Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey could hold separate referenda on constitution, presidential system: PM

ANKARA Turkey might hold two separate referenda on whether or not to adopt a new constitution, and a proposed move to an executive presidential technique, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.

Speaking on A Haber Tv, Davutoglu mentioned he would start talks with the opposition subsequent week on a new constitution and a feasible move away from the current parliamentary technique, and that the government would supply a peaceful atmosphere for discussions.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly named for an executive presidency that would give him higher powers, some thing opposition parties strongly oppose.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, writing by Jonny Hogg Editing by David Dolan)

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Turkey says its patience with Russia ‘has a limit’: newspaper

ROME Turkey’s foreign minister stated Ankara’s patience with Russia “has a limit” right after Moscow’s “exaggerated” reaction to a weekend naval incident between the two countries, an Italian newspaper reported on Monday.

A Russian destroyer fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean on Sunday to steer clear of a collision and summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident..

“Ours was only a fishing boat, it appears to me that the reaction of the Russian naval ship was exaggerated,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.

“Russia and Turkey certainly have to re-establish the relations of trust that we have always had, but our patience has a limit,” Cavusoglu stated.

The incident is most likely to heighten tensions in between the two nations who are at odds more than Syria and Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane last month.

Cavusoglu stated Russia had currently “put itself in a ridiculous position” with accusations by its President Vladimir Putin that Turkey had shot down the jet to defend oil supplies from Islamic State.

“No-a single believed it” he mentioned.

He also criticized Russia’s military intervention in Syria, saying it was aimed at propping up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, not combating Islamic State.

“Sadly Russia is not in Syria to fight terrorists,” he mentioned, adding that only 8 % of its air strikes had been aimed at Islamic State whilst 92 % were against other groups hostile to Assad.

Cavusoglu also stated air strikes had been not sufficient to defeat Islamic State and soldiers on the ground have been essential, according to the interview.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Turkey halts troop deployment to Iraq but will not withdraw: foreign ministry

ANKARA Turkey has halted a deployment of troops to northern Iraq but will not obey Iraq’s request to withdraw those already there, the Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday, insisting they had been sent with Iraq’s knowledge to support fight Islamic State.

The arrival of a heavily armed Turkish contingent at a camp close to the frontline close to the city of Mosul has added but one more controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State that has drawn in most of the world’s key powers.

Russia, currently furious after Turkey shot down one of its jets flying a sortie more than Syria last month, said it regarded the presence of the Turkish forces in Iraq illegal.

Ankara says its troops are in Iraq to train Iraqi forces. “Training at this camp began with the understanding of the Iraqi Defence Ministry and police,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a meeting of deputies from his ruling AK Celebration.

In the last few days, Baghdad has denied that it knew about the mission and mentioned it would go to the United Nations Safety Council if the troops were not pulled out by Tuesday.

In a phone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart late on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu emphasized Ankara’s respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity, spokesman Tanju Bilgic told reporters.

“He (Cavusoglu) mentioned that our activities aimed to contribute to the struggle against Daesh (Islamic State) in Iraq and reiterated that the deployment had stopped,” Bilgic mentioned. “There is no withdrawal at the moment, but the deployment has stopped.”

Davutoglu stated he wanted to go to Baghdad as soon as achievable to calm the row, saying the troops have been intended to shield the coaching mission against attack by Islamic State.

“These who make diverse interpretations of the Turkish military presence in Mosul are involved in deliberate provocation,” he told the deputies.


While consideration was focused on the dispute with Baghdad, Davutoglu made clear that the sharp deterioration in ties with Russia remained higher on the agenda, with Turkey’s cabinet discussing attainable measures against Moscow on Monday.

“We are prepared for talks and every single sort of exchange of suggestions with Russia but will never let anything to be dictated to us,” he mentioned. “In the face of Russia’s sanctions, we will implement our personal sanctions if we regard it needed.”

Russia has imposed a raft of financial sanctions on Turkey since its fighter jet was shot down close to the Syrian-Turkish border final month in disputed situations. Davutoglu stated actions were being to support Turkey’s exporters and tourism sector.

Russia’s rising involvement in the Syrian conflict has place it at odds with Turkey, which has strongly supported rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

President Tayyip Erdogan stated on Tuesday that this assistance would continue, reiterating a demand for the creation of “safe zones” in northern Syria to safeguard displaced civilians and quit the flow of refugees.

“We are insisting on the creation of safe zones free of charge of terror and the speedy implementation of our train-and-equip proposal for moderate rebels,” he stated in a speech.

Davutoglu for his portion criticized “insults and attacks” directed at Turkey from within Iran, which, like Russia, is providing Assad wide-ranging military help.

He did not specify which comments he meant, but mentioned: If these attitudes continue, the conventional Turkey-Iran friendship will suffer wonderful harm … I know the Russian and Iranian men and women do not share this hostile stance of their leaders towards Turkey.”

(Extra reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul, Isabel Coles in Erbil Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Turkey detains alleged supporters of Erdogan foe in police force: media

ISTANBUL Turkish police detained 18 people such as senior police officers on Tuesday, in an investigation of alleged supporters inside the police force of President Tayyip Erdogan’s foe, Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, state-run Anadolu Agency stated.

It mentioned arrest warrants had been issued for 27 police officers in an operation across 13 provinces and focused on Istanbul. The private Dogan news agency mentioned the operation focused on former officers, including police chiefs.

Operations targeting alleged supporters of Gulen have continued unabated because a parliamentary election won convincingly on Nov. 1 by the AK Party which Erdogan founded.

Final month dozens of individuals, including senior police officers and bureaucrats, had been detained in an operation in the western city of Izmir over alleged links to what prosecutors have dubbed the “Gulenist terror group”.

Gulen was formerly an ally of Erdogan and believed to have wielded considerable influence in the judiciary and bureaucracy.

Erdogan turned against the cleric and his followers, accusing them of constituting a “parallel state”, right after police and prosecutors observed as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013.

The cleric has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States given that 1999 and is the topic of arrest warrants in Turkey. A prosecutor is searching for a prison sentence of up to 34 years on allegations that he sought to topple Erdogan. Gulen denies the allegation.

(Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Turkey defends ground troops in Iraq as war escalates

ISTANBUL/ERBIL Turkey mentioned on Monday it would not withdraw hundreds of soldiers who arrived last week at a base in northern Iraq, despite being ordered by Baghdad to pull them out inside 48 hours.

The sudden arrival of such a huge and heavily armed Turkish contingent in a camp near the frontline in northern Iraq has added but yet another controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State fighters that has drawn in most of the world’s major powers.

Ankara says the troops are there as portion of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State. The Iraqi government says it never ever invited such a force, and will take its case to the United Nations if they are not pulled out.

Washington, which is leading an international coalition against Islamic State that contains Turkey, Arab states and European powers like Britain and France, has told Ankara and Baghdad to resolve the standoff, and says it does not help deployments in Iraq with out Baghdad’s consent.

The Turkish troops’ presence is an embarrassment for Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, beneath powerful stress from strong Iran-backed Shi’ite political groups to kick them out.

Shi’ite parties linked to militia groups armed and funded by Iran have also complained about U.S. plans to station special forces in Iraq to conduct raids and guide bombs against Islamic State. Political stress on Abadi could make these plans far more tough to carry out.

Political analysts saw last week’s deployment in northern Iraq by Turkey, which has the second greatest army in NATO, as a bid to assert its influence in the face of improved Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria and Iraq.

“Turkey appears to be angling to prove to the Russians and Iranians that they will not be permitted to have either the Syrian or Iraqi war theaters only to themselves,” stated Aydin Selcen, former consul basic of Turkey in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.


The troops arrived on Thursday with tanks and armored personnel carriers at a camp in territory held by Iraqi Kurds near the Islamic State-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Ankara mentioned they have been there to support safeguard a education mission close to the front line.

“It is our duty to supply safety for our soldiers delivering education there,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview on Turkey’s Kanal 24 tv.

“Everybody is present in Iraq … The objective of all of them is clear. Train-and-equip advisory support is being provided. Our presence there is not a secret,” he added.

Abadi has referred to as the Turkish deployment a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said Iraq was nevertheless waiting for Turkey to respond officially.

“In case we have not received any optimistic indicators before the deadline we set for the Turkish side, then we maintain our legal appropriate to file a complaint to the Security Council to stop this significant violation to Iraqi sovereignty,” he stated.

A senior Turkish official mentioned Baghdad’s objections had come as a surprise: “There was no single development … that occurred without informing the central government.”

“The military personnel for education will keep. Not since we want them (there) especially but due to the fact there is a demand from the Iraqi side. The discussion with the central government still continues,” the official told reporters.

He mentioned the total quantity of Turkish troops across Iraq was considerably much less than 1,000 soldiers, with some having arrived from Turkey and others sent to the base from other parts of Iraq.

Islamic State militants overran Mosul, Iraq’s main northern city and residence to around 2 million folks, in June 2014. An expected counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are involved in fighting elsewhere.

The U.S.-led coalition has been staging air strikes on Islamic State bases in each Iraq and Syria for much more than a year.

Russia joined the regional conflict with air strikes of its personal on Syria two months ago, and like Iran is allied to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who is opposed by Turkey, the United States and their allies. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane final month, causing a breakdown in relations with Moscow.


Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama’s envoy to the international coalition to counter Islamic State, stated on Twitter that Washington did not help missions in Iraq with no permission of Baghdad, which he stated also applied to U.S. missions there.

The camp occupied by the Turkish troops is becoming utilized by a force named Hashid Watani, or national mobilization, produced up of mainly Sunni Arab former Iraqi police and volunteers from Mosul.

It is observed as a counterweight to Shi’ite militias that have grown in clout elsewhere in Iraq with Iranian backing, and was formed by former Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, who has close relations with Turkey. A modest quantity of Turkish trainers had been currently there prior to the newest deployment.

The government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish area, whose safety forces handle the location where the Turks are deployed, backed up Ankara’s explanation: Thursday’s deployment was intended to expand the capacity of the instruction base, stated Safeen Dizayee, Kurdish government spokesman.

“The increase of personnel calls for some protection.”

Although Turkey is strongly suspicious of Kurds in Syria, it has great relations with Iraq’s Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.

“Turkey, operating via the Nujaifis and the Barzanis, is attempting to establish its personal sphere of influence in northern Iraq,” stated Aaron Stein, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

(Extra reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul, Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Orhan Coskun and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara Writing by Nick Tattersall Editing by Pravin Char, Peter Millership and Peter Graff)

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Turkey summons Russian envoy more than alleged rocket launcher on ship: official

World | Mon Dec 7, 2015 9:08am EST


ANKARA Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador on Monday soon after accusing Russia of a “provocation” after a serviceman on the deck of a Russian naval ship allegedly brandished a rocket launcher although the vessel passed by way of Istanbul at the weekend.

Relations have deteriorated sharply given that Turkey final month became the very first NATO member in much more than half a century to down a Russian plane, which it mentioned had violated its airspace whilst flying sorties more than Syria. The pilot was killed.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz Writing by Ece Toksabay editing by David Dolan)

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Iraqi defense minister asks Turkey to withdraw troops

World | Sun Dec six, 2015 11:16am EST


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BAGHDAD Iraq’s defense minister mentioned on Sunday he had told his Turkish counterpart that hundreds of Turkish forces deployed inside northern Iraq had been sent without informing or coordinating with Baghdad, and have to be withdrawn.

Khaled al-Obeidi stated in a statement that the Turkish defense minister had explained the deployment as needed to defend Turkish military advisers instruction Iraqi forces at a camp near Mosul. But Obeidi stated the Turkish force was as well large for such a objective.

(Reporting By Stephen Kalin Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Turkey angered by rocket-brandishing on Russian naval ship passing Istanbul

ISTANBUL Turkey accused Russia of a “provocation” on Sunday soon after a serviceman on the deck of a Russian naval ship allegedly held a rocket launcher on his shoulder although the vessel passed via Istanbul.

Relations have deteriorated sharply because Turkey last week became the very first NATO member in more than half a century to down a Russian plane, which it stated had violated its airspace even though flying sorties over Syria. The pilot was killed.

The NTV news channel broadcast photographs that it mentioned showed a serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher on the deck of the landing ship Caesar Kunikov as it passed on Saturday by way of the Bosphorus Strait, which bisects the city of Istanbul. It stated the ship was believed to be en route to Syria.

“For a Russian soldier to display a rocket launcher or anything equivalent although passing on a Russian warship is a provocation,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters, according to the Hurriyet news website. “If we perceive a threatening circumstance, we will give the necessary response.”

The Bosphorus gives the only passage to the world’s oceans for the Russian Black Sea fleet. A Globe War One-era treaty obliges Turkey to permit all ships to pass during peacetime.

Turkey had regarded Russia a strategic companion as its principal energy supplier, regardless of deep differences more than Syria. But given that Turkey shot the plane down, Moscow has introduced financial sanctions including a ban on Turkish foods and other products worth as considerably as $ 1 billion.NTV stated 3 NATO frigates with Canadian, Spanish and Portuguese flags had been moored in Istanbul as the Caesar Kunikov passed through.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Oil smuggled into Turkey not adequate to be lucrative: U.S. official

WASHINGTON The quantity of oil becoming smuggled into Turkey from Syria was not sufficient for anyone to profit from it drastically, a senior U.S. State Division official said on Friday, rejecting claims by Russia that prime Turkish officials had been benefitting by smuggling oil from areas of Syria controlled by Islamic State.

The official, speaking on situation of anonymity, stated the United States believed most of the oil smuggled from Islamic State-controlled regions was going into Syrian government-controlled territory and some into Iraq.

The Russian defense ministry claimed this week that it has proof Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his loved ones had been benefitting from smuggling oil from Islamic State-held territory. Erdogan denied the charges, saying he would stand down if such allegations have been verified correct.

“Our assessment is that there is not a lot of smuggling happening of any important volume in between ISIL controlled territories and Turkey,” the official stated. “The volume itself of the oil getting smuggled is really low and has decreased more than time.”

The official estimated that to smuggle about 20,000 barrels of oil into Turkey per day it would take about 1,000 trucks, a number that had not been seen crossing the border.

“The economics never make sense for that to take place,” the official said. “The proof doesn’t suggest that we would see thousands of trucks going by means of this territory and it would have to cross numerous distinct areas of handle, and at every point have to pay fees.”

“I do not see a lot of narrative in the argument that there is considerable smuggling going,” the official added.

Although the official acknowledged that some smuggling was occurring in between the neighbors, he flatly rejected that it was of any considerable volume that would be lucrative.

“The oil is getting consumed almost completely inside areas of handle of Syria and trading with the regime” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the official stated, adding, “ISIL is promoting it into the economy.”

U.S., French and British jets have targeted Islamic-controlled oil fields in Syria as element of a campaign to reduce the financial lifeline of the militant group. Hours soon after the British parliament agreed to join a coalition fighting the militant group, British bombers attacked six targets in the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria controlled by Islamic State.

U.S. officials have stated that images posted by Russia of oil tankers crossing into Turkey from Syria have been dated and had been not of trucks crossing the border into Turkey.

“What I have not observed is imagery of the border crossing with trucks crossing the border, and that’s simply because I don’t think that exists,” the official added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton)

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Turkey dismisses ‘Soviet propaganda’, says attempting to secure Syria border

ANKARA Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu dismissed Russian allegations that Turkey was acquiring oil from Islamic State as “Soviet-style propaganda” on Thursday and said the NATO member was doing all it could to secure its border with Syria.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday it had proof that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

“In the Cold War period there was a Soviet propaganda machine. Every day it produced various lies. Firstly they would believe them and then expect the world to believe them. These had been remembered as Pravda lies and nonsense,” Davutoglu stated.

“This was an old tradition but it has suddenly reared its head again. Nobody attaches any worth to the lies of this Soviet-style propaganda machine,” he told a news conference prior to leaving on an official pay a visit to to Azerbaijan.

Davutoglu mentioned a rejection of Russia’s claims by the United States was further evidence that Moscow was peddling a fabricated narrative.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday that Washington rejected the premise that the Turkish government was in league with the militants to smuggle oil, saying it saw no evidence to help such an accusation.

But President Barack Obama and other senior U.S. officials have also voiced aggravation in current days at lingering gaps in safety along a roughly 100 km (62-mile) stretch of Turkey’s border with Syrian territory controlled by Islamic State.

White Residence spokesman Josh Earnest stated on Wednesday that some places had been nevertheless not effectively secured.

Davutoglu stated Turkey was undertaking all it can and is setting up “physical barriers” on that stretch of border. He stated Turkey was functioning with coalition partners to try to take away Islamic State fighters from the Syrian side.

“98 km of the border is under Deash handle, physical barriers are getting setting up right here,” he said, employing an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

“Turkey is undertaking all sorts of work with coalition elements to remove Deash from the border in the period ahead.”

(Extra reporting by Asli Kandemir Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Nick Tattersall and Andrew Heavens)

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