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.


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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.


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Turkey Urges Islamic World To Review Israel Ties

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                               

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan                                                                  ADEM ALTAN / AFP


Turkey on Tuesday urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel and said it would call an extraordinary summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.

Ankara has reacted with fury to the killing Monday of 59 Palestinians in clashes and protests, on the same day as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in defiance of international outrage.

“Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling party in parliament.

“The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” he added.

Yildirim said that Turkey had called an “extraordinary summit” of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body.

It was not immediately clear what format the meeting would take or who might attend.

A Turkish foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named, said there was to be “a summit in Istanbul on Friday”.

Yildirim said that after the summit at 3:00 pm (1200 GMT) a giant rally would be held at the vast Yenikapi meeting area in Istanbul under the slogan of “Stop the Oppression” to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

“This has nothing to do with party politics. This is to show solidarity, brotherhood and togetherness,” he said.

“The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” added Yildirim.

Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and last year hosted an OIC summit in Istanbul to denounce US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The summit declared East Jerusalem — which the international community regards as annexed by Israel — “as the capital of the State of Palestine” and urged the world to follow suit.

However Turkey also maintains full trade and diplomatic links with the Jewish state after a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a dispute over the deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos.

Ankara on Monday said it was recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Israel for consultations in the wake of the events.


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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.


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Turkey: Omeruo Eager To Bag Win With Kasimpasa In Final Home Game Vs Genclerbirligi

By James Agberebi: Super Eagles defender, Kenneth Omeruo, has urged his club Kasimpasa to go for an outright victory in

By James Agberebi:

Super Eagles defender, Kenneth Omeruo, has urged his club Kasimpasa to go for an outright victory in their final home game of the season in the Turkish Super Lig when they host Genclerbirligi on Saturday, reports.

Kasimpasa will hope to make it back-to-back wins following last weekend’s impressive 5-2 away win against Trabzonspor.

They are currently ninth on 43 points in the 18-team Turkish Super Lig.

Their last league game of the season is away to title-chasing Istanbul Basaksehir.

“Last home game of the season… let’s finish up with a win,” Omeruo wrote on his verified Twitter handle.

Omeruo has made 27 league appearances for Kasimpasa this season, scoring one goal since returning to the club on loan from Chelsea.

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U.S. Pullout From Iran Deal, ‘Opportunity’ For Turkey – Minister

  The Turkish economy minister on Friday said the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal was an “opportunity”


The Turkish economy minister on Friday said the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal was an “opportunity” for Turkey, insisting there would be no let up in a trade with Tehran.

Despite strong protests and last-minute lobbying by his European partners, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would withdraw from the historic nuclear accord.

Trump then vowed that there would be fresh sanctions issued against Iran.

“I see it like this, this is an opportunity for Turkey,” Nihat Zeybekci told state news agency Anadolu, adding: “I will continue to trade with Iran.”

But he said that if there are United Nations decisions related to Iran’s nuclear activities and other issues, “of course” trade would continue “complying with them”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during which both men agreed the US move was a mistake.

Zeybekci criticised the unilateral decision by Washington but added: “I don’t see anything big to worry about at this stage,” noting that other countries including EU members were not of the same opinion as the US.

Relations between Turkey and the US have been strained over several issues including the conviction in January of a Turkish banker who helped Iran evade US sanctions.

Mehmet Haka Atilla was convicted after well-connected Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, arrested in the US in 2016, became a government witness and admitted involvement in a multi-billion-dollar gold-for-oil scheme to subvert US economic sanctions against Iran.

During Zarrab’s testimony late last year, the businessman, who was once close to the ruling party elite, implicated Erdogan and other officials in the scheme.

In a deal negotiated between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the UK, China, France, Russia and the US — plus Germany, Iran agreed in 2015 to freeze its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Turkey and Iran together with Russia have been working closely on the Syrian peace process despite being on opposing sides of the seven-year conflict.

Erdogan on Thursday held a telephone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during which the Turkish leader reiterated Turkey’s commitment to JCPOA (the formal abbreviation for the accord).

The men also touched upon developing bilateral economic relations, a Turkish presidential source said.


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Turkey Resumes Trial Of US Pastor Over Alleged Terrorism

Andrew Brunson, an American pastor held in Turkey for one and a half years in a case that further strained

Andrew Brunson, an American pastor held in Turkey for one and a half years in a case that further strained relations between Ankara and Washington, is to go on trial on April 16 on terror-related charges.  STR / DHA / AFP


The Turkish trial resumed on Monday of US pastor Andrew Brunson who faces up to 35 years in jail on terror and spy charges in a case condemned by the United States. 

Brunson, leader of a small Protestant Christian church in the western city of Izmir named “Yeniden Dirilis” (Resurrection) and described by US President Donald Trump as a “fine gentleman”, was detained in October 2016.

Turkish prosecutors accuse him of activities on behalf of the group led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen — who Ankara says is behind a failed 2016 coup — and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both the Gulen movement and the PKK are banned by Turkey as terror groups.

Brunson, who has lived and worked in Turkey for over two decades, is also accused of espionage for political or military purposes.

He rejected all the accusations directed against him during the first hearing in the town of Aliaga, north of Izmir last month, and from time to time broke down in tears.

“I haven’t done anything against Turkey. On the contrary I love Turkey. I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years,” he told the judge.

US embassy charge d’affaires Philip Kosnett as well as Sandra Jolley, vice chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, were present at Monday’s hearing.

The case has further inflamed tensions between Turkey and the United States. Trump said the pastor was on trial and being prosecuted for “no reason” — in a strong tweet after the Turkish court ruled to keep him in jail.

“They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is. Hopefully, he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!” Trump said.

The State Department then said it had seen “no credible evidence” that Brunson was guilty of a crime.

Top US officials have raised the pastor’s case in meetings with Turkish authorities and have called for Brunson’s release.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will soon meet with US counterpart Mike Pompeo in Washington, said Brunson’s case was a legal one.

“They say ‘the government should release him’. Is it up to me?” Cavusoglu told the private CNN Turk broadcaster in an interview on Sunday.

“This is a decision the judiciary will make,” he said.

Turkish-US relations are already strained over American backing for a Kurdish militia in Syria which Turkey says is linked to the PKK, as well as the jailing of two employees from American missions in Turkey.

In September, Erdogan suggested that Turkey could free Brunson if Washington handed over Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania — an offer brushed off by Washington.


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Pogba’s Brother ‘Attacked’ By Team-Mates In Turkey

Manchester United’s Midfielder, Paul Pogba  Oli SCARFF / AFP   Florentin Pogba, the older brother of Manchester United star Paul, was

Manchester United’s Midfielder, Paul Pogba  Oli SCARFF / AFP


Florentin Pogba, the older brother of Manchester United star Paul, was attacked by angry Genclerbirligi team-mates after abruptly walking off the pitch on Sunday and leaving his side a man down, Turkish media reported.

Pogba was confronted in the changing room by several team-mates after the 1-0 league defeat at home to Antalyaspor, according to the Dogan news agency and Fanatik sports daily.

Security officers and club officials reportedly had to intervene to usher Pogba to safety.

The defender removed his shirt and stormed off the pitch in the 88th minute with his team down a goal after an argument with a team-mate.

Genclerbirligi had already made their three substitutions, forcing the home side to finish the match with just 10 men.

The loss means Genclerbirligi are almost certain to be relegated from the Turkish top flight with five points between them and safety and just two matches of the season remaining.

Pogba, 27, signed an 18-month contract with the Ankara-based club in January after spending most of his career at Saint-Etienne.


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Turkey Ruling Party Confirms Erdogan As Presidential Candidate

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan                               

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan                                                      DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP


Turkey’s ruling party on Thursday confirmed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its candidate to run in snap polls in June, while the main opposition party has yet to make a nomination.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Erdogan, who leads the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), would be its candidate as part of an alliance with other political parties including the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“Our candidate has long been determined by the people. Our candidate is the people’s candidate, our candidate is a man of the people,” Yildirim said, as he named Erdogan.

Erdogan, 64, was first elected president in August 2014.

His candidature will be formally submitted to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Friday by Yildirim and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli.

Earlier this year, the AKP and MHP agreed to run together in the parliamentary and presidential elections, which had been scheduled for November 2019.

Erdogan surprised many last month when he announced that the polls, which will transform the country’s political system, would instead be held on June 24.

After these elections, constitutional changes to create an executive presidency will come into force after they were approved narrowly in an April 2017 referendum.

AKP spokesman Mahir Unal later on Thursday told reporters that the ultra-nationalist Great Union Party (BBP) would also join the AKP-MHP alliance.

In a bid to challenge Erdogan and his alliance, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is set to announce a four-party alliance of its own with the newest Iyi (Good) Party and smaller Democrat and Saadet (Felicity) Parties.

Although Iyi Party leader and former interior minister Meral Aksener has registered to run against Erdogan to be the next president of Turkey, the CHP has yet to name its candidate.

Speculation rose on Thursday that prominent CHP MP Muharrem Ince would be the party’s presidential candidate.

Ince gave no indication that he would be the candidate but according to state news agency Anadolu, his CHP colleague Ilhan Kesici said he had already called Ince to congratulate him on being chosen.

A formal announcement by the CHP on its candidate is expected on Friday morning.


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Turkey: 28 Soldiers Get Life Sentence Over Alleged Coup Attempt

Soldiers numbering 28 were handed life sentences on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in three separate cases related to a failed

Soldiers numbering 28 were handed life sentences on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in three separate cases related to a failed military coup in 2016, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The soldiers were charged with “violating and attempting to overthrow the constitution’’ in relation to incidents in Istanbul and the south-eastern towns of Mus and Sirnak during the failed putsch on July 15, 2016, according to Anadolu.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency, which was imposed after the coup attempt.

This week, the Turkish parliament will vote on extending the state of emergency by another three months, which – if completed – would mean the country has been under emergency rule for two years.

More than 50,000 people are under arrest in connection with the coup, and some 150,000 people have been purged from the civil service and the military.

Read more at TheNewsGuru

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