A protest against a controversial highway opening in Turkey breaks out in clashes.
Student protesters and riot police exchanged blows of fireworks and tear gas at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University.
The unrest has been ongoing for months as students protested against plans that involved building a road across the campus.
The plans allegedly involved uprooting a number of trees in the area.
At the highway’s opening ceremony, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denied uprooting trees.
“Supposedly, we are cutting off the trees. We told them it wasn’t the case. On the contrary, we would plant even more trees as part of this project. But despite that, they didn’t change their attitude,” he said.
Financial Analyst, Pascal Odigbo, has called on the Nigerian Government to build its internal capacity in order to achieve its potential as one of the World’s emerging economies, tagged the ‘MINT’ countries.
The MINT countries, made up of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey have been categorized as emerging economies that would become super powers by the year 2050.
Odigbo said that the World is always looking for the next big thing and the rationale for such projection was for investors to take position as the evaluation is based on the demographics in those countries.
He noted that this is a major pointer to the fact that other nations are showing attention to Nigeria. He said, “If you don’t have a I won’t call you.
“I think very strongly that there is absolute need for politicians to understand that this is not about personal gains but about our nation and our destiny” as this kind of declaration brings focus on what the country is doing and the world is watching.
He laid emphasis on ‘Potential’ using an analogy from the principles of Kinetic Energy in Physics. He explained that with the availability of power, one still needs to press a switch to light a bulb.
Therefore, with the world putting so much attention on Nigeria, “you need to know that you are doing something right, but now we need to be able to dimension it rightly.”
In analysing Nigeria’s potentials, he said that the strength of Nigeria is in its population, and this makes it a major ground for retail business, citing the successes of the many shopping malls that have sprung up in recent times in the country.
The ‘Sunrise Daily’ crew drew his attention to the dangers this may pose to the service and manufacturing sectors, and he agreed that things were wrong in those sectors but commended the Federal Government for its Automotive Policy which he sees as a step in the right direction towards improving the country’s manufacturing industry.
He however noted that the most important area was human development. He said, “We need to develop the people, we are putting so much into the assets rather than the people.”
He admitted that nothing was wrong with infrastructural development but it is counterproductive to build roads and other infrastructure without building the internal capacity of the people to work with these structures.
He pointed out that over a million students sit for the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations every year, but admission into the universities are available to about 500,000 people. He warned that Nigeria’s lack of human capacity would force foreign builders to bring their own people to man the country’s infrastructure, consequently leading to second slavery.
He added, “Most of the people in leadership, whether at state or local government level do not have a clue as to why they are there.”
“Government must begin to see this as a mission, developing a country is not in the mantra but in the things that you do. ”
Turkey reopened an Istanbul park at the heart of last month’s demonstrations against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and protest leaders called a rally there for Monday evening in defiance of the city governor.
Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu announced the reopening three weeks after riot police expelled protesters from Gezi Park following a fortnight of frequently violent protests against plans to redevelop the area.
The protests rapidly mutated into nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan, accused by critics after a decade in power of increasingly authoritarian rule. The unrest died down in late June but police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse protesters who sought to march on Taksim Square and the adjoining park on Saturday.
“We have seen with the visit carried out today that all our work has been completed,” Mutlu told reporters in the park, which has been spruced up with the planting of new trees, plants and lawns since the protesters were evicted on June 15.
Taksim Solidarity, combining political and non-governmental groups opposed to the construction of a replica Ottoman era barracks on the site of the park, has called for its supporters to hold a public meeting there at 7 p.m. (1200 ET).
Mutlu warned against renewed demonstrations.
“Blocking the parks, making them areas for demonstrations, preventing children, elderly and people from using these areas and turning this into a security problem – we would never ever allow that,” he said.
Four people were killed and 7,500 wounded in last month’s police crackdown, according to the Turkish Medical Association.
Last week it emerged that a Turkish court had canceled the Taksim Square redevelopment project, including the construction of the replica barracks, although the state authorities can appeal against the ruling.
The ruling marked a victory for the coalition against the project and a blow for Erdogan, who stood firm against protests and riots he said were stoked by terrorists and looters.
Erdogan has said he would wait for the judicial process to be completed before proceeding with the Taksim plans, one of several large projects for Istanbul, including a major airport, a large Mosque and a canal to ease Bosphorus traffic.
The protests were unprecedented in Erdogan’s rule, which began in 2002 with the election of his AK Party. He has pressed significant reforms in the economy and curtailed the power of a military that had toppled four governments in four decades.
Opponents argue that he has become authoritarian in his rule after three election victories and during the June unrest turned increasingly to the Islamist core of his AK Party faithful.
If the country’s top administrative court subsequently rules in favor of the development, Erdogan has still pledged to hold a referendum in Istanbul on the government’s plan.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told thousands of cheering supporters on Friday his authority came from the ballot box and urged them not to be drawn into violence, in a show of ruling party strength after a week of fierce anti-government protests.
Addressing crowds at Istanbul airport from an open-top bus after returning from a trip to North Africa, Erdogan called on his ruling party faithful to show restraint and distance themselves from “dirty games” and “lawless protests”.
Turkey has been rocked by its worst political unrest for decades over the past week, as anti-government riots dented Erdogan’s authority, sullied the country’s image abroad and highlighted concerns about human rights and freedom of speech in the EU candidate nation.
“We stood strong, but we were never stubborn … We are together, we are unified, we are brothers,” Erdogan told his supporters, who had blocked roads to the airport for hours, waiting for him until long after midnight. He began his address at about 2 a.m. (1900 ET)
“Some people say, ‘The prime minister is only prime minister to 50 percent’. We have always said that we are the servants of 76 million,” he said, as the crowds chanted his name.
What began as a campaign against planned construction on a leafy park in a corner of Istanbul’s Taksim Square has grown into an unprecedented display of public anger over the perceived authoritarianism of Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party.
Police backed by armored vehicles and helicopters have clashed with groups of protesters night after night, leaving three dead and some 4,000 injured, while thousands of Erdogan’s opponents have massed peacefully in Taksim, surrounded by barricades of torn-up paving stones and street signs.
They gathered again ahead of Erdogan’s return.
Some of the demonstrators in Taksim chanted “Tayyip resign”, while others sang and danced. In Ankara’s Kugulu Park, thousands chanted anti-government slogans, sang the national anthem and swigged on beer.
“It’s all up to Erdogan and what he says right now. He will decide the fate of this resistance, whether it will calm (down) or escalate,” said Mehmet Polat, 42, a ship captain who has not worked all week, coming instead to protest at Taksim.
“These people have been here for days. He has to understand it is for a reason,” he said.
Defiant but conciliatory
Erdogan has so far struck a defiant tone. Speaking in Tunis on Thursday, he condemned the “burn and destroy” tactics of some of those involved in the protests, and promised to press ahead with the plans for Taksim that triggered the unrest.
He said that “terror groups”, including one that claimed responsibility for a February 1 bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, were manipulating the crowds.
Erdogan struck a firm but arguably more conciliatory tone at the airport, clearly playing to the gallery but also acknowledging accusations of excessive police force and pledging to work to foster unity in the wake of the protests.
“We have not marginalized anyone’s beliefs … We are Turkey together, we are brothers. We will evaluate everything that has taken place in Turkey and based on that take a step,” he said.
“The secret to our success is not tension and polarization.”
The protesters are of a variety of political stripes, including far leftists, nationalists, environmentalists and secular Turks, and their numbers at Taksim have swollen at points to more than an estimated 100,000.
But despite the unrest, Erdogan remains by far Turkey’s most popular politician, his assertive style and common touch resonating with the conservative Islamic heartland.
His AK Party has won an increasing share of the vote in three successive elections and holds around two thirds of the seats in parliament. A man who rarely bows to any opposition, he clearly has no intention of stepping down and there are no obvious rivals inside or outside his party.
Still, he faces a challenge in calming the protests without appearing to lose face.
“Erdogan cannot backtrack now. It would mean defeat,” said Ali Aydin, 38, a car dealer in the Tophane neighborhood of Istanbul, a conservative bastion in the mostly Bohemian district around Taksim Square. “Weakness would destroy the party.”
Turkish protesters clashed with riot police into the early hours of Monday with some setting fire to offices of the ruling AK Party as the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years entered their fourth day.
Turkey’s streets were calm in the morning after a night of noisy protests and violence in major cities.
In the western port city of Izmir, protesters threw fire bombs at AK Party offices overnight and television footage showed part of the building ablaze. Firefighters put out the fire, the Dogan news agency reported.
Bus shelters, paving stones and street signs ripped up by protesters to make barricades that littered a major avenue by the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul where some of the heaviest clashes took place overnight, and graffiti covered walls.
Roads around Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s office in Istanbul were sealed off as police fired teargas to push back protesters in the early hours of Monday.
In the main street near Erdogan’s office, one demonstrator drove a small mechanical digger towards police lines as other protesters followed behind. At a nearby mosque, medical staff including trainee doctors treated those hurt in the clashes.
Police raided a shopping complex in the centre of the capital Ankara where they believed demonstrators were sheltering, detaining several hundred.
Turkey accused a group with links to Syrian intelligence of carrying out car bombings that killed 46 people in a Turkish border town, and said on Sunday it was time for the world to act against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The two car bombs, which ripped through crowded shopping streets in Reyhanli on Saturday, increased fears that Syria’s civil war is dragging in neighboring states, despite renewed diplomatic moves to end it.
Damascus denied involvement, but Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said those behind the attacks were from an “old Marxist terrorist organization” with ties to Assad’s administration.
“It is time for the international community to act together against this regime,” he told a news conference during a visit to Berlin.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech broadcast later on Turkish television: “We will not lose our calm heads, we will not depart common sense, and we will not fall into the trap they’re trying to push us into.”
But he added: “Whoever targets Turkey will sooner or later pay the price.”
NATO-member Turkey has fired back at Syrian government forces when mortars have landed on its soil, but despite its strong words has appeared reluctant to bring its considerable military might to bear in the conflict.
It is struggling to cope with more than 300,000 refugees but is not alone in fearing the impact of Syria’s war, which is stirring the Middle East’s cauldron of sectarian, religious and nationalist struggles.
“We, like Jordan, are hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Security risks to neighboring countries are rising,” Davutoglu said.
The bombings took place as prospects appeared to improve for diplomacy to try to end the war, after Moscow and Washington announced a joint effort to bring government and rebels to an international conference.
Officials from Syria’s opposition coalition, in crisis since its president resigned in March, said it would meet in Istanbul on May 23 to decide whether to participate.
A Syrian opposition group said the toll from two years of civil war had risen to at least 82,000 dead and 12,500 missing.
Syrian Information Minister Omran Zubi, speaking on state TV, held Turkey responsible for the bloodshed in Syria by aiding al Qaeda-led rebels. He said Damascus had no hand in Saturday’s bombings.
“Syria did not and will never do such a act because our values do not allow this. It is not anyone’s right to hurl unfounded accusations,” he said.
Authorities have arrested nine people, all Turkish citizens and including the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Turkey’s deputy prime minister Besir Atalay told reporters.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the bombings – the deadliest incident on Turkish soil since Syria’s war began – were carried out by a group with direct links to Syria’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency.
The blasts scattered concrete blocks and smashed cars as far as three streets away.
There was a heavy police and military presence on Sunday in Reyhanli, where security forces cordoned off both blast sites while bulldozers shifted the rubble and shattered glass.
Men stood loitering around the town, looking on and discussing, often heatedly, the previous day’s events.
There was palpable anger against the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the town, which has become a logistics base for the rebels fighting Assad just over the border.
As the conflict has dragged on, local people have grown increasingly resentful over stretched economic resources and the violence being brought to their door.
Some smashed Syrian car windows, and others railed against Turkey’s foreign policy.
“We don’t want the Syrians here any more. They can’t stay here. Whether we even wanted them or not, they can’t stay after this,” said a teacher in Reyhanli, who gave his name as Mustafa.
He said the prime minister’s Syria policy was to blame.
“It’s Tayyip Erdogan’s politics that have done this. Turkey should never have got involved in this mess. We have a 900-km (550-mile) border with Syria. They come and go in wherever they like. Everyone here is in fear.”
Syrian families stayed inside their homes on Sunday, too afraid to come out.
Davutoglu said the Reyhanli bombers were believed to be from the same group that carried out an attack on the Syrian coastal town of Banias a week ago in which at least 62 people were killed.
Syria’s conflict has fuelled confrontation across the region between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, with Shi’ite Iran supporting Assad, and Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia backing the rebels.
Israel launched air strikes a week ago, aimed at stopping Iranian missiles near Damascus from reaching Tehran’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah for possible use against the Jewish state.
Days later, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his forces would support any Syrian effort to recapture the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, raising the prospect of renewed conflict after decades of calm on that border.
In a separate development on Sunday, Syrian rebels freed four Filipino U.N. peacekeepers whom they had captured on the ceasefire line between Syria and the Golan last week.
Putting behind them the unexpected defeat by the Junior Pharaohs of Egypt, the coach of Nigeria’s U-20 team John Obuh has promised that he will put everything into machination in the third place match against Mali.
Obuh said the Flying Eagles cannot afford to concede defeat in to straight games in a tournament especially today’s match which will be deciding who takes home the Bronze medal on the African Youth Championship.
The Flying Eagles will be clashing with their first rival and the first team in the tournament to smear their title defence in the AYC, Mali for the third place match as pundits keep hoping that today’s game between the two teams will be in a different form with a possibility of the Flying Eagles to run away with a victory which is what coach Obuh is gunning for.
Obuh said he sees today’s clash with Mali as another opportunity for the players to show what they are made of and prove to the Malians that the initial clash was an error.
Undoubtedly one of the best players making Nigeria football lovers proud outside the shores of the country, Kalu Uche brought glory to his Turkish club, Kasimpasa, once again as he latched home a 44th minute goal to lift the Turkish club to the sixth spot on the Turkish league table yesterday.
Even though his splendid form on the field of play has not attracted national team selectors at the home front, Uche has been a force to reckon with in the Turkish Super Lig when it comes to scoring goals when needed and this has been his trend for a while now.
Uche’s goal ensured Kasimpasa beat Trabzonspor 2-0 in the Turkish Super Lig as he converted a right wing cross with the outside of his right foot.
So far, the player has recorded 14 goals in his name for Kasimpasa, making a joint top scorer in the Super Lig, along with Galasatary’s Burak Yilmaz.
President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged African countries to become globally competitive and begin exporting finished products to the outside world.
President Jonathan said this while speaking to the outgoing Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Christopher Onyango Aparr, in the Presidential Villa.
President Jonathan said economic growth was necessary for political stability and added that Nigeria was focused on building and strengthening mutually beneficial economic relations with Uganda and Africa.
The President commended Mr. Aparr for sustaining the warm brotherly relations between Nigeria and Uganda, and wished him well in his next post.
Earlier, the outgoing Ugandan High Commissioner thanked President Jonathan for Nigeria’s assistance through the Technical Aid Corps, as well as the strong bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the two countries.
At a different audience, President Jonathan commended Turkey for assisting Nigeria in developing human capacity through the establishment of schools in the country.
The President was speaking to the outgoing Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ali Rifat Koksal.
Turkish prosecutors have called for a three-year prison term for Nigerian international, Emmanuel Emenike after he was implicated for match-fixing scandal which was widespread in Turkey.
Lawyers in Istanbul accused Emenike of faking an injury to avoid playing for his then club Karabukspor against Fenerbahce in May 2011.
It was alleged that Emenike’s agent had beforehand been approached by Fenerbahce officials to arrange the player’s “injury” for the match.
The 25-year-old attacker’s case has been tried separately from a larger trial that has rocked Turkish football and which saw the president of Fenerbahce; Aziz Yildirim, sentenced to six years and three months in prison.
Three people including a child were killed and at least nine others seriously wounded when a mortar bomb fired from Syria hit Turkey’s southeastern border region of Akcakale on Wednesday.
“It landed in the middle of a residential area and it hit a house. Three people died, we learned from the hospital,” Mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan said. “The people who were living in the house died, including one woman and child.”
The conflict in neighboring Syria has affected border areas in the past when stray bullets have flown into Turkish territory. A mortar bomb fired from Syria damaged homes and workplaces in Akcakale last Friday but there were no deaths.
In April, Turkey officially reported an incident to the United Nations in which at least five people, including two Turkish officials, were wounded when cross-border gunfire hit a Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, further west along the frontier.
Turkey beefed up its troop presence and air defenses along its 900-km border after Syria shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet in June.