Turkey dismisses 227 judges, prosecutors.

Turkey’s top judicial body on Monday dismissed 227 judges and prosecutors who are accused of having links to a cleric blamed for last year’s coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Since the failed coup in July, 2016, 3,886 members of the judiciary have been expelled.

The government blames the putsch on Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish preacher and one-time ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his followers.

Mr. Gulen denies the accusations.

Turkey has jailed more than 43,000 people since July on allegations of ties to the Gulenist movement and fired tens of thousands of civil servants and members of the security forces.

Trials have started in the cases of soldiers who took part in the coup, with some denying they have links to Gulen, according to local media reports from the courts.

Turkey heads to a referendum on April 16 in which voters will decide on whether to expand Mr. Erdogan’s powers.

Opposition groups warn checks and balances would be eroded.

 

Source: NAN

Turkey arrests 248 people over social media posts

Turkey has arrested 248 people of the 948 initially detained over posts on social media that allegedly were supportive of terrorist acts or insulted leaders, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

 

Some 700 people were released under judicial control, the report said.

 

The government actively encourages people to report social media accounts that either insult or mock leaders or voice support for various organisations.

 

In December, Anadolu reported that Turkish authorities opened investigations into 3,710 people over social media posts, while 1,656 suspects were formally arrested, over the previous six months.

 

The latest report noted the double suicide bombing in December in Istanbul which targeted security forces outside a football stadium, killing more than 45 people, including several civilians, saying some arrests pertained to comments on this attack.

 

Source: NAN

Turkey puts Fethullah Gulen, 269 others on trial over coup bid.

Turkey on Monday opened the biggest trial yet over the failed July coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, trying 270 suspects including, in absentia, the alleged mastermind Fethullah Gulen.

The suspects, 152 of whom are in pre-trial detention, include ex high-ranking military officials like former Aegean Army Command Chief of Staff Major General Memduh Hakbilen, the state news agency Anadolu reported.

The “number one” suspect is US-based Islamic preacher Gulen who is charged with ordering the failed July 15 coup, an accusation he strongly denies.

Those on trial in the western city of Izmir face multiple charges including being a member of the “armed terror group”.

Turkey has repeatedly asked the United States to extradite Gulen, who has been living in exile there since 1999.

The previous administration of Barack Obama had insisted that a possibly slow legal process should take its course but Ankara is hoping for a more eager response to its extradition request from new President Donald Trump.

Other charges against the suspects include seeking to prevent parliament performing its duty as well as attempting to remove the constitutional order, the agency said.

The suspects face life imprisonment if convicted in a trial expected to take two months, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

It said Izmir was believed to be one of the main plotting hubs of the coup with the Aegean city used as a “logistical base”.

A special courtroom was built to accommodate the size of the trial and security was tight ahead of the hearing.

Intensive security measures included a drone above the courthouse, bomb-sniffing dogs and commando units.

Previous trials have opened in Istanbul and smaller cases in other provinces in what is expected to be the largest legal process in the country’s history.

Some 43,000 people are under arrest ahead of trial in a large-scale crackdown within a state of emergency declared after the coup which remains in place.

In December, 29 police officers went on trial in Istanbul accused of failing to defend Erdogan while 62 rebel soldiers are being tried over claims they attempted to take over Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the night of July 15.

 

Source: AFP

The Istanbul attack marks a new age of terror in Turkey.

The heinous terror attack in the heart of Istanbul, targeting more than 500 guests celebrating New Year’s Eve in a popular nightclub on the Bosphorus, marked the peak of a series of massacres that has shaken Turkey to its core over the past year. These have partly been attacks against security forces claimed by offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK); and partly attacks by jihadi groups, imported from Syria.

The bloodbath has now been claimed by Islamic State. But – and it is a big but – there was a particular significance to the target. Jihadi terror has previously targeted Kurds, Alevis and leftists in Turkey, leaving hundreds dead. But, for the first time, a venue representing the secular lifestyle of the urban upper-middle classes was chosen. And the attack came at a critical time when Turkey’s ruling AKP party had made the basic secular tenet of republican Turkey vulnerable.

Weeks before New Year’s Eve, banners were hung by pro-government Islamist organisations in Turkey’s cities, telling people that “Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas”, followed by photos depicting groups of young men in local dress, chasing Santa Claus with guns and knives.

The icing on the cake was the sermon by Turkey’s powerful directorate of religious affairs (Diyanet) – which represents the pious Sunni majority (roughly 70% of Turkey’s population), though it is financed by all taxpayers.

The statement told Turks not to waste money on new year celebrations. Secular Turks saw it as an undue intrusion on their lifestyles. But the sermon had already encouraged widespread hate speech on social media in the final days of 2016, including death threats towards those planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve. (For this reason, Mehmet Sönmez, the head of Diyanet, is now being asked to resign by the pro-Kurdish HDP party for “incitement to hatred”, probably to no avail.)

Remarkably, no minister or bureaucrat has resigned; nor were any removed from their posts, despite the fact that the death toll of the seemingly endless series of terror attacks since July 2015 – when the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an terminated peace talks with the PKK Kurdish militant group in reaction to PKK-linked violence – has risen to nearly 1,800, out of which more than 600 are civilians. The government’s arrogant disregard of calls for resignations raises suspicions that the AKP will never leave power peacefully, adding to the tension felt by many Turkish people.

While Turkey has seen several mass killings over the past 18 months, it was during the second half of 2016 that the acts of terror somehow became routine: while the PKK targeted security forces en masse, jihadi terror crept into major urban areas. The pattern clearly shows that the state’s intelligence network is now at its weakest.

Observers claim there is a correlation with a massive purge of the security apparatus that Erdo?an launched before the failed coup of July 2015. The ruling AKP blamed that exclusively on military officers affiliated with Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive cleric based in Pennsylvania, although outside experts largely question this official narrative. This “institutional cleansing” of otherwise highly qualified officers who were indiscriminately labelled as Gülenists led to hasty replacements. The suspicions are that their posts were filled by recruits sympathetic to jihadi movements, or, at best, people unqualified for the job. The Turkish state’s security deficit leaves the country vulnerable to further acts of destruction.

The terror in Istanbul left few in doubt over the connection with Syria. Less than 24 hours after the massacre, it was Numan Kurtulmu?, the deputy prime minister and spokesman of the AKP government, who said: “It is a message against Turkish cross-border operations. The operations in Syria obviously stirred unease among terror organisations. We will take measures at home and across the border.”

The deadly equation is apparent. Once seen as a “regime changer” in Syria, Turkey has long been far too supportive of murky elements of radical Islamism, partly in an attempt to realise a neo-Ottoman dream of turning Syria into a Sunni-dominated hinterland and partly to use them in a combat to prevent Syrian Kurds to establish autonomy on the Turkey-Syrian border. And now, Turkey has fully reversed its Syria policy, ceasing its logistical support for the Syrian opposition to Bashar al-Assad, as a result of shrewd Russian moves and the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara.

Turkey will inevitably come into greater conflict with Isis and al-Qaida elements from now on. Murder in Ankara and the bloodbath in Istanbul may only be overtures that tear apart Turkey’s already explosive social faultlines. The battle of al-Bab, and the imminent siege of Idlib, both very close to the Turkish border, promise more trouble ahead.

UPDATE: Russian Ambassador Shot in Turkey is Dead, Shooter Claims Revenge for Aleppo.

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is reportedly dead after he was shot by a gunman at an art gallery in Ankara. According to reports, several others were injured in the attack, which comes as protests are taking place in the country over Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.

 

 

According to the BBC, the gunman, who was dressed in a suit, shouted, “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria,” and added: “Allahu Akhbar.” Karlov was speaking at an event (“How Turkey sees Russia”) at the gallery when he was shot from behind and collapsed.

 

 

CNN Turk reported that shots could still be heard from the area where Karlov was taken down, and that a shootout ensued between police and the attacker. According to his official bio, Karlov was an experienced diplomat who previously served in Russia’s embassies in North Korea and South Korea. He was in his current post since July 2013, and was married and had a son.

BREAKING: Russian ambassador to Turkey shot, injured in Ankara – Report

The Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been shot and badly injured in Ankara while attending an art exhibition on Monday, state-broadcaster TRT reported.

 

The ambassador was attacked shortly after giving an opening speech at the event, TRT said, adding that three shots were fired.

 

Police have launched an operation in the area.

 

Russia and Turkey patched up rocky relations over the summer and have recently been working together on the evacuations from Aleppo, despite supporting opposite sides in the Syrian civil war.

Man, 24, docked over alleged theft of 100 live turkeys worth N1.5m

A 24-year-old  man, Joseph Onafusi, was on Wednesday brought  before an Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan for allegedly stealing 100 live turkeys and 40 male cockerels.

Onafusi, of an unknown address, faced a three-count charge of conspiracy, false entering and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Sunday Fatola, told the court that accused on Dec. 9, at about 2: 34 p.m., allegedly entered a house belonging to one Olufemi Fabunmi, to commit the offences.

“Onafusi, and others now at large, between February and November at about 11:30p.m., stole 100 live turkeys valued at N1.5m, property of one Mr Abiodun Ezekiel of Atere Layout, Agara, Odo Eja, Ibadan.

“The accused and his accomplice also on Dec. 3, at about 6:45 p.m., stole 40 male cockerels valued at N260,000 property of Omosola Poultry Farm of Ologede, New Garage, Ibadan,’’  said Fatola.

The offences contravened Sections 390 (9) and 412 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol. II Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The accused, however, pleaded guilty to the charge of false entering and pleaded not guilty to counts two and three, bordering on stealing.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Abdulateef Adebisi, granted the accused bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

Adebisi ordered that the sureties must be a blood relation of the accused.

He adjourned the case till Jan. 6, for hearing.

Turkey Reinstates 6,000 Teachers Suspended After Coup – Ministry.

Turkish authorities have reinstated over 6,000 teachers suspended after the July failed coup accused of terror links, the education ministry said on Friday.

 

“6,007 personnel suspended over links to terrorist organisations have returned to their jobs,” the ministry said on Twitter.

 

Tens of thousands of teachers were suspended or sacked over links to Kurdish militants and coup plotters since July 15 when a rogue faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

EU Vote: Erdogan threatens to open Turkey borders to migrants.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday threatened to throw open Turkey’s borders to illegal migrants after the European Parliament voted to back a freeze in membership talks with Ankara.

“Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,” Erdogan told the European Union (EU) in a speech in Istanbul.

On March 18, Ankara and Brussels forged a deal for Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to Europe — an accord that has largely been successful in reducing numbers crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.

 

Turkey agreed to step up maritime and land border controls in exchange for incentives on its long-stalled membership bid, including visa-free travel for its citizens and an acceleration of accession talks.

 

However with an October target passing and no apparent progress on the visa issue and accession talks stalled, Ankara has stepped up accusations that Brussels was not keeping its side of the bargain.

 

The latest setback was the vote on Thursday by the European Parliament to freeze membership talks, a move prompted by alarm over Turkey’s crackdown after an attempted putsch.

 

But the resolution is non-binding and has not been backed by the European Commission or almost any member states.

 

Erdogan said that the EU had cried out for help in 2015, as tens of thousands of migrants massed at the border crossing with EU member Bulgaria.

 

“You began to ask us ‘what will we do if Turkey opens its borders’?” he asked.

 

Around one million migrants from poverty-stricken countries and refugees from wars crossed into Europe in 2015, raising fears of a social crisis in the EU and strengthening the hand of right-wing nationalist parties.

Turkey detains 73 academics

Police detained 73 academics at Yildiz Teknik University in Istanbul on Friday as part of an ongoing crackdown in the wake of the July coup attempt by a faction in the military.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said the 73 were part of the 103 academics it issued warrants for as some of the suspects in the last part of the probe.

It said their arrest was in part based on information that the academics had used ByLock, an instant messaging application.

The office said that government saw the app as a tool that was used by Gulenists in the period before the coup attempt.

The government blames the coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a preacher based in the U.S, who was once allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and has launched mass arrests and purges of his alleged followers.

Gulen has since denied the charges.

The government has dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants and more than 20,000 from the military including cadets.

Moreover, some 35,000 people are jailed, while more than 6,000 have lost their jobs since the coup.

At the same time, the government has stepped up measures against other opponents, including media outlets and Kurdish groups, with more than 100 journalists behind bars along with 10 members of parliament from the pro-Kurdish peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Ankara has taken over 34 local governments in the mostly Kurdish south-east of the country, deposing elected mayors on terrorism charges.

The legal HDP denies links to armed groups and calls for a return to peace talks to end the conflict in the country.

Anger in Turkey over bill to quash child sex convictions

A bill to quash the convictions of men for child sex assaults if they marry their victim being debated by Turkey’s parliament provoked fury on Friday with critics accusing it of encouraging child rape.

The government angrily lashed out at the criticism, saying it was a crude distortion of an attempt to grapple with the legal consequences of child marriage in the country.

The bill was approved in an initial reading on Thursday evening and will be voted on again in a second debate in the coming days.

If passed, the law would allow the quashing the convictions of men convicted of assaulting a minor if the act was committed without “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” and if the aggressor “marries the victim”.

The bill has been brought to parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) but sparked immediate alarm among the opposition.

“The AKP is pushing through a text which pardons those who marry the child that they raped,” said an MP for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ozgur Ozel.

On Twitter, the hashtag #TecavuzMesrulastirilamaz (Rape Cannot be Legitimised) became a top-trending topic as users took to social media to express their anger.

But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag denied that the bill had anything to do with legitimising rape, saying critics were “distorting” the issue on purpose.

He argued the bill is aimed at helping couples who fall foul of the law because they have underage but consensual sex and want to marry.

“When a child is then born from this non-official union, the doctor warns the prosecutor and the man is sent to prison, putting the child and mother into financial difficulties.”

He said marriages involving minors were “unfortunately a reality” in Turkey but the men involved “were not rapists or sexual aggressors.” He said the measure would affect some 3,000 families.

The latest controversy comes after Turkey’s constitutional court in July annulled a criminal code provision punishing as “sexual abuse” all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15.

Defenders of that law argued it made a distinction between cases of sexual acts involving a young teenager or a toddler.

The legal age of consent in Turkey is 18 but child marriage is widespread in parts of the country, especially the southeast.

Turkey seeks better relationship with Nigeria.

Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, says Turkey will continue to strengthen its bilateral relationship with Nigeria being its largest trading partner in Sub Saharan Africa.

Cakil made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when he paid a visit to the Special Assistance to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Cakil said: “My aim of coming here is to improve the Turkish-Nigeria relations in all its ramifications.

“Nigeria is a very strategic partner of Turkey in sub Saharan Africa.

“We consider Turkish-Nigeria relationship very strategic and important.

“We have been importing substantial amount of crude oil from Nigeria.

“Nigeria is number one Turkey’s trading partners since 2014 in Sub Saharan Africa.

“Nigeria and Turkey have very cordial and good relations.

“The number of Turkish companies investing in Nigeria is increasing steadily every year.

“Also, Nigerian companies have very strong interest in Turkish market.

“The Turkish Embassy in Nigeria has been there since 1962.

“So Nigeria, by all standards enjoys very cordial relations with Turkey.”

Cacil said most Nigerians in Turkey were good and law abiding, adding that there were so many Nigerian footballers, basketball, volleyball players in Turkey.

While answering questions from newsmen on the students who were detained in Turkey, the Ambassador said over 3,000 Nigerian students were in the country and only six were interrogated and released.

Cacil said: “First, two Nigerians PHD students were arrested, taken to court and the court released them.

“Another four were arrested by the Turkish Police, but were subsequently released by the relevant authority.

“There are no 50 Nigerian students detained anywhere in Turkey.

“Only six were arrested and had since been released.”

Cacil said the President of the National Association of Nigerian Student had visited Ankara, where he interacted with Nigerian students and the issue had since been laid to rest.

He said Nigerian students in Turkey had excellent academic as some of them won scholarships.

Cakil said: “There are approximately 3,000 students studying in Turkey, though I don’t know the number of Nigerians living in Turkey, but there are a lot of Nigerians doing well in business in Turkey.

“There are some of them who study in Turkey and are now engineers working there.”

Welcoming the Ambassador, Dabiri-Erewa said Nigeria looked forwards to stronger relationship between Turkey and Nigeria and urged more Turkish investors to show interest in Nigeria.

Dabiri-Erewa said: “President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to work with countries around the world, strengthen relationship with them and wherever we have Nigerian in the Diaspora, we encourage them to be law abiding.

“We will also ensure that the welfare of Nigerian students and professionals anywhere are taken care of but we would not encourage criminality.

“If anyone is caught in any act of crime he would have to pay severely for the penalty of the crime.

“So, we want to encourage Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they are or found themselves.”

Turkey detains opposition HDP leaders Demirtas and Yuksekdag.

Turkey has detained two co-leaders and nine other MPs of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), according to the country’s interior ministry.

The ministry said on Friday detention orders for 13 MPs were issued, but only 11 were detained as two were abroad.

The HDP is the third largest party in the 550-seat Turkish parliament with 59 seats and the main political representative of the Kurdish minority.

HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas was detained at his home in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, while Figen Yuksekdag was held in the capital Ankara, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Anadolu reported the MPs were detained for not appearing in court to testify for ongoing terrorism-related investigations.

The security operations took place after midnight, with Demirtas tweeting at 1:30am local time (22:30 GMT) that police had arrived at his home and he was about to be detained.

Police also raided and searched the party’s head office in central Ankara. Television images showed party officials arguing with police during the raid.

Hundreds of detentions have been made in recent months since the government acquired state of emergency powers after a failed coup on July 15.

Authorities say they have been going after anyone suspected of links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based religious leader accused of orchestrating the coup attempt, as well as the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Critics, though, say the government is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle all dissent.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the US, the EU and Turkey. The HDP denies that.

Immunity lifted

Demirtas and Yuksekdag had been targeted by several separate investigations in recent months but this is the first time that either has been detained. Their detentions follow a resolution by parliament earlier in the year alllowing the immunity of MPs to be lifted.

“HDP call international community to react against Erdogan Regime’s coup,” the party said on Twitter, referring to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Access to social media, including Twitter and messaging services, such as WhatsApp, was jammed during and aftermath of the raids, with some in Turkey saying they used VPNs to bypass the blocks.

Earlier this week Gultan Kisanak, the HDP mayor of the country’s biggest Kurdish majority city, Diyarbakir, along with co-mayor Firat Anli, was arrested over alleged membership in the PKK. The government appointed a local Ankara district administrator to take over Kisanak’s duties.

In September, the government similarly removed 28 mayors and other administrators, mostly from the HDP, and appointed trustees in their place.

Scores of opposition media organisations have been shut down since July, including pro-Kurdish ones such as IMC TV, the Dicle news agency and the Ozgur Gundem newspaper.

Turkish Army kills up to 200 YPG fighters in Aleppo.

The Turkish military said its fighter jets hit Syrian Kurdish targets in northern Syria, and killed up to 200 fighters, according to state media.

The jets hit 18 targets in Maarrat Umm Hawsh, a region north of the city of Aleppo, the official news agency Anadolu said.

Quoting the army, the report claimed that between 160 and 200 fighters from the YPG (People’s Protection Units) group were killed in the raids on Wednesday night.

A Syrian-Kurdish forces leader, however, said that while Turkish jets and artillery were attacking, no more than 10 fighters had been killed so far.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said at least nine YPG fighters were confirmed killed and 26 people were injured in some 20 raids.

Anadolu said nine buildings used as YPG headquarters, meeting points, shelters and weapons depots were destroyed as well as four vehicles.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the death toll.

The Anadolu report said the YPG had attacked Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. However, the Observatory said it had no information on such an incident.

In August, Turkey launched a ground operation in northern Syria, targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group and the YPG, and continues to maintain a military presence in the neighbouring country.

The US considers the YPG to be a key force in the fight against ISIL in Syria.

Turkey says the group is an extension of its own outlawed Kurdish fighters – the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – who have carried out a series of deadly attacks in Turkey over the past year.

US-Turkey tensions

Tensions between Turkey and the US have increased over the YPG, but Ankara has repeatedly said it will not allow a “terror corridor” on its southern border and wants to prevent the joining of the Kurdish “cantons” of Afrin and Kobane.

Turkey entered the Syrian war to try and remove ISIL from its border – which last month Ankara said it achieved – while also aiming to halt the westward advance of the YPG.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey would not “wait for terrorist organisations to come and attack us” during a speech in Ankara.

“These organisations, wherever their activities are, wherever they are nesting, we will go [there],” he said.

FG Summons Turkish Ambassador Over Detention Of Nigerian Students

The federal government has summoned Hakan Cakil, Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, over the detention of Nigerian students studying in the country.

Last week, the Turkish government allegedly ordered the arrest of 50 Nigerians. While some have been deported, others are being kept behind bars.

On Thursday, Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said the government had asked its Turkish counterpart to free the students.

“Turkish Amb. H. Cakil Summoned: Nigerian Students Release Demanded,” he wrote on Twitter.
One of the affected students had earlier told TheCable that he was captured like Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect.

The electrical engineering undergraduate of the University of Fatih, said Turkish officials found nothing incriminating on him but deported him all the same.

“Well, right now, I’m inside the flight commencing my first leg of my return journey back to Abuja. After being marshalled in like Shekau that they just caught,” he had said.

“So, I came back, with an open mind considering since I was back in the country, I’ve been hearing reports about how returning students were being treated. But I felt, okay here I am, as innocent as ever, supposed to even have graduated with my set this year but for minor visa complications in that past that made me miss a semester.

“I handed my travel documents to the officer at the passport control desk. I gave him the documents, he looked that them, then asked me for my father’s name. I gave him. I didn’t think anything about it, then I saw him hysterically punching numbers in a cell phone and giving orders to people; that was when I starting getting worried.

“I still kept quiet all these while, though. Still managing to smile, until suddenly two armed policemen came next to me and demanded I follow them. I complied, still smiling even though they all were giving me hostile looks and had no kind emotions either of their faces. Anyways, they ushered me to a waiting area just close to the passport control area. Here, they made me wait for about 10 minutes; I could see them photocopying my passport, talking to one another in hurried sentences and what not. It all seemed frantic.”

Turkey suspends more than 12,000 police officers in coup probe

Turkish authorities suspended more than 12,000 police officers over alleged links to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of masterminding the July failed coup, the police headquarters said on Tuesday.

Of the 12,801 suspended from duty as part of the investigation into the coup attempt, 2,523 were police chiefs, the police authorities said in a statement. In total, Turkey has around 270,000 police officers.

They were suspended over suspected links to the Gulen movement which Turkey blames for the attempted putsch which tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, strongly denies Ankara’s accusations.
Tens of thousands of people in the judiciary, civil service, military and education sector have been suspended while 32,000 suspects have been placed under arrest on charges of links to to the movement.

The government’s crackdown has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies who have warned Ankara that it must act within the rule of law.

Turkey on Monday extended the state of emergency introduced after the failed putsch for another 90 days starting on October 19.

Erdogan previously suggested that it might be necessary for the state of emergency to be kept for at least 12 months.

Turkey Detains Brother Of Cleric Gulen, Issues Arrest Warrants For 115

Turkish authorities have detained a brother of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric they accuse of orchestrating a coup attempt in July, and issued arrest warrants for 115 other people as part of nationwide investigations into the abortive putsch.

Kudbettin Gulen was taken into custody on Sunday by Turkish counter-terrorism police in the Gaziemir district of the Aegean province of Izmir following intelligence that he was staying at a relative’s house, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The daily Hurriyet reported that Kudbettin Gulen had been abroad recently but that security services learned he had returned to Turkey and he was then detained.

Several of Gulen’s relatives, including a nephew, niece and cousins, have been arrested since the July 15 coup.

A chief prosecutor’s office in Sakarya province, 150 km (93 miles) east of Istanbul, has opened an investigation into 148 people over their suspected links to Gulen’s movement, Anadolu said. A court issued arrest warrants for 115 of them.

Police carried out simultaneous raids across 27 provinces to detain the suspects, it added.

Turkey has dismissed or suspended more than 100,000 people in the military, civil service, police and judiciary over their alleged role in the attempted coup. Some 32,000 people, including soldiers and journalists, have been arrested.

Read More: reuters

32,000 Arrested In Turkey For Gulen Links

The Turkish Justice Department says it has arrested 32,000 people for suspected links to opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition from the US has been a top demand by Ankara and a major source of tensions with Washington.

The Justice Department arrested 32,000 people in its investigation of the Gulen movement, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday in reference to a perceived deep state run by Gulen supporters.

Ankara also claims that the US-based opposition leader orchestrated the failed coup d’etat in Turkey on July 15. Gulen has dismissed that allegation.

“A total of about 70,000 people have faced legal proceedings on suspicion of links” to Gulen, Bozdag also said.

The 75-year-old Gulen claims the wide-scale purge by the Ankara government is aimed at eliminating dissent and consolidating the ruling Justice and Development Party’s control.

Read More: presstv

Turkey Says It’s Ready to Help any US Initiative To Capture Raqqa

Turkey would be ready to join any initiative proposed by the United States to capture an Islamic State stronghold in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks published on Wednesday, as Turkish-backed forces took more Syrian land from jihadists.

Obama floated the idea of joint action with Turkey to capture Raqqa during talks between the two leaders at a G20 summit in China, Erdogan said, according to Wednesday’s edition of Turkey’s Hurriyet daily.

Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria on Aug. 24 to clear Islamic State from its border and to prevent territorial gains by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara believes has links to Kurdish insurgents fighting on its soil.

“Obama wants to do some things together concerning Raqqa in particular,” Erdogan told reporters on his plane that arrived early on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State’s de facto capital. He was speaking after meetings in China with Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

“We stated that would not be a problem from our perspective. We said, ‘Let our soldiers come together, whatever is necessary will be done’,” the Turkish president said, adding that a specific Turkish role would depend on further talks.

U.S. officials have welcomed Turkish efforts to dislodge Islamic State from Syrian strongholds but voiced concern when Turkish troops engaged fighters aligned to the YPG, a force Washington sees as a valuable ally in battling jihadists.

Turkish-backed forces clashed with YPG fighters in the initial stages of the two-week old Turkish incursion into Syria, but have since shifted their focus onto territory held by Islamic State and captured a string of villages.

Turkey’s military said late on Tuesday that three Turkish soldiers were killed when two tanks were hit by rockets fired by Islamic State. Four others were wounded, it said.

The military also said the Free Syrian Army, a loose-knit rebel force backed by Turkey, had taken six more villages, also located in Islamic State-held areas.

Turkey and its rebel allies now control a 90-km stretch of land on the Syrian side of the border and are pushing south.

Ankara wants international support to take control of a rectangle of territory stretching about 40 km into Syria, creating a buffer between two Kurdish-held cantons to the east and west and against Islamic State to the south.

Turkey says such a “safe zone” would help stem the flood of Syrian refugees. But the idea has yet to gain traction from the United States and Russia, both engaged in Syria, because of the military demands of policing such a zone.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been sending more military hardware south. The army sent 15 more tanks to the Islahiye district near the border, bringing the total number of tanks and armored vehicles in that area to 90, Dogan news agency reported.

“We do not have the chance to take a backward step. If we take a backward step terror groups like Daesh, PKK, PYD and YPG will settle there,” Erdogan said, according to Hurriyet.

Turkey Frees 33,838 Prisoners To Make Room For Coup Detainees

Turkish authorities have released more than 30,000 prisoners, according to the country’s justice minister, after Ankara said it was releasing inmates to make space for tens of thousands detained over suspected links to a July coup attempt.

Turkey has said it would release a total of 38,000 prisoners as part of its penal reforms in the wake of the coup that tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on a news conference on Friday that the exact number of inmates released so far was 33,838.

In a series of messages posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Bozdag said the move was “not an amnesty”, and that convicts were not being pardoned but released on parole.

“The regulation refers to crimes committed before July 2016. The crimes committed after July 1, 2016, are outside its scope,” Bozdag said.

“As a result of this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons at the first stage.”

On Thursday, the government said it expelled nearly 43,000 people from their jobs in public institutions for alleged ties to banned organisations.

Lists of names and positions published by the official gazette on Thursday show the wide-scale purge Turkey has undertaken since the failed coup of July 15.

The government blamed the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the plot that killed at least 270 people, and labels the network a terror organisation.

The dismissals are allowed through the state of emergency, declared following the coup attempt. The highest number of dismissals is from the Ministry of National Education with 28,163 people.

Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of those have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.

Presidency List Gains Of Buhari’s Participation At TICAD

The presidency has listed the gains of President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation in the just concluded Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) to include the billions of dollar to be injected into African economies by Japan.

A statement issued in Abuja yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, said the Japanese Government had pledged to expend 40 billion dollars to boost the African economies in the next four years.

He gave the breakdown of the amount as 10 billion dollars to be injected in the next 12 months while the remaining 30 billion dollars would be expended over a three-year period on areas key to African economies, targeting infrastructures such as roads, energy, ports, hospitals and training institutions.

According to him, the TICAD seeks a win-win partnership between Japan and Africa.

He added that a key objective of the conference was to build up African ownership of its own vision of growth and development.

“In furtherance of this, Japan seeks to differ with the other players on the continent by placing emphasis on high quality infrastructure that do more than job creation by transferring technology through the training of youth and women.’’

According to Shehu, for Nigeria in particular, the conference’s milestones include the important meeting between President Buhari and Prime Minister Abe, at which event problems militating against the inflow of Japanese investment into Nigeria were discussed and agreed upon.

He said, “Japanese companies had done a lot by way of investment in the past in Nigeria but there has noticeably been a drop in the last decade or two. Chiefly to blame is the problem of security, disguised in official discussions as `business environment.”

He stated that President Buhari used the meeting effectively in giving assurances that the problem was being addressed.

“Boko Haram terrorism is nearly gone and sabotage in the Niger Delta will soon be ended preferably through dialogue and if not, by force of arms.

“Coming into close personal contact for the second time, the two leaders discussed the issues of trade and investment, health, peace and development of the continent.

“In addition, they discussed issues in diplomacy and international relations.

“President Buhari’s statement at the Head of States’ round table meeting with business leaders underscored the serious efforts government is making to improve Nigeria’s notoriously bad business environment.

“At this meeting, he announced the coming into place of a soon-to-be inaugurated “Presidential Enabling Business Council, PEBEC.”

“He described it as an inter-ministerial council to oversee the efforts of government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle business and economic activity to give way to the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria.

“It will be powered by the government but will be private-sector driven.

“According to its vision, the PEBEC will make Nigeria one of the most attractive business destinations in the world.

“It will start with the modest effort of moving the country up 20 points in the World Bank ranking in the ease of doing business in the first year, taking it into the top 100 at the end of the four-year mandate of the current administration.

Mr. Shehu said the third takeaway was on the sidelines of the TICAD where the Nigerian government delegation met a good number of big Japanese enterprises.

He said, “collectively and individually, these businesses expressed their intention of either coming in newly or expanding their participation in Nigeria’s private sector.

“The companies with varied interests in power, agriculture, automobile, motor cycles, textiles, financing and the service sector included the Honda Manufacturing (Nigeria) Limited, representing Honda Motor Co. Ltd; Japan Tobacco Inc., Marubeni Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation.

“Others included Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Toyota Tsusho (Nigeria) Limited, an affiliate of Toyota Tsusho Corporation, West African Seasoning Co. Ltd., affiliate of Ajinomoto Co. Inc., and Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO’’.

He stated that at these meetings, they explored the scope for the incentive packages the Nigerian government would give them to deepen and expand their investments.

He said that these included export rebates, access to Foreign Exchange, land, interest rates, transparency in business regulation and favourable regulatory structure.

Shehu according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the fourth important takeaway of the conference was the formation of a new group KENSA made up of industry leaders on the continent, Kenya representing East Africa, Egypt for North Africa, South Africa for the South and Nigeria, from West Africa.

The presidential aide said the fifth takeaway of the conference was that Nigeria and Kenya seized the opportunity of the meeting of their leaders to strengthen bilateral relations and follow up on the achievements of the State Visit to Nairobi by President Buhari, earlier this year.

“From the time of the visit, both countries have seen a growing impetus for trade and investment between them.

“Kenya which discovered oil lately is picking lessons from Nigeria’s vast experience in oil and gas.

“Nigeria is learning from Kenyan experience in managing animal grazing.

“There are efforts on both sides to share experience and promote private sector participation in trade, cooperatives, micro finance, cotton farming and palm oil processing.

Shehu said under the auspices of the Bank of Industry and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC0), several memoranda of understanding were signed between Nigerian parties and their foreign counterparts.

“From many of these, investments and jobs would follow.’’
He said the conference was significant in the sense that this was the first time it took place in Africa.

“They met in Japan all the time in the past.’’

According to him, another significant departure is the recognition of the role of the private sector in the economic take-off of the continent.

“In this respect, more than 100 Chief Executive Officers, CEOs from leading Japanese companies accompanied Prime Minister Abe.

“This is a clear indication that more and more Japanese companies are eying the African continent.

“A modest number of Nigerian business and state-owned enterprises were equally present.’’

The TICAD was held every five years from when it started in 1993 until the last edition in 2003 when it was decided that it should be convened every three years instead.

On the president’s delegation were the Ministers of Agriculture, Health, Budget and National Planning, and Industry, Trade and Investment.

There were also the National Security Adviser (NSA), and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

“Members of the delegation expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the conference and the side engagements,’’ Shehu said.

Turkey Denies Reaching Ceasefire With Kurdish Forces

A Turkish minister has said that his country does “not accept” US claims that its military has reached a ceasefire deal with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

The statement came after US officials said that Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces had agreed on a temporary pause in fighting in northern Syria.

The US has been warning the sides to focus on fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group elements there.

“We do not accept in any circumstances … a ‘compromise or a ceasefire reached between Turkey and Kurdish elements’,” Omer Celik, EU affairs minister, told the state-run Anadolu news agency in a live interview on Wednesday.

“The Turkish republic is a sovereign, legitimate state.”

US officials had claimed on Tuesday they received assurance that all parties involved were going to stop shooting at each other and focus on the ISIL threat.

“It is a loose agreement for at least the next couple of days and we are hoping that will solidify,” Colonel John Thomas, spokesman for the US Central Command, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Thomas said Turkey and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up largely of Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), had opened communications with the US and between each other “with the goal of limiting hostilities”.

Thomas called the reported agreement between the two groups “encouraging”.

The White House also praised the apparent halt in fighting between anti-ISIL forces in Syria.

“The US welcomes the overnight calm between the Turkish military and other counter-ISIL forces in Syria,” Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said on Tuesday.

“It continues to encourage these moves as a way to prevent further hostilities and loss of life between all counter-ISIL forces operating in the area.”

Polat Can, the YPG representative to the global anti-ISIL coalition, also said the forces had reached a truce with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.

“We have reached a temporary ceasefire between the Jarablus Military Council and the occupying Turkish army in the Jarablus area under the supervision of the global coalition,” he said on Twitter.

“These conflicting reports could be a further indication of mounting tension between Turkey and the US about how to deal with northern Syria,” said Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border.

“We have been talking to [Free Syrian Army] factions operating on the ground. They are basically saying that as far as they are concerned there is no truce.

“They told me that they have been shelling some areas under YPG control north of Manbij.

“Their strategy basically is to continue the fight until they push YPG across the Euphrates River.”

Turkish forces launched last week a two-pronged operation in the town of Jarablus inside Syria against ISIL fighters and the YPG, shelling more than a dozen targets.

The US has long been trying to avert an escalation in violence between Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army forces operating in and around Jarablus and YPG fighters in the same region.

Both sides are backed by the US in their fight against ISIL, but Turkey, a key NATO ally, views the YPG as a threat because of its close links to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has been fighting Turkish forces for the past three decades.

On Monday, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels said they were advancing towards Manbij, a city on the West Bank of the Euphrates, captured earlier this month by Kurdish forces.

Turkey, Scotland Allows Policewomen To Wear Hijabs

Turkey has for the first time allowed policewomen to wear headscarves while on duty as part of their uniform.

 

Women serving in the police force “will be able to cover their heads” under their caps or berets so long as the headscarf is “the same colour as the uniform and without pattern”, said the ruling published in the government’s Official Gazette on Saturday.

 

It came into force immediately.

 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long pressed for the removal of restrictions on women wearing the headscarf in the officially secular state.

 

Turkey lifted a ban on the wearing of headscarves on university campuses in 2010.

It allowed female students to wear the garment in state institutions from 2013 and in high school in 2014.

 

The move follows similar changes in regulations in other countries and comes after a ban on the burkini in local districts in France made headlines in Turkey.

 

Hoping to boost recruiting of Muslim women, the Canadian government this week said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would allow its officers to wear headscarves as part of their uniforms.

 

Earlier this month, police in Scotland allowed women to wear the headscarf while on duty, following a lead set by their counterparts in the UK capital, London, over a decade ago.

Turkey To Release 38,000 Jailed For Pre-coup Crimes

Turkey will grant early release to some 38,000 prisoners who committed crimes before July 1, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Wednesday, amid reports of prison overcrowding after the failed coup.

Bozdag said in a series of messages on Twitter that the move was “not an amnesty” and the convicts were not being pardoned but released on parole.

It will not apply to convicts guilty of murder, terrorism or state security crimes, or the thousands jailed after the putsch which took place on July 15.

“The regulation refers to crimes committed before July 2016. The crimes committed after July 1 2016 are outside its scope,” Bozdag said.

“As a result of this regulation, approximately 38,000 people will be released from closed and open prisons at the first stage.”

The timing means that it is impossible that anyone detained for complicity in the coup can be released as part of the mass parole move.

There have been reports in Turkish media that jails in the country were suffering severe overcrowding due to the influx of tens of thousands of prisoners in the wake of the failed July 15 coup.

According to Turkish officials, over 35,000 people have been detained since the coup attempt although almost 11,600 of them have since been released.

It is likely that releasing convicts not linked to the coup will make room for the alleged coup plotters who still face trials and heavy jail sentences.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/turkey-to-release-38000-jailed-for-pre-coup-crimes/

Turkey Accuses EU Of ‘Encouraging’ Coup Plotters

Turkey accused the EU on Wednesday of “encouraging” the plotters on the night of the July 15 coup in an escalating row that has raised questions over Ankara’s future relationship with the bloc.

A day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a highly-symbolic visit to Russia, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish people’s confidence in the EU had “unfortunately fallen” in the wake of the coup, saying the bloc “failed a test” on the night of the putsch.

“Let me say openly, this is because the EU adopted a favourable position to the coup (and) encouraged the putschists,” the minister told reporters during a televised briefing in the capital Ankara without expanding further.

He claimed support for the EU — which Turkey has sought to join since the 1960s — had plummeted to some 20 percent.

Relations between Brussels and Ankara have become increasingly strained since Turkey launched a crackdown, imprisoning and dismissing tens of thousands within the military, judiciary and education in the wake of the putsch which it has blamed on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The EU has urged Ankara to act within the rule of law while condemning Erdogan for suggesting the country could bring back the death penalty, abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey’s reforms to join the union.

Ankara has expressed astonishment that no EU official has visited Turkey in the wake of the coup.

Cavusoglu’s comments came a day after Erdogan travelled to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin for the first time since Ankara downed one of Moscow’s warplanes in November, triggering a diplomatic crisis between them.

It was his first foreign trip since the failed coup, but the foreign minister said it was not a move to turn Turkey’s focus to the East.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/turkey-accuses-eu-of-encouraging-coup-plotters/

Finally, Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan Set To Meet After Damaging Rift

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to the Russian city of St Petersburg for a face-to-face meeting with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

It will be the first time the two strongmen leaders have met since Turkish interceptors blasted a Russian warplane out of the skies over Syria in November. The incident, in which one of the air crew was killed as he parachuted from the aircraft, provoked a diplomatic firestorm, with a furious Kremlin vowing retribution. A second Russian serviceman was killed trying to rescue the other crew member on the ground.
Today’s loss for us was like a stab in back delivered by the accomplices of terrorists,” President Putin said on state television at the time.
It will have serious consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, ” he promised.

 

As well as blocking trade ties with Ankara, banning the import of food stuffs from Turkey, Putin also struck at the Turkish tourism industry, halting charter flights that carried millions of Russians to Turkish resorts. Visa-free travel to Russia was canceled for Turks, and Turkish workers were asked to leave, their visas revoked. The Kremlin’s retribution also got personal. Russian defense officials called an unprecedented news conference to reveal satellite and spy plane video of what they said were oil shipments to Turkey from ISIS controlled areas of Iraq and Syria.
Defense officials told journalists they believed the family of President Erdogan were intimately involved in the illegal trade and were profiting from it. President Erdogan strenuously denied the allegations. For months it seemed the bitterness between Putin and Erdogan would never heal: a battle of wills between two autocratic hardliners at odds over Syria.
But then, suddenly, something changed.
The Turkish leader unexpectedly moved to heal the rift with the Kremlin, writing a letter expressing “regret” to the family of the pilot who was killed in the shoot-down.
Turkey’s attempt to restore ties to Russia was driven by desperation,” said Fadi Hakura, Turkey specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London.
Turkey needed to restore economic and trade ties to Russia. Turkey needs Russian tourists to flow back to the Turkish resorts. Turkey also needs Russia to try to restore some of the lost influence it once had in Syria,” he told CNN.

Within days of the Erdogan letter, the foreign ministers of the two rivals were meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and Putin was lifting sanctions, beginning what he said was the process of normalizing trade ties. Then the situation took a dramatic turn, with events in Turkey giving Erdogan’s rekindled ties with Putin unexpected significance.

A failed coup in Turkey gave way to a widespread crackdown by Erdogan on his opponents. Many Turks believed their allies in the West had failed to condemn to coup attempt in harshly enough, and were too critical of the mass arrests.
For Turkey, the détente with Russia was now an opportunity display its strategic options.
Turkish officials deny they are turning their backs on the West. But Erdogan’s cordial trip to Russia, a nation at odds with the West on a host of issues from Syria to Ukraine, may give Turkey’s allies pause for thought. And amid Ankara’s strained relations with the West, the Kremlin also senses an opportunity to win over a NATO member, said Alexander Shimulin, of the US-Canada Institute in Moscow.
To increase divisions within the Western community and in NATO is one of the purposes and one of the goals designed by Russia,” he added.

Gulen Slams Turkey Judicial System Over Arrest Warrant

US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen has condemned Turkey’s judicial system after a court issued an arrest warrant that accuses him of ordering last month’s bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“It is well-documented that the Turkish court system is without judicial independence, so this warrant is yet another example of President Erdogan’s drive for authoritarianism and away from democracy,” he said in a statement late on Thursday.

The arrest warrant, issued earlier in the day, accuses Gulen of “ordering the July 15 coup,” the Anadolu news agency reported.

Gulen strongly denies any involvement in the attempted putsch and the movement he leads insists it is a charitable network promoting tolerant Islam.

“The issuance of an arrest warrant from a Turkish court changes nothing about my status or my views,” Gulen said.

“I have repeatedly condemned the coup attempt in Turkey and denied any knowledge or involvement.”

Credit: Guardian

Turkey Failed Coup Of July 15 Cost Turkey Close To $100b

Bulent Tufenkci, Turkish Customs and Trade Minister, said on Tuesday in Istanbul that the failed coup of July 15 has cost Turkey at least 99.9 billion dollars in damages.

He said that the damages include destroyed buildings, military equipment, decline in orders abroad for goods and a drop in tourism. Tufenkci said it was so unfortunate that the coup plotters had tried to create an image that Turkey is a “third world country.

The minister said photos of tanks on the streets during the night of the putsch attempt were posted all over the city. He, however, also noted resilience in the local economy, including the quick reopening of the stock exchange.

“The lira has also recovered some of its loses. “During the peak of concern over the coup, the lira had dropped from about 2.87 to the dollar to 3.09. It is now trading at just below 3 to the dollar,’’ he said.

Tufenkci noted that the standard and poor rating by agencies downgraded Turkey after the coup, citing concerns not only over the economy itself but also checks and balances. The minister announced that Turkey is currently in the middle of a 90-day state of emergency.

Credit: Vanguard

Turkey Arrests 11-man ‘Death Squad’ Over Erdogan Hotel Raid

Turkey has arrested 11 fugitive soldiers suspected of involvement in an attack on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hotel during the night of the failed coup, the deputy prime minister said Monday.

Erdogan was staying in the western seaside resort of Marmaris on July 15 but dashed to Istanbul just before the hotel came under attack from rebel soldiers determined to oust him from power.

“Eleven of them were captured in Ula,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a press conference after a cabinet meeting, referring to a town near Marmaris.

He said one soldier was still at large.

Erdogan earlier said his swift escape had saved him from being killed or taken hostage.

An interior ministry official, who declined to be named, described the arrested men as members of a “death squad” and said the overnight operation to catch them followed a tip-off from local villagers.

The soldiers had been hiding in the wild landscape above Marmaris since the military action, and the villagers spotted them while they were out boar-hunting.

“There was an exchange of fire during the operation,” the official added. “Drones and helicopters were used to pinpoint the location.”

Since the coup, Erdogan has launched a massive purge of Turkish institutions, especially the military, with more than 3,000 armed forces personnel dismissed.

Credit: Guardian

Failed Coup: President Erdogan To Close 17 Turkish Schools In Nigeria

Ripples of July 15 botched coup in Turkey have berthed in Nigeria with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, urging the Federal Government to shut  17 Turkish schools in Nigeria.

 

The ambassador, who made the call when the vice chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, paid him a courtesy visit, said the Turkish Government had nothing to do with the schools.
The ambassador said investigations by the Turkish government showed that a movement led by US-based Fethullah Gulen was responsible for the failed coup attempt, which claimed over 200 lives. The movement is believed to have interest in the 17 schools in Nigeria.

 

He said the Turkish government was dissociating itself from any school bearing the country’s name in Nigeria, adding that while the country had schools in other countries, it had none in Nigeria.
“We are requesting the Nigerian Government to close down the schools. I have requested officially, both orally and in writing, the closure of these schools. Also, I have sent a letter to Mr Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Minister) and Mr Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff to the President) about this subject and requested their support for the closure of the schools.

 

“I will also send letters to the Chairmen of Committees on Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly as well as the Senate Majority Leader over the issue and I am going to enclose some documents in English on how the group members are engaged in the army, police and the Judiciary. In Nigeria, there are 17 schools, which belong to the Gulen Movement, one in Kano, one in Kaduna, one in Abuja, Lagos etc and they are offering scholarships.
“We are starting some legal procedures to take the name of Turkish out of the name of the schools. They are not the schools of the Turkish Government.

 

“They are misleading the public and allocating scholarships to the children of the high bureaucracy and after they graduate from school, they send the children to Turkey to attend their universities,’’ he said.
Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sani, said Turkey had the legitimate right to be concerned about its security in view of the failed coup attempt.
He, however, urged the Turkish government to operate within the ambits of the law in bringing those responsible for the coup to book.
“I think the world should identify and reason with you because if the coup had succeeded there could have been bloodshed.

 

“One thing I will say is that I will urge you to use the instrument of democracy, liberty and constitutional right to bring to book those who are involved in the coup,” he said.
The ambassador said the Turkish government had closed down all schools linked to the movement in Turkey.
“Turkish government has already closed down all primary, secondary, high schools and universities owned by the group in Turkey. In our system, it is allowed for the foundation to establish schools if they fulfill some requirements and that is how they established these schools.

 

“This is an issue that the Turkish Government has attached so much importance.
“Recently, my Minister called Mr Onyeama and briefed him about these schools because they are raising funds through the schools and they are using these funds for illegal activities.

 

“This is a matter of national security for us in Turkey. I have instructions from my government to follow up this matter and we will be very happy to obtain the support of Nigerian legislators on that issue,’’ he said.
He promised to engage other relevant government officials on the matter, adding that “I will take the matter up to the Federal Executive Council. I have also requested an audience with the Minister of Education.
“You may be aware that the government of Turkey started to investigate those responsible for the coup attempt.
“It is really clear that the Gulen Movement is behind the coup. There are some testimonies by detained military officials.

 

“They are confessing that they are in connection with the Gulen Movement and they have been members of the Gulen Movement for a long time and they have been planning this coup for a long time, nearly five months.
“The Government of Turkey has started to take some legal actions against the leader of the movement. He is now based in the United States. His extradition is a legal matter between Turkey and United States,’’ he said.
On the relations between Nigeria and Turkey, the ambassador said he was optimistic that the trade between the two countries, which declined due to the drop in oil price, would pick up soon.

Turkey: 42 Journalists Under Probe Over Failed Coup

Dozens of journalists are under investigation for possible links to the attempted July 15 coup in Turkey report said on Monday.

Among the 42 reporters is Nazli Ilicak, a prominent critic of the current regime.

It is not clear if any of those being investigated have been detained.

All the journalists being probed have links to media owned by Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric who was accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of organising last week coup.

Ilicak worked for Sabah, a newspaper with government ties, until the end of 2013, when she demanded that several ministers from the mildly Islamic-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) step down amid corruption scandal.

AKP members said that the corruption allegations were a conspiracy organised by Gulen, who was once a close ally of Erdogan, but has in recent years been accused of multiple plots by the government.

Thousands of Gulenists have been cleared from government jobs in recent years, a process that has escalated since the coup.

Ilicak has also worked for the newspaper Bugun, which was considered to be associated with Gulen.

The government took over Bugun last year, changed its editorial direction and then shut it down, one of several media outlets that have come under fire in Turkey in recent years.

Credit: dailytrust

Breaking: Turkish Airlines Fire 250 Personnel Over Failed Coup

Turkey’s state-run Turkish Airlines fired more than 100 employees, including management and cabin crew, as part of a purge at state institutions to root out supporters of an abortive coup, Turkish media reported on Monday.

 

The dismissals at the national carrier occurred late on Sunday after it was determined the employees were linked to a religious movement President Tayyip Erdogan has said attempted to overthrow the government on July 15, Sabah newspaper said.

 

An official at Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth-biggest carrier, declined to comment.

 

Other reports said the dismissals were due to “inefficiency.” Thelira.com, a financial-news website, said about 250 cabin crew were dismissed, along with 100 management and administrative staff.

Erdogan Chairs Security Council As 50,000 Hit By Turkey Purge

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday chaired a crunch security meeting for the first time since the failed coup, after a widening purge that has seen around 50,000 people either detained or sacked.

The Turkish air force meanwhile launched its first strikes since Friday’s putsch against targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, in a sign Erdogan has regained full control over the armed forces.

The coup bid by rebel soldiers was the most serious blow to Erdogan’s 13-year domination of Turkey, and the president has said he came within 15 minutes of being killed or kidnapped by the plotters before escaping.

The putsch left more than 300 people dead and caused scenes of devastation, especially in Ankara where raids by fighter jets and attack helicopters on strategic targets terrified residents and turned parts of parliament and the police headquarters to rubble.

More than 9,000 suspects have been detained, including some of Turkey’s most senior generals, who are accused of being the ringleaders of the plot.

In total, about 48,800 state employees, including police and teachers, have been dismissed from their posts or detained, according to figures published by the Hurriyet daily and CNN-Turk.

Ankara says the coup was masterminded by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and the massive crackdown appears to be targeting individuals suspected of any connection to Erdogan’s ally-turned-foe.

The purges have stoked alarm that Erdogan was using the coup plot to crack down on opponents, with Turkey’s Western allies urging the authorities in the strategic NATO state to obey the rule of law.

The president returned to the capital late Tuesday for the first time since the coup and was chairing a meeting at his presidential palace of his national security council, composed of top military brass and security ministers.

He will then chair a cabinet meeting, also at the palace, whose immediate vicinity was bombed during the military power grab.

Credit: Guardian

Face Behind Failed Turkey Coup Revealed

The Turkish government has indicted an influential Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has been in exile in Pennsylvania, United States of America, since 1999, as the mastermind of the botched July 15 coup allegedly staged by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces in some cities of Turkey, particularly in Ankara and Istanbul.

The indictment was made on Tuesday by the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, during a press briefing with journalists in Abuja.

The ambassador, who noted that peace has since returned to the country owing to the strong resistance put up by the citizens of the country, however vowed that any person found guilty would be made to face the full wrath of the country’s constitution.

“This coup attempt was staged by the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). Our government has been constantly exposing the real motives of this terrorist group and its leader, Fethullah Gülen, to all allies and partners. The failed coup is the latest criminal act revealing the danger posed by FETÖ”.

“Our President, Prime Minister, Government and Members of Turkish Grand National Assembly and the Turkish people all together defeated this coup attempt and stood by democracy and rule of law.

“The terrorists will be punished in accordance with the law”, the ambassador said.

Credit: Thisday

EU Pushes Turkey On Rule Of Law After Coup Crackdown

Turkey must protect the rule of law as it cracks down after the failed coup, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday, as the bloc said it looked like the government had prepared a list of people to arrest beforehand.

“We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country, there is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that,” Mogherini said as European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels.

“As we have been the first ones to say that in that tragic night (of Friday’s coup attempt), the democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected,” she told reporters.

“Today we will say together with ministers that obviously doesn’t mean that rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country does not count. On the contrary it needs to be protected for the sake of the country.

“So we will send a strong message on that.”

Would-be EU member Turkey carried out fresh raids on Monday as the EU ministers were meeting, prompting growing international concern over the scale of the crackdown.

Judges and military commanders are among 6,000 people who were arrested over the weekend as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to stamp out the “virus” of the coup plotters.

The EU commissioner dealing with Turkey’s long-stalled bid for membership of the bloc meanwhile said it appeared that the government had already prepared a list before the coup of people to be rounded up.

“I mean, (that) the lists are available already after the event indicates that this was prepared and at a certain moment should be used,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters.

Turkey’s attempts to join the 28-nation European Union have been hobbled in recent years by concern over the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan’s record on human rights and press freedom.

But the EU agreed to speed up its membership bid and give visa-free travel to Turks as part of a migrant crisis deal in which Ankara agreed to take back people landing in the Greek islands.

Credit: Guardian

Mass Arrest After Coup Failed In Turkey

Some 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested over an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim.
In a night he called a “black stain on Turkish democracy”, he said 161 people had been killed and 1,440 wounded.
Explosions and gunfire were heard in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere overnight and thousands of Turks heeded President Erdogan’s call to rise up against the coup-plotters.
It is not clear who is behind the coup.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed a “parallel structure”, in a clear reference to Fethullah Gulen, a powerful but reclusive US-based Muslim cleric he accuses of fomenting unrest.
However, in a statement, Mr Gulen rejected any suggestion he had links to the events, saying he condemned “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey”.

Credit: Punch

Turkish President Threatens Unilateral Actions Against IS Group In Syria

President Recep Erdogan on Thursday has said Turkey is prepared to take unilateral actions against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria to protect its southern border town Kilis from IS attacks.

Erdogan complained that the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition has not provided Turkey with the desired support.

“We are making necessary preparations in order to clear across the border.

“Turkey will not wait while we have martyrs every day, I would like to say that we will not hesitate to take unilateral steps on this issue.

“The issue of Kilis would be “litmus paper” for revealing the sincerity of coalition partners in the fight against the IS group.

“Recalling that the jihadist group fires rocket projectiles at Kilis almost every day,’’ Erdogan said, adding that some 130 people have been killed in IS attacks in Turkey.

He said that the Turkish army has hit 3,000 IS targets in Syria and destroyed 1,300 of its positions there.

In recent weeks, Kilis has been repeatedly hit by rocket fire from IS-controlled territories inside Syria.

According to figures provided by the Turkish Armed Forces, rockets fired from Syria have been fallen in Kilis since mid-January, killing 20 people, including seven Syrians refugees, and injuring 66 others, including 17 Syrians.

Meanwhile, the IS has orchestrated a number of suicide bombings in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul and other provinces, leaving hundreds killed.

 

(Xinhua/NAN)

Journalist Sentenced to 21 Months In Prison For “Insulting” Turkish President

Bar?? ?nce, a former editor of Birgün who still writes for the leftist daily, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in his plea submitted to court in a former case.

?nce was initially tried over a news report on the Dec. 17-25, 2013 corruption allegations, which Erdo?an and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) say amounted to a plot to overthrow the government.

A criminal case was filed against ?nce for “insulting” Erdo?an and his son, Bilal Erdo?an, in the report. ?nce was again sued over the plea presented to court in his defense, in which the initials of each paragraph spell out “thief,” in apparent reference to Erdo?an.

In his defense, ?nce claimed that it was either an unfortunate coincidence or the “work of God,” but the court sentenced him to 21 months in jail.

He will appeal his sentence at the Constitutional Court.

Footballer Shows Referee Red Card Seconds After Team Mate Was Red-Carded

The kinda things that happen in the world of football. Trabzonspor player Salih Dursin was furious after a referee in a Turkish league match gave the marching orders to his teammate Luis Cavanda. Dursin picked up the referees card after it fell on the floor and shoved it in the referee’s face. The Referee, angry with such bizarre show of disrespect by the player, gave Dursin his own red card leaving his team with only 8 outfield players.

Violence and player disobedience to referees and racism is on the rise in Turkish football. In October 2015, Trabzonspor club president Ibrahim Haciosmanoglu locked four officials in their stadium following a draw with Gaziantepspor. Turkish president Recep Tayyip was forced to later intervene and the referees were released after four hours.

Watch video below…

https://youtu.be/vYNrysqElak

27 Migrants Die After Boat Capsizes Off Turkey’s Coast

At least 27 migrants have died off the Turkish coast trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, Turkish media say.

 
The victims, including 11 children, drowned when their boat capsized after setting off from Balikesir province.

 
About 400 people have died crossing into Europe in 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
Most were travelling to Greece on their way to northern Europe. Recent fighting in Syria has sent thousands of people fleeing towards the Turkish border.

 
The sea route from Turkey to Greece was the most popular way for migrants trying to enter Europe in 2015.

 
In the latest incident, Turkish media quoted official as saying that 40 migrants set out for Lesbos from the Altinoluk area early on Monday. They say their boat capsized two miles (3.2km) into the crossing.

 
Hurriyet newspaper says the vessel was using a new route, because security forces have stepped up moves to deter migrants from taking their chances.

 

The paper also denied earlier media reports that another migrant boat had capsized further south off Izmir province.
News of the deaths came as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Turkey to discuss ways of reducing the number of migrants travelling to Europe.

 
After talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Mrs Merkel said they had agreed to seek help from Nato – both countries are members – in handling the migrant crisis.
She said they would use the next meeting of the alliance to consider “to what extent Nato can be helpful with the surveillance situation at sea” and support the EU border agency Frontex.

 
Syrians are not being allowed to pass into Turkey at the Kilis border crossing

 
The IOM says more than 68,000 migrants arrived on Greek shores in the first five weeks of 2016, despite often stormy conditions. This is a huge rise from last year, when the figure for the whole of January was less than 1,500.

 
Nearly half of those who have arrived in Greece this year are from Syria, the IOM says.

 

 

Credit : BBC

Turkey Police HQ Hit By Deadly Bomb Blast

A woman and a baby are reported to be among the dead. Rescuers are searching through the rubble at the scene in Cinar district, Diyarbakir province.
The bomb was detonated at the entrance of the police complex, officials say. The blast also damaged nearby residential buildings.
The attackers then reportedly fired rockets at the headquarters.
Diyarbakir province has seen violent clashes between PKK separatists and the Turkish army in recent months.
Last year, the city of Diyarbakir and a number of other areas in the south-east were put under curfew
as part of a security crackdown.

This followed a bomb blast that left 16 soldiers dead and a rebel ambush that killed 14 police officers – both incidents in the east.
A ceasefire between the army and the PKK collapsed in July, and Turkish jets have since bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq and the army launched a ground operation there.
Turkey is also part of a US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.
However, Ankara has been accused of hitting mostly PKK targets, angering Kurds who are themselves fighting IS in the two countries.

Officials blamed the blast on Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) militants, who are active in the mainly Kurdish province.
No group has so far said it carried out the attack.

Turkey Detains Three Russians Suspected Of ISIS Ties After Istanbul Bomb

Turkish authorities said they had detained three Russian nationals suspected of having links with Islamic State following a suicide bomb attack in Istanbul that killed 10 tourists.

 

 

Media reports said on Wednesday in Istanbul that a suicide bomber thought to have crossed recently from Syria killed nine Germans and one Peruvian tourist on Tuesday in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet Square, a major tourist draw, in an attack Turkey blamed on Islamic State.

 

 

It said 15 people were also hurt in the attack.

 

 

Russia’s Consulate General in the Mediterranean city of Antalya said three Russians had been detained over suspected connection with Islamic State.

 

 

Police said they also seized documents and CDs during a search of the premises where the suspects were staying.

 

 

 

(Reuters/NAN)

Turkey Detains Teenager ‘For Insulting President On Facebook’

Turkish court has remanded in custody a 17-year-old construction worker on charges of “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Facebook.

It is the latest case in which youngsters have been hauled before the courts in Turkey on similar charges, as activists express growing alarm over the limits on freedom of expression under Erdogan.

The boy, identified as F E, was detained at his home in western Tekirdag province after someone called the police emergency line to complain about his Facebook posts.

The court in Tekirdag placed him in pre-trial detention. No other details were given on the content of the posts.

Critics say Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian since becoming president in August 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister and the number of prosecutions for insulting him have risen.

Students, journalists and even a former Miss Turkey beauty queen have been targeted.

Last December, a 17-year-old was arrested in his classroom and held for several days on the same charge and given an 11-month suspended sentence.

In November, two of Turkey’s most prominent journalists — Cumhuriyet newspaper’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul – were arrested on spying charges in a case that has caused global concern.

Turkey Will ‘More Than Once’ Regret Shooting Down Russian Plane – Putin

Delivering his annual state of the nation address today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will not ignore what he described as Turkey’s “aiding of terrorists”, adding that the November shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24 plane was a “treacherous war crime”.
He said Turkey will ‘more than once’ regret shooting down the Russian jet near the Syrian-Turkey border.


Putin also called for a broad international front against terrorism, an end to what he called double standards and halting any backing of what he called “terror groups”.
Russia have already banned importation of fruits  and vegetables from Turkey and already deported several Turkish business men.

“We are not planning to engage in military sabre-rattling [with Turkey],” Putin said. “If somebody thought that after committing a treacherous war crime — the killing of our people — it would be possible to get away with mere restrictions on the trade of tomatoes, or some other restrictions … then they are grossly mistaken,” Putin said.
“We shall remind them many times about what they’ve done, and they will regret what they’ve done for a long time,” he said. “We know what needs to be done.”
It appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment,” Putin said.
He criticised Turkey, accusing it of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

“We are fighting for justice, happiness and the entire future of our civilisation. We have to be prepared and we have to defeat them [terrorists] before they get here that’s why we launched this operation in Syria.”

Turkish President ‘Erdogan’ Says Turkey Has Proof Of Russian Involvement In IS Oil Trade

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey had proof Russia was involved in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, countering “immoral” Russian allegations that his own family was importing oil from the jihadists. “We have the proof in our hands. We will reveal it to the world,” Erdogan said in a televised address in Ankara.

The Russian defence ministry on Wednesday accused Erdogan and his family of involvement in the illegal oil trade with IS jihadists after Ankara’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes last month which plunged the two countries’ relations into a crisis. “In recent days a fashion led by Russia has emerged. Actually, Russia does not believe this either,” said Erdogan, referring to the alleged oil trade with IS group.

“Look, Russia has to prove that the Turkish republic buys oil from Daesh, otherwise this is a slander,” he added, using an Arabic acronym for IS extremists. “The immoral side of this issue is involving my family in the affair,” Erdogan added.  Erdogan repeated that he would resign if Moscow proved the allegation and said it was actually Russians who were involved in oil dealings.

“Who is buying oil (from IS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business,” Erdogan said.   In November, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an European Union sanctions list, for serving as a middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the IS group.

Erdogan said Thursday “a famous Russian chess player” was also involved in the oil business with IS, without giving a name. “He’s also in this race,” he said.  The new US sanctions also apply to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy Russian businessman and long-standing president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) who was formerly president of the southern Russian region of Kalmykia.

NATO Chief Calls For Calm, Dialogue Between Russia And Turkey

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday called for calm and contacts between Moscow and Ankara after NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.

 

“I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation,” Stoltenberg said after an extraordinary meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels.

 

The NATO chief noted that work had to be done on developing and strengthening mechanisms to avoid such situations in the future.

 

He further said that the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey and supported the country’s territorial integrity.

 

(dpa/NAN)

Russia Suspends Military Cooperation With Turkey

Russia’s defence ministry has announced suspension of military cooperation with Turkey and Sergey Lavrov, foreign minister, has cancelled a planned trip to Turkey following the downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday.

 

The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane was shot down for violating Turkish airspace, angering Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who compared the incident to being “stabbed in the back”.

Russia also warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey, saying it was unsafe, and deployed a warship to the coastline near where the plane crashed.

 

The plane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village.

 

Russia has confirmed one of the pilots has died.

 

A Russian helicopter was also shot at as it took part in the search for the two pilots near the Turkish-Syrian border, opposition groups in Syria said.

 

Turkey, Russia and their respective allies have entered a war of words after the incident, raising tensions in a region struggling to cope with the ongoing Syrian conflict.

 

Putin sharply criticised Turkey for establishing contact with NATO to discuss the incident, prior to contacting Russia.

“Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” Putin said in televised comments.

“Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.

“Instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss this incident – as if we had hit their plane and not the other way around,” he said.

 

Credit : Al Jazeera

Russia Warns Citizens Off Travel To Turkey After Downed Plane

In an action that is unlikely to surprise people, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, cancelled a visit to Turkey and warned against Russian tourists visiting Turkey.

“The decision has been taken to cancel the meeting that was planned for tomorrow in Istanbul between the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey,” Mr Lavrov said in televised comments.

He told Russian tourists to avoid Turkey claiming the threat of terrorism there was not less than in Egypt where 224 people were killed by an Isil bomb on board a plane flying over Sharm el-Sheikh.

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane On Syrian Border

Turkey has shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, a senior Turkish official has said. According to Al Jazeerah, the plane was shut down on Syrian territory in Latakia’s Yamadi village.

The plane was downed by the Turkish military according to the rules of engagement because it violated Turkish airspace, the Turkish official said.

The Turkish president’s office identified the plane as Russian and said it was warned before being shot down, according to semi-official Anadolou agency.

A Turkish military statement said that the plane violated Turkish air space in the Hatay province and was warned ‘ten times in five minutes’. “Our two F-16 planes on air patrol duty intervened in the plane in question on November 24, 2015, 9:24am, according to the rules of engagement,” the statement said.

The Russian defence ministry said that an SU-24 fighter jet crashed in Syria as a result of an attack from the ground. “A probe is in progress into the circumstances of the Russian plane crash,” the ministry was quoted as saying by the TASS Russian News Agency, adding that the plane had stayed within Syrian airspace. Objective monitoring data confirm this.”.

British Woman Raped In Turkey Gets An Apology From The Rapist On Facebook

A British holidaymaker, Fern Westland, 20, claims she was raped on a beach by a waiter, who then apologised on Facebook.  Fern said she had befriended Sabri Demir during her stay in Alanya in Turkey last month. But she says the holiday turned to horror when he dragged her on to a beach and subjected her to a sustained sex attack, the Daily Record reports .

Fern said: “I want him off the streets to make sure he can’t target any other women like me.”

Fern said she was left further shaken when Demir messaged her, admitting the attack and even apologising.

She said she is too traumatised to leave her home in Fife.
She said:

“We had been at a local restaurant called Brothers and had been introduced to the owner’s brother and his friend, who agreed to show my friends and I to a club. “Everything had been fine until Sabri got drunk and started touching me inappropriately.

“I told my friends I wanted to leave the club as I didn’t want to be anywhere near him but he insisted on grabbing a lift home with us.”

Fern said her friend had gone into their hotel opposite the beach when she was attacked.
She said:

“Sabri grabbed me from behind and slammed his hand over my mouth. “I couldn’t breathe and was trying to push him off me but he dragged me along the sand before holding me down and raping me. “I was trying to scream but he just kept telling me to shut up.

“I was terrified and couldn’t breathe, I knew I had to get away from him. I was afraid I was going to die. “Then I managed to get him off me and I ran to my friend in the hotel.”

Fern claimed that hours later, Demir began to send her messages on FB. She said he told her:

“I’m really sorry. I don’t know why I did that. Please forgive me.”

Sabri Demir

Traumatised Fern only felt safe enough to talk to police when she returned to Scotland a week later.

She said: “I went in to complete shock. I was so afraid of having to fly home alone, I just kept quiet until we returned. Since then, the police have come to see me several times and have taken a statement. “They have taken pictures of my bruises on my body and are going to contact the Turkish authorities.”

Fern added: “I want something done about him. I know it happened in a different country and I know it may be a long process.”
Detective Sergeant Calum Lawrie, of Fife’s public protection unit, said: “On Thursday, 8 October, we received a report of the serious sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman that took place in Turkey on Friday, 25 September.

“We are conducting initial inquiries and all the information gathered will be provided to the Turkish authorities for them to progress the investigation.”

When Daily Record contacted Demir on Facebook, Demir replied:

“Sorry, I am so sorry. I did not do anything. I have not had sex with her.”

He then contacted Fern on Facebook, writing:

“Sorry. I am so sorry. “Why are you complaining about me? Why are you complaining to me for sex? You really did not complain to me.” “I don’t have sex with you.”

Fern demanded that Demir admit what he had done.
He responded: “I don’t have sex with you. No, just kiss you. “I’m not afraid.”

Turkey Kills 40 Rebels Today After 16 Of Its Soldiers Were Killed on Sunday

Turkish warplanes early hours of this morning launched a massive air operation against bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, killing atleast 40 rebels. More than 50 Turkish jets were involved in the six hours raid.

The overnight operation came after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in the Kurdish dominated southeast of the country on Sunday in an attack blamed on the PKK.

Four Men Nabbed At Enugu Airport Trying To Smuggle Hard Drugs To China And Turkey

They are Emmanuel Chukwuebuka Ifeanyichukwu, caught with 1.293kg of cocaine on his way to Istanbul, Turkey. Ukaeji Eric Tochukwu, with 1.408kg of cocaine on his way to Hong Kong. Nwoye Ekene Godfrey, caught with 1.283kg of cannabis on his way to Guangzhou, China.

38-year old Godfrey Nwoye, has been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for concealing 1.283 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa inside garri en route Guangzhou, China.

The culprit, who hails from Ukpommili Village in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, said he wanted to sell the cannabis in China and use the proceeds to buy goods.

Another suspect, Samuel Anele, a commercial tricycle rider, who was about to board a flight to Bombay, India, was arrested with 4.892 kilogrammes of methamphetamine, the NDLEA said in a statement Wednesday.

Mr. Samuel Anele, 45, and other suspects were arrested for offences ranging from concealing illicit drugs in their luggage to ingesting the drugs, the NDLEA said.  Samuel said he’s going to Bombay to see how big it really is after Wizkid claimed a girl’s bum bum was bigger than Bombay n her backside was making him throway in his song titled “Bombay” where he featured Phyno

The suspects were arrested on their way to Turkey, China, and Hong Kong with 8.876kg of various illicit drugs.

According to the NDLEA Commander at Enugu Airport, Nsikak-Abasi Udoh “The suspects are helping our team of investigators”.

Mr. Anele was caught with 4.892kg concealed in false bottom of his luggage aboard an Ethiopian Airline on the Enugu-Addis Ababa-Bombay route.

“Life is not fair to me. Every day it is one problem after another and the money I earn is not enough,” said Mr. Anele, from Ichi village, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

“It was frustration that made me to smuggle drugs. They promised me that the drug has been properly hidden and that when I return they will pay me the sum of one million naira.

“At the airport, my bag was searched and the drug detected. Now I am now left alone to suffer”, he lamented.

The other suspects, Emmanuel Chukwuebuka, was caught with 1.293kg of cocaine on his way to Istanbul, Turkey; while Eric Ukaeji was arrested with 1.408kg of cocaine on his way to Hong Kong.

Mr. Chukwuebuka, 31, who is married with a child and hails Ezioko in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, ingested 1.293kg of substances that tested positive for cocaine. He was to depart Enugu to Istanbul through Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airline flight before he was nabbed.

His reason for trafficking in drugs was to raise more money for his business, according to the NDLEA.

If he had successfully trafficked the drug, he would have received US$ 3,000 on arrival in Turkey.

Mr. Ukaeji, 43, who hails from Ajali in Orumba Local Government Area of Anambra State ingested cocaine weighing 1.408 kilograms.

According to the NDLEA, his route was Enugu-Addis Ababa-Hong Kong on an Ethiopian Airline.

I his confession, Mr. Ukaeji said he wanted to raise money for his business and the treatment of his sick daughter.

“I used to buy clothes from Hong Kong. I am married with three children. I dropped out of school in Junior Secondary class 3”, said Mr. Ukaeji.

“They promised to pay me 5,000 dollars on delivery in Hong Kong, which I would have used to buy goods”, he added.

NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, said that the Agency would continue to step up security checks at the nation’s entry and exit points.

NDLEA Arrests Nigerians Travelling To China, Turkey, Others, With Illicit Drugs

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a 38-year-old man, Godfrey Nwoye, at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for concealing 1.283 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa inside garri on his way to Guangzhou, China.

Mr. Nwoye, who hails from Ukpommili Village in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, said he wanted to sell the cannabis in China and use the proceeds to buy goods.

Another suspect, Samuel Anele, a commercial tricycle rider aboard a flight to Bombay, India, was arrested with 4.892 kilogrammes of methamphetamine, the NDLEA said in a statement Wednesday.

Mr. Anele, 45, and other suspects were arrested for offences ranging from concealing illicit drugs in their luggage to ingesting the drugs, according to the NDLEA said.

The suspects were arrested on their way to Turkey, China, and Hong Kong with 8.876kg of various narcotic drugs.

“The suspects are helping our team of investigators,” said Nsikak-Abasi Udoh, NDLEA commander at the Enugu Airport.

Mr. Anele was caught with 4.892kg concealed in false bottom of his luggage aboard an Ethiopian Airline on the Enugu-Addis Ababa-Bombay route.

“Life is not fair to me. Every day it is one problem after another and the money I earn is not enough,” said Mr. Anele, from Ichi village, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

“It was frustration that made me to smuggle drugs. They promised me that the drug has been properly hidden and that when I return they will pay me the sum of one million naira.

“At the airport, my bag was searched and the drug detected. Now I am now left alone to suffer.”

The other suspects, Emmanuel Chukwuebuka, was caught with 1.293kg of cocaine on his way to Istanbul, Turkey; and Eric Ukaeji was found with 1.408kg of cocaine on his way to Hong Kong.

Read More: premiumtimesng

5 Lawmakers Injured As Parliament Turns to Royal Rumble

At least five Turkish lawmakers have been injured in a brawl that erupted in the parliament ahead of a debate on a controversial security bill.

The fighting took place early on Wednesday during a closed-door session as opposition political parties proposed various motions to delay the beginning of the debate, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Of those injured, two were taken to hospital for treatment and the other three were treated at the parliament’s infirmary. Lawmaker Mahmut Tanal, who was among those hit, described the fighting as unprecedented. According to lawmaker Ertugrul Kurkcu, the fighting legislators threw chairs and used the assembly’s gavel and bell to hit others. The brawl comes amid high tensions between the opposition and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the security bill that the government is pushing for an approval.

Read Morepresstv.com

Japanese government urged to seek Turkey help in freeing ISIL-held hostages

A Japanese expert has called on the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to seek Turkey’s mediation in efforts to free the two hostages from Japan held by the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq.

Ko Nakata, an expert on Islamic law and a former professor at Kyoto’s Doshisha University, also said on Thursday that Tokyo should pay the 200-million-dollar ransom required by the ISIL for the two Japanese hostages.

The ISIL terrorist group released a video on January 20, threatening to kill the two Japanese hostages unless Tokyo pays the ransom within 72 hours.

Nakata proposed that the Japanese government distribute the ransom as humanitarian aid among refugees and residents in the areas that “the Red Crescent Society is operating under the Islamic State (ISIL)’s control.”

“Why don’t we seek Turkey’s mediation and give the money for the people affected by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria? I believe this could be a rational, acceptable option,” Ko Nakata said.

Read More: presstv.ir

Kurds Hold off I.S. in Kobani as Fighters Strike in Iraq

 Kurdish defenders held off Islamic State militants in Syria’s border town of Kobani on Sunday, but the fighters struck with deadly bombings in Iraq, killing dozens of Kurds in the north and assassinating a provincial police commander in the west.

The top U.S. military officer suggested that Washington, which has ruled out joining ground combat in either Iraq or Syria, could nevertheless increase its role “advising and assisting” Iraqi troops on the ground in the future.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a television interview that Turkey agreed to let bases be used by coalition forces for activities inside Iraq and Syria and to train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State.

A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria, countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.

After days of Islamic State advances, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Kobani’s Kurdish defenders had managed to hold their ground. The Observatory said 36 Islamic State fighters, all foreigners, were killed the previous day, while eight Kurdish fighters had died. The figures could not be independently verified.

 

New Coalition Airstrike Around Kobane

An aircraft of the international coalition on Wednesday carried out a new air strike against Islamic State (IS) targets around the Syrian border town of Kobane, an AFP correspondent reported.

The air strike sent a cloud of thick black smoke billowing into the air from a hill on the eastern side of Kobane, the correspondent reported from the Turkish border.

It was the first air strike witnessed Wednesday after a flurry of strikes Tuesday which some sources said had helped Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) push back the IS militants.

Idris Nahsen, a Kurdish official from Kobane, said that the air strikes had been helpful.

“The situation has changed since Tuesday. YPG forces have pushed back IS forces,” said Nahsen, who himself moved to Turkey on Tuesday but now plans to go back.

The fighting for Kobane could still be heard on the Turkish side of the border and IS fighters could be seen moving around the edge of the city. The black flags planted by IS on Monday were still in place.

Meanwhile, the minaret of a mosque in the centre of Kobane that had been clearly visible from the Turkish side collapsed, the correspondent said. The cause was not immediately clear.

Celebrity Photo of the Day- Ciara Buying Roasted Corn!!!

Amazing singer, super Mom and eccentric dancer, Ciara, is in the spotlight today! We caught her wanting to eat roasted corn… Yes roasted corn!!!

FullSizeRender (27)FullSizeRender (28)

 

The adorable and sexy mom has been travelling and is pretty excited sharing her photos for her fans to see on Instagram.

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From Paris, Cici is seen in Turkey and she has been up and doing with so much excitement as she also shares a video of herself speaking in the Turkish language, revealing that she loves Turkey and is having a blast.

FullSizeRender (30) FullSizeRender (29)

 

Turkey Backs Action Against ISIS

The Turkish government won parliamentary approval to deploy troops against the Islamic State group as Australia announced on Thursday that it was joining combat sorties against the jihadists in Iraq.

The vote by Turkish MPs came as IS fighters pressed an assault on a Syrian frontier town, whose capture would give the jihadists unbroken control of a long stretch of Turkey’s more than 900 kilometre (560 mile) border with Syria.

An AFP correspondent on the frontier saw huge plumes of smoke above the town of Kobane as outnumbered and outgunned Kurdish militia put up a desperate resistance.

Early Friday, the town’s defenders destroyed two IS armoured vehicles which had reached less than two kilometres (little more than a mile) from the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Turk Woman Moves to Islamic State to Protect Son

Turk woman has been reported to have left Turkey to the Islamic State controlled territory with her son.

166Turkey Islamic State Families

Ummi Abduallah said her move to the militant group’s realm was in part to shield her 3-year-old from the sex, crime, drugs and alcohol that she sees as rampant in largely secular Turkey.

In a series of messages exchanged via Facebook with reporters, Ummi said, “The children of that country see all this and become either murderers or delinquents or homosexuals or thieves.” She adds that,  “The blood and goods of infidels are halal,” she said, meaning she believes that Islam sanctions the killing of unbelievers.

Ummi Abdullah’s story has already made waves in Turkey, where her disappearance became front-page news after her ex-husband, a 44-year-old car salesman named Sahin Aktan, went to the press in an effort to find their child.

Even with U.S. bombs now falling on Raqqa, Ummi Abdullah says she has no second thoughts. “I only fear God,” she wrote.1411592258202

For Aktan, who says he hasn’t seen his son since his ex-wife took the boy, her decision is a selfish form of fanaticism.  He responded saying, “If you want to die, you can do so… But you don’t have the right to bring the kid with you. “No one can give you this right.”

Hours after the AP first published this story, Ummi Abdullah’s Facebook account disappeared. Her messages to the AP were also removed, replaced with a message from Facebook saying they were “identified as abusive or marked as spam.”

Many others in Turkey have carted away family to the Islamic State group under far less public scrutiny and in much greater numbers. In one incident earlier this month, more than 50 families from various parts of Turkey slipped across the border to live under the Islamic State group, according to opposition legislator Atilla Kart.

130, 000 Syrian Refugees Fleeing ISIS to Turkey

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Syrian refugees who have reached Turkey in the past 4 days, fleeing the advance of Islamic State militants now totals 130,000, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said Monday.

Numan Kurtulmus said Turkey is prepared for “the worst case scenario” should more refugees stream in.

The refugees have been flooding into Turkey since Thursday, escaping an Islamic State offensive that has pushed the conflict nearly within eyeshot of the Turkish border.

Although the numbers are high, Turkey says it is ready to react and respond to the conflict in Syria, which has pushed more than a million people over the border in the past 3½ years.

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U.S Forming “Core Coalition” to Fight I.S

Isis fighters parade through Raqqa

The United States said on Friday it was forming a “core coalition” to battle Islamic State militants, calling for broad support from allies and partners but ruling out committing ground forces.

President Barack Obama sought to use a NATO summit in Wales to enlist allied support in fighting the Islamist militants, but it is unclear how many nations might join the United States in air strikes in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told foreign and defense ministers from 10 nations on the sidelines of the summit on ways they can help. Kerry said, “We need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, to bolster the Iraqi security forces and others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own. Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here: no boots on the ground.”

Hagel said, “This group here this morning is the core coalition,.. It is the core group that will form the larger and extended coalition that’s going to be required to deal with this challenge.”  And nations involved include, The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Poland and Denmark, whose Ministers have met to discuss a strategy for addressing the Sunni militant group.

Kerry also said he hoped the allies could develop a comprehensive plan fighting IS in time for this month’s annual U.N. General Assembly session in New York.