At least four people have been killed in a fireworks factory explosion in Sakarya province in Turkey. According to authorities who confirmed the incident, 97 people were injured in the explosion. The noise from the blast was heard around 30 miles from the scene, sending dozens of people into panic.
According to Amnesty International, a court in Istanbul on Friday sentenced Taner Kilic, the group’s former chairman in Turkey, to more than six years in prison for “membership in a terrorist group.” The court also convicted three other human rights activists, including Idil Eser, of charges of aiding a “terror group.”
The Council of State in Turkey is considering a request by several organizations to convert the former Hagia Sophia Church into a new mosque. Anatolia News Agency reported that the decision may be made within the next 15 days at the latest. The issue has raised a great deal of concern from abroad.
Turkey, and especially its coasts, attract tens of thousands of German tourists each year. Now the situation has changed with the prevalence of COVID-19. Turkey is on the list of countries the German Foreign Ministry has warned against visiting. Previously, nothing seemed to stop German tourists from going to the Turkish coast to spend their holidays.
Oxfam, in collaboration with the Greek Refugee Council, has published a report on the implications of the new Greek asylum law. According to the organization’s officials, the changes in the Greek asylum law practically mean violating the binding standards of European altruism.
French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized Turkey for its role in the Libyan conflict. Macron said Monday night, after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mizeburg, near Berlin, that this role “is a threat to Africa and Europe, and France condemns external interference” in Libya.
Sudanese authorities announced that they had arrested 122 people who were on their way to Libya to “work as mercenaries,” according to the official SUNA news agency. The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) has long accused Sudanese mercenaries of supporting the forces of Khalifa Haftar.
According to Russian news outlet avia.pro, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that it is time for Turkey to actively continue its military operations in Syria’s Idlib province. The publication quoted him as saying that the Turkish military will continue to fight all “terrorist organizations” that pose a threat to Turkey’s security, whether inside its borders or outside them.
In Libya, the operation by the forces under the Government of National Accord (GNA) to retake the city of Sirte back from the hands of General Khalifa Haftar continues. Rejecting Haftar’s call for a ceasefire, the Tripoli government, supported by Turkey, say they will not sit at the table without Sirte.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi confirmed in a speech on Saturday, broadcast on Egyptian television, that Egypt’s direct entry into Libya “has become available to international legitimacy,” and involves goals. Sisi said this while inspecting the Egyptian army units in the western military zone.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that Turkey’s actions in Libya by the hands of militants transferred to the region threaten the European Union. Furthermore, France will not allow anyone to annex the Mediterranean Sea. The Head of the French Foreign Ministry said this in an interview with the French newspaper, La Croix.
Russia and the United Arab Emirates praised the “Cairo Declaration” on Libya, which was approved by retired general Khalifa Haftar. The leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA) backed a cease fire to take effect from Monday. However, the Turkish-backed, UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected it.
Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi was murdered in 2011. There after, Libya became a divided state. Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. Shortly after his death, it was announced that the war in Libya was over. In reality, the war mutated with a new trajectory.
The recent crackdown on rebel leader General Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya has made it increasingly clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to take over covert control of the country’s future. Turkey provides military assistance to support of the government in Tripoli, while Gen. Haftar’s army has several thousand Russian “mercenaries.”
French automaker Renault has announced that it will lay off 15,000 employees worldwide for an estimated €2 billion in savings, and 4,600 of the employees to be laid off are from France. It is stated that the rest will be from those working in the production centers of the company in other countries. Renault has nearly 180,000 employees in 39 countries.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced 29 new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the death toll in the country to 4,369. Koca also tweeted that 987 new cases had been confirmed, for a total of 157,814 in Turkey. The total number of patients who have recovered in Turkey has exceeded 120,000.
US President Donald Trump has announced a ban on entry to the United States from Brazil due to the rising incidence of the coronavirus in the country. Cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in Brazil, with 16,000 more cases reported in the past 24 hours and 653 deaths.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Friday that the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey increased by 1,708 over the previous 24 hours and the number of deaths by 48. That brings the total number of cases in the country to 146,457 and 4,055 deaths. Koca, however, said that conditions in the country were improving.
A four-day curfew has started in 14 metropolitan cities in Turkey, including Zonguldak. The curfew will continue until the night of May 19. “Movement restriction will be applied again on May 16-17-18-19,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after the cabinet meeting. A curfew was imposed in 31 cities for four days since April 23.
A hidden geometric structure was found in the large-scale religious building of Göbekli Tepe, an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey approximately 12 km northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell has a height of 15 m and is about 300 m in diameter. It is approximately 760 m above sea level.
Amnesty International said on Monday that Syrian and Russian forces have targeted schools and hospitals during their air and ground attacks in Syria. The human rights organization said, in a report published yesterday, that the Syrian and Russian forces in the northwest of the war-torn country carried out 18 such attacks between May 2019 and February 2020.
Nordic Monitor published classified information about surveillance operations by the Turkish intelligence services in the US and other nations around the globe. According to the documentation, the Turkish President has been authorizing intelligence operations to spy on critics of Turkey. The documentation seems to have a stamp from the Turkish government agency established in 2016 under the Turkish National Security Agenda.
The leader of one of the belligerents in the ongoing conflict in Libya has announced a truce during the month of Ramadan. After two similar announcements were launched this year, the leader of the “Libyan National Army,” Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced Wednesday night “the cessation of all military operations” of the forces loyal to him on the occasion of the month of Ramadan.
A 17-year-old Syrian refugee, who allegedly failed to comply with the country’s coronavirus curfew restrictions, was shot dead by police. Ali el Hemdan was returning home after work on Monday when the police arrested him on a routine check, according to several testimonies collected by a section of the nation’s local media.
French police have seized 14,000 face masks intended for sale on the black market, AFP reported. Two people were arrested while they were unloading boxes in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, a police source said on Sunday. Last month, the French government confiscated all of its mask stockpiles and production for health care workers.
Cyprus is celebrating the lifting of the arms embargo by the United States. The motivation behind lifting the embargo is to prevent Turkey’s expansion in the Mediterranean. It is not a surprise, since Turkey escalated the conflict in one of the Syrian regions. Additionally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can not be trusted by the West. Even though Turkey is a part of NATO, it is a wild card.
Since necessity is the mother of innovation, many Orthodox Christians followed Easter resurrection services on the Internet or television. Others ignored the dangers of the virus and attended church ceremonies on the most important day on the Orthodox calendar. In Georgia, a few hundred people took part in the midnight mass at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, after the government allowed public attendance, despite measures to ban a night walkthrough to contain the virus.
Turkey is preparing a new law to reduce the sentences and release about 90,000 prisoners to limit the spread of covid-19 in prisons. The measure is controversial as it excludes journalists and political prisoners. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002, forwarded to Parliament the draft law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding, owing to the danger posed by the covid-19 pandemic.
Turkish prosecutors announced on Wednesday that it had formally charged 20 Saudis, two among them very close associates of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by the acronym MBS, for the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the number of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus cases worldwide is accelerating. According to the news sources, the virus has already entered 195 countries and territories. The causative agent of pneumonia COVID-19 was detected in 378,000 people.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s four-day summit with European leaders was scheduled to take place in Istanbul, but was cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Instead, the meeting was held by video conferencing. Heads of state and government discussed ways to send humanitarian aid to Idlib, in northern Syria, and the issue of Syrian refugees.
Hundreds of protesters flocked to the Aleppo-Lattakia road in Idlib Governorate to protest against the Russian-Turkish patrols on the way. Hundreds of civilians flocked to the international road near Arihah and set tires to prevent the passage of Russian-Turkish joint patrols along the M4. Dozens had been in tents erected three days ago on the road, and there were calls for a demonstration in the area.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that until the EU agreed to meet all of his demands, it would continue to open the border and allow refugees in Turkey to travel to Europe. “Until all expectations are met in a concrete way, we will continue our current practice at our borders,” Erdogan said.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported that the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Turkey. “The infected individual contracted the virus after returning from Europe. He has been completely isolated,” Koca said. “The patient’s general condition is good. All of his family members and those who came into contact with him are under surveillance,” he added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday he would meet next week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and, possibly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They will meet on March 17 to discuss the refugee problem, Erdogan told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu on his return to Turkey from Brussels.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that resolving the migration crisis requires European support in Syria, as new clashes between refugees and police on the border with Greece began. “If European countries want to resolve the issue, they must support Turkey’s efforts for political and humanitarian solutions in Syria,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on Wednesday.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece remain high after Ankara decided last week to open its borders with Europe. In order to find a solution as soon as possible, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell continues his tour of the Turkish capital.
A voluminous 300-page report released last month by the RAND Corporation released titled “Turkey’s Nationalist Path-Implications For The US-Turkish Cooperation Strategy And The US Army” indicates that the Turkish government’s decision to dismiss hundreds of army officers after the failed 2016 coup in Ankara caused widespread discontent in the country’s armed forces.
The crisis surrounding the Idlib region in northern Syria has put the fragile Russia-Turkey alliance under new stress. Moscow neither wants a direct military confrontation with Ankara, nor does it want to break away from Idlib’s assessment of terrorist lairs, and certainly not from the support of the Syrian regime.
The troops of the Greek Army conducted extensive target practice on the islands east of the Aegean Sea and the river Evros on Monday. This is a report by the Greek national television station, quoted by the Ministry of Defense of Athens. From the commentator’s point of view, the exercise was Athens’ response to the increase in the number of immigrants transferred from Turkey to Lesbos, Chios, and Samos the previous day.
Russia and Turkey have been at war for awhile. However, it is a proxy war. Pro Turkish Syrian fighters supported by the Turkish military are fighting Pro-Russian Syrian fighters, who are supported by the Russian Army and the Kremlin. It is a war fought by using others to reach their objectives. Nevertheless, the war will turn into full blown conflict; at this time Turkey can’t afford blatant war with Russia.
Senior Turkish officials say Turkey will no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike in northwestern Syria’s Idlib area. The opening of the border may lead to a repeat of the immigration crisis in 2015-2016, when more than one million people will reach Greece by sea and walk across the Balkans, until Turkey and Iran close the border after reaching an agreement.
At least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike carried out on Thursday by the Syrian regime in the north-west of the country. It is a record number of fatalities for Turkey in a single day since 2016. This episode represents a serious escalation in the direct conflict between Turkey and the Russian-backed Syrian regime forces that has been fought since the beginning of February.
At the request of Turkey, NATO held an emergency council meeting. The Turkish Newspaper Yeni Safak published an article titled “The NATO crisis meeting has ended. Stoltenberg: we will protect Turkey from the air-air attacks from Syria will stop.” Yeni Şafak is a conservative Turkish daily newspaper that always supports Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AK Party. Overall, it has close ties to the Turkish government and could be considered a Turkish pro-government propaganda paper.
The United States imposes sanctions on 13 foreign entities and individuals in Russia, China, Iraq, and Turkey under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). The announcement was confirmed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on @twitter.
The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act authorizes the United States to impose sanctions against foreign individuals, private entities, and governments that engage in proliferation activities.
Iran became the country with the second-highest number of deaths caused by the new coronavirus Sunday. Iran currently has eight recorded deaths, the most outside China. The situation has led some of its neighboring countries to close their borders, or ban travel to Iran altogether, in fear of the spread of the deadly disease.
A Turkish soldier was killed in a bomb attack by the Assad regime in Syria’s Idlib area, becoming the sixteenth Turkish soldier to die in the area this month. A statement issued from the Turkish province of Gaziantep said that the deceased was a tank repairman. Turkey has sent thousands of soldiers and military equipment to areas south of its borders to resist the attack by Assad forces in order to regain control of areas controlled by opposition fighters.