Putin Praises Erdogan’s ‘Great Political Authority’

 

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election triumph, saying the result pointed to the Turkish leader’s “great political authority” and mass support.

The Kremlin said Putin had “stressed that the results of the vote fully speak of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s great political authority (and) mass support of the course conducted under his leadership to solve Turkey’s pressing social and economic tasks (and) strengthen the country’s position in the international arena.”

Erdogan — who has dominated Turkey for the last decade and a half — on Monday won five more years in office with sweeping new powers after a decisive election victory while the opposition raised questions over the conduct of the polls.

Putin stressed his readiness to continue “close joint work” and dialogue with Erdogan, who also led his ruling party-led alliance to an overall majority in parliament, the Kremlin said.

“This is certainly in the interests of the peoples of Russia and Turkey,” the Kremlin said in a statement, praising the “partner-like ties” between the two.

Putin himself extended his almost two-decade rule by winning a fourth Kremlin term in March at a time of high tension with the West.

Putin and Erdogan — who have both led their post-imperial states out of economic crisis but also into a new era of confrontation with the West — have forged an increasingly close alliance in recent months.

In a sign of the importance of the partnership, Putin went to Turkey during his first trip abroad after winning a historic fourth presidential mandate in March 18 polls.

Turkey and Russia are on opposite sides in Syria, with Moscow remaining the chief ally of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Ankara backing rebels seeking his ouster.

However, they have worked closely in recent months despite their differences to achieve a political solution.

Ankara-Moscow relations were tested by a severe crisis in November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over Syria, a confrontation both sides have since tried to put behind them.

Erdogan Slams World’s ‘Silence’ On ‘Israel’s Tyranny’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a join news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister, European Union President and European Commission in Varna on March 26, 2018.
DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday lashed out at the international “silence” over the killing by Israeli fire of dozens of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

“If the silence on Israel’s tyranny continues, the world will rapidly be dragged into a chaos where banditry prevails,” Erdogan said at a dinner in Ankara.

The fresh violence in Gaza on Monday, when Israel’s army killed 60 Palestinians during protests, came as the United States formally moved its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

A fervent advocate of Palestinian cause, Erdogan on Tuesday accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide” over the killings.

The Turkish leader will on Friday host a summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.

On Wednesday, Erdogan also said the Gaza bloodshed showed “the United Nations has collapsed”.

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations and told Israel’s ambassador to Ankara to leave, also for an unspecified period of time.

That drew retaliation from Israel, which ordered the Turkish consul in Jerusalem to leave for an unspecified period of time.

AFP

Protests In London Ahead Erdogan’s Meeting With Prime Minister May

A demonstrator holds a flare during a protest against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outside the entrance to Downing Street in central London on May 15, 2018, ahead of his meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May later today.
PHOTO: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Free speech protestors and Kurdish campaigners rallied outside Downing Street on Tuesday ahead of a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Theresa May.

A Downing Street spokesman said a “frank discussion” on human rights was on the agenda for the meeting.

“We’ve always been clear that we want Turkey to uphold its international obligations, including respect for freedom of expression and political freedoms,” he said.

The meeting comes as Erdogan campaigns for re-election after calling a snap poll for June 24, bringing the vote forward by a year and a half.

The move is widely regarded as a plan to shore up his power in the country and comes as international pressure mounts on the president for his suppression of political dissent.

The early election is set to accelerate Turkey’s transition to a new presidential system approved in a referendum last year.

Critics fear the new full executive powers afforded to the president will lead to one-man rule.

Meanwhile, a state of emergency remains in place in Turkey 22 months after a failed 2016 coup.

Outside Downing Street on Tuesday, dozens of campaigners assembled in a protest organised by freedom of expression groups English PEN, Index On Censorship and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF says over 100 journalists have been arrested, 140 media outlets shut down and at least 889 press cards rescinded since a crackdown began in 2016.

“We must make it clear to our government here that we do care about the fundamental freedoms — these values that our own country is anchored upon,” Reporters Without Borders UK chief Rebecca Vincent told protestors.

Calling for the release of imprisoned journalists, she added: “There is an election coming up.”

“Under the state of emergency people to not have full access to independent information, so you now have an electorate that will be going to the polls again after quite a short campaign period without having the full picture.”

“In light of that for President Erdogan to be welcomed — given the red carpet — here in Britain is shameful.”

The demonstrators were later joined by a larger group protesting Erdogan’s treatment of the Kurds — as well as a handful of counter-protestors seemingly chanting in support of the president.

The pro-Kurdish campaigners held up placards with images of Erdogan and the word “Terrorist” across his face, as well as a flag bearing a picture of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned founder of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

AFP

‘Be Careful!’ Erdogan Warns French Reporter Over Syria Question

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday lashed out at a French reporter who asked him about claims that Ankara sent arms to Syria.

Erdogan told the journalist he was talking like a member of an outlawed group blamed for last year’s failed coup in Turkey.

After Erdogan’s talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, the reporter asked about a story from 2015 in the Cumhuriyet newspaper which allegedly proved Turkey had sent weapons to Syria.

Erdogan has always pinned the scandal on the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey blames Gulen for the 2016 failed coup and accuses him of running a group called the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO). Gulen denies the charges.

“Those are the words of FETO. You should learn not to speak with the words of FETO,” Erdogan told the journalist after asking him to repeat the question.

The journalist could be heard insisting in French: “I am speaking as a journalist!”

“When you ask your questions, be careful on this point. And do not speak with the words of another,” warned the Turkish leader.

“And I want you to know, you do not have someone before you who will easily swallow this,” Erdogan added.

The issue had first erupted in January 2014 when prosecutors in southern Turkey uncovered trucks heading to Syria that they said were National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) vehicles stuffed with arms.

Ankara later charged those involved in the probe with a membership of the Gulen movement.

“Those who carried out those operations were Gulenist prosecutors. Now they are in prison,” said Erdogan icily.

In an apparent reference to American arms supplies to Syrian Kurdish militia that has angered Turkey, he added: “You ask me that question but why don’t you ask me why the United States sent 4,000 trucks with arms to Syria?”

“You are a journalist, right? You should have looked into that as well.”

Without confirming the incident, Erdogan said that the MIT had “every right” to carry out its operations.

Erdogan’s visit to Paris for talks with Macron was his most important bilateral visit to an EU state since the failed putsch. It was overshadowed by questions over press freedom.

The P24 press freedom group says there are 151 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were arrested under the state of emergency in place since July 2016.

The issue was raised at the talks, with Macron telling Erdogan to “respect the rule of law”.

The Cumhuriyet story resulted in its then editor in chief Can Dundar being handed a five-year and 10-month jail term for divulging state secrets. He later fled Turkey.

AFP

Israel A State Of ‘Occupation’ And ‘Terror’ – Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday slammed Israel as a state defined by “occupation” and “terror”, as he opened an Islamic summit on the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

“Israel is a state of occupation. Besides this, Israel is a state of terror,” Erdogan told leaders from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) gathered for an emergency meeting in istanbul.

AFP

Erdogan Calls Israel ‘Terrorist State’ And ‘Killer Of Children’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described Israel as a “terrorist state” and vowed to use “all means to fight” against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

“Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” Erdogan said in a speech in the central city of Sivas.

“We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.”

His speech came days after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, angering Palestinians and sparking protests in Muslim and Arab countries.

Four Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in violence following the US announcement.

Rockets were fired from Gaza and Israeli warplanes carried out raids on the territory.

Erdogan earlier described the status of Jerusalem, whose eastern sector Palestinians see as the capital of their future state, as a “red line” for Muslims. He called Trump’s declaration “null and void”.

The Turkish president has used his position as the current chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to call a summit of the pan-Islamic group on Wednesday.

“We will show that applying the measure will not be as easy as that,” he added on Sunday.

During his speech, Erdogan held a picture of what he said was a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from Hebron, in the Occupied West Bank, being dragged away by Israeli soldiers.

Turkey and Israel normalised their relations in recent years but Erdogan has continued to defend the Palestinian cause and has regularly criticised Israeli policy.

READ ALSO: Jerusalem Status ‘Red Line’ For Muslims, Erdogan Warns Trump

Jerusalem Status ‘Red Line’ For Muslims, Erdogan Warns Trump

The status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and could even prompt Turkey to cut ties with Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump mulled whether to recognise the city as the Israeli capital.

Erdogan said Turkey, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move.

“Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” Erdogan said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Erdogan said that if such a move was made to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he would summon a summit of the OIC in Istanbul within five to 10 days “and we would set the entire Islamic world in motion”.

As for Turkey, Erdogan said Ankara would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel’s deadly storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

The two sides have since stepped up cooperation in particular in energy but Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

The United States is a strong supporter of a strong relationship between Turkey, the key Muslim member of NATO, and Israel, which is Washington’s main ally in the Middle East.

Erdogan’s comments came after the White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phonecalls between world leaders.

AFP

Merkel Meets Putin Over Syria, Ukraine Crisis

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has begun talks with President Vladimir Putin on her first visit to Russia since 2015.

The meeting, at Mr Putin’s summer residence in Sochi, comes at a low point in bilateral relations over the war in Syria and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

They are expected to discuss both issues during their meeting – but no breakthroughs are expected.

Mr Putin will then meet Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

Ties between Russia and Germany have worsened since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, with Germany being a driving force behind the European Union sanctions imposed in response.

Erdogan Visits Moscow to ‘Reset’ Ties With Russia

Turkey failed Coup, Erdogan, TurkeyTurkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits Moscow to hold talks with President, Vladimir Putin in a bid to “reset” ties with Russia.

Before leaving Turkey, Mr Erdogan referred to president Putin as his “friend” and said he wanted to open a new page in relations with Russia.

“This visit strikes me as a new milepost in our bilateral relations, starting again from a clean slate,” Erdogan told Reuters.

“A new page will be opened in Russo-Tukish ties. This new page will include military, economic and cultural cooperation.”

Relations between the two countries plunged into crisis last year when turkey shot down a Russian military jet on the Syrian border.

It is Mr Erdogan’s first foreign visit since an attempted coup was aborted in his country last month.

The visit comes as turkey’s ties with the west have cooled over criticism of a crackdown on alleged coup-plotters.

Turkey’s President Erdogan Felicitates With Nigerian Muslims

Erdogan, Eid-El-Fitr, Nigerian MuslimsPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has felicitated with Muslims in Nigeria on the occasion of this year’s Eid-El-Fitr.

In a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, President Erdogan, whose country had recently suffered terror attack at the Atartuk airport, rejoiced with Nigerians on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast despite whatever distractions.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, last week, in a letter written to the Turkish President, commiserated with him and the entire people of Turkey in the wake of the bombings at the Ataturk airport in Turkey.

President Buhari had described the incident as a “horrific attack on their soil by evil forces who have nothing to do with Islam despite their warped beliefs.”

Turkey Vows War On Terror

Turkey-President-Recep-Tayyip-ErdoganTurkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has vowed to bring terrorism “to its knees” after an attack in the capital, Ankara, killed at least 34 people.

Mr Erdogan said that the suicide car bomb would serve only to strengthen the resolve of Turkey’s security forces.

The explosion in Guven Park in the Kizilay district, a key transport hub, wounded at least 125 people.

Interior Minister, Efkan Ala, said an investigation would be concluded on Monday and those responsible would be named.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but there are suspicions that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may have carried out the attack.

A BBC report says Turkey’s pro-Kurdish political party issued a statement condemning the attack. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said it shares “the huge pain felt along with our citizens.”

The HDP is frequently accused of being the political wing of the PKK, an accusation it denies, and of not speaking out against PKK violence.

In February, a bomb attack on a military convoy in Ankara killed 28 people and wounded dozens more.

The bombing was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK). It said on its website that the attack was in retaliation for the policies of President Erdogan.

Turkey-Russia Jet Downing: Moscow Beefs Up Defences In Syria

Turkey-Russia Jet Downing: Moscow Beefs Up Defences In SyriaAs the Russia-Turkey row intensifies, Moscow has strengthened its anti-aircraft defences in Syria by moving a cruiser towards the coast and deploying new missiles at its main base.

The Moskva cruiser’s long-range air defence system will provide cover for Russian aircraft as well as the s-400 missiles which arrived on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the row over Turkey’s downing of a Russian combat jet on Tuesday rages on.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had warned Russia not to ‘play with fire’ with its operations in Syria.

In return, Russia suspended its visa-free arrangement with Turkey and is planning to introduce a wide range of economic sanctions. President Vladimir Putin, however, said that he wants an apology from Turkey before he would speak to Mr Erdogan.

Moscow rejected Turkey’s assertion that its SU-24 fighter jet had flown into Turkish air space for 17 seconds after ignoring repeated warnings to change course.

A senior Russian commander said the jet had been ‘ambushed’ by two Turkish F-16s patrolling the area for more than an hour beforehand.

He said Russian and Syrian radar data proved that a Turkish jet had fired a missile from 2km (1.2 miles) inside Syria. Turkey did not respond to the allegation.

Turkey, which is a member of Nato and of a US-led coalition in the region, insists Mr Assad must step down before any political solution to the Syrian conflict is found.

Both countries said that they are trying to rid the region of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, which claimed the recent attacks on Paris and also on a Russian airliner.