Posts Tagged ‘Erdogan’

Erdogan tells German Turks not to vote for Angela Merkel

August 18, 2017

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has urged Turkish voters living in Germany not to back the country’s three main political parties in next month’s general elections. He said they were “enemies of Turkey.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday told Turks living in Germany they should punish mainstream German parties in September’s parliamentary elections.

“I am calling on all my countrymen in Germany to not make the mistake of supporting them,” he said, singling out Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democrats and the Greens as “enemies of Turkey.”

Read more: Gabriel: Hardline Turkey policy is ‘paying off’

Instead he urged Turks to “support those political parties who are not enemies of Turkey,” calling it a “struggle of honor.”

Relations between the two NATO allies have become increasingly strained in the wake of last year’s failed coup in Turkey. One key point of contention is Ankara’s jailing of German nationals – a journalist and a human rights worker – amid the thousands of people who have been arrested in a post-coup crackdown. Turkey, meanwhile, has accused Berlin of protecting suspects alleged to have played a role in the coup attempt.

“I call on them not to vote for those parties who have been engaged in such aggressive, disrespectful attitudes against Turkey, and I invite them to teach a lesson to those political parties at the ballot box,” Erdogan said.

CDU leader Angela Merkel is running for a fourth term as chancellor in federal elections on September 24. Around one-third of the 3 million Turks living in Germany are eligible to cast votes.

nm/rt (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

Turkey to boost military cooperation with Iran after army chief’s visit — NATO?

August 17, 2017


August 17, 2017

Image result for Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri, with erdogan, photos

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri in Ankara, Turkey August 16, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Iran have agreed to boost military cooperation after talks in Ankara this week between the Iranian armed forces chief of staff and Turkish leaders, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Thursday.

Erdogan, his defense minister and military chief of staff met Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was the first visit to Turkey by the head of Iran’s military since the 1979 revolution, Turkish media said.

Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also said the U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis would visit Turkey within days.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Dominic Evans

Turkey orders 70 former ministry personnel detained — Arrests following last year’s failed coup attempt still on-going — Since the coup attempt some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended

August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish authorities issued detention warrants for 70 former finance ministry employees on Thursday over alleged links to last year’s failed coup attempt, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

Turkey accuses U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in the United States since 1999, of orchestrating the abortive putsch in July 2016. Gulen has denied involvement and condemned the coup attempt.

Since the coup attempt some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the public and private sectors and more than 50,000 have been detained for alleged links to it.

The crackdown has alarmed rights groups and some of Turkey’s Western allies, who fear the government is using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government says the purges are necessary due to the gravity of the threats it faces following the failed coup.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; editing by Andrew Roche

Turkey Warns Kurdish Referendum Can Lead to ‘Civil War’

August 16, 2017

ISTANBUL — Turkey says Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region should reverse its decision to hold a referendum on independence, warning that the vote could lead to a civil war.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday that the referendum, slated for Sept. 25, would worsen the situation in a country “that is undergoing so many problems.”

He told state-run TRT television: “God forbid, it could lead to civil war.”

Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, announced in June that the vote would determine whether the region would secede from Iraq.

Turkey — which has a large Kurdish population and is battling Kurdish rebels — has close ties with Iraq’s autonomous region but is strongly opposed to an independent Kurdish state.


Iraqi Kurdish Independence Referendum Will Fuel Instability, Turkey Says

August 15, 2017

ANKARA — Next month’s referendum on Iraqi Kurdish independence violates Iraq’s constitution and will further destabilize the region, a Turkish government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Iraq’s Kurds have said they will go ahead with the referendum on independence on Sept. 25 despite concerns from Iraq’s neighbors who have Kurdish minorities within their borders, and a U.S. request to postpone it.

Image result for Kurdish  flag, uniform patch

“The referendum would contribute to instability in the region,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told a news conference after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, adding the decision to go ahead with the vote “violates the constitution of Iraq”.

Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), designated a terrorist organization by Ankara, the European Union and United States, has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

In Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s government has lost control of large parts of the country, Kurdish YPG fighters hold territory along the border with Turkey and the  plans local elections next month – a move Damascus has rejected as a “joke”.

The U.S. State Department has said it is concerned that the referendum in northern Iraq will distract from “more urgent priorities” such as the defeat of Islamic State militants.

Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said last week the referendum would harm energy cooperation with northern Iraq’s Kurdish regional authority, which pumps hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day to Turkey’s Ceyhan export terminal.

 Image result for Kurdish  flag, uniform patch

(Reporting by Dirimcan Barut; Editing by Dominic Evans and Janet Lawrence)

A BULLET and the Kurdistan flag are seen on a Peshmerga fighter’s vest during a battle with ISIS.

A BULLET and the Kurdistan flag are seen on a Peshmerga fighter’s vest during a battle with ISIS near Bashiqa, Iraq, last year.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Sigmar Gabriel: Germany’s Hard-line Turkey policy is paying off

August 15, 2017

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has praised his government’s move to put “economic pressure” on Turkey. Germany overhauled its policy toward Turkey in response to the jailing of German journalists and activists.

German and Turkish flags

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised the government’s decision to overhaul its policy toward Turkey, telling la newspaper that Germany’s hard-line approach and “economic pressure” were paying off.

Gabriel spoke after the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officially withdrew a blacklist of 680 German companies it had accused of having links to terrorist organizations. Among the listed companies were the carmaker Daimler and the chemical firm BASF.

Read more: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel seeks tougher EU line on Turkey

“There was a broad debate in Turkish society,” Gabriel told Tuesday’s edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, “and Erdogan was forced to concede that the blacklist was a misunderstanding.”

In July, Gabriel outlined a “reorientation” of government policy toward Turkey. As part of the sharper measures, German businesses were advised against investing and doing business in Turkey. That measure is believed to have prompted Ankara to swiftly make a U-turn on its blacklist and assure Berlin that no German companies were under investigation.

Germany’s government also updated its travel warning, notifying citizens that they would incur “risks” by traveling to Turkey. The Foreign Ministry’s travel website also advised German nationals in Turkey to exercise “heightened caution” as consular access had been “restricted in violation of the obligations of international law.”

Read more: As German spat deepens, Turkey draws tourists from elsewhere

Gabriel admits sanctions hit small businesses

Germany’s top diplomat acknowledged that the hard-line measures weren’t without consequence. “Our travel warning is, of course, also affecting the wrong people: the small hotel owners, the restaurant owners and waiters in western Turkey who cater towards European and German customers.”

Nevertheless, Gabriel said, Germany must protect its citizens.

“We cannot accept that President Erdogan can simply arrest and imprison German nationals,” Gabriel said.

Relations between the countries reached a new low when Turkey’s government arrested of a group of rights campaigners,  including the  German citizen Peter Steudtner, in July. Berlin has also demanded the release of the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who was arrested in Istanbul in February and now faces charges of inciting hatred and producing terrorist propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party – all of which he emphatically denies.

dm/mkg (dpa, AFP)

US urges Iraq Kurds to postpone independence vote

August 12, 2017


© AFP/File | An Iraqi man prints Kurdistan flags in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Washington has urged Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to postpone an independence referendum scheduled for next month but he requested something in return, his office said Saturday.

The timing of the September 25 vote has drawn criticism from both the Baghdad and Western governments, coming as the campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq if still unfinished.

In a telephone call on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington “would want for the referendum to be postponed and that the issues between the Kurdistan region and the federal government in Baghdad should be addressed through dialogue”, Barzani’s office said in an English-language statement.

The Kurdish leader responded that were it to be put off, “the people of the Kurdistan region would expect guarantees and alternatives for their future”.

Some Iraqi Kurdish officials have openly acknowledged that calling the referendum was intended as a bargaining counter in negotiations with Baghdad on other issues.

The Kurdish regional government’s representative in Iran, Nazem Dabbagh, said last month that the Kurds wanted Baghdad to meet their longstanding demand for plebiscites on incorporating other historically Kurdish-majority areas in their autonomous region.

He said they also wanted Baghdad to ratify laws on oil revenues and funding for the Kurdish security forces, known as the peshmerga, who have played a crucial role in the fight against IS.

The referendum would in any case be non-binding and is strongly opposed by neighbours Iran and Turkey, which have sizeable Kurdish minorities of their own and whose acquiescence is seen as key to achieving a viable separation.

Detention Warrants Issued In Turkey for 35 Media Employees as Erdogan’s Crackdown on Free Press Continues — All Using Encrypted Messaging App

August 10, 2017

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants for 35 journalists and media workers as part of the country’s ongoing crackdown on people suspected of ties to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Anadolu Agency says police were on Thursday carrying out raids in Istanbul to detain the suspects who allegedly used an encrypted messaging app that authorities say was favored by Gulen’s followers to communicate with each other.

Those detained so far include Burak Ekici, a journalist working for the opposition Birgun newspaper, Anadolu said.

Turkey accuses Gulen of masterminding last year’s failed military coup. More than 50,000 have been arrested, most accused of links to the coup. More than 110,000 people have also been sacked from government jobs.

Gulen denies involvement in the coup.


Image result for committee to protect journalists, logo

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of August 6, 2017

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on August 9, 2017 11:23 AM ET

Journalist to file complaint against police
Onur Öncü, a reporter for the bilingual news website, which award-winning editor Can Dündar foundedfrom exile in Germany, will file a criminal complaint alleging he was struck by police while reporting on an August 6 protest march organized by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the website reported on August 7. The pro-Kurdish news website Dihaber captured the incident on video.

[August 8, 2017]

Germany Welcomes Turkey’s OK for Lawmakers to Visit Troops

August 8, 2017

BERLIN — Germany has welcomed Turkey’s decision to allow lawmakers to visit German troops stationed at a NATO airbase near the Turkish city of Konya.

Turkey has been blocking German lawmakers’ requests to visit their troops in the country in recent months amid souring relations between Berlin and Ankara.

German news agency dpa quoted the country’s defense minister saying Tuesday that it was “a good solution” that the seven lawmakers could take part in a visit by NATO officials Sept. 8.

Ursula von der Leyen noted that the nine German troops were part of a NATO air surveillance mission supporting the alliance’s fight against the Islamic State group.

A spat over lawmaker access to German troops at the Incirlik based prompted Germany to move troops from there to Jordan.

Turkey’s Erdogan Claims Germany Abetting Terrorists — “Repeating the same accusations over and over again does not make them any more true.”

August 8, 2017

ANKARA — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany on Monday of assisting terrorists by not responding to thousands of files sent to Berlin or handing over suspects wanted by Turkish authorities.

“Germany is abetting terrorists,” Erdogan told a conference in the Black Sea province of Rize, in comments likely to further escalate tensions between the two countries.

“We gave (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel 4,500 dossiers, but have not received an answer on a single one of them,” he told members of his ruling AK Party.

“When there is a terrorist, they can tell us to give that person back. You won’t send the ones you have to us, but can ask us for yours. So you have a judiciary, but we don’t in Turkey?” he said.

In Berlin, a German government source rejected Erdogan’s latest remarks.

“Everything has really been said about this,” said the source. “Repeating the same accusations over and over again does not make them any more true.”

Already tense relations deteriorated further last month after Turkey arrested 10 rights activists, including a German, as part of a wider security crackdown.

Turkey accuses Germany of sheltering Kurdish and far-leftist militants as well as military officers and other people linked to the abortive coup. Berlin denies the accusations.

Tensions between Berlin and Ankara were already running high after the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist and Turkey’s refusal to allow German lawmakers to visit troops at a Turkish air base.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by David Dolan and Andrew Bolton)


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 7 urged his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members to put in greater effort for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019, while heralding a broad change within the party organization.

Speaking at the AKP’s extended provincial advisory council meeting in the Black Seaprovince of Rize, Erdoğan said the elections due in 2019 would be the “most challenging” compared with previous elections.

“We saw how hard it is to get over 50 percent of the votes in the [April 16] referendum and in previous elections. That picture tells us that we need to tightly prepare for 2019,” he added.

Erdoğan also repeated warnings about “weariness” among some party members.

“I have expressed many times that I see indications of ‘metal weariness’ in some of our organizations. We have to make a wide-scale change in our organizations, taking advantage of the process at our upcoming grand congress. As the party chairman, I am determined on this issue. We will continue on our path with friends who have the dynamism that is able to meet our nation’s expectations,” he added.

Erdoğan stressed that all AKP members must first address the “nation and the party cause” before anything else.

“Anyone who attempts to form an activity within the party in the style of the political barons of 25 years ago will face this brother of yours. You should know that. Such malignancy against the party is tantamount to malignancy against all of Turkey. Our country needs us and we need to crown our deeds over the last 15 years with our 2023 targets. This is what the nation expects from us,” he said.