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.
Unsuccessful negotiations between Russian and Turkish diplomats, and the UN Security Council have doused all hope of easing tensions in Idlib, Syria. In anticipation, Ankara has asked the United States to deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems to the Turkey–Syrian border. The U.S. Embassy in Turkey has, however, declined to comment on the matter.
The results of the new survey are available pertaining to the approval of the head of state of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The poll results were posted on Twitter by the @Metropol. The survey posed a straightforward question of whether or not the public approves of the current head of state’s activities. Thus far Erdogan is at a 41.9% approval rate.
Thе first dау of the Ruѕѕіаn-Turkіѕh tаlkѕ on Idlіb еndеd Mоndау іn Moscow wіth no rеѕult. Ankаrа соntіnuеѕ tо transfer іtѕ mіlіtаrу еԛuірmеnt tо northern Syria аnd соntіnuеѕ to demand the іmmеdіаtе wіthdrаwаl оf the Syrian аrmу frоm its роѕіtіоnѕ. Moscow bеlіеvеѕ thаt Ankаrа fаіlеd the tаѕk of ѕераrаtіng thе tеrrоrіѕtѕ аnd the аrmеd орроѕіtіоn, but at thе same tіmе, thеу аrе tаlkіng about full undеrѕtаndіng between the Ruѕѕіаn аnd Turkіѕh mіlіtаrу.
Turkey faced Russia, formerly a convenient regional ally, in Syria, where Moscow had previously entrenched as a second-rate superpower, and Ankara tasted neo-Ottoman nostalgia. The shocks from this story have been felt for a long time, and their epicenter is located in Idlib in northwestern Syria.
Russian state media is reporting that the United States Congress is ready to pass another bill imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2 if Russia tries to complete the gas pipeline. Sanctions may affect European companies investing in the project, or companies that will receive gas from Russia, unnamed interlocutors from diplomatic circles in Washington, familiar with the situation, told news reporters. Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-January did not rule out that construction would be completed by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2021.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, David Swanson, reported that more than half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in Idlib over the last two months. “Since 1 December, some 520,000 people have been displaced from their homes, the vast majority – 80 percent – of them women and children,” he said. Swanson noted that their movement in winter exacerbated the already “terrible humanitarian situation in the region.”
The bloodshed between Turkey and Syrian government forces in the northwestern province of Idlib created an opportunity for an open confrontation between two neighboring states. The death of eight Turkish troops during the Syrian bombardment also posed a threat to good relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the main supporter of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
Less than two weeks after the Libyan conference in Berlin, French President Emmanuel Macron has sharply criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Macron, Turkey has broken its promise not to interfere in the affairs of the troubled North African state. The French president views the issue as a “clear violation” of what was agreed in Berlin.
At least 45 people have been saved as the death toll rose to 36 in Turkey’s 6.8 magnitude earthquake. A toddler was among those saved on Sunday, a footage emerged showing a two-year-old girl being rescued. The toddler who was covered in dust was seen smiling in the arms of a rescue worker. Turkish rescue teams who are working against the clock against freezing temperatures, pulled out more survivors from collapsed buildings on Sunday. More than 1,550 people were injured, including 34 who are in the Intensive Care Unit.
Rescuers continued operations on Sunday to search for survivors under the rubble of buildings in the Turkish city of Elazig, in the east of the country, after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook the region on Friday night, leaving at least 35 people dead. A total of 45 people were removed alive from the rubble, government officials said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged higher international pressure on the military forces in eastern Libya to accept a provisional truce, and said that Turkey remains committed to supporting the Libyan government recognized by the UN. Erdogan made the comments after a meeting in Istanbul with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who last Sunday hosted a peace conference on Libya in Berlin. The conference resulted in a provisional ceasefire.
The United States Senate early Wednesday morning, after 13 hours of debate, set the rules for the impeachment trial of American President Donald Trump. The Republican majority rejected all attempts by Democrats to call new witnesses against the president. The trial resumed this afternoon, local time.
International allies of the Libyan government, supported by the United Nations, and rebel forces led by General Khalifa Haftar agreed on Sunday to respect a ceasefire initiated a week ago, and an arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council. World leaders are hoping for a way out of the civil war that has plagued the country for five years.
About six thousand families from the western countryside of Aleppo have been displaced, amid intense Russian and Syrian bombing of the area during the past three days, since the ceasefire collapsed within the de-escalation zone. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in a report, stated that the wave of displacement from the towns and villages of the west of Aleppo escalated against the backdrop of the intense bombing. The area is mainly exposed to Russian planes since the ceasefire collapsed in the region subject to Russian-Turkish misunderstandings.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said today that, after his meeting with the leader of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, Athens expects European countries to reject the two memoranda that Turkey signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord led by Fayez Al-Sarraj. Dendias added that Athens encouraged Haftar to “constructively act” at the Berlin conference on Sunday, which aims to try to end the fighting in Libya.
On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Idlib, saying that the latest ceasefire in Syria “failed again to protect civilians.” This came the day after 10 people, including 3 Turkish soldiers, were killed in an explosion that rocked Raqqa. “It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground,” Bachelet said in a statement about the Russian-Turkish ceasefire, which was supposed to be implemented about a week ago in Idlib.
Russia will host Fayez al-Serraj and Khalifa Haftar in Moscow in an attempt to achieve peace in Libya. According to Russian news, Haftar is already in Russia. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who is a Turkish politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey since 24 November 2015, is expected to join them. Hakan Fidan is a retired Turkish army sergeant, teacher, diplomat and the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization. he is expected to attend as well. Hulusi Akar is the current Turkish Minister of Defense and a former four-star Turkish Armed Forces general who served as the 29th Chief of the General Staff. He will be arriving with al Serraj for the talks. Observers from Egypt and United Arab Emirates will be in attendance. The latest development is that Haftar left without signing any type peace resolution.
In a new step, the Libyan National Army commander, Khalifa Haftar, decided to postpone the signing of a ceasefire agreement, leaving Russia and his delegation. Russia hosted international talks in cooperation with the Prime Minister of the Libyan government, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the Turkish side. This opened speculation about the factors that may have prompted Haftar to take this position, despite allegations raised about the imminent signing of a binding ceasefire agreement in Libya once the negotiations in Moscow ended.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, called for a solution to the crisis in Libya Saturday. After a meeting in Moscow, which also discussed the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, both leaders urged the parties to negotiate. Earlier this week, Russia and Turkey— which support opposing sides— called for a cease fire.
Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has been killed in a drone strike at the Baghdad Airport. The strike was carried out by the US and was ordered by President Donald Trump. Soleimani was a powerful Iranian General and a veteran of the Syrian War. Soleimani led the work of Iranian military advisers in Iraq, and also led the Quds organization, which is responsible for military and intelligence and sabotage activities outside of Iran itself. The force reports directly to the supreme leader of The Republic of Iran, Ali Khamenei.
Turkey’s parliament has approved the deployment of soldiers to Libya for one year. The Turkish soldiers are to support Libya’s internationally-recognized government, currently under pressure from General Khalifa Haftar’s forces. During Thursday’s vote, 325 MPs voted in favor and 184 against the move by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
There has been a tug of war for geopolitical influence and attempts to disrupt the already established balance throughout 2019. We also saw the formation of interesting and very invasive social media polices around the globe. Hence, there were ramifications and changes to the social media landscape:
- France implementing new measures to track and monitor the social media of its citizens.
- Russia is working to complete their digital iron curtain.
- China implementing draconian verification process impacting social credit and privacy.
- UK to ruthlessly start collecting DNA.
- We’ve also seen the rise of deep fake technology that could have a great impact on the US 2020 Presidential elections as well as on the global scale.
Let’s look at the world’s main players and regions:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday that the country’s national Parliament would vote in January to allow troops to be sent to Libya. Turkey is backing the interim government of the Libyan National Agreement (GAN), against the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Russia and Egypt.
A number of representatives of the diaspora of Jordan, in cooperation with the Circassian organizations of Turkey, the US and Georgia, who have condemned Russia’s policy on the Circassian item, will not benefit the people as a whole, according to Khayredin Khakuz, a member of the Council of the Elders of the diaspora of Jordan, during his visit to Adygea.
Earlier in the media there was information that the head of the Jordanian organization “Society of Friends of the North Caucasus,” Adel Bashkavi announced about the need to file an international lawsuit against Russia at a recent meeting with the American Circassians, and also in 2013 and 2014 urged the Polish authorities to adopt anti-Russian resolutions. At the same time, his statements are presented as initiatives of the diaspora leadership.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump described French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that NATO was “brain dead” as “very offensive.” In an interview with The Economist in November, Macron stated that NATO is in a “brain dead” state, due to a lack of strategic coordination between European allies on the one hand, and the United States and Turkey on the other.
Aссоrdіng tо a Reuters rероrt, NATO is fасіng grеаt dіffісultу іn аdорtіng a new dеfеnѕе рlаn. Ankаrа hаѕ refused tо ѕuрроrt a NATO defense plan fоr thе Baltic states аnd Poland until the alliance offers Ankara greater political support in fighting thе YPG іn nоrthеrn Syria, news reports ԛuоtеd fоur NATO ѕоurсеѕ аѕ ѕауіng.
The Grееk Mіnіѕtеr іn сhаrgе оf іmmіgrаtіоn policy, during a visit tо Washington, rеgrеttеd whаt hе саllеd the “blасkmаіl” practiced by Turkеу tо gеt mоrе hеlр from the Eurореаn Unіоn. Giorgos Kоumоutѕаkоѕ еxрrеѕѕеd соnсеrn over rесеnt thrеаtѕ by Turkіѕh Prеѕіdеnt Rесер Tayyip Erdogan to “open the dооrѕ” оf Eurоре tо іmmіgrаntѕ.
German Chancellor Angеlа Mеrkеl on Wednesday рrоmіѕеd Turkеу nеw aid tо саrе fоr Syrian rеfugееѕ. Following a mееtіng wіth Croatian Prіmе Minister Andrej Plenković, Mеrkеl ѕаіd in Zаgrеb said that іf nесеѕѕаrу, new аѕѕіѕtаnсе wоuld bе рrоvіdеd tо Turkey for іtѕ many tаѕkѕ оf ѕhеltеrіng 3.5 mіllіоn реорlе.