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Buy Home in Turkey: Things you must know!

Turkey Property and Real Estate in Tureky
Turkey Property and Real Estate in Tureky

If you intend to buy property in Turkey, you need to know the following basic information. This guide is prepared to help foreigners who wish to buy property in Turkey. However, we strongly recommend you to get professional consultancy assistance before taking any steps.

We recommend: Royal Property Turkey

1.      Legal Basis:

In accordance with the Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644, amended by Law No. 6302, which entered into force on 18 May 2012,  the condition of reciprocity for foreigners who wish to buy property in Turkey is abolished.

Information on countries whose citizens can buy property and estate in Turkey can be provided from the Turkish Embassies/Consulates abroad and the General Directorate for Land Registry and Cadastre.

Persons with foreign nationality can buy any kind of property (house, business place, land, field) within the legal restrictions.

 Persons with foreign nationality who buy property without construction (land, field) have to submit the project which they will construct on the property to the relevant Ministry within 2 years.

For more on legal issues regarding buying property and real estate from Turkey, we recommend: Royal Property Turkey.

2.      Format of the Contract:

According to the Turkish laws and regulations in force, transfer of ownership of a property is only possible with an official deed and registry which is signed at the Land Registry Directorates.

It is possible to sign a “sales commitment agreement” before a notary. However, legal ownership to the property do not pass with a “sales commitment agreement” or other kind of sales agreements to be signed before the notary.

If you want to get more information regarding buying property and real estate from Turkey, we recommend: Royal Property Turkey.

3.      Legal Restrictions for Foreigners in Buying Property:

a)      Persons with foreign nationality can buy maximum 30 hectares of property in Turkey in total and can acquire limited in rem right.

b)      Foreigners cannot acquire or rent property within military forbidden zones and security zones.

c)      Persons with foreign nationality can acquire property or limited in rem right in a district/town up to 10 % of the total area of the said district/town.

d)     Legal restrictions do not apply in setting mortgage for real persons and commercial companies having legal personality which are established in foreign countries.

e)      The properties are subject to winding up provisions in following cases: (i) if the properties are acquired in violation of laws; ii) if the relevant Ministries and administrations identify that the properties are used in violation of purpose of purchase; iii) if the foreigner does not apply to the relevant Ministry within time in case the property is acquired with a project commitment; iv) if the projects are not materialized within time.


4.     
Application and Procedure:

Buyer should be from the country whose citizens can acquire property or limited in rem right in Turkey and meet the necessary conditions.

Application:

The owner of the property or his/her authorized representative should make a preliminary application to the Land Registry Directorate. (Preliminary applications are made before noon by taking sequence number)

If the preliminary application is incomplete, the file will be kept waiting.

Necessary Documents:

a)      Tittle deed of the property or information on village/district, block, building plot, detachment.

b)      Identification document or passport (Together with its translation).

c)      “Property Value Statement Document” to be provided from the relevant municipality.

d)     Compulsory earthquake insurance policy for the buildings (house, office, etc.)

e)      1 photo of the seller, 2 photos of the buyer (photos to be taken within last 6 months, 6×4 size)

f)       (If one of the sides cannot speak Turkish) certified translator and 2 witness.

g)      (If  the power of attorney is prepared abroad)  The original or certified copy of the power of attorney and its approved translation.

Information on powers of attorney issued abroad:

–          Powers of attorney are issued by the Turkish Embassies or Consulates.

–          If the power of attorney which is issued by a notary of a foreign country is certified according to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961 and if it bears “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du Octobre 1961)” in French, there is no need for an additional certification of the said power of attorney by the relevant Turkish Consulate.

–          If the power of attorney is issued by a notary of a foreign country which is not party to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961, the signature of the said notary has to be certified by the relevant authority of the foreign country and then the signature and seal of the said foreign authority have to be certified by the Turkish Consulate in that country.

 Financial Aspect of the Procedure:

a)      Both seller and buyer have to pay the tittle deed fee, calculated according to the selling price which cannot be less than the “Property Statement Value” to be issued by the relevant municipality. (According to the Charges Law No:492, the title deed fee percentage for 2013 is  % 2.)

b)      Circulating capital fee which is determined locally has to be paid. (Maximum 70×2.5 TL for 2013.)

c)      At the stage when the Land Registry Directorate inquires with the relevant military authorities whether the property is located within a military or special zone, circulating capital fee for the map prepared by the Cadastre Directorate has to be paid. (323 TL for 2013)

For other details regarding application issues regarding buying property and real estate from Turkey, we recommend: Royal Property Turkey.

5.      Other points to be noticed by foreigners who wish to buy a property in Turkey:

–          The foreigner has to inquire with the Land Registry Directorate if there is any limitation on the property, such as mortgage, arrestment or any obstacle which prevents the sale of the property.

–          If the application by the foreigner for buying a property is rejected, the act can be appealed to the relevant Regional Office of the Land Registry Directorate.

–          It is advised that foreigners do not work with persons/companies who/which are not expert or reliable.

–          Having a residence permit is not a condition for the foreigner who wishes to buy a property in Turkey. Likewise, buying a property does not grant the foreigner obtain residence permit in Turkey.

–          If there is a disagreement between the sides on the sale of the property, the case has to be brought before the Turkish courts by referring to judicial authorities.

6.       Acquisitions by Foreign Companies:

–          Acquisition of property by the  companies which are registered in Turkey is governed by the Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644.

a)      Foreign commercial corporations which are established according to the relevant laws of their countries of origin can acquire property and limited in rem rights within the provisions of special laws. These special laws are:

– Petroleum Law No. 6326

– Law on Encouragement of Tourism No. 2634

– Law on Industrial Zones No. 4737

b)      No restriction is implemented in favor of the said commercial companies in establishing mortgage.

c)      Other foreign corporations (i.e. foundation, association,…)  cannot buy property and acquire limited in rem right.

 

7.      Acquisition of Property by Companies with Foreign Capital:

The companies with foreign capital,

–          If the foreign investors hold, individually or collectively, 50 % or more shares of the said company,

–          If the foreign investors do not hold any share  of the said company, but have a right to assign or remove the managers of the said companies on the condition that the said company has a legal personality in Turkey,

could buy property in Turkey in accordance with Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644 and the “Decree on Acquisition of Property and Limited in Rem Rights by Companies and Corporations within the Context  of Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644”, dated 16.08.2012.

The Land Registry General Directorate has published a circular No. 2012/13 (1735) on “acquisition of property and limited in rem rights by companies with foreign capitals”.

For all on foreigners buying property and real estate from Turkey, we recommend: Royal Property Turkey.

Source: www.mfa.gov.tr

100 million people only in India: Rise of Turkish Film Industry.

Turkish Film Industry is rising.
Turkish Film Industry is rising.

Turkish series were first popular in Arabic countries and some neighboring countries, such as Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Azerbaijan.

Now Turkish movies are popular all around the world from Latin America to Africa and from Central Asia into the Far East.

Only in India, more than a hundred million people are watching Turkish series.

Film Industry in Turkey is one of the most important attractions for foreign investment.

A lot of businessmen from around the world are investing in the sector in the last decade.

 

Turkish Series inspire people around the world!

Turkish Series become popular in the world
Turkish Series become popular in the world

Turkish TV series have become quite popular in the world. For example, Turkish series break records the South American country of Chile.

Inspired and influenced by the Turkish series Chileans are giving Turkish names to their babies.

According to the birth registration office in Chile, the Turkish name “Elif” is one of the most given names to new born Chilean babies in 2016. As a matter of fact, the Turkish female name is so popular that it has overtaken the most popular traditional Latin American names, “Loreto” and “Veronica.”

Turkish series have been popular in Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Arabic World. Now countries as far as chile are watching Turkish series.

People who have not yet even visited Turkey are already in love with Istanbul and beaches in Antalya.

Is America Losing Saudi Arabia to China?

China Suadi Arabia Relations

Saudi Arabia has declared it’s intention to follow a multidimentional foreign policy. Does it mean a shift from America in foreign policy toward Beijing?

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman met with China’s premier  Li Keqiang and the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding on investment cooperation valued at 65 billion dollars.

This news must be a genuine cause of concern for Trump administration. This shift might be more serious than focusing on N Korea for United States.

Close ties between China and Suadi Arabia might not mean a full-fledged “divorce” from America, yet the Kingdom’s decision has potentially profound implications regionally.

For the past 80 years, Saudi Arabia has been a hallmark of the Middle East’s political landscape for United States.

Anti-Islamic phenomena in US policy is formidable cause of the Arab Awakening. The ‘democracy’ drum is no longer working in the Middle East. People accross Middle East would like to see sincerity, honesty from US and the West.

Of course Saudi King and his dynasty are afraid of a consequence as that of Saddam Hussian and they naturally want to secure their position at any cost.

This is the common view shared in Western media: On the one hand, we have the authocratic East and on the other hand we have the so-called democratic West. Is the West truly democratic when it comes to Middle East? “Liberal democracy at home, realpolitic and hardpower outside” approcah undermines reliability of US and the West.

 

Buying Property in Turkey: Things you must know

This guide is prepared to help foreigners who wish to buy property in Turkey. However, this guide is not a substitute for professional consultancy services.

1.      Legal Basis:

In accordance with the Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644, amended by Law No. 6302, which entered into force on 18 May 2012,  the condition of reciprocity for foreigners who wish to buy property in Turkey is abolished.

Information on countries whose citizens can buy property and estate in Turkey can be provided from the Turkish Embassies/Consulates abroad and the General Directorate for Land Registry and Cadastre.

Persons with foreign nationality can buy any kind of property (house, business place, land, field) within the legal restrictions.

 Persons with foreign nationality who buy property without construction (land, field) have to submit the project which they will construct on the property to the relevant Ministry within 2 years.

2.      Format of the Contract:

According to the Turkish laws and regulations in force, transfer of ownership of a property is only possible with an official deed and registry which is signed at the Land Registry Directorates.

It is possible to sign a “sales commitment agreement” before a notary. However, legal ownership to the property do not pass with a “sales commitment agreement” or other kind of sales agreements to be signed before the notary.

3.      Legal Restrictions for Foreigners in Buying Property:

a)      Persons with foreign nationality can buy maximum 30 hectares of property in Turkey in total and can acquire limited in rem right.

b)      Foreigners cannot acquire or rent property within military forbidden zones and security zones.

c)      Persons with foreign nationality can acquire property or limited in rem right in a district/town up to 10 % of the total area of the said district/town.

d)     Legal restrictions do not apply in setting mortgage for real persons and commercial companies having legal personality which are established in foreign countries.

e)      The properties are subject to winding up provisions in following cases: (i) if the properties are acquired in violation of laws; ii) if the relevant Ministries and administrations identify that the properties are used in violation of purpose of purchase; iii) if the foreigner does not apply to the relevant Ministry within time in case the property is acquired with a project commitment; iv) if the projects are not materialized within time.


4.     
Application and Procedure:

Buyer should be from the country whose citizens can acquire property or limited in rem right in Turkey and meet the necessary conditions.

Application:

The owner of the property or his/her authorized representative should make a preliminary application to the Land Registry Directorate. (Preliminary applications are made before noon by taking sequence number)

If the preliminary application is incomplete, the file will be kept waiting.

Necessary Documents:

a)      Tittle deed of the property or information on village/district, block, building plot, detachment.

b)      Identification document or passport (Together with its translation).

c)      “Property Value Statement Document” to be provided from the relevant municipality.

d)     Compulsory earthquake insurance policy for the buildings (house, office, etc.)

e)      1 photo of the seller, 2 photos of the buyer (photos to be taken within last 6 months, 6×4 size)

f)       (If one of the sides cannot speak Turkish) certified translator and 2 witness.

g)      (If  the power of attorney is prepared abroad)  The original or certified copy of the power of attorney and its approved translation.

Information on powers of attorney issued abroad:

–          Powers of attorney are issued by the Turkish Embassies or Consulates.

–          If the power of attorney which is issued by a notary of a foreign country is certified according to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961 and if it bears “Apostille (Convention de La Haye du Octobre 1961)” in French, there is no need for an additional certification of the said power of attorney by the relevant Turkish Consulate.

–          If the power of attorney is issued by a notary of a foreign country which is not party to The Hague Convention dated 5 October 1961, the signature of the said notary has to be certified by the relevant authority of the foreign country and then the signature and seal of the said foreign authority have to be certified by the Turkish Consulate in that country.

 Financial Aspect of the Procedure:

a)      Both seller and buyer have to pay the tittle deed fee, calculated according to the selling price which cannot be less than the “Property Statement Value” to be issued by the relevant municipality. (According to the Charges Law No:492, the title deed fee percentage for 2013 is  % 2.)

b)      Circulating capital fee which is determined locally has to be paid. (Maximum 70×2.5 TL for 2013.)

c)      At the stage when the Land Registry Directorate inquires with the relevant military authorities whether the property is located within a military or special zone, circulating capital fee for the map prepared by the Cadastre Directorate has to be paid. (323 TL for 2013)

5.      Other points to be noticed by foreigners who wish to buy a property in Turkey:

–          The foreigner has to inquire with the Land Registry Directorate if there is any limitation on the property, such as mortgage, arrestment or any obstacle which prevents the sale of the property.

–          If the application by the foreigner for buying a property is rejected, the act can be appealed to the relevant Regional Office of the Land Registry Directorate.

–          It is advised that foreigners do not work with persons/companies who/which are not expert or reliable.

–          Having a residence permit is not a condition for the foreigner who wishes to buy a property in Turkey. Likewise, buying a property does not grant the foreigner obtain residence permit in Turkey.

–          If there is a disagreement between the sides on the sale of the property, the case has to be brought before the Turkish courts by referring to judicial authorities.

6.       Acquisitions by Foreign Companies:

–          Acquisition of property by the  companies which are registered in Turkey is governed by the Article 35 of the Land Registry Law No 2644.

a)      Foreign commercial corporations which are established according to the relevant laws of their countries of origin can acquire property and limited in rem rights within the provisions of special laws. These special laws are:

– Petroleum Law No. 6326

– Law on Encouragement of Tourism No. 2634

– Law on Industrial Zones No. 4737

b)      No restriction is implemented in favor of the said commercial companies in establishing mortgage.

c)      Other foreign corporations (i.e. foundation, association,…)  cannot buy property and acquire limited in rem right.

 

7.      Acquisition of Property by Companies with Foreign Capital:

The companies with foreign capital,

–          If the foreign investors hold, individually or collectively, 50 % or more shares of the said company,

–          If the foreign investors do not hold any share  of the said company, but have a right to assign or remove the managers of the said companies on the condition that the said company has a legal personality in Turkey,

could buy property in Turkey in accordance with Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644 and the “Decree on Acquisition of Property and Limited in Rem Rights by Companies and Corporations within the Context  of Article 36 of Land Registry Law No. 2644”, dated 16.08.2012.

The Land Registry General Directorate has published a circular No. 2012/13 (1735) on “acquisition of property and limited in rem rights by companies with foreign capitals”

Source: www.mfa.gov.tr

Verheugen defended Erdogan: Germany was dishonest against Turkey!

Günter Verheugen, the Former European Commissioner for Enlargement,  was a guest on the German political talk show “Anne Will”.

Verheugen, exhibited an objective approach on Turkish-EU relations and he criticized Europe’s stance against Turkey.

Verheugen warned that the EU was also responsible for President Erdogan’s reaction.

According to Verheugen, “For 60 years, Turkey has been promised of  membership. However, this promise has not been respected for 60 years.” In addition, Turkey has been promised to accelerate accession negotiations within the framework of the refugee agreement.”

Generally, President Erdoğan was harshly critized by the participants of the show. Left-wing delegate Sevim Dağdelen, journalist Can Dündar and the German Minister of Justice Heiko Maas, were also invited to the show.

Ironically, Verheugen was defending Turkish president while Turks (Dağdelen and Dündar) were harshly criticizing him.

Turkey and Ukraine friendship consolidated by passport-free travel

Turkey and Ukraine Friendship
Turkey and Ukraine Friendship

No visa, no passport, just take a ticket and fly! Great news for Turks and Ukrainians.

Turkey and Ukraine finally signed the agreement that allows Turkish and Ukrainian citizens to travel to each other’s countries with only an identity card.

This step both consolidates mutual friendship of nations, and it will  boost mutual tourism.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman arrived to Ankara upon Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s special invitation and the agreement was signed today. (March 14 2017)

In a joint press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Turkish Prime Minister said “We have signed an agreement that will allow citizens of the two countries to be able to travel only with their identity card. This agreement can be regarded as a visa exemption”.

Turkey’s policy of developing good relations both with Ukraine and Russia is considered a successful diplomatic act. This will not only increase the number of tourists from Ukraine and Russia, at the same time, will pave the way for a future re rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine.

In addition to free travel Agreement, several other mutual agreements between the two countries were signed by Yıldırım and Groysman.

The two leaders’ opinions on further diversifying bilateral economic and commercial relations, was welcomed by Turkish and Ukrainian societies.

turks-and-ukrainians-are-friends Turkey and Ukraine friendship consolidated by passport-free travel Homepage Slides Russia Turkey World
Turks and Ukrainians are Friends

25 years of Turkey-Ukraine relations

Praising the free trade agreement between the two countries; Ukrainian Prime Minister Groysman said: “This visit takes place on the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Turkish-Ukrainian relations. The agreements we have made in this visit are intended to facilitate the mutual travel of our citizens. There will be mutual flights at regional airports, and the free trade agreement will increase trade”.

14 March 2017

Dutch state liable over killings of 300 Bosnian-Muslim deaths

Srebrenica Massacre
Srebrenica Massacre

Amid the strained relationship between Turkey and Netherlands, a Dutch court ruled that the Netherlands is liable over the killings of more than 300 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys at Srebrenica, in July 1995.

The “Srebrenica Massacre” is Europe’s worst since World War Two.

This brings killings of more than 7,000 men in Serebrenica (“the massacre”) into the agenda. Previously, the Dutch state was cleared over the deaths of more than 7,000 other men killed in and around Srebrenica.

These boys and men were among 5,000 Bosniaks, mostly women and children, sheltering with Dutch UN peacekeepers in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Prime Minister of Netherlands Mark Rutte rejected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claim on March 14 that the Netherlands was responsible for the deaths of some 8,000 Muslim men and women in the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre.

Courts decision of the Dutch court is a signal that President Erdoğan’s claim has a base.

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie was once reduced to tears as she had paid tribute to the thousands of women raped during the Bosnian War.

Will Netherlands apologize?

What is behind the Netherlands’ brazenly displayed intolerance towards Turkey?

The incident with Turkish Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Bethul Sayyan Kaya (a woman) is against international diplomatic norms.

In spite of this obvious fact, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he would not apologize to Turkey and that on the contrary, he believed that it is the Turkish side that should apologize to the Netherlands.

The question is simple and clear: The plane with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on board could not land in the Netherlands after the Dutch authorities refused to issue a permit for landing. The Turkish Foreign Minister was supposed to address the Turkish community in Rotterdam with a speech on the constitutional reform in Turkey. This was in accordance with political rights that must exist in any democracy.

Both diplomats were declared persona non grata as an undesirable/unwanted foreign national. Just because they wanted to democratically address to eligible voters in Netherlands.

The government of Netherlands claimed that Cavusoglu’s arrival in the Netherlands would ostensibly pose a threat to public order and security. Since when democratic rallies are posing a threat to public order and security?

During the war of words between Turkey and Netherlands, representatives of the Dutch authorities noted that they tried to find a solution to the problem with Turkey, but Turkish officials threatened to impose sanctions on the Netherlands. Turkish President Recep Erdogan claimed that the Dutch authorities displayed vestiges of Nazism and fascism.

Turkey’s Minister for Family Affairs, also tried to appear at a meeting in the Netherlands. She used land transport for the purpose, but the Dutch police did not allow her to do what she wanted. The Turkish official was expelled from the Netherlands and escorted to German border.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim harshly condemned the actions of the Dutch authorities. Mr. Yıldırım said: We strongly protest against the actions of the authorities of the Netherlands. Ankara’s responsive measures will be extremely tough. Putting pressure on Turkey and the minister, a person having diplomatic immunity, is unacceptable.

 

Turkey to purchase air defence systems from Russia

Famous Russian newspaper announced that Turkey will purchase world’s best air defence systems from Russia.

According to the news, which quoted Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec, state-run corporation, Turkey intends to buy Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 on credit. The news fruther reported that the question is still being under consideration. However, it was emphasized that the contract was most likely to be signed as Russian Ministry of Finance was currently conducting negotiations with the Turkish side.

Pravda provided the following details:

“The news about Turkey’s intention to purchase anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia became known in November last year. Turkey is not the first foreign buyer of the S-400 system. In the spring of 2015, Russia sold such complexes to China. The contract with China was evaluated at $3 billion. In October 2016, an intergovernmental agreement on the delivery of S-400 air defence systems was signed with India.”

“Many Western experts believe that Russia’s S-400 is the finest state-of-the-art air defence system in the world.”

This claim is coming amid strained relationship between Turkey and the Europe. Also, Good relations between Turkey and Russia is a crucial element in multidimensional foreign policy of Turkey.

The Problem in Amal Clooney’s UN Speech

We all need UN. Not only this ethnic group or the other. All nations.

Why Amal Clooney decided to act only after Yazidi’s were the case? She remembered the existence of UN only after the so-called Islamic State (IS) declared it will “destroy” the country’s Yazidi ethnic group through murder, rape and forced conversions.

People have been killed, raped and forced for years in Iraq. Beautiful lawyer Amal Clooney has urged the UN to act against so-called Islamic State. Why only now? Has UN been “inactive” regarding Yazidis!

Lebanese-British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, of course mentioned that IS was at the same time attacking Christians, and Shia and Sunni Muslims. However, the main motivator was specifically a certain ethnic group.

Hollywood actor George Clooney’s wife, who is based in London, accused the UN of “inaction”. She explained: “The UN was created as the world’s way of saying ‘never again’ to the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. And yet here we are, 70 years later, discussing the UN’s inaction in the face of a genocide that we all know about, and that is ongoing.”

Mrs Clooney advised the Iraqi government to send a letter formally requesting the inquiry before the 15-member UN Security Council can vote, the resolution drafted by UK.
Mr. Clooney concluded her speech to the UN by saying: “Don’t let this be another Rwanda, where you regret doing too little, too late. Don’t let Isis [Islamic State] get away with genocide.”

Will adhan be banned in Israel?

Arab lawmakers shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) inside the assembly of Knesset (Israel’s parliament) today (Wednesday) while a preliminary reading of a controversial bill that would ban the use of loudspeakers to amplify the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) was approved.

The draft legislation imposes fines on violators ranging between the equivalent of $1,300 and $2,600 and aims to stop mosques from using loudspeakers to amplify the Muslim call to prayer in Israel and Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

This draft legislation seams to invoke controversies on dilemma between respect for the law and respect for the freedom of belief.

 

The new face of Turkish tourism: Nicole Kidman!

In order to encourage tourists to visit Turkey, Global Connection (GC), the international media agency, has launched a joint publication with influential newspapers in countries like Russia and Germany.

One time oscar-winning Australian Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman has appeared as the celebrity face in advertisements promoting Turkish tourism in several foreign newspapers.

In Germany, readers Kidman’s visage in campaigns published in Die Welt and Welt Kompakt daily newspapers.

The advertisements will also appear in Pravda, published in Russian Federation.

During an interview with a Turkish media group, Habertürk, the Australian Actress was asked where she would prefer to stay for a vacation in Turkey. Kidman, referring to Australian soldiers died in Gallipoli, replied: You are waiting for me to say Istanbul, but you are wrong. We share a common history, so I most want to see Gallipoli.

Kidman’s Turkish tourism campaign announcement comes after Morgan Freeman was revealed to be the new spokesman for Turkish Airlines in January.

Vote ‘despite obstacles’!

Democracy is not given, it is taken. You need to fight for it.

Voting is one of the fundamental rights in all democracies. Political administrations are obliged to find solutions clearing the way for those who want to use their democratic right for voting.

Addressing the citizens via an interview published on the state-run TRT network on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “Whatever obstacle they place in front of you, you should go and cast your votes on the dates announced for you to participate in the polls.”

The President urged Turkish citizens living abroad to use their democratic rights and participate in the upcoming referendum despite obstacles being placed on their path.

Why Greece extended visa regime for Turks?

Is Greek decision to let Turkish citizens visit seven Greek islands without visa overruling the Schengen Visa Regime?

Why Greece took this step risking its relations with EU?

The special Schengen visas permit Turks to stay on the islands for between one and three days. This special agreement, which came into effect three years ago, Turkish tourists wishing to visit the Aegean Greek islands of Chios, Lesbos, Samos, Symi, Rhodes, Kos and Kastellorizo can get their visa upon arrival to the islands without applying for a visa in Greek consulates in Turkey.

The reason is all about money: Greek business owners and local leaders on the islands have been mentioning that abolishing the visa regime would hinder tourism and could result in disaster for the local economy which took a major hit not only from the sluggish Greek economy but also the influx of refugees to the islands over the previous months.

Greece’s Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgios Katrougalos said earlier that ”The European Commission is due to transmit its official answer over to Athens in the coming days, so the visa agreement for Turks will be reinstituted for at least one more year”.

Everyone knows that Greece is a debt-ridden, since the country was severely hit by the 2008 global financial crisis. The country has to cope with serious economic and problems. In this framework, tourism plays a significant role and it is the main income source of Greece, especially the above mentioned seven islands.

Greece has not been approaching so friendly and welcoming towards Turks when it comes to other diplomatic matters. For instance, the country did not hesitate to face Turkish anger by rejecting ot extradite of eight soldiers to Turkey.

 

Putin says Russia is ready to restore relations with Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he was ready to consider restoring relations with Ankara, but that would require a first step from Turkey.

“Russia also wants to restore relations with Turkey, we still don’t understand why plane was shot-down,” Putin told a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Relations between the two countries hit a new low on November 2015, when Turkish jets downed a Sukhoi-24M bomber in Syrian border for violating its airspace. Turkey provided radar data of its planes as evidence of Russia’s intrusion into its territory, Moscow insisted that the SU-24 had not breached the border.

Ankara has made several attempts to resolve the crisis with Russia, however ,did not receive sufficient response from Kremlin. In April, former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu offered a face-to-face meeting to Russian leaders to settle the diplomatic row while Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Ankara expects a “recovery” in its strained relationship with Russia but warned that the process would require patience as they want an end to “groundless accusations”.

Following the incident, Moscow announced wide-ranging sanctions against Turkey, including the end of visa-free travel and a ban on Turkish food products. Russia also called on its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination.

Turkey and Russia for years have had different policies on Syria and Ukraine. Turkey did not recognize the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea in 2014 and has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

ISIS militants planned to attack MPs and journalists in Turkey

Militants of the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) planned to stage attacks on lawmakers and journalists in Turkey, a list found on two militants caught by the authorities in the southern border province of Kilis has revealed.

The militants, working as assassins for the jihadist group, were caught while trying to enter Turkey, daily Yeni Şafak reported on June 14.

ISIL reportedly activated its assassination branch after the police launched an operation in Kilis and ordered the two militants to go to Turkey from Syria in order to perform a number of assassinations. Along with the target list, two guns with silencers and documents were also found on the militants.

This was the first time that guns with silencers have been found on ISIL militants, according to the security forces.

The jihadists’ primary targets were lawmakers, whose identities and parties have not been revealed. They reportedly said in their first testimony that they were awaiting orders to start assassinations.

A number of prominent journalists were also reportedly on the list and the militants were researching where the targeted journalists were living.

Security forces suggested that ISIL may be moving onto a new strategy due to their cells being exposed and suicide bombers being caught.

Meanwhile, two dead bodies, located with drones and belonging to ISIL militants, were found near the Elbeyli district of Kilis and were taken to the forensic medicine institute in the southeastern province of Gaziantep for an autopsy, before being taken to the Kilis State Hospital’s morgue.

The ISIL militants, whose identities could not be determined, were reportedly killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on June 11. The dead bodies ended up in Turkey’s Elbeyli after being swept along by the river into which they fell.

Pakistan: Laws fail to check violence against women

Twenty-two-year-old Ammara [name changed to protect identity] rarely stepped out of her family’s haveli, mansion, in a remote village in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

Her father, a feudal lord, never felt the need to send her to school, or anywhere else, and provided her with all of life’s comforts and luxuries within the confines of the haveli.

“I had never imagined I would leave the haveli for a place like this but my father left me with no other option when he told me I must marry the alcoholic, twice-married man he had chosen for me,” Ammara told Al Jazeera inside a tiny room at a women’s shelter home in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi.

It has been six months since she ran away from home along with her nine-year-old sister, fearing the same fate for her once she grew up.

“I grew up watching my father decide the fate of too many innocent, helpless women in karo-kari (honour killing) cases.”

Ammara managed to escape but that is not the case for hundreds of other women in Pakistan.

Eighteen-year-old Zeenat Rafiq was burnt alive by her mother in Lahore earlier this month. Her crime, according to her mother, was marrying a man of her choice and against the family’s will.

Police said Parveen Rafiq, Zeenat’s mother, was assisted by her son and husband of her other daughter as they avenged Zeenat “bringing shame to the family”.

Zeenat’s fate was no different from that of a 19-year-old teacher in the hilly town of Murree, who was assaulted, burned alive and thrown behind her family home by a group of men. She had reportedly refused to marry the principal’s son.

She died due to the 85 percent burns in an Islamabad hospital a day later.

‘Lightly beat the wife’

Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a constitutional body responsible for ensuring no legislature in the country is repugnant to Islam, has drawn up a 163-point bill enlisting women’s rights as well as actions it deems non-permissible for women.

The group recently declared it is permissible for a man to “lightly beat” his wife “if needed”.

Clinton leads Trump by 11 points in Presidential race according to Reuters/Ipsos poll

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 11 points in the U.S. presidential race, showing little change after she became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee this week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

The online poll, conducted from Monday to Friday, shows 46 percent of likely voters support Clinton while 34.8 percent back Trump. Another 19.2 percent support neither candidate. Their parties hold conventions in July ahead of a Nov. 8 election.

Clinton’s lead was nearly the same a week ago, before she had amassed enough convention delegates to win the nomination and before Trump drew criticism from leaders of both parties for questioning the impartiality of a Mexican-American judge.

Trump, 69, enjoyed a bigger boost after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee in May. Having trailed Clinton, 68, for most of the year, Trump briefly erased a double-digit gap and pulled about even with the former secretary of state.

Clinton this week defeated party rival Bernie Sanders, 74, in four of six nominating contests, most notably California and New Jersey, and won the endorsements of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other party leaders.

Trump this week sparred with party leaders and struggled with questions about his now-defunct Trump University. A lawsuit accuses Trump and the for-profit school of defrauding thousands of people, including many who paid as much as $35,000 to learn Trump’s real estate strategies.

A wealthy businessman who asserts the lawsuit is politically motivated, Trump said presiding U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased against him because of Trump’s plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Trump later added that Muslim judges could be biased against him also because of his pledge to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

Trump’s comments drew sharp criticism from Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump later said he would no longer talk about the judge.

Friday’s results had 1,276 respondents and a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3.2 percentage points.

President Erdogan criticizes the Obama administration for siding with the the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the Obama administration on Saturday for partnering with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the PKK terror organization’s Syrian-affiliate YPG, in operations launched against Daesh to overtake the Syrian town of Manbij, saying that the United States pick and choose between terrorist groups.

Speaking during an iftar event in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdoğan said: “Right now, there is a serious project, plan being implemented in northern Syria. And on this project and plan lay the insidious aims of those who appear as ‘friends’. This is very clear, so I need to make clear statements.”

Ankara has reiterated that the YPG crossing west of the Euphrates, as part of the operation to overtake Daesh-held Syria’s strategic northern town of Manbij, is crossing a red line, evidence of PYD expansionist policies being implemented under the guise of fighting DAESH.

“Turkey does not need to obtain permission from anyone to interfere in the region to secure its borders,” Erdoğan had asserted in a previous televised interview.

Erdoğan added that the Obama administration responds to Turkey’s concerns, saying that the US is partnering with YPG only in fight against Daesh. However, Ankara has repeatedly reiterated that there are clear and organic links between PKK, which is listed as a terror organization by the U.S. and EU, and the YPG.

Ties between Washington and Ankara have been strained over American alliances with the PYD and the YPG, with the U.S. insisting that these groups are effective partners in the fight against DAESH.

Ankara has frequently voiced its concern over YPG activity along the Turkish border and has been rigid in its stance to not allow the PYD militant group to found any de facto Kurdish state in northern Syria. Turkey claims the PYD enjoys close connections with the PKK, including militant and ammunition support through underground tunnels.

“€Some of our ally states respond to us by saying, ‘we support the PYD/YPG because they fight against Daesh’. Well, you accept Nusra Front as a terror organization and Nusra Front also fights against Daesh. Why don’t you see them as partners, too? For us, there are no good or bad terrorists. All terrorists are bad,”€ Erdoğan added.

Erdoğan also slammed the PKK’s terror activities in the southeastern provinces, saying one of the aims of the terrorist group is to destroy the cultural and historical heritage in the region, including destroying the mosques, churches, and other temples.

“€The PKK terror group that targets the Holy Quran does not belong to these lands. Just like the terror group called Daesh, which has destroyed the 400-year old Islam’s cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, has no relation to Islam,”€ the president added.

“€Unless PKK erased from Turkey, Daesh erased from our region, these sorrows will not come to an end. The operations will continue. There is no giving up on this,”€ he said.

Of Deities, Man And The Future by Wasay Majid

There are needs and there are requirements. We are all required to consume conventional nutrition along with the basics like water. But surely without the needs fulfilled, ‘man’ would be a lesser creature. And man would not want to associate with such a ‘label’, now would he?

‘Lesser’ to some may be demeaning, for others it may be derogatory, and still for some it could be a failure and surely for a few it could be an indicator for betterment.

Take the present day world. Requirements remain the same. Needs undergoing a paradigm shift. A tectonic shift. Conventional socializing is defunct. Vanished. No one merely drops by your home in the evening, or calls just to catch up. But surely family life has not, nor have people, and neither has socializing vanished.

So what’s going on? A leap frogging on the evolution ladder. A gateway to a new life system. Let me explain. Firstly, if one wants to discuss Facebook, we need to keep in mind that the other regularly used platforms too are owned by Facebook. So when one messages via WhatsApp, or indulges in some voyeurism aided by Instagram, we are in their realm, a one single repository.

The new human socializes via the Internet. Be mindful though, this interaction has no regard for the biological, electric, chemical, psychological exchanges that take place when person-to-person socializing takes place. We no longer are in the pure human realm. The shifts we are facing, we can’t begin to fathom, let alone comprehend. We have keenly let it fulfill our primal needs such as our daily dose of numerous psycho social and other such needs. Do not be fooled for a second that this is some ordinary “path-dependence” in play. QWERTY lock-in of the late 1800’s, despite its inefficiency, was a blessing in comparison to this one.

Do you think all this is chance? Twitter prompted you to adjust your lexicon. Sometime back, Zuckerberg informed us that Facebook has reached a mark of 1.1 billion daily users in a world of seven billion. Zuckerberg also informed us that under the “internet.org” project he is going to include the remaining world. Just type the URL in your browser and you will uncover the magic. Free internet via phones as a starter kit. A humble capitalist gesture that I term as an “Inclusive Evil”. It almost seems like distributing free tobacco cigarettes in the thirties. If only the capitalist mind was that ‘thoughtful’ a century ago!

It doesn’t help to wonder: is there any social or spiritual platform on earth where over a billion people gather on a daily basis? I don’t think even any faith system has a billion followers praying to their god on a daily basis.

Whilst time and space have remained consistent for over 4.5 billion years, something strange maybe afloat at this juncture of human history. The new ‘online’ realm peeks hyper-efficiently into our present life (style) and may make it pubic record all the while archiving every bit of our thought patterns, to be accessed anytime, anywhere by ‘someone’-even twelve years down the line. Eerily, something like the Islamic scripture foretold about angels on each shoulder recording our every step.

You may, can and will be questioned about your comment on lets say “Charlie Hebdo” you once typed a few decades ago. It is possible. Therefore it will happen. It suggests that life is not what you have known it to be. The more ‘online’ it gets, the more you give up your freedom. The perfect illusion of privacy.

Did I mention that Facebook also bought the market leader in virtual reality (VR) for a couple of billion dollars? The company in question is Oculus VR, which just launched their first consumer product, Oculus Rift. Another milestone, another step away from our original soul and old school body. The avenues available via VR may be a topic of discussion for another day.

How can one kid get strategic control over all these platforms and more? How can this be allowed by all and sundry? The powers that be, the ones that spend all their lives, for generations, to acquire global power, accumulate nukes in order to control the world have missed out on such an efficient tool (remember tools are weapons too, just like freedom fighters are terrorists too). No one lets someone walk in and use their territory for their own trade and benefit. No mobs, no governments, no businesses. It is not easy to walk in and claim the world at age 25 and also have enormous wealth.

In conventional industry, the barriers to entry were understandable. Suffice it to say the creation of an online social platform is not in the same league. And with over 4 billion children, the primary source for producing such products, it is funny that we see not many successful competitors around. Why create barriers to entry with monopolizing, cartelizing, and extortion of the kind where an online company with hardly any assets sells for 10 or 20 billion dollars? Lunacy or pure genius?

A step deeper into the free world technology and we would see ‘logging in’ into the system of daily life taking place without the requirement of hardware. People in the near future will ‘engage with information’ using all of their senses: touch and feel, sight, sound, smell, and taste—using them in combination, more often than not. Wearable, connected devices will become embedded more and more in our bodies, more like implants, as in (Google) Glass, becoming more like contact lenses. As that happens, our ability to use nerve impulses to engage with information will expand dramatically. We will see today’s connected devices become smaller and smaller and slowly merge into the part of the body from where the particular sense related to that device operates.

Upon reaching such a point we humans will truly be one, uniform in our language, social patterns, voyeurism, emotions and at par with each other on a level playing field. Homogeneous humans at our core. This is where we are headed. Now if only we should label this given life (style) as a religion, we are all followers. A new religion born, larger than any Abrahamic religion.

Once logged in, we are under supreme control. Catalogued, tagged, located, recorded, profiled, and free to be who we are. Then, and only then may we truly understand the salvation that may be brought on by supplication, for which there most likely will be a fatwa to ‘sign out’ to offer our prayers, in effect saving our souls by this in and out operation, hopefully.

Do not fall for the fashionable illusion of the ‘conspiracy theory’ theory. After all, many during their lifetimes believe the revelations and even the re-resurrection as being the same: a conspiracy theory.

In a world where two global powers cannot co-exist, two faith systems cannot come to terms on their authenticity/superiority, the two genders remain in disagreement, how can one expect anything different from the capitalist market economy?
Let the ‘Mark Zuckerberg Industry’ be the one true free market, the one global doctrine; let government be the ‘invisible hand’.

The writer is a development economist. He can be reached at [email protected]

Hillary Clinton celebrates victory

Hillary Clinton embraced her moment in history Tuesday, becoming the first woman in the 240-year life of the United States to lead the presidential ticket of a major political party.

“Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone,” she said during a speech in Brooklyn. “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.”
After three decades at the center of American politics as a pioneering — and deeply controversial — feminist icon, the victory brings Clinton, 68, within reach of finally cracking the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” she lamented eight years ago when she conceded the Democratic race to Barack Obama. The former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state will now face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in a general election battle that is already shaping up as one of the nastiest campaigns in modern U.S. history.
Clinton has pounced on Trump’s business record, character and tendency to use his platform to wage personal grudge matches to try to define him early on in the minds of voters as unfit for the presidency. Trump, for his part, is aiming to portray Clinton as a consistent liar who can’t be trusted.

Though Clinton already has Trump in her sights, she has work to do to unify her own party after a grueling battle against Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator spoke before a roaring crowd of his own in California to declare “the struggle continues.” The Vermont senator pledged to stay in the race through next week’s primary in Washington, D.C., and to fight on for social, economic, racial and environmental justice at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

President Erdogan will be attending Muhammad Ali’s funeral in the US

The largest city in the southern state of Kentucky and home to 600,000 people, Louisville plays host today and Friday to the mass, public celebration of the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, its most famous native son. Ali, whose remarkable boxing career and civil rights activism made him one of the most indelible figures of the 20th century, died last week at age 74 after a decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The ceremonies in Louisville will have three key moments: an Islamic prayer service open to all on Thursday, a long public funeral procession through the city on Friday and a memorial service at a sports arena that same day. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will attend both an Islamic prayer service today and public funeral procession through the city on Friday, according to the statement released by the presidential office. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and comedian Billy Crystal are among those expected to speak about Ali. Clinton awarded Ali the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House in January 2001 just before leaving office.

“This celebration for Muhammad will be a one-of-a-kind event for anywhere in the world … and for us,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, calling on the city’s residents to show the hospitality and compassion that Ali championed.

“Muhammad shook up the world, and he showed everybody he was a world-class fighter and humanitarian, so now let’s welcome the world.”

Surprisingly, the first African-American President of the U.S. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama will not be among those attending. “They will be attending Malia’s high school graduation ceremony in Washington, D.C.,” said spokeswoman Jen Friedman. Instead, a close aide to Obama “will read a letter from the president and the first lady as part of Friday’s service in Louisville,” said Friedman. Earlier this week, Obama called Ali’s widow, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams to offer his condolences. He also remembered a man “who fought for what was right” and whose gloves sit in his private White House study. Local authorities have received more than 2,000 accreditation requests from U.S. and world media, and hotels in Louisville – no stranger to big events, as the home of horse racing’s marquee Kentucky Derby – are booked solid.

The Islamic service today will take place in 8,000-seat Freedom Hall that hosted Ali’s last fight in Louisville in which he beat Willi Besmanoff in 1961.

On Friday, the procession – which will see Ali’s coffin paraded through the streets of Louisville – will allow those without tickets for the Islamic service or the public memorial to see their hero one last time. The route will pass by sites that were important to Ali: his childhood home, the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage – which focuses on the lives of blacks in Kentucky – and, of course, along Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Turkey urges the US to stop enabling terror

A PKK bombing with an explosive-laden minibus targeted police headquarters in Midyat in southeastern Mardin province on Wednesday, killing two female police officers and two civilians near the scene of the attack and wounding at least 34.

Wednesday’s attack in Midyat was the second in the country in the last two days.

Following Tuesday’s suspected PKK car bombing in Vezneciler in Fatih, Istanbul, which killed 11 people, the PKK conducted a car bombing in Mardin. After visiting the wounded in Tuesday’s attack in Istanbul, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım gave a speech in front of the hospital and answered journalists’ questions. When asked about who was responsible for the bombing in Midyat, Yıldırım said it was “the murderous PKK terrorist organization that carried out the attack.” “We will fight them both in urban centers and rural areas with determination,” he added.

Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın held a press conference at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday in which he touched on the two recent bombings and other issues on the agenda. Kalın said the European Union should not ask Ankara to soften its anti-terrorism laws in such an atmosphere. He also slammed U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for collaborating with the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the Manbij operation.

With two terrorist attacks in as many days, Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın calls on the EU and U.S. to stop placating terrorist groups and their offshoots rather than express condolences whenever a Turkish national is killed

A PKK bombing with an explosive-laden minibus targeted police headquarters in Midyat in southeastern Mardin province on Wednesday, killing two female police officers and two civilians near the scene of the attack and wounding at least 34.

Wednesday’s attack in Midyat was the second in the country in the last two days.

Following Tuesday’s suspected PKK car bombing in Vezneciler in Fatih, Istanbul, which killed 11 people, the PKK conducted a car bombing in Mardin. After visiting the wounded in Tuesday’s attack in Istanbul, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım gave a speech in front of the hospital and answered journalists’ questions. When asked about who was responsible for the bombing in Midyat, Yıldırım said it was “the murderous PKK terrorist organization that carried out the attack.” “We will fight them both in urban centers and rural areas with determination,” he added.

Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın held a press conference at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday in which he touched on the two recent bombings and other issues on the agenda. Kalın said the European Union should not ask Ankara to soften its anti-terrorism laws in such an atmosphere. He also slammed U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for collaborating with the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the Manbij operation. “I would like to ask the countries sending us condolence messages: Do our European friends know how many front organizations this PKK terrorist organization has in Europe? Double standards and hypocrisy should end. They should stop fostering relations with the PKK’s offshoots while sending us messages of support,” Kalın said.

Slamming the 28-nation bloc’s demand that Turkey narrow its definition of terrorism in its anti-terrorism laws, Kalın said: “Instead of giving suggestions that could debilitate Turkey’s fight against terrorism, our European friends should stand by Turkey on counter-terrorism without any compromise.

Footage from the scene shows many buildings heavily damaged by the explosion. According to local sources, many children were wounded because a children’s park is very close to the site of the attack.

There have been clashes and months-long curfews in Mardin province, as part of the fight against the PKK in the southeast. Security forces recently announced that operations in the Nusaybin district, one of the areas in Mardin with the most intense conflicts, ended over the weekend, after nearly three months. Some 42 PKK terrorists, including 10 women, surrendered in late May during counterterrorism operations in Nusaybin.

Those who surrendered reportedly included wounded terrorists. Previously, 25 others surrendered.
Some 437 terrorists have been killed since the start of operations in Nusaybin, 400 barricades have been removed, 35 ditches have been filled, and 1,024 handmade explosives have been destroyed.

The reconciliation process and accompanying cease-fire between the state and the PKK collapsed in July after the PKK killed two police officers, leading to renewed fighting in a war ongoing for more than 30 years that has led to the deaths of around 40,000 people.

At least 14 injured in bomb attack in Istanbul

An explosion hits Istanbul’s Beyazıt district at the Vezneciler metro station as a riot police shuttle bus was passing on Tuesday morning.

The explosion took place at the metro station close to Istanbul University at around 8:30 am.

14 people, including eight police officers were reported as injured.

A number of gunshots were reportedly heard after the explosion but it has not been confirmed whether there was a clash or not.

Meanwhile, police evacuated the area and the exam at the nearby Istanbul University campus were postponed.

Ambulances have been dispatched to the scene and the injured have been transported to nearby hospitals. The cause of the blast remains unknown. There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

Turkey has been a target for the PKK, Daesh and DHKP-C terror groups in recent months.

Two suicide bombs in October, 2015 outside Ankara’s main train station as people gathered for a peace rally killed more than 100 people. It was Turkey’s deadliest attack. The prosecutor’s office said the attack was carried out by a local Daesh cell.

On January 12, Daesh targeted Istanbul’s Sultanahmet, concerning which the city’s governorate released a statement saying that 10 were killed and 15 injured in the blast.

On February 17, a bomb was detonated while military service vehicles were passing by killed at least 28 civilians and military personnel and injured 61 others in capital Ankara. The official statemens said the Syrian terror group YPG was behind the attack.

Another attack in Ankara took place on March 13, where 37 civilians were killed and nearly a hundred others were injured. The attack was also blamed on Kurdisntan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a group affiliated with the PKK terror organization.

On March 19, a Daesh suicide bomber killed four people and injured 36, many of whom were foreigners, on Istanbul’s tourist-heavy Istiklal street on a Saturday.

Hillary Clinton wins the Puerto Rico presidential primary

Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico’s Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, putting her within striking distance of capturing her party’s nomination.

After a blowout victory Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands and a decisive win in the U.S. territory, Clinton is now less than 30 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.

“We just won Puerto Rico! ¡Gracias a la Isla del Encanto por esta victoria!” tweeted Clinton, thanking the Island of Enchantment, as Puerto Rico is known, for her victory. As the race was called, Clinton was on stage in Sacramento, rallying voters in California.

The results were slow to arrive on Sunday, as officials counted ballots by hand and focused first on releasing results tied to the island’s local primary elections, said Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico’s former Democratic National Committeeman.

As the results from Puerto Rico trickled in, Clinton maintained a healthy lead over Sanders.

While Puerto Rican residents cannot vote in the general election, the island’s politics could reverberate into the fall campaign. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have left the island to escape a dismal economy, with many resettling in the key electoral battleground of Florida.

Though Clinton did not spend much time campaigning in Puerto Rico, the victory is fraught with symbolism for her campaign. Eight years ago, with the presidential nomination slipping from her grasp, she rolled through the streets of San Juan on the back of a flat-bed truck, wooing voters to a soundtrack of blasting Latin music.

She beat then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama with nearly 68 percent of the vote.

“I’m for Hillary, girl,” said 83-year-old Candida Dones on Sunday as she cast her ballot. “I can’t wait for a female president. She’s one of us. She wears the pants. If we don’t look out for our own interests, who will?”

Both Clinton and Sanders spent Sunday in California, the biggest prize among the six states voting on Tuesday. Sanders shook hands and stopped for photos during a stroll of more than an hour along the shops, restaurants and amusement park rides of the Santa Monica Pier.

That included a stop at a charity “Pedal on the Pier” fundraiser, telling people riding on stationary bikes that the U.S. should have “an economy that works for all people, not just the one percent.”

Like Clinton, Sanders made little mention of the outcome in Puerto Rico’s primary. He said during an evening rally in San Diego that Democratic leaders should take notice that the “energy and grassroots activism” that will be crucial to the party in the fall “is with us, not Hillary Clinton.”

He pointed to polls showing him faring better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Trump and his strength among Democratic voters under the age of 45.

“If the Democratic leadership wants a campaign that will not only retain the White House but regain the Senate and win governors’ chairs all across this country, we are that campaign,” he said.

While those watching the results in Puerto Rico focused on their impact on the race for the Democratic nomination, the focus of many voters on the island was its ongoing economic crisis.

Both Sanders and Clinton had pledged to help as the island’s government tries to restructure $70 billion worth of public debt the governor has said is unpayable.

“This is one of the most important political moments for Puerto Rico,” said Emanuel Rosado, a 29-year-old Clinton supporter. “I’m taking action as a result of the economic crisis.”

Two weeks before the primary, Sanders criticized a rescue deal negotiated by U.S. House leaders and the Obama administration as having colonial overtones. In a letter to fellow Senate Democrats, Sanders said the House bill to create a federal control board and allow some restructuring of the territory’s $70 billion debt would make “a terrible situation even worse.”

He later promised to introduce his own legislation to help the island. Campaigning on the island last month, Sanders promised to fight against “vulture funds” on Wall Street that he said would profit off the fiscal crisis.

“That bill is anti-democratic and it’s not in the best interest of Puerto Rico,” said Jorge Gaskins, a 67-year-old farmer who supports Sanders and opposes a control board.

Clinton has said she has serious concerns about the board’s powers, but believes the legislation should move forward, or “too many Puerto Ricans will continue to suffer.”

Among those voting Sunday was Democratic Party superdelegate Andres Lopez, one of the party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice at the summer convention. He had remained uncommitted, but said Sunday he will support Clinton.

Clinton has 1,809 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses; Sanders has 1,519. When including superdelegates, her lead over Sanders is substantial — 2,357 to 1,565.

With Lopez’s endorsement, all seven of Puerto Rico’s superdelegates have pledged their support for Clinton.

“It is time to focus on squashing ‘El Trumpo,'” he said, referring to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Ramadan begins in Turkey

Ramadan has started today around the world and like every year, the holy month affects everyday life across Turkey. Preparations in many cities began well in advance for a myriad of events and festivals as well as iftar (fast-breaking meal) and sahur (pre-dawn meal) programs.

Ramadan ushers in sharing, prayers across Turkey

To start with, Istanbul, where the city’s central districts are swarming with hundreds of locals either having iftar in the evenings or sahur at dawn, a number of parks, gardens and big squares will be the main venues for Ramadan events ranging from cultural activities to culinary and religious meetings. Similar to previous years, the Yenikapı and Maltepe parks along with Sultanahmet and Beyazıt squares will be hosting Ramadan-themed activities and live performances. Quran recitations and a sahur program will be broadcast by public broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) at the historic Haghia Sophia throughout the month.

Ramadan ushers in sharing, prayers across Turkey

Residents living on the European side flock to the Yenikapı shorefront to a 700,000 square-meter area that has been allocated for Ramadan events. Locals residing on the Asian side break their fast at Maltepe Park spanning an area of more than 1 million square meters. Wireless internet, a small health center and an information point are also available at Maltepe Park throughout Ramadan.

In Sultanahmet Square, the municipality’s “Asırlık Tatlar ve Sanatlar Çarşısı” (The Centuries-Old Tastes and Arts Bazaar) features small stalls standing side by side where the best examples of traditional crafts including wood engraving, manuscript writing and glass production, as well as well-known Ramadan desserts and traditional clothing can be found. The traditional shadow play and Ramadan entertainment, “Karagöz and Hacivat,” is presented to visitors each night. At Beyazıt Square near the Süleymaniye Mosque, a book fair marking Ramadan has opened its doors today. More than 100,000 books and 180 publishing houses are gathering for the annual fair “Türkiye Kitap ve Kültür Fuarı” (Turkey Book and Culture Fair) initiated by the metropolitan municipality and Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB).

Ramadan ushers in sharing, prayers across Turkey

In Beyoğlu, iftar tents will be serving 100,000 people. The municipal Ramadan events are not limited to those in Taksim Square but also on the Hasköy shorefront, where music and Sufi dervish performances are being held. In Taksim Square, Ramadan events generally start at 7:30 p.m. Beyoğlu Municipality’s mobile iftar service will provide iftar meals to the elderly and people who are unable to leave home due to illness or disability along with those in need.

On the banks of the Golden Horn, the Eyüp district draws both tourists and Istanbulites in Ramadan. Every year, Eyüp Municipality holds outdoor iftars in district neighborhoods and Eyüp Sultan Mosque gets very crowded, both before and after the iftar hour. The historic Feshane (Ottoman fez factory) is another area where Ramadan fervor can be experienced. From Quran recitations to Sufi music performances, the place also hosts shadow theater plays, jugglers and puppets for children. Certain cultural centers in Eyüp will be the main venues for Ramadan events in Eyüp.
Many mosques will be holding religious programs and remain open for tarawih prayer, a voluntary prayer that is observed during Ramadan after iftar and often performed by congregations in mosques throughout the holy month.

Both before and after iftar, Sufi music and traditional dance and theater performances will entertain people of all ages. Also this year, bakeries operating under the metropolitan municipality have started to sell “Ramazan pidesi,” a kind of bread made from wheat flour with yeast and topped with sesame, commonly served at iftar and sahur during Ramadan. Around 200,000 Ramazan pidesi are expected to be produced each day.

As Ramadan is a month of charity and prayers, large groups of people convene at iftar tents across the country to better experience the importance of sharing. Municipalities in different cities such as northwestern cities of Sakarya, Bolu and Karabük, are organizing community iftars either on main avenues or streets. In Sakarya, an iftar organization for 2,000 people will be held in the second week of Ramadan. Iftar packages will be distributed to both refugees and people in need. Similarly, in Bolu, community iftars will be held in different neighborhoods, while a food bank is serving iftar to 2,000 people each day. Ramadan’s cheerful atmosphere will continue also in historic towns such as Safranbolu, a UNESCO heritage site in Karabük province. While a large iftar tent will be set up in the town’s main square, Ottoman-era traditions will be revived each evening to bring the old joy of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar – the time Muslims will fast from dawn to dusk. The month, which lasts from today to July 4, marks the day when the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims commit to a strict daytime fast.

President Obama emphasizes that the US must do more to help Muslim refugees in Ramadan message

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama on Sunday marked the start of Ramadan by emphasizing that the U.S. must do more to help Muslims who have fled violence and poverty.

“Far too many Muslims may not be able to observe Ramadan from the comfort of their own homes this year or afford to celebrate Eid with their children,” he said in a statement, referencing the celebration at end of the month-long fast. “We must continue working together to alleviate the suffering of these individuals.

“This sacred time reminds us of our common obligations to uphold the dignity of every human being. We will continue to welcome immigrants and refugees into our nation, including those who are Muslim,” he added.

Obama has urged his administration to admit 10,000 refugees into the U.S. by the start of October, but a complex set of security checks has resulted in only approximately 2,500 being admitted so far.

The pledge is in response to a global refugee crisis fueled mainly by Syria’s more than five-year conflict. Afghanistan is the second highest source country for refugees, according to the UN’s refugee agency.

In his Ramadan statement, Obama said: “We cannot forget the millions of lives that have been displaced by conflict and struggle, across the world and in our own backyard.”

But this year’s presidential campaign rhetoric has largely proven divisive on the issue, with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump urging a ban on Muslim entry into the U.S. due to security concerns.

When asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday if he thought that a Muslim judge would treat him unfairly, Trump responded: “It’s possible.”

But Obama urged Americans to reject anti-Muslim sentiment, saying, “I stand firmly with Muslim American communities in rejection of the voices that seek to divide us or limit our religious freedoms or civil rights.”

In a separate statement, Secretary of State John Kerry wished the world’s “1.6 billion Muslims around the world a joyful Ramadan Kareem.”

Muslims in the U.S. will begin fasting at dawn Monday. The holy month will conclude July 5.

Clinton in double-digit lead over Donald Trump nationwide

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has opened up a double-digit lead over Republican rival Donald Trump, regaining ground after the New York billionaire briefly tied her last month, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

The shift in support comes as Clinton steps up her attacks on the real estate mogul’s policy positions, and as Trump fends off criticisms of his eponymous university and the pace at which he doled out money that he raised for U.S. veterans.

Some 46 percent of likely voters said they supported Clinton, while 35 percent said they supported Trump, and another 19 percent said they would not support either, according to the survey of 1,421 people conducted between May 30 and June 3.

Trump had briefly tied Clinton in support among likely U.S. voters in mid-May, raising expectations for a tight race between the two likely contenders in November’s presidential election.

Trump has all but sealed the Republican nod after a string of big wins in state nominating contests forced his party rivals to drop out, while Clinton is still fending off a long-shot bid for the Democratic spot on the ballot by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Clinton is hoping to seal the nomination next week, when a slew of big states including New Jersey and California will hold primaries, allowing her to consolidate her party’s support ahead of a general election matchup against Trump.

Clinton’s polling surge comes as Trump is been harangued by criticisms over his Trump University, the target of a trio of lawsuits that claim it misled thousands of people who paid up to $35,000 for seminars to learn about Trump’s investment strategies. Trump has defended the school and said he will relaunch it once the litigation ends.

Trump this week also outlined the recipients of millions of dollars in donations he raised at an event in January for veterans’ groups, in a bid to end speculation that he had not yet handed over all of the money.

On Thursday, Clinton used a foreign policy speech in California to paint Trump’s policy platform as “dangerously incoherent” and cast her Republican rival as both a frightening and laughable figure.

Trump responded by saying she lied about his positions and by ripping her record as secretary of state, which he says was marred her handling of government emails and the death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya.

Turkey recalls ambassador from Berlin due to German MPs Armenian genocide vote

Protesters wave flags of Turkey and Germany in front of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, as they demonstrate against a resolution of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, on the Armenian Genocide a century ago. Turkey's relations with Germany will be harmed if the parliament in Berlin votes to describe the killings of Armenians last century as genocide, the Turkish prime minister said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Berlin after German MPs approved a motion describing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide – a decision that the Turkish president said would “seriously affect” relations between the two countries.

The five-page paper, co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, calls for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”. It passed with support from all the parties in parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had voted in favour of the resolution during a test vote at a party meeting on Tuesday, but was absent from the actual vote on Thursday, as were the deputy chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, and the minister for foreign affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Gregor Gysi of the Left party described Merkel’s absence as “not very brave”.

Angela Merkel was absent from Thursday’s vote.

Turkish governments have always rejected the use of the term genocide to describe the massacre and expulsion of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and members of Christian minorities in the Ottoman empire.

The Turkish government, bitterly opposed to labeling the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide, has said the German parliament’s approval of the Armenian genocide bill was “null and void”.

Speaking on a visit to Kenya, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the German vote would “seriously affect” ties between the two countries, and confirmed that Ankara has recalled its ambassador to Germany for consultations. Ankara also summoned Germany’s charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry.

Earlier, in the first official reaction to the vote, the deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmuş, said: “Turkey will give the necessary response to Germany. We consider this decision null and void. This is not a decision that should be made by politicians or parliaments; it is a decision that has to be made by historians.” On Twitter Kurtulmuş called the decision a “historic mistake”.

The Turkish prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, harshly condemned the decision as “irrational” and said it would put the friendship between the two countries to a serious test.

The foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, currently in Africa with Erdoğan, tweeted: “The way to close one’s own dark pages of history is not by maligning another country’s history.”

Turkish media reported that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) was preparing a written rebuke in parliament. In a statement, members of the Turkish parliament’s foreign relations commission said they “strongly condemn and reject this bill falsifying historical facts about 1915 events”, arguing it was “contrary to international and European case-law”.

“It is utterly unacceptable that the events, which took place under the special conditions of WWI 101 years ago and caused heartbreaking suffering for both Turks and Armenians, be introduced as ‘genocide’ based on biased, distorted and various subjective political motives,” said the statement.

A spokesman for Erdoğan later said: “Having committed the largest genocide in modern history, Germany resorts to lies about Ottoman Armenians to relieve itself of guilt.

“In recent years, Armenia and supporters of the genocide claims failed to accept the president’s repeated offers to establish a joint commission to study the 1915 events based on archival materials.

“Nor have they joined Turkey’s efforts to promote lasting peace in the region by sharing the pain of Ottoman Armenians.”

The agreement to return migrants arriving on the Greek islands to Turkey has in recent months reduced the number of refugees arriving in central Europe, easing pressure on Merkel. But Erdoğan has since repeatedly questioned the conditions of the deal, with members of his party threatening to cancel the agreement altogether.

Opening Thursday’s debate, Germany parliament speaker Norbert Lammert acknowledged that addressing historical events can be painful. “But we have also seen that an honest and self-critical appraisal of the past does not endanger relations with other countries,” he said. “In fact, it is a precondition for understanding, reconciliation and cooperation.”

He said Turkey’s current government is not responsible for what happened 100 years ago, “but it shares responsibility for what happens with it in the future”.

Some historians have argued that Germany, a close ally of the Ottoman empire during the first world war, was aware of the massacre at the time and supported it politically. The Bundestag’s resolution contains a passage acknowledging “the German Reich’s complicity in the events”, as well as six references to the Holocaust.

Over the course of the one-hour debate, the German Green party’s Turkish-German co-chair, Cem Özdemir, argued that the resolution was “not about pointing fingers or claiming the moral high ground”, but came from “a historic duty to encourage Turkish-Armenian reconciliation in friendship”.

Both members of the Turkish and the Armenian embassy in Germany were present during the vote, with the latter group holding up signs reading “Recognition now – thank you” at the end of the session.

Twenty governments, including those of France, Italy and Russia, have in the past described the mass killings of Armenians as a genocide, and Pope Francis referred to the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century” in 2015. The German president, Joachim Gauck, also used the phrase in a speech in April last year.

Thursday’s vote was originally scheduled for last year, but was put on ice due to pressure from Germany’s governing coalition, reportedly for fear of destabilizing Turkish-German relations.