Tag Archives: Erdogan

Iran summons Turkish ambassador over Erdogan remarks in Baku


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Analysis: Putin draws Erdogan a red line on Russia's southern flank with Karabakh deal

Analysis: Putin draws Erdogan a red line on Russia's southern flank with Karabakh dealRussian President Vladimir Putin has brokered a Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal that locks in territorial gains for Turkey-backed Azerbaijan. In doing so, he has thwarted a stronger Turkish presence in a region Moscow views as its backyard. Six weeks of heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the enclave have tested Moscow’s influence in the South Caucasus, a swath of the former Soviet Union it views as vital to defending its own southern flank.



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Erdogan Warns Russia Risks Split With Turkey on Syria Attack

Erdogan Warns Russia Risks Split With Turkey on Syria Attack(Bloomberg) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced rare recent criticism of Russia for its conduct in Syria, saying his “patience is running out” over the ongoing bombing of opposition Islamist forces in Idlib province.“As of now, Russia is loyal to neither Astana nor Sochi” agreements, Erdogan told reporters on his way back from a visit to African countries, according to Anadolu Agency.He was referring to accords struck by the two countries in recent years to curtail fighting in northern Syria. Russia and Turkey have stepped up their cooperation in the Syrian conflict while finding themselves on opposite sides of other Middle Eastern conflicts, such as the one in Libya.“If we are loyal partners, Russia will make its position clear,” Erdogan said. “Either it will have a different process with Syria, or it will have a different process with Turkey. There’s no other way.”The comments follow reports that Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have taken control of Ma’arrat al-Nu’man, the biggest town in Idlib province. The strategically important area last changed hands in 2012, Anadolu reported on Wednesday.Russia responded to Erdogan’s comments by saying it’s committed to strictly implementing its obligations on Syria, the state-run Tass news service reported, citing the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.Millions of Syrians fleeing fighting in Syria over the years have headed for Turkey, and officials there have long warned of another major exodus as combat escalates in Idlib.(Updates with Russian Foreign Ministry in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kozok in Ankara at fkozok@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Death Toll Rises in Turkey Quake as Erdogan Slams Social Media

Death Toll Rises in Turkey Quake as Erdogan Slams Social Media(Bloomberg) — A magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Turkey’s eastern Elazig province on Friday evening killed at least 31 people and injured hundreds. By Sunday, 45 people had been rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings.A total of 76 buildings were destroyed and 645 heavily damaged, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said in a statement. As many as 20 of the 640 aftershocks since the first temblor had a magnitude greater than 4 on the Richter scale, according to the agency.Speaking on Sunday in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan targeted “provocative” social media posts about the earthquake. “Some messages are terrible, depraved,” he said, according to the Anadolu Agency. “For example, some question what the government has done about earthquakes in the past two decades.”The earthquake occurred at 8:55 p.m. local time on Friday at a depth of 6.75 kilometers (4.2 miles) on the East Anatolia Fault Line. Tremors were felt in many cities across the region.Prosecutors have launched an investigation into social media posts found to be “provocative,” Anadolu reported. Two people in Gaziantep province have been detained.Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Environment & Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca were in Elazig as of early Sunday to coordinate rescue efforts.Turkey is situated in a seismically active area and is among countries, including China and Iran, that can experience catastrophic earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1999, a 7.5-magnitude quake shook the western Marmara region killing thousands of people and damaging more than 300,000 buildings. The nation’s economy contracted 3.4% that year.To contact the reporters on this story: Cagan Koc in Istanbul at ckoc2@bloomberg.net;Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Lars Paulsson, Michael GunnFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will send troops to Libya as proxy war fears mount

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will send troops to Libya as proxy war fears mountTurkey could send troops to support Libya's embattled UN-backed government as early as next month, President Tayyip Erdogan declared on Thursday, in a move that will fuel fears that the country's civil conflict is turning into a proxy war between regional powers.  Libya's internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, has been fending off a months-long offensive against the capital by General Khalifa Haftar, a renegade field marshal whose forces have received support from Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey has emerged as a key backer the GNA since the battle began in April, and is already believed to have supplied weapons to the GNA.  Last month, Ankara signed two separate accords with the GNA, led by Fayez al-Serraj, one on security and military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean. The maritime deal ends Turkey's isolation in the East Mediterranean and paves the way for an offshore energy exploration program that has alarmed neighbours including Greece. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would ask parliament to approve sending troops to Libya in January Credit: MURAT KULA/AFP The military deal is designed to shore up Turkey's lone ally in the region, Tripoli, which is surrounded by Gen Haftar's forces. "Since there is an invitation (from Libya) right now, we will accept it," Mr Erdogan told members of his AK (Justice and Development) Party in a speech. "We will put the bill on sending troops to Libya on the agenda as soon as parliament opens." The legislation would pass around January 8-9, he said, opening the door to deployment. However, it was unclear what specific invitation Mr Erdogan was referring to, as the interior minister in the Tripoli-based government, Fathi Bashagha, suggested in comments to reporters in Tunis that no such official request had yet been made. "If the situation escalates and then we have the right to defend Tripoli and its residents… we will submit an official request to the Turkish government to support us militarily so we expel the ghost of mercenary forces," Mr Bashagha said on Thursday. Gen Haftar's forces were not immediately available for reaction to Mr Erdogan's comments. Ankara has flagged the possibility of a military mission in Libya for several weeks. Such a deployment would further stretch its armed forces less than three months after it launched an incursion into northeastern Syria against a Kurdish militia. Turkey has already sent military supplies to the GNA despite a United Nations arms embargo, according to a U.N. report seen by Reuters last month. The same report said a foreign air force, thought to be that of the UAE or Egypt, had been carrying out airstrikes in support for Gen Haftar's forces. Mr Erdogan visited Tunisia on Wednesday to discuss support for a possible ceasefire in Libya. On Thursday, he said Turkey and Tunisia had agreed to support the GNA.



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Erdogan says Turkey cannot handle new migrant wave from Syria, warns Europe

Erdogan says Turkey cannot handle new migrant wave from Syria, warns EuropeTurkey cannot handle a fresh wave of migrants from Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, warning that European countries will feel the impact of such an influx if violence in Syria’s northwest is not stopped. Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, and fears another wave from the Idlib region, where up to 3 million Syrians live in the last significant rebel-held swathe of territory. Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their bombardment of targets in Idlib, which Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to recapture, prompting a wave of refugees toward Turkey.



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Turkey cannot handle new Syria refugee flow alone: Erdogan

Turkey cannot handle new Syria refugee flow alone: ErdoganTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday warned Europe that Turkey could not handle alone a new wave of Syrian refugees fleeing increased bombardment in the northwestern Idlib province. Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled towards the Turkish border following heightened regime and Russian bombardment of the Maaret al-Numan region since December 16. “Turkey cannot handle a new refugee wave from Syria,” Erdogan said, adding that over 80,000 people from Idlib had fled to areas near the Turkish border.



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Erdogan says 50,000 Syrians fleeing Idlib to Turkey

Erdogan says 50,000 Syrians fleeing Idlib to TurkeyTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that 50,000 people were fleeing Syria’s northwestern region of Idlib to Turkey, and slammed Muslim nations for not supporting his plans to resettle refugees in other parts of north Syria. Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, and fears another influx from the Idlib region, where up to 3 million Syrians live in the last significant insurgent-held swathe of territory.



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Erdogan says Turkey will retaliate against possible U.S. sanctions

Erdogan says Turkey will retaliate against possible U.S. sanctionsTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Friday that Ankara would retaliate against potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian defense systems and a natural gas pipeline. U.S. Congress has moved to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of S-400 defense systems from Russia and related to Russia’s TurkStream pipeline, which will carry Russian gas to Turkey. Asked about the various sanctions against Ankara, Erdogan repeated that the S-400 deal was already completed.



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Exclusive: Hamas plots attacks on Israel from Turkey as Erdogan turns blind eye

Exclusive: Hamas plots attacks on Israel from Turkey as Erdogan turns blind eyeTurkey is allowing senior Hamas operatives to plot attacks against Israel from Istanbul, The Telegraph can disclose, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plays host to the terrorist group’s leaders. Transcripts of Israeli police interrogations with suspects show that senior Hamas operatives are using Turkey’s largest city to direct operations in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, including an assassination attempt earlier this year on the mayor of Jerusalem. Israel has repeatedly told Turkey that Hamas is using its territory to plan attacks, but last weekend Mr Erdogan met Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, and Turkish intelligence agents maintain close contact with the group’s operatives in Istanbul. "We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine," Mr Erdogan said. Turkey is already facing questions from Western allies over its support for extremist rebels in northern Syria and over its commitment to Nato after buying a Russian missile system. Turkey agreed in a US-brokered 2015 deal with Israel to stop Hamas planning attacks from its soil but has consistently failed to honour the agreement, Israeli officials said. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) met with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas (L) Credit: TURKISH PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE / AFP The issue has fuelled hostility between the two states, even though they maintain diplomatic relations. "Israel is extremely concerned that Turkey is allowing Hamas terrorists to operate from its territory, in planning and engaging in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians," its foreign ministry said. The Turkish government has offered Hamas safe harbour in Istanbul even as Arab states such as Saudi Arabia have distanced themselves from the group and moved closer to Israel. Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the EU and US. Its armed wing has been designated a terror group by the UK. Turkey has proved such a welcoming environment for Hamas that the group’s deputy leader, who has a $ 5 million US government bounty on his head, travels freely to the country without fear of arrest. A dozen Hamas operatives have moved to Istanbul from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in the past year, according to Israeli and Egyptian intelligence records. Hamas | Profile Among them is the former leader of a suicide bombing cell responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in Israel in the Nineties. In one failed plot in February, a Hamas official ordered a Palestinian to assassinate Jerusalem’s mayor, an MP from Benjamin Netanyahu’s party or Israel’s chief of police. The plot failed. In another case, a Hamas operative offered to pay $ 20,000 to the family of any would-be suicide bomber. A Turkish diplomatic source denied Hamas was planning attacks from Turkey. He said the group was "not a terrorist organisation" but a legitimate Palestinian political party. Hamas denied planning attacks from Turkish soil and dismissed Israel’s complaints as "baseless allegations" designed to damage political relations with Turkey. "Hamas’s resistance activities are conducted only in the land of occupied Palestine," a Hamas spokesman said. Leading Hamas operatives and alleged linked businesses did not respond to requests for interviews. 'They are not terrorists': Turkey offers sanctuary for Hamas in Istanbul Adham Muselmani braced against the February wind sweeping through Istanbul’s Taksim Square and dialed the number he had been given.  The phone rang once. Twice. The 23-year-old Palestinian rehearsed the code he had been told to say: "This is Tariq from Jerusalem. I’m in Istanbul and I’ve come to eat knafeh," a sticky dessert.  Forty minutes later he was face-to-face with Zacharia Najib, a senior Hamas operative, who told him that if he wanted to be remembered he needed to kill a prominent Israeli.  Najib suggested three targets – Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem; Yehuda Glick, an MP from Benjamin Netanyahu’s party; or Roni Alsheich, Israel’s police chief – and offered him funds as well weapons training in Turkey. Several members of Hamas armed wing have moved to Istanbul from Gaza Credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images Muselmani returned home to Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp and was looking into buying a Glock pistol when he was arrested by the Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent of MI5.  The failed assassination plot was one of several recent attacks on Israel that Hamas planned from Istanbul while Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has turned a blind eye and embraced the Islamist militant group, a The Daily Telegraph investigation has found.  Transcripts of Israeli police interrogations with Muselmani and other would-be attackers show senior Hamas operatives are using Turkey’s largest city to direct operations in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.  Israel has repeatedly told Turkey that Hamas is using its territory to plan attacks but rather than take action Mr Erdogan continues to meet with its leaders. Mr Erdogan hosted Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, last weekend and Turkish intelligence agents maintain close contact with the group’s operatives in Istanbul. "We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine," Mr Erdogan said. Turkey has proved such a welcoming environment for Hamas that the group’s deputy leader, Saleh al-Arouri, who has a $ 5 million (£3.8 million) US government bounty on his head, travels freely to the country without fear of arrest. This week a relaxed Arouri posed for photographs with other Hamas leaders in Istanbul.     A dozen Hamas figures have moved from Gaza to Istanbul in the last year, according to Israeli and Egyptian intelligence records, social media posts, and interviews with Palestinians in the city.  Among them is Abdel Rahman Ghanimat, the former leader of the "Surif Cell", a Hamas squad responsible for a series of suicide bombings, including a 1997 attack on the Café Apropo in Tel Aviv which killed three young women. Kamal Awad, a Hamas financier recently sanctioned by the US Treasury also recently moved to Istanbul. "Israel is extremely concerned that Turkey is allowing Hamas terrorists to operate from its territory, in planning and engaging in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians," Israel’s foreign ministry said. Much of Hamas focus from Turkey is attacks in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images A Turkish diplomatic source denied Hamas was planning attacks from Turkey and said the group was "not a terrorist organisation" but a legitimate Palestinian political party which won the most recent Palestinian elections in 2006.  "We reject all claims that Turkey is being used for anti-Israel activities," the source said.   Hazem Qasem, a Hamas spokesman, denied the group planned attacks from Turkey. "These are baseless allegations that aim to negatively affect Hamas’ relationship with Turkey. Hamas’ resistance activities are conducted only in the land of occupied Palestine," he said.  The Hamas network in Turkey operates under the orders of Arouri, the number two leader of Hamas and its most senior figure outside Gaza. Arouri was based in Istanbul until 2015 when Turkey asked him to leave as part of an effort to mend relations with Israel. He now divides his between Turkey and Lebanon. Israeli officials say Turkey agreed in the same 2015 deal to stop Hamas planning attacks from Istanbul but has consistently failed to live up to that promise. Much of Hamas’ military focus in Turkey is on remotely planning attacks in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, where it is difficult for the group to organise on the ground. Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestinian semi-government in the West Bank, cooperate closely to thwart Hamas in both areas.  In one police transcript, a Palestinian imam describes a meeting in Istanbul with Hisham Hijaz, a Hamas operative freed from Israeli prison in the same 2011 prisoner exchange as Najib. Like Najib, he focuses on carrying out attacks in the West Bank.  "[Hijaz] told me he thinks about the West Bank 24 hours a day," the imam said. He said Hijaz ordered him to find recruits for a suicide attack against Israel and offered to pay the attacker’s family $ 20,000. The plot never materialised.  Najib offered another man weapons training in Turkey ahead of a possible attack back in Israel. The Telegraph attempted to contact Hamas operatives at their homes in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul The Telegraph attempted to contact both Najib and Hijaz at their homes in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul, a political stronghold of Mr Erdogan's Justice & Development Party where several Hamas operatives live. Neither could be reached.   Mr Erdogan seeks to present himself as a champion of the Palestinians and has embraced Hamas even as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab states have distanced themselves from the group amid warming ties with Israel.     He met with Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday and discussed "issues concerning the Palestinian cause, including the dangers posed to the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and Turkey’s role in support of Palestinian cause," Hamas said.  Lower-level meetings between Hamas and Turkish officials occur frequently. Day-to-day contact is believed to be managed by a channel between Jihad Ya’amor, a senior Hamas official, and the MIT, Turkey’s national intelligence agency.    Hijaz suggested to the Palestinian imam that Mr Erdogan placed only slight restrictions on Hamas activity in Turkey.  Letter from Jerusalem (REFERRAL) article "He told me that the [Hamas] leadership met with Erdogan and he agreed that the Hamas office could collect money but told them to keep away from [Turkish] state institutions because he did not want problems."  Amid the increasingly dire humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, large numbers of Palestinians are leaving the Strip and traveling through Egypt to Turkey to start new lives. An estimated 35,000 left in 2018 and did not return.  Among them are at least 11 Hamas figures who have left in the last year, according to a list compiled by Israeli intelligence and Egyptian border authorities. Seven of them were freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange known as "the Shalit Deal" because it involved the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza for five years.  The Telegraph was able to confirm the migration of some of the men by through social media posts. One man, Nahad Abu Kishk, deleted his Facebook account after we attempted to contact him but posts from his wife show the family was living in Gaza in 2018 before moving to Turkey earlier this year.    Palestinians living in Istanbul also confirmed that some of the others had recently arrived. "There are a lot of Hamas leaders who come to Istanbul with their families and their children. Why is it that Hamas leaders get to leave the situation in Gaza when the people have no jobs or services?" said one Gazan.   The most senior of the 11 men is Abdel Rahman Ghanimat who left Gaza for Istanbul in October and is now one of Arouri’s top deputies.  The 47-year-old was previously the leader of the Surif Cell, a Hamas squad that carried out a series of suicide bombings, including a 1997 attack on the Café Apropo in Tel Aviv which killed three young women.  Three young women were killed in the 1997 bombing Credit: AP Photo/Paz Bar He was captured by Israel in 2005 after ten years on the run but was released in 2011 in the Shalit Deal.  Israel has a long history of carrying out assassinations of Hamas figures abroad, including in 2010 when a team of Israeli agents travelled to Dubai on fake passports and killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room. So far Israel has refrained from acting against Hamas operatives in Turkey, perhaps out of concern for the diplomatic fallout of an assassination in the territory of a Nato member state with whom it has diplomatic relations. Turkey’s security services relentlessly leaked to the media details about the Saudi kill team which murdered Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post columnist, and would likely do the same to any Israeli assassination squad that carried out an operation in Istanbul. Additional reporting: Roland Oliphant To read more of our excellent world news coverage, subscribe here for just £1 per week – 50% off



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