Erdogan Congratulates Maduro After Controversial Election Win

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP   Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has congratulated his Venezuelan

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

 

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has congratulated his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on winning a new term in office, the Turkish presidency said Wednesday, after an election widely condemned by the international community.

Erdogan, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is among very few prominent world leaders to have congratulated Maduro on his victory in a poll that the United States has denounced as a “sham”.

He phoned Maduro during the night to pass on his congratulations, a Turkish presidential source was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu news agency.

Erdogan, who himself faces elections at home on June 24, also expressed his determination to develop relations between Turkey and Venezuela in all areas, the report added.

The US has already tightened sanctions against Venezuela after the poll, which Maduro won with 68 percent of the vote but was boycotted by the main opposition parties and had a record abstention rate.

In response Caracas ordered the expulsion of the top two US diplomats in Venezuela, charging it was the victim of a “political and financial lynching”.

The European Union said it was also weighing new sanctions after the election was marred by “irregularities” and failed to meet international standards.

The 14 countries of the Lima Group — which includes Argentina, Brazil and Canada — are also refusing to recognise the election result.

But at a time of growing strains between Turkey and the West, Erdogan and Maduro have been forging an increasingly strong alliance.

On a state visit to Ankara in October, Maduro hailed a “new era” in relations with Turkey, saying both countries believed in a different, multi-polar world.

He was also a surprise non-Muslim guest at a summit of Islamic leaders organised by Erdogan in December 2017 to denounce the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Earlier this month, photographs were published on social media of Maduro wearing a medieval hat and a giant ring from the popular Turkish historical television drama Dirilis Ertugrul about the origins of the Ottoman Empire.

AFP

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Netanyahu Has Palestinian ‘Blood On His Hands’, Says Erdogan

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                               

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                                                           DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday launched a bitter attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he led an “apartheid state” and had Palestinian blood on his hands.

“Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenceless people’s lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter, after Netanyahu lashed out at his criticism of the killing by Israeli forces of dozens of Palestinians on the Gaza border on Monday.

“He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey,” Erdogan added.

AFP

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Erdogan In Britain For Talks With ‘Valuable’ Ally

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                               

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                                                                   ADEM ALTAN / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Britain was a “valuable and reliable” strategic ally after he arrived in the UK on Sunday ahead of talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Erdogan said he wanted to boost trade and security ties between London and Ankara, with Britain preparing to leave the European Union in March next year.

The three-day visit will see him spell out Turkey’s foreign policy strategy in a keynote speech on Monday before meeting May on Tuesday.

After arriving, Ergodan spoke Sunday at the annual Tatlidil Turkish-British forum, where he said he wanted to combine the UK’s financial power with Turkey’s operational resources.

“I see the strategic partnership between Turkey and the UK as a necessity, rather than a simple choice, for the interests of the two countries,” he said, in a speech broadcast by Turkey’s state-run TRT television.

“The cooperation we have with the UK is well beyond any mechanism that we established with other partners.”

“The UK is a strategic ally that we find valuable and reliable. We are ready to cooperate more with the UK in the post-Brexit in every field.”

Erdogan is campaigning for snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24.

He has drawn controversy for electioneering in Europe, where there are some three million Turks who are eligible to vote in Turkish elections.

The expatriate vote is generally a source of support for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The early election is set to accelerate Turkey’s transition to the new presidential system with full executive powers which critics fear will lead to one-man rule.

May is under pressure from parliamentarians and rights groups to raise civil liberties issues with Erdogan.

‘Climate of fear’ 

“The Turkish authorities have deliberately set about dismantling civil society, locking up human rights defenders, shutting down organisations and creating a suffocating climate of fear,” said Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK director.

The group said Erdogan’s nationwide crackdown has resulted in mass arrests, a silencing of activists in the country and the near-destruction of Turkey’s legal system.

May’s spokesman said: “The visit is an opportunity for the UK and Turkey to demonstrate our close bilateral relationship and to have important discussions about issues of shared interest.”

It is not known if Erdogan will be meeting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in 2016 won a prize that called for rude poems about Erdogan in solidarity with a German comedian facing prosecution for doing the same.

He won the prize for a limerick about a “young fellow from Ankara” who “sowed his wild oats / With the help of a goat / But he didn’t even stop to thankera.”

Speaking to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport before leaving for Britain, Erdogan said the economy, security, defence and the fight against terror were the priority areas in the two NATO allies’ relationship.

There are growing concerns over Turkey’s economic health, notably due to a wide current account deficit and fears the economy is overheating.

AFP

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United States Will ‘Lose’ Over Iran Deal Pullout – Erdogan

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                               

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                                                                  ADEM ALTAN / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said that the United States will “lose in the end” for withdrawing from the landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled the United States out of the agreement and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, prompting European powers to scramble to rescue the landmark 2015 pact.

Erdogan told CNN International in an interview to be broadcast in full on Wednesday evening that he feared fresh crises would break out in the region as a result of the move.

“We don’t need new crises in the region,” he said, according to a partial transcript on the CNN website published late Tuesday.

But he said that it was Washington who risked losing as Tehran would fulfil its side of the bargain and stick to the accord.

“The US would be the ones to lose,” he said.

“Iran will never compromise on this agreement and will abide by this agreement to the end… that’s what I think. However, the US will lose in the end.”

Erdogan rebuked Turkey’s NATO ally for ripping up the agreement, which was signed under the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama.

“This is not how the international mechanisms work,” he said.

“International covenants and international conventions cannot be annulled at will. If any document bears your signature, you need to respect that. You need to abide by that,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

Erdogan said even if the US may be able to enjoy windfalls from rising oil prices as a result of the move it would have a negative effect on the world economy.

“Many of the countries, in poverty, will be hit even harder and deeper,” he said.

Turkish-US relations are already strained over US backing for a Kurdish militia in Syria which Ankara says is linked to the outlawed PKK group, as well as the jailing of an American pastor in Turkey.

Ankara also has a sometimes troubled relationship with Tehran, but the two sides have been working closely — along with Russia — over the last year in a bid to bring peace to Syria.

AFP

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Erdogan Expresses Worry Over Alleged ‘Arm Wrestling’ On Syria

FILE COPY Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.   DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP   President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey

FILE COPY Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.   DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey was worried by the “arm wrestling” of world powers over Syria, as tensions soared between Washington and Moscow after threats of possible US air strikes.

“We are extremely worried that some countries confident of their military power are turning Syria into a scene for arm wrestling,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara after Washington and Moscow traded accusations.

His comments came after US President Donald Trump warned Moscow on Wednesday that US missiles “will be coming” to Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria which reportedly killed dozens.

Erdogan said he would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about “how we stop this chemical massacre” after the suspected attack.

A Turkish presidential source later confirmed the call had taken place but said only that the two men “exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria” and agreed to maintain contact.

Ankara appears keen to keep its distance from one of the worst outbreaks of tensions since the Cold War between its NATO ally Washington and increasingly close partner Moscow.

Erdogan’s comments echoed those of his Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who called on Russia and the United States on Wednesday to stop “street fighting” on Syria.

‘Assad’s black mark’ 

While Russia, alongside Iran, has been supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey has repeatedly called for his ouster and supported Syrian rebels.

But Turkey and Russia in recent months have put their differences aside and have been working closely to find a political solution to the conflict.

Last week, Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were hosted by Erdogan in Ankara for a tripartite summit to discuss the Syrian conflict.

The alleged chemical attack in rebel-held Douma near Damascus on April 7 sparked international outrage and warnings of possible military action.

Turkey’s foreign ministry has said it strongly suspects Assad was to blame.

“God willing, the (world’s) collective conscience will act together to end this crisis for th sake of the innocent children massacred in the chemical attack in Douma,” Erdogan vowed.

Erdogan said the Assad regime already had “a black mark on its track record” after seven years of civil war in Syria.

Without naming the countries, he appeared to lash out both at Russia for backing Assad and the United States for helping the Syrian Kurdish group the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey considers a terror group.

“Those who support the regime of murderer Assad are making a mistake. Those who support the PYD terror group are also making a mistake. Until the end, we will fight against both these mistakes.”

AFP

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Perpetrators Of Ghouta Massacre Will Pay ‘Heavy Price’ – Erdogan

FILE COPY Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  Photo Credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on

FILE COPY Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  Photo Credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday vowed those behind the killings of civilians in the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta would pay a “heavy price after an alleged chemical assault killed dozens.

“I curse those who carried out this massacre. Whoever has done this, the perpetrators will be brought to account and certainly pay a heavy price,” Erdogan told a meeting of his party in parliament.

The Turkish foreign ministry at the weekend said there was a “strong suspicion” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was responsible for the attack.

But Erdogan on Tuesday steered clear of criticising Assad, only noting his telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is the chief ally of the Damascus regime along with Iran.

“I spoke with Putin yesterday (Monday), talks will continue today and tomorrow,” he said.

The Turkish leader on Monday expressed “concern” to Putin over the attacks in Eastern Ghouta, the Turkish presidency said.

Rescue workers said dozens of civilians had been killed in a chlorine gas attack on Douma — claims denied by Assad’s regime and its ally Russia.

Ankara and Moscow have been on the two opposing sides of the war in Syria but despite their differences, both countries have worked closely in recent months for a political solution in Syria.

AFP

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Turkey Won’t Act Against Russia ‘Based On Allegation’ – Erdogan

FILE PHOTO Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint news conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister, European Union President

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

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signalled Turkey has no plans to follow its NATO and EU allies in expelling Russian diplomats following a spy poisoning in Britain blamed on Moscow, in comments published on Wednesday.

Erdogan, who has forged an increasingly close alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Turkey could not take steps against Moscow “based on an allegation”.

More than two dozen governments — the majority European Union and NATO members — expelled nearly 150 suspected Russian spies after the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

“Just because some countries took a step based on an allegation, we cannot decide to take the same step,” Erdogan said in comments to Turkish journalists published by the Hurriyet newspaper and others.

“There is no question that we must act completely like them,” added Erdogan, who earlier this week met EU chiefs for a crunch summit in Bulgaria.

London and its allies were quick to put the blame on Russia, which denies any involvement.

The discovery that Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok was used against the pair and Russia’s record on targeting dissidents have put the spotlight on the Kremlin.

The Turkish foreign ministry on Monday issued its first statement on the poisoning — over three weeks after the attack — condemning the use of a chemical agent but without mentioning Russia.

Putin is due to arrive in Turkey next week for a two-day visit that will also include a three-way summit on Syria with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani aimed at strengthening cooperation.

To the alarm of Brussels, ties between Moscow and Ankara have flourished in recent months while Turkey is set to buy Russia’s S-400 air defence systems.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Monday stressed the historical regional rivals have a “positive and good relationship right now”.

Moscow and Ankara endured a severe crisis over the shooting down of a Russian warplane over Syria in 2015. But analysts say that Erdogan has now made a strong relationship with Moscow a pillar of Turkish foreign policy.

AFP

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United States Drops Assault Charges Against Erdogan’s Bodyguards

(File copy) United States’ President, Donald Trump (L) and Turkish President, Recep Erdogan (R)    Photo: AFP     The

(File copy) United States’ President, Donald Trump (L) and Turkish President, Recep Erdogan (R)    Photo: AFP

 

 

The United States has quietly dropped assault charges against 11 bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who were accused of attacking protesters in Washington last year.

The Superior Court in Washington confirmed Thursday that charges against four were dropped last November and another seven on February 14.

No reasons were given for government prosecutors’ decision to seek dismissal of the cases.

But an official with close knowledge of the case said: “the decision was made for evidentiary reasons,” suggesting there were questions over the identification of those involved in the May 16, 2017, melee.

Nineteen members of Erdogan’s security detail were indicted over the daylight attack in front of the Turkish ambassador’s residence, which took place while Erdogan was in Washington to meet President Donald Trump.

Two of them were US citizens, who pleaded guilty in December to assault charges. Two were Canadians, who were charged but have not been arrested.

Fifteen others were Turkish citizens who were a part of Erdogan’s entourage and took part in the attack, which saw peaceful protesters kicked and beaten by the Turkish security team.

Several were sent to the hospital for serious injuries.

Much of the assault was filmed by bystanders, and police identified the suspects in part by the video recordings.

The indictments raised the temperature of already heated relations between the two countries, with Erdogan calling the case a “scandalous demonstration of how American justice works.”

The US meanwhile froze a deal to sell $1.2 million of small arms to the Turkish president’s bodyguard unit.

According to the Washington court, charges were dropped against eleven of the 15 Turkish bodyguards, while four others remain under indictment.

The first batch of dismissed cases came on the eve of the visit to Washington of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim last November.

The second batch took place a day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Erdogan in Ankara.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday that the department “had no role in the decision to drop those charges.”

“That was entirely coming out of the Department of Justice,” she said.

She said Tillerson knew of the decision before he met Erdogan, but “the timing was coincidental.”

AFP

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French President, Macron Tells Erdogan Syria Ceasefire Must Apply To Afrin

French President, Emmanuel Macron   Credit: politico.eu.com   French President Emmanuel Macron told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday

EU Door Stays Open To UK Until Brexit Concluded - Macron
French President, Emmanuel Macron   Credit: politico.eu.com

 

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday that a proposed UN ceasefire for Syria must be applied across the country, including in Afrin where Turkey is waging an offensive against a Kurdish militia.

During a telephone call between the two leaders, Macron said the 30-day ceasefire “involved all Syrian territory, including in Afrin, and must be put into effect everywhere and by everyone without delay,” the French presidency said.

AFP

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