding attack in Douma

We have learned with grave concern that a new chemical weapons attack was carried out in Syria on the evening of 7 April targeting Douma and that many civilians lost their lives as a result of the attack. We strongly condemn this attack which is largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime whose track record regarding the use of chemical weapons is well known to the international community.

This incident reveals that the UN Security Council Resolutions 2118, 2209 and 2235 on the use of chemical weapons in Syria have once again been utterly disregarded.

We expect the international community to react to this attack and the relevant international organizations, in particular the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, to immediately investigate this case.

We call upon all the parties who have influence on the Syrian regime to fulfill their responsibilities in order to immediately stop such brutal attacks, which constitute crimes against humanity, indiscriminately target civilians and reoccur due to the failure to take measures in reaction to past attacks, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that these attacks do not go unpunished.

Implications of Turkey-Russia-Iran Trilateral Summit

Implications of Turkey-Russia-Iran Trilateral Summit
Implications of Turkey-Russia-Iran Trilateral Summit

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani gathered at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on April 4, 2018 for a trilateral summit.

According to the statement issued following the summit, the Presidents

ASTANA FORMAT THE ONLY EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE TO HAVE REDUCED VIOLENCE ACROSS SYRIA

Took note of the developments regarding Syria since their last meeting on 22 November 2017 in Sochi;

Expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the first year of the Astana meetings held since January 2017, underlined that the Astana format had been the only effective international initiative that had helped reduce violence across Syria and had contributed to peace and stability in Syria, giving impetus to the Geneva process in order to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict;

Reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process as envisaged by the UN Security Council Resolution 2254;

Emphasized their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria. They highlighted that none of the actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine these principles, confirmed by relevant UN resolutions and by the will of the representatives of all segments of the Syrian society. They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries;

SYRIAN NATIONAL DIALOGUE CONGRESS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN PAVING THE WAY FOR POLITICAL PROCESS

Expressed their conviction that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which was convened in Sochi on 30 January 2018, constituted an important milestone in paving the way for the political process, reiterated their commitment to follow up on the results of the Congress, reflecting the will of representatives of all segments of the Syrian society, in particular the agreement to form a Constitutional Committee, supported by the UN Secretary-General and the international community. They reaffirmed their support to facilitate the beginning of the Committee’s work in Geneva as soon as possible with the assistance of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria and in coordination with three guarantor states;

Called upon the representatives of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the opposition committed to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-fractional character of Syria as well as the international community to support the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress;

Expressed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that the conflict could be ended only through a negotiated political process;

COOPERATION IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERROR

Reiterated the necessity to assist the Syrians in restoring the unity of their country and in achieving a political solution of the ongoing conflict through an inclusive, free, fair and transparent Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process based on the free will of the Syrian people and leading to a constitution enjoying the support of the Syrian people, and free and fair elections with the participation of all eligible Syrians under appropriate UN supervision;

Reaffirmed their determination to continue their cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL as designated by the UN Security Council in Syria and underscored the success of their collective efforts in the fight against international terrorism;

Underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separating the above-mentioned terrorist groups from the armed opposition groups that had joined and would join the ceasefire regime bore utmost importance with respect to preventing civilian casualties;

Welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 2401 in response to the grave humanitarian situation all across Syria, including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya, Idlib Governorate, Northern Hama Governorate, Rukhban and Raqqa; strongly urged the conflicting parties to comply with the provisions of the said Resolution, including by refraining from ceasefire violations;

Underscored their joint determination to speed up their efforts to ensure calm on the ground and protect civilians in the de-escalation areas as well as to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to these areas and emphasized that the creation of de-escalation areas was temporary as provided for by the Memorandum of 4 May 2017;

THE CALL UPON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO INCREASE ITS ASSISTANCE TO SYRIA

Called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase its assistance to Syria by sending additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage;

Welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Working Group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons in Astana on 15 March 2018 with the participation of three guarantors as well as the UN and ICRC, and emphasized the importance of the effective functioning of the Working Group which would help build confidence between the conflicting parties;

Decided to hold their next meeting in Iran upon the invitation of President of Iran Rouhani.

Source: Presidency

Turkish Soldiers Made History

Turkish Sodiers Made History
Turkish Sodiers Made History

Making a speech during his visit to Oğulpınar Military Post in Hatay on Turkish-Syrian border, President Erdoğan said: “It is really a historic success that Afrin city center was taken under control in less than two months with an operation which the entire world followed with astonishment and admiration.”

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Oğulpınar Military Post in Reyhanlı, Hatay on the Turkish-Syrian border and came together with soldiers taking part in Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch into Afrin.

President Erdoğan made a speech during the gathering, which was also joined by a group of celebrities who came to Hatay to show their support for Operation Olive Branch.

“IT IS REALLY A HISTORIC SUCCESS THAT AFRIN CITY CENTER WAS TAKEN UNDER CONTROL IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS”

Stating that Turkish soldiers made history in Operation Olive Branch, President Erdoğan said: “It is really a historic success that Afrin city center was taken under control in less than two months with an operation which the entire world followed with astonishment and admiration.”

Congratulating all the soldiers, gendarmes, police, village guards and intelligence officers as well as members of the Free Syrian Army who took part in the operation, President Erdoğan expressed his appreciation for the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent, the Ministry of Health, and relevant municipalities for providing support to the operation.

“TURKEY IS MUCH STRONGER THAN BEFORE OPERATIONS EUPHRATES SHIELD AND OLIVE BRANCH”

Pointing out that Turkey has made progress and grown stronger in every field as a result of its military victories, unique works in arts, achievements in sports, initiatives in economy and firm stance in diplomacy, President Erdoğan said: “The scene we are today witnessing here is the clearest expression and the most striking picture of this change.”

Today, Turkey is much stronger than before the tutelage crisis in 2007, before the security-judiciary coup attempt in 2013, before the ditch digging activities in 2015, before the July 15 coup attempt and before the operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, President Erdoğan underscored, adding that it will continue down its road by getting stronger with every passing day.

Source: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey

Turkish Defense Industry Executive Committee convened under President Erdoğan

Turkish Defense Industry Executive Committee convened under President Erdoğan
Turkish Defense Industry Executive Committee convened under President Erdoğan

In a written statement released following the meeting, it was stated that projects aimed at adding new ones to the already present native and national systems that strengthen our military and security forces, which conduct successful operations inside our borders and, for the security of our borders, outside our borders, were reviewed and new decisions were taken.

The statement also noted that 29 projects with a total value of nearly 19 billion Turkish Liras were assessed and that various activities of investment and improvement aimed at improving, strengthening and supporting the defense industry were reviewed during the meeting.

Source: Turkish Presidency

The Rise of Turkish Private Arms Industry

The Rise of Turkish Private Arms Industry
The Rise of Turkish Private Arms Industry

Turkey has NATO’s largest army.

Turkey intends to play a greater role in a turbulent region and achieve independence from long-time allies in the West and relatively, the country aims to make all its own military equipment within a few years

Currently, Turkey spends around $20 billion a year on defense. Nearly half of its equipments are made domestically. Increase of defence exports has already led to mass production of a variety of defence items.

Turkey aims to expand its defense exports to total $25 billion in 2023.

Deterrent Military Force Important for Turkey

Turkish leaders are aware of the fact that Turkey cannot be the regional power or become a global power unless the country has a really deterrent military force.

Warship and fighter jet projects are in the early design phase, however they are planned to go into production by 2023.

Technology Top Priority

For Turkey, acquisition, localization and improvement of new technology is top priority. In one defence procurements regarding long-range missile system, for example, Turkey preferred China in 2013.

This move of Turkey has been closely followed by its Western allies. Especially, as Turkey’s Western allies are also worried about the compatibility of the Chinese technology with NATO systems.

Turkish Goal in Defence is to be Global Power

Turkey is a regional power. However, the country strides towards becoming one of the major global powers. Turkey aims to have its own national tank, national ship, national helicopter, satellite and war plane. This has been repeatedly mentioned by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The ultimate goal of Turkey, as Erdoğan puts it, is “to have everything the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have”.

Three Turkish companies are already among top 100 global defence companies. Turkish companies with potential of improvement in arms industry are sorted out and guided by Turkish Ministry of Defence.

Anti-terrorism and trans-border operations have exhibited the necessity and importance of private arms industry.

We know that there have been rigorous innovative developments in Turkish private arms industry in the last decade.

One article appeared in Financial Times had made following evaluations regarding Turkish arms industry:

“Many countries have tried to use offset programmes to create an indigenous defence industry, but Turkey is one of the closest to succeeding. Despite persistent doubts about the efficiency of the country’s defence industry and the realism of its ambition to be self sufficient, Turkey’s 30-year journey has yielded an indigenous capability other developing countries are still far from matching.” (FT)

It is true that Turkish arms industry is still still young, compared to global powers. However the Turkish defense industry is gaining the ability to tackle big projects, and it aims a place alongside its biggest NATO allies, the United States, France and Britain, as well as Russia and China.

Article by Ahmed Necip YILDIRIM

 

Astana Meetings on Syria

Astana Meetings on Syria
Astana Meetings on Syria

Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran met in Astana to discuss developments in Syria.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Astana on 15-16 March 2018 to attend the meeting on Syria, which was hosted by Kazakhstan with the participation of Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russian Federation and Iran.

At the meeting held on March 16, progress made so far at Astana meetings was reviewed and possible steps to be taken in the period ahead were evaluated.

On the same date, Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russian Federation and Iran met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and discussed developments in Syria.

Turkey Global Healthcare Destination

Turkish Doctors - Turkish Hospitals - Turkish Medical Toursim
Turkish Doctors - Turkish Hospitals - Turkish Medical Tourism

Speaking at an event held on the occasion of the March 14th Doctors’ Day, President Erdoğan said: “Like its every development, Turkey also puts the advancements it has made in healthcare at all its friends and whole humanity’s disposal together with itself. We have come to a point that we receive a substantial number of patients from the international community. Today, Turkey has become one of the major healthcare centers in the world.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at an event held at Beştepe Culture and Convention Center on the occasion of the March 14th Doctors’ Day.

Congratulating the March 14th Doctors’ Day, President Erdoğan said that no material income can be compared to the prayers of the patients and their relatives for the healthcare workers, notably doctors, when they do their jobs well and added: “It is impossible to forgive the hands raised against you. They are no different from terrorists. According to us, they are at the same position with terrorists.”

Pointing out that no pain or no excuse can justify verbal harassment, most particularly physical violence, against the doctors, health technicians, nurses and other healthcare staff who work to serve people, President Erdoğan underlined that they always stand by the healthcare workers and that they will never tolerate any violence against them.

Extensive web of City Hospitals

Stating that one of the most important reforms made recently is city hospitals, President Erdoğan underlined that building those hospitals in 30 major cities is a must. Mentioning that he sees that project as the health model of the future, President Erdoğan noted that they are planning to increase the number of city hospitals which serve in the provinces of Yozgat, Isparta, Mersin and Adana to 32 in the upcoming periods.

“WE AIM A $10-BILLION HEALTH TOURISM”

President Erdoğan continued as follows: “Like its every development, Turkey also puts the advancements it has made in health at all its friends and whole humanity’s disposal together with itself. We have come to a point that we receive a substantial number of patients from the international community. Today, Turkey has become one of the major healthcare centers in the world.”

Pointing out that Turkey aims an annual turnover of $10 billion from health tourism in 2018 with its hospitals, thermal facilities and other healthcare services, President Erdoğan noted that they aim to increase it to $20 billion by 2023.

Turkish Foreign Policy Hints from President Erdoğan

Turkish Foreign Policy Hints from President Erdoğan
Turkish Foreign Policy Hints from President Erdoğan

There have been different phases in Turkish Foreign Policy during the Justice and Development party governments. “Ahmet Davutoğlu period” marking one of the most significant landmarks in this journey.

Fluctuations in foreign policy of any country depending on the internal dynamics and international and regional conjunctural changes. The basic paradigm, however, are mostly based on certain unchangeable principles.

This fact is phrased as “principle based foreign policy” in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rhetoric. Below, we have made a compilation from his speech that gives us hints regarding Turkish Foreign Policy principles:

“The value of Turkey’s friendship is understood only after it is lost”

“We do not have our eye on anyone’s land or sovereignty. We have never been hostile to neither our neighbors nor other countries. And we do not want to damage our relations with any country. The value of Turkey’s friendship is understood only after it is lost. We have always been a country which our neighbors, our brothers and sisters rely on.”

“We dream of a region where the children playing in Gaza and eastern Ghouta are not atrociously massacred by warplanes. We are fighting for a world where no one is marginalized, oppressed, persecuted or tortured. We are not fighting for an office but for the future. Ours is not a fight for interests but fight for rights and justice.” President Erdoğan further stressed: “Why are we in Afrin? For invasion? For seizing lands? No. We are after the terrorists who harass our country. I guess the number of the terrorists who have been neutralized has reached 3 500, it was 3 300 before we came here.”

“We have always been a country which our neighbors, our brothers and sisters rely on. As we have never compromised on protecting the rights of our citizens, we have been equally careful about boosting our cooperation with other countries. We will do the same in the upcoming period. We will continue to work for our region’s security together with ours.”

“We have re-adjusted our view of the powers that we consider our allies or even our friends not according to the words said to us but according to the actions on the ground. Wherever a duty was assigned to us by NATO and wherever there was a trouble, we were there. We were in Somalia. We were in Afghanistan. We were in the Balkans. We were in all of these places; yet, hey NATO, when will you come forward and stand by us while all these incidents are occurring in Syria?”

“We have re-adjusted our view of the powers that we consider our allies or even our friends not according to the words said to us but according to the actions on the ground,” President Erdoğan underlined, and continued: “Take NATO for example. We are a member of NATO and we are its strongest member. Wherever a duty was assigned to us by NATO and wherever there was a trouble, we were there. We were in Somalia. We were in Afghanistan. We were in the Balkans. We were in all of these places; yet, hey NATO, when will you come forward and stand by us while all these incidents are occurring in Syria? We have a 911-km-long border with Syria from where terrorist organizations constantly harass us. The Syrian regime is also always resorting to the same methods. When will you show up? Am I going to tell these over and over again? Are my friends going to tell these over and over again? We have yet to hear a positive voice or word.”

“The countries which possess these products have such a monopoly that they give everybody a hard time both materially and politically. We, on the other hand, share every product we manufacture with our friends and put it into their service and thus put into action our stance against the injustices of the global order.”

“Those, who were unable to defeat us on battlefields or enslave us physically and spiritually, still continue to attack our roots. Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which abused our nation for 40 years like an insidious snake and infiltrated into our state and society under the guise of such concepts as religion, charity, service, benevolence, etc., is the latest example of such attacks.”

“If these lands are the fortress of Islam since the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 despite all the attacks, treasons and ambushes, we owe this to the fearless warriors who die a martyr’s death without batting an eye. If we are able to lead our lives in each and every piece of the 790 thousand square kilometers in peace and safety, we owe this first to Allah and then to our martyrs’ self-sacrifices. May Allah bless all of them.”

“Just as we are aware of this strength of ours, so are our enemies. As we endeavor to preserve our springs of life, they are working to make these springs run dry.”

Source: tccb.gov.tr

No matter what, Turkey will always stand by Turkish Cyprus

No matter what, Turkey will always stand by Turkish Cyprus
No matter what, Turkey will always stand by Turkish Cyprus

Turkish Prime minister Binali Yıldırım met his counterpart, Prime Minster of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in Ankara.

In the joint press conference, Yıldırım said:

Rusya Federasyonu devlet başkanı Vladimir Putin, NBC televizyonunda Megyn Kelly’nin misafiri oldu. Mevzubahis raportajda, 2016 Amerikan seçimlerine müdahale etmekten, Yahudiler de dahil olmak üzere azınlık gruplarının mesul olabileceğini ifade edince, tepkileri üzerine çekti.

Putin’in açıklamalarına, başta Amerikan siyasetçiler ve Yahudi gruplar olmak üzere yoğun tepkiler geldi.

Putin’in, bazı grupların aslında Rus olup olmadığını sorgularken tam olarak ne demek istediği hususunda açıklık getirmesi gerektiği konusunda, Trump’ın kendisinden ek açıklama yapması için baska yapmasını talep ettiler.

Putin’e, 2016 seçimlerinde Rusya’nın karıştığı iddiasıyla ilgili suçlamalar soruldu. Putin rapörtajda şunları ifade etti:

“Rus devletinin çıkarlarını temsil etmiyorlar. Rus Hükümetini temsil etmedikleri için daha az umursayamazdım. Belki Ruslar bile değiller. Rusya vatandaşlığı olna Ukraynalılar, Tatarlar, Yahudiler olabilirler. Hatta bunun kontrol edilmesi gerekiyor. Belki çifte vatandaşlığa sahipler. Ya da belki de yeşilkart. Belki de bu iş için onlara para veren Amerikalılardı. Nasıl biliyorsunuz? Bilmiyorum.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO’su Jonathan Greenblatt yaptığı açıklamada, “Cumhurbaşkanı Putin, ülkesindeki Yahudilere ve diğer azınlıklara parmağı işaret ederek suçlama oyununa çok fazla müracaat etmekte” diye yorum yaptı. (Kaynak)

Putin’in açıklamaları, klasik Yahudi aleyhtarlığı (anti-Semitik) peşinhükümlerin hortlatılması şeklinde yorumlandı.

Diyerek şöyle devam etti: “Rusya cumhurbaşkanının ülkesini yüzlerce yıl boyunca rahatsız eden klasik Yahudi aleyhtarı önyargılara yeniden hayat vermesini görmek çok rahatsız edici. Bu yorumlar, Siyon Liderlerinin Protokolleri sayfalarından kesitler gibi geliyor.”

Bu yorum, 1903’te bir Rus gazetesinde yayınlanan ve dünyayı ele geçirmek için bir Yahudi komplosu olduğu propagandasını haklı çıkarmak için kullanılan ve bir kurgu eser olduğu söylenen Siyon Liderlerinin Protokolleri isimli metne atıfta bulunulmakta.

2016 Amerikan seçimlerine Rusya’nın müdahale edip etmediği, müdahale edilmişse, Rus devletinin mi yaptığı, yoksa başka bazı odakların ilgili müdahaleyi yaparak ihaleyi Rusya’ya mı ihale etmek istediği henüz açıklık kazanmış değildir.

Bu konunun, 2018 yılı boyunca çokça tartışılacağı ve Amerikan siyaset ve demkrasi tarihinde mühim bir sual işareti olarak yer alacağı âşikardır.

 

 

In the meeting, issues regarding consolidating mutual relationship between two countries have been discused.

Traditionally, every prime minister of TRNC are paying their first offical visit to Turkey and the second to Azerbaijan.

Afrin within eyesight for Turkish Armed Forces

Afrin with eyesight
Afrin with eyesight

16 more villages where cleared from YPG by Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had mentioned in his speach yesterday that, Afrin would have been captured in a very short span of time if Turkey had set aside its conscience, morals and principles as terrorists and some countries do.

Erdoğan also said: “However, we are very sensitive. We know very well how Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus’ slums, Daraa, Raqqa, Hama, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib have been razed to the ground in Syria. We have seen these. They have done these mercilessly. We know very well how the barrel bombs have been dropped. What is more, we are aware of the fact that the destruction and loss of lives in these cities cannot be explained only with clashes and there are other intentions. But we have never and will never will be like them. Because of our religion and culture, we can never aim at destruction and annihilation.”

President Erdoğan continued: “I am calling hereby: Hey NATO, where are you? We are putting up this much struggle. Is Turkey not a member of NATO? You had immediately invited NATO members to Afghanistan. How about in Syria? In Syria, countries which are NATO members will blatantly rise against us if they were strong enough? Yet, they cannot dare to do so since they see that Turkey stands tall. Our request was as the following: You called us to Afghanistan and we came. You called us to Somalia and we came. You called us to the Balkans and we came. And now I am calling you to Syria; why aren’t you coming? Turkey, which has a 911-km-long border with Syria, is under threat right now. Why aren’t you coming? Am I to tell names? Come! Be fair! Fine words butter no parsnips, we don’t believe in these any more. Be sincere, be honest! Do you part!”

President Erdoğan further stressed: “Those, who claim to raise hell about human rights, don’t utter a word against the human rights violations perpetrated by the separatist terrorist organization. Those, who claim to raise hell about the rights of children, women and civilians in conflict zones, become blind and deaf towards Syria and Iraq. That is so because they actually don’t care about the notions and values they talk about. Their only cause is to advance their own interests and make use of any tool to this end. They only care about our region’s oil, gas and resources. They don’t even refrain from using terrorists to this end.”

Source: www.tccb.gov.tr

Turkey and Europe: Old Friends and Ancient Foes

Turkey and Europe - Old Friends and Ancient Foes - TurkeyTribune.com
Turkey and Europe - Old Friends and Ancient Foes - TurkeyTribune.com

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, at the Turkish Presidential Complex.

Jagland was also recieved by Turkish Minister of Foreign affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Minister Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance of Turkey’s fight against terrorist organizations, reiterated Turkye’s expectations from CoE and its member states. Turkey-CoE common agenda was also discussed during the meeting.

The meetin between Turkish foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu with Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) was scheduled on 15 February 2018.

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel is released: Is Deniz Yücel Free?

Speach in Turkey is better than Europe - Deniz Yücel - Turkey Tribune
Speach in Turkey is better than Europe - Deniz Yücel - Turkey Tribune

Turkish court rules for Deniz Yücel’s release only after it accepts terror indictment.

German media had informed that he was in “Erdogan’s prisons”; and that “Erdoğan courts” had held him so far. As if “rule of the law” did not even exist in Turkey and as if president Erdoğan was ruling Turkey just in the same manner as Kim Jong-un was leading North Korea.

By releasing Deniz Yücel, Turkish jurisdiction has proven that democratic values pervail in Turkey.

No matter how biased and prjudged are the media in Europe!

AKP Vice-Chair Ravza Kavakci Kan had earlier mentioned that Human rights had excelled under Erdogan, both as prime minister and as president of Turkey

“Even though there is still no indictment, I do know why I was locked up: Because […] I did my job as a journalist properly,” Yücel told Die Tageszeitung last year. Confronted with this case, Kavakci Kan said: “There is evidence against him. That’s why he is in prison. (…) Nobody would be held in any prison without an accusation.”

Here is the detailed report appeared in Turkish media regarding Deniz Yücel:

Turkish court accepted the prosecutors’ indictment seeking 18 years in jail for Yücel, who has both German and Turkish citizenship, and ruled for his release concerning his lengthy detention. The court released him with a preliminary proceedings report.

Yücel’s employer German newspaper Die Welt also tweeted on Friday that he has been released after a year of pre-trial detention amid terrorism charges, citing his lawyer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed his release Friday, saying she was happy for Yücel and his family, “who had to endure a very difficult year of separation.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the decision. “I expressly thank the Turkish government for its support in accelerating the legal proceedings,” Gabriel said in a statement.

“I believe that this will lead to him being able to leave the country [Turkey],” Gabriel further told reporters in Munich.

Gabriel revealed he had twice met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the matter, a detail he had never publicized before.

“I want to especially thank the Turkish government for its support in speeding up the legal process,” Gabriel said, adding that he expected Yücel to leave Turkey and return to Germany soon.

Yücel’s detainment was one of the thorny issues between Turkey and Germany and was on Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s agenda during his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.

Yıldırım said at a press statement with Merkel that Yücel’s case should not be a major problem for the two allies.

Commeting on the issue on Friday, where he is attending a global security forum in Munich, Yıldırım said: “It seems that some problems in Germany-Turkey relations in the past period have been resolved today.”

He said the sides would “jointly” take steps to improve their relationship. “God willing, it will get better.”

Yıldırım had hinted ahead of a meeting with Merkel that there would be movement in the Yücel case, but that it was a matter for the Turkish courts to decide and not his government.

“I hope that he will be released soon. I am of the opinion that there will be a development soon,” Yıldırım said in an interview with German state-run broadcaster ARD.

44-year-old Yücel, Die Welt’s Istanbul correspondent was arrested on Feb. 14, 2017 due to his links to RedHack, a band of hackers known for their terror links, in addition to spreading propaganda on behalf of the PKK terrorist organization. Turkish officials said many times that Yücel’s arrest had nothing to do with journalism, and that his release would be subject to the same procedures applied to the terror suspects.

Turkey, the U.S., and the EU list the PKK as an armed terrorist organization, which has been raging an armed conflict against the Turkish state since the mid-1980s.

Yücel’s case and that of five other German citizens still held in Turkey for what Germany considers political reasons badly soured relations between the two countries.

 

Turkey – US Relations lowest in decades

Erdoğan - Tillerson Meeting in Ankara - TurkeyTribune.com
Erdoğan - Tillerson Meeting in Ankara - TurkeyTribune.com

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson at the Presidential Complex on Thursday. The meeting comes in a period while the relations between Ankara and Washington reached to an unprecedented low level in decades. The reason for deterioting relations is the U.S.’s support to the terrorist PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

Presidential sources declared that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “strongly and clearly” conveyed his concerns over the U.S. administration’s support for the YPG terrorists. It was also learned that Erdoğan explained Turkey’s priorities and expectations on Syria, Iraq, regional developments during the meeting with Tillerson.

Both the U.S. State Dept. Spokesperson and Turkish presidential sources said that the meeting was “positive” and “productive.”

Tillerson, had claimed earlier in Beirut before heading for Ankara, that his country had “never given heavy arms” to the YPG militia and therefore there was “nothing to take back.” This expression of Tillerson, however, was contradicting Pentagon’s earlier statements confirming the existence of heavy weapons in the YPG’s hands given by the U.S.

Tillerson’s visit plays an important role in as relations between two countries have been strained particularly on issues related to Syria. Tillerson has arranged his visit to Turkey as the fouth stop of his five-nation trip after Egypt, Kuwait, and Jordan.

Turkey’s Rightful Struggle Against Terrorism

Turkish Olive Branch Operation in Syria - War Against Terror
Turkish Olive Branch Operation in Syria - War Against Terror
A declaration was was published supporting Turkey’s Olive Branch operations in Syria. The declaration, was signed and supported by thousands of academics, politicians, social activists. Full text of the declaration:
WE SUPPORT TURKEY’S RIGHTFUL STRUGGLE AGAINST TERRORISM

Beyond being a geographical piece of land, Syria has witnessed the important historical developments of our past, and it is a place where important personalities of our civilization have grown. In these lands, Turks, Kurds, Arabs and other peoples have lived in fraternity for centuries and strengthened their unity by fighting against all the common enemies that threatened this brotherhood. The Anatolian – Syrian lands are the symbol of our brotherhood, solidarity, values.

This fraternity has always been the target of enemy attacks. These attacks took place as open occupation attempts at certain periods, as in 1915-1918, but always carried on by ideological, ethnical-racist separatist methods.It is not a race to grab an ethnic area in the Syrian geography today, as some academics, so-called intellectuals and activists are trying to show.

Today, just beyond our borders, steps are being taken by the imperialist forces to establish a collaborative quasi-state structure that will eventually serve as a threat to our country’s territorial integrity. We see that they are trying to build a structure which is not in line with the history of the region, tradition of the people living in the region. These steps pose a big threat to permanent stabilization of the region and our deep-rooted brotherhood.

This artificial venture is a dangerous process from the very beginning to the conclusions it may have, which is destined to be rotten, unsuccessful, but which will cause to decrease our energies, weaken our power and pave the way for permanent hostilities and bloody wars among the people of the region. This period is so dangerous that Turkey’s intellectuals, academicians and civil society organizations can not be expected to remain indifferent. We would like to draw the attention of all national and international public opinion to the following points required by our historical responsibility.

  • Firstly, Turkey is a country which has great successes within the context of empowering its democracy since 1946. It is the only multi-party democracy functioning properly in the region. On this basis our country, since 1952, has been in the alliance relationship with the members of the NATO for 65 years. It also has the structure of a free-market economy and the capacity of a civil society to the extent that it can not be compared with other countries in the region.
  • On the other hand, the United States, which is our ally for more than half a century, is striving to restructure northern Syria in partnership with the PKK / PYD / YPG, a Maoist Socialist terrorist organization as an ideology and philosophy of foundation.
  • Terrorist groups, which are in search of Pol Pot regime, and democracy values are incompatible with each other.So, it is clear that a formation that uses terror as a means of reaching the targets and trying to open up space to itself by digesting masses with arms can not be a part of any domocratic initiative.
  • There is no difference between PKK and PYD. The PYD does not have any distinguishing feature beyond the PKK’s Syrian wing. Founded on November 25, 1978 under the leadership of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK has massacred more than 30,000 Turkish citizens by terrorist methods. In the recent year, 40 civilians lost their lives as a result of the attacks of the organization. The PYD is an organization that manages terrorist attacks against Turkey across the Syrian border. PYD dispatches terrorists and arms from the territories of Syria to our lands. The current leading body of the organization has been formed by PKK terrorists. Even the presence of Abdullah Öcalan’s posters in all meetings and demonstrations organized in Syria is enough to show the PKK / PYD co-existence solely.
  • In spite of these facts, the US has helped the PYD terrorist organization with 3000 guns (about 2.2 billion dollars), according to the statements of its own authorities.Again, US officials have announced that an army will be established in association with PYD terrorist organization in the region. Supplying arms aid and and giving military training to the organization which continues its attacks against Turkey, pose a direct threat to our country. These military supplies and trained terrorists have been used in attacks against Turkish security forces. So,this situation cannot be expected to be welcomed by the Turkish public opinion.
  • U.S. explains the partnership with the PYD as an obligatory step for the struggle against DAESH. However, the US has rejected Turkey’s offer to act together against DAESH and in spite of drained power of DAESH terrorist organization, it has continued to improve its partnership with the PYD. Moreover, targeting Turkish borders as an area of activity of new terrorist organization is an unacceptable situation.U.S. ignores the clear fact that Turkey has inflicted casualty most by directly struggling on the ground against DAESH terrorist organization. It even caused serious doubts about the alliance relationship by trying to prevent the Euphrates Shield Operation against DAESH.
  • PKK / PYD is not a representative of the Kurds living in the region. . The PKK / PYD terrorist organization has struggled to strengthen its position over the Kurds and Arabs by performing ethnic cleansing operations and trying to digest the local people by torture and other oppressive methods since they have not acknowledged their authority for centuries. In addition, the terrorist organization force women and children to act as human shields to prevent itself from operations.
  • With de-facto existence in the region and remaining silent, U.S. has actually given implicit support to these operations.
  • All the happenings demonstrate that neither the goal of the US-PYD partnership is DAESH, nor the PYD is a representative of Kurds, it is just a collaborative terrorist organization.

By improving partnership with a terrorist organization, U.S. jeopardizes the historic alliance relationship with Turkey. The United States continues to protect Fethullah Gulen, the chief of the July 15 coup attempt. Additionally, U.S. gets reaction of Turkish public opinion while it wants to punish Turkish citizens with the suspension of visa services and tries to discipline them in this way. Nonetheless, further strengthening its democracy tradition, Turkey has the power to continue on its path with determination to restore the regional peace.

sign the declaration: http://terorlemucadele.org/en

Turkey in 2018

Turkey in 2018 - Article by Ahmed Necip YILDIRIM published in Turkey Tribune
Turkey in 2018 - Article by Ahmed Necip YILDIRIM published in Turkey Tribune

Turkey’s growth figures received celebration from the public and helped social unease of 2017 shrink smaller in their perception.

In spite of the fact that some media organs try to develop a rhetoric that citizens of this country live in constantly growing worry and anxiety, general Turkish public are confident about their country in 2018.

The number of people who think that speculations regarding the corruption have been exaggerated. The traditional injustice between relatively small minority loyal to the regime and the rest of the public has been eliminated from the Turkish political life in the last one and a half decade.

Educated and professional Turks living abroad tend to return to their homeland. The economic and political perspective and potential in Turkey is much higher than in Trump’s America, Brexodus hit Britain and most of the countries across Europe. Turkey offers great opportunities especially for the middle-generation entrepreneurial professionals and the progressive middle-sized companies.

Turkey is one of the most important destinations for the foreign companies seeking to invest in Turkey.  Turkey offers high profitability compared to other alternatives. In today’s globalized environment, regional and international problems affect Turkey as much as it affects other countries. Turkey has been exhibiting a positive performance in terms of economic growth and political reform in the last one and a half decade. In general, peace, stability and serenity have been prevailing in this period.

Under Erdoğan leadership, relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) has been based on a reciprocal and equal basis. One of the important criterion in enlargement process of the EU is the “digestion power” of the union. Turkey has, however, been a rather big bite to be easily swallowed and digested. Relations with Germany strained during the referendum process in Turkey, for instance, started to normalize. Relations with the EU is expected to develop on a more constructive and fruitful basis in the coming future. Turkey might not jeopardize its commercial relations with third parties by adopting EU rules and regulations in its economy if there is no progress in political and social relations. To begin with, Turkish citizens should be able to circulate freely in the EU, Turkish companies should have access to the European public procurement without any limitations.

EU countries should find better ways to consolidate democratic forces as to contain the rise of the extreme right and anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Europe should not be a safe-heaven for the terrorists and fugitives.

Turkey has started to reject being a puppet of in its international relations. In spite of several setbacks due to the internal and external conjectural tides, the country has been constantly been consolidating its place as an important regional power.

Current administration in US has been a big disappointment for the Americans, Europeans and the rest of the world. It is generally expected that Americans will find democratic ways to to send the current administration out of office.

 

By improving its relationships with Russia, Ukraine, India and countries in Central Asia, Africa, the Balkans and the rest of the world, Turkey has managed to establish a multidimensional foreign policy and defending its interests more forcefully as its prestige rises in the international front.

In 2018, Turkish Parliament will be busy legislating state structure to facilitate a presidential system, create new institutions and adjust its laws.

Turkey has been manufacturing vital defense systems. Economic growth in 2017 is expected to be around 7 percent. Economic growth in 2018 is expected to be a similar high percentage.

There are many things still to be achieved in terms of democratization and human rights in Turkey.

 

Japan Foreign Minister visits Turkey

Turkey Tribune - The visit of Foreign Minister Taro Kono of Japan to Turkey, 28 December 2017
Turkey Tribune - The visit of Foreign Minister Taro Kono of Japan to Turkey, 28 December 2017

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, who is paying an official visit to Turkey on 28 December 2017.

During the meetings, political, economic and cultural aspects of bilateral relations, as well as regional and international issues were discussed.

Minister Kono was received by President Erdoğan.

Following the meeting, Minister Çavuşoğlu and his Japanese counterpart held a joint press conference.

US announces end of visa restrictions for Turks

The embassy of the United States in Ankara announced on December. 28 that the Department of State has allowed full resumption of visa services in Turkey. This announcement comes after Washington halted services for the last three monts, which had prompted a diplomatic row between the two NATO allies.

The announcement:

Since October, the Government of Turkey has adhered to the high-level assurances it provided to the United States that there are no additional local employees of our Mission in Turkey under investigation, that local staff of our Embassy and consulates will not be detained or arrested for performing their official duties – including communicating with Turkish officials also working in an official capacity – and that Turkish authorities will inform the U.S. government in advance if the Government of Turkey intends to detain or arrest any member of our local staff in the future.

Based on adherence to these assurances, the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey. We continue to have serious concerns about the existing allegations against arrested local employees of our Mission in Turkey. We are also concerned about cases against U.S. citizens who have been arrested under the state of emergency. U.S. officials will continue to engage with their Turkish counterparts to seek a satisfactory resolution of these cases.

Two soldiers killed, one injured in anti-terror operation in Turkey’s Hakkari

The Turkish military has announced the death of two of its soldiers in an attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s troubled southeastern region.

A statement by the military said the soldiers were killed during ongoing security operations in the mountainous Semdinli district of Hakkari province near the Iraqi border on Monday, adding that another soldier was also wounded.

The attack came a day after the Turkish General Staff announced that a soldier had been killed and two others injured when a hand grenade was detonated by accident in northern Iraq.

The wounded soldiers were reported to have been taken to hospital but they are not in critical condition.

PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

Israel deports two Turkish citizens detained in Jerusalem protests

srael deported two of the three Turks who were briefly detained during demonstrations at al-Aqsa mosque last week after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abdullah Kızılırmak and Mehmet Gargalı reportedly arrived in Istanbul late Monday.

An Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman said earlier on Monday that one of the men was scheduled for deportation later on Monday and another on Saturday.

Two of the Turkish citizens– Abdullah Kızılırmak and Mehmet Kargılı — were accused of “battering Israeli police and resistance.” Kızılırmak and Kargılı came to Jerusalem from Belgium and hold dual citizenship.

The third one — Adem Koç — was facing charges of “disturbing public order and attending an illegal demonstration.”

According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli police blocked the Turkish group, which also included children, from entering the Noble Sanctuary, or Haram al-Sharif— the third holiest site in Islam. Some in the group were wearing t-shirts with the Turkish flag and fezzes, traditional Ottoman hats.

Terrorist Attack in Kabul Condemned by Turkish Foreign Ministry

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

On 25 December 2017, Turkish Ministry of Foreing Affairs released a condemnation regarding the Terrorist Attack in Kabul

We learned with deep sorrow that a terrorist attack perpetrated today, close to the National Directorate of Security compound in Kabul, resulted in loss of lives of many Afghan brothers and sisters and left many others wounded.

We condemn this terrorist attack and wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, speedy recovery to the wounded, and convey our condolences to the brotherly Government and people of Afghanistan.

President Erdoğan is visiting Sudan, Chad and Tunisia

Turkish President visits Sudan
Turkish President visits Sudan

President Erdoğan is paying official visits to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia, 24-27 December 2017.

President Erdoğan’s visits to Sudan and Chad are of historic importance in that they are the first visits from Turkey to these countries at the Presidential level. President Erdoğan’s visit to Tunisia constitutes the first visit from Turkey to this country at the Presidential level since 2012.

President Erdoğan was welcomed by President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan with an official ceremony on December 24th.

President Erdoğan and his Sudanese counterpart had a joint press conference after they held their bilateral meeting and co-chaired the meeting between delegations.

President Erdoğan addressed Sudanese members of parliament at the National Assembly of Sudan.

Thirteen bilateral agreements that included topics such as strategic cooperation, trade, forestry, education, tourism, mining, science and technology were signed.

President Erdoğan was also conferred with the Order of the State of Sudan by President Al-Bashir.

Ottoman era architectural sites that have been restored by TIKA in the island of Sevakin were visited on 25th of December, Monday.

Turkey’s economy minister on Monday suggested conducting trade with Sudan using domestic currencies as a way to boost bilateral commerce.

Turkey and Sudan could build a system that provides an opportunity to use domestic currencies in return for exporting to each other, Nihat Zeybekci told the Sudan-Turkey Business Forum held as part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Sudan.

He said that the two countries had taken considerable steps for the future through signing a high-level strategic cooperation agreement.

Business people’s problems in a number of areas such as banking and transactions require mutual solutions, he added.

“We signed an economic cooperation agreement and put our two countries on the track of free trade,” Zeybekci said.

The two countries soon will set targets and draw up a roadmap together, he stressed, adding “I think we will solve a number of problems when we meet again.”

He underlined that Sudan had a great need for infrastructure investments, while Turkey needed several agricultural products grown in Sudan.

Turkey’s commercial counsellor in capital Khartoum will take office within 10 days in order to promote bilateral trade ties, he said.

He added that Turkey and Sudan’s economic relations should be high level and based on a win-win situation.

Abdullatif Ahmed Mohamed Ijaimi, Sudan’s agriculture minister, said early Monday: “We are looking for a strategic relationship between the two countries in various aspects and various fields of economic and social development.”

In 2014, Turkey and Sudan signed an agreement that aims to rationalize the use of resources and agricultural potential and contribute to sustainable food objectives.

Under the agreement, around 780,000 hectares across five regions were earmarked for investment by Turkish entrepreneurs.

Today is the last day of Erdoğan’s two-day visit to Sudan. Tomorrow he is due to proceed to Chad and then Tunisia.

Brexit has Britain’s global brand

Brexit has damaged Britains global image
Brexit has damaged Britains global image

Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union has already damaged the country’s “global brand,” says Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of the world’s largest advertising conglomerate.

Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, made the remarks in an article published by The Independent on Monday.

Sorrell said the xenophobic nature of the 2016 referendum campaign by pro-Brexit politicians did serious damage to the UK’s global stature.

He praised Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent deal over European Union citizens’ rights, but added that it was merely the first step in order to repair the British image.

“It doesn’t … address how we will continue to attract the best and brightest from across mainland Europe and beyond after Brexit, or repair the damage already done to the UK’s brand by the divisive rhetoric during and after the referendum campaign,” he said.

May signed the divorce deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on December 8 after months of negotiations. The deal covers Britain’s exit bill, the future of the Irish border and the rights of EU expatriates in the UK.

In the run-up to the June 23, 2016 referendum, the Vote Leave campaign ratcheted up hatred against immigrants and minorities like Muslims living in Britain.

Hate crimes in the UK involving racial and religious discrimination have spiked at an unprecedented rate since the referendum, raising concerns that minority groups feel “more vulnerable than ever.”

The record figures confirm reports that the Brexit vote prompted a wave of hate crimes based on religion and ethnicity, and have led to calls for the UK government to “urgently” improve its response to such crimes.

Sorrell, who supported Remain in the referendum, wrote that, despite May’s Brussels deal, Britain has to do a lot in order to end the uncertainty for British firms about future trade relations with Europe.

“Uncertainty will be a fact of business life for at least as long as it takes to negotiate a new trading relationship with the EU, if there is one,” he said.

“Until that happens, many companies will continue to delay or cancel decisions to invest in the UK,” he wrote.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also warned that Brexit has already damaged the UK economy, despite a strong recovery in global economic growth.

Is Turkey Rights Violator?

Turkey Tribune - Is Turkey a Rights Voilator by Ahmd Necip YILDIRIM
Turkey Tribune - Is Turkey a Rights Voilator by Ahmd Necip YILDIRIM

Judging countries regarding their human rights records and their progress in democratization process is one of the biggest weapons used by Western countries.

States are labelled under concepts like “underdeveloped”, “rogue” and “undemocratic” with negative attributions.

Turkey, for instance, is said to be taking the crown as the worst rights violator according to the statistics system registered in European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Turkey’s championship in rights violations at the ECHR system is not a surprise. Turkey has been the “relevant other” in for Europeans. Will Europeans ever forget that it was Turks who conquered Constantinople and converted into Istanbul? Have Europeans forgotten the fact that they have been attacked by Turks for centuries and marched to Vienna? Stereotypes, prejudgements, biases towards Turks are deeply embedded in subconscious of Europeans.

Such biased, deliberate, purported statistics are used as a legitimizing background to use force. Taking democracy to rogue states, preaching about human rights violations is merely a continuation of “civilizing mission”. Traditionally it has been called crusade.

What is surprising here is the fact that some of so-called Turks are using this purported standing and freely use it against their own homeland. Criticizing our human rights records within our own dynamics and parameters is one thing, becoming part of the “civilizing mission” by legitimizing purported statistics is another thing.

Historically, countries like Russia and Turkey have traditionally been foes of Western countries. Will it not be naivety to think that they are not wishing to topple down and weaken them in every possibility? Are we to expect “good will”, “impartiality” and “mercy” from Europeans?

Are we not supposed to be skeptical in this democratic club where some of the countries are more equal? Will there ever be necessary respect for the internal dynamics of non-Western societies?

First you will arm terrorists in our lands, organize satanic all types plots, use different groups against one another, manipulate certain centers in your own favor and for your own interests. And when we take measures for defending and protecting ourselves; declare us “Violators” and “non-democratic”.

I believe we have to solve the problem of “honor” before dealing with “human rights”. This is true for standard bearers of “civilizing mission” and their Turkish representatives.

Instead of using Western lances, Turkish intellectuals are invited to evaluate their homeland taking into consideration its own dynamics and parameters.

Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, instructs embassy relocation process

Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, instructs embassy relocation process
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, instructs embassy relocation process

US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, and instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I am determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Trump, adding he judged “this cause of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement,” Trump said, arguing his announcement is just a “recognition of reality,” and is “not intended in any way to reflect a departure” from the US commitment to a lasting peace agreement “acceptable to both sides” of Israel and Palestine.

“We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders,” he said. “Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

Earlier, the Palestinian authorities have reiterated their stance that there will be no sovereign state of Palestine without East Jerusalem as its capital.

Speaking of the relocation of the US embassy, Trump said the State Department will immediately begin to hire architects, engineers and planners, so as to make the new embassy “a magnificent tribute to peace” when it is completed.

During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Dan Mahaffee, vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua that Trump’s decision reflects a willingness to “shake up the peace process” and the push to make a deal, “despite the offense to Arab nations and the risk of inciting further violence in the region.”

Ilan Goldenberg from the Center for New American Security said, “if you’re about to launch a major peace plan, the last thing you want to do is to take this highly sensitive question of Jerusalem and just throw it into the mix.”

Although the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former US presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.

Source GlobalTimes.cn

Prophet Muhammad’s Clothes brings together Muslims from across the world in Istanbul

 

It is a Ramadan tradition in Istanbul to exhibit Prophet Muhammad’s clothes during holy month of Ramadan.

People from all over the world and from every corner of Turkey grab this opportunity and come to Istanbul to see belongings of beloved Prophet.

The Hırka-ı Şerif (the Holy Cloak) was brought to Istanbul in 17th century, by Ottoman Empire. It was a period when Turkey controlled much of the Islamic world, including today’s Saudi Arabia.