Tag Archives: Turkish

Thousands of Iraqis in Baghdad, Basra protest Turkish deployment in north

BAGHDAD Thousands of Iraqis protested on Saturday against Ankara’s deployment of troops to a base near the northern city of Mosul, with some burning Turkish flags and threatening violence against the soldiers for what they see as a violation of sovereignty.

News of the deployment of 150 Turkish soldiers earlier this month triggered a crisis among Ankara and Baghdad, which has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to demand their instant and unconditional withdrawal.

Ankara has refused, saying the troops had been component of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State, which nonetheless controls a massive component of the country. Baghdad denies inviting such a force.

At least 4,000 demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Saturday, and many thousand much more in the oil city of Basra in the south, including Shi’ite militia members who held up banners reading “Death to Turkey. Death to Erdogan”.

“We consider any military presence on Iraqi land as foreign aggression which we must stand against utilizing all attainable implies,” Hadi al-Amiri, a Shi’ite lawmaker who heads the potent armed Badr Organisation, told protesters in Baghdad.

The rallies were organized and led by Shi’ite militia groups, which have threatened to use force against Turkey unless it withdraws.

Pointing his pistol towards an image of Erdogan, Amjad Salim, a regional commander in the Badr Organisation in Basra, mentioned: “We are on higher alert now awaiting orders from our commanders to set fire to the ground beneath the feet of Turkish soldiers.”

In Baghdad, Reuters reporters saw angry protesters trample on the Turkish flag and hit a caricature of Erdogan with slippers in a mark of disrespect.

“If Turkey thinks Iraq is busy with fighting Daesh and it can seize the chance to deploy troops then it need to feel twice before generating such a error,” said Abu Muntathar al-Moussawi, a nearby commander in Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq paramilitary group.

“We can target Turkish soldiers and coming days will prove it.”

(Added reporting by Aref Mohammed in Basra Writing by Ahmed Rasheed Editing by Isabel Coles and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Iraq urges U.N. council to demand instant Turkish troop withdrawal

UNITED NATIONS Iraq appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Friday to demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops from northern Iraq, calling Turkey’s military incursion a “flagrant violation” of international law.

“We call on the Security Council to demand that Turkey withdraw its forces immediately … and not to violate Iraqi sovereignty again,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said in a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, president of the Security Council this month.

“This is considered a flagrant violation of the principles of the U.N. Charter, and a violation of Iraqi territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Iraq,” the letter said, according to an unofficial translation of the Arabic original.

The letter, which was seen by Reuters, was sent after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi instructed the Foreign Ministry to lodge a formal complaint at the United Nations.

One diplomat on the 15-nation Security Council said on condition of anonymity that there were no immediate plans to convene a special meeting during the weekend in response to the Iraqi letter.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he would not bow to Iraqi demands to withdraw Turkish troops from a camp close to the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

Alhakim made clear that bilateral diplomacy had failed so far to end the dispute between the two neighbors.

“Iraq worked on containment of this issue by diplomatic means and bilateral talks, but these efforts did not succeed in convincing Turkey to withdraw its occupying forces from Iraqi territory,” Alhakim wrote to Power, noting that the Turkish incursion was an “aggressive act.”

He added: “Assistance with military training and advanced technology and weapons to fight the Islamic State terrorist entity must be based upon bilateral and multilateral agreements and in full respect of the national sovereignty and Iraqi constitution, and in coordination with the Iraqi armed forces.”

The dispute over the deployment has soured relations between Ankara and Baghdad, which denies having agreed to it. Ankara says the troops were sent as part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State, which has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The Turkish military is helping to train local Iraqi volunteers and Kurdish peshmerga who are preparing for a long-anticipated offensive to retake Mosul, a major northern city seized by Islamic State more than a year ago.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler and Ken Wills)

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Erdogan says out of query Turkish troops will leave Iraq

Speaking at a press conference, Erdogan mentioned that the troops were there for instruction Kurdish peshmerga fighters and not combat purposes.

He also mentioned there would be a trilateral meeting amongst Turkey, the United States and Kurdish northern Iraqi authorities on Dec. 21 but made no mention of a feasible meeting with Baghdad.

(Reporting by Jonny Hogg Editing by Toby Chopra)

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Russia attempting to carry out ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Syria’s Latakia: Turkish PM

Planet | Wed Dec 9, 2015 10:10am EST


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ISTANBUL Russia is attempting to carry out “ethnic cleansing” in Syria’s northern Latakia province, forcing its Turkmen and Sunni population out to develop a protected haven and shield Russian and Syrian bases, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated.

“Russia is attempting to make ethnic cleansing in northern Latakia to force all Turkmen and Sunni population who do not have great relations with the regime, they want to expel them, they want to ethnically cleanse this region so that regime and Russian bases in Latakia and Tartus are protected,” he told members of the foreign media in Istanbul on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Nick Tattersall Writing by Daren Butler)


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Turkish army hits Kurdish militant targets in N.Iraq overnight

ANKARA Turkish warplanes struck Kurdistan Workers’ Celebration (PKK) militant targets in northern Iraq overnight and a policeman was killed in southeastern Turkey for the duration of clashes with the group.

Turkish jets hit targets in the Qandil, Hakurk, Zap and Avasin Baysan places of northern Iraq, targeting storage units and shelters for the militants, the Turkish army mentioned on Wednesday. The area is part of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish entity identified as Kurdistan.

Separately, a bomb-disposal policeman was killed by sniper fire in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, which has been beneath curfew for eight days.

Eastern Turkey has relapsed into bloodshed since the collapse of a ceasefire with the PKK in July and there is small sign of the violence tailing off.

Final month, Kurdish militants scrapped an additional unilateral truce — called in the wake of an Islamic State suicide bomb attack in Ankara — after President Tayyip Erdogan and the his AK Party, which won back its parliamentary majority in a November election, vowed to liquidate the PKK.

Far more than 40,000 men and women have been killed in the insurgency since it started in 1984. Erdogan oversaw a peace approach with the PKK but that unraveled in July.

The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan Writing by Ece Toksabay Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Anti-IS coalition focusing on sealing Turkish border: U.S. envoy

BAGHDAD The United States’ new envoy to the coalition it leads against Islamic State stated on Wednesday its priority was to seal the final strip of border in between Turkey and territory held by the ultra-hardline group in Syria.

The United States and Turkey have for months been talking of a joint work to clear Islamic State from the remaining component of the frontier but there has been no sign of progress.

“We are rising our pressure there,” mentioned Brett McGurk, with no elaborating.

The aim is to deprive Islamic State of a smuggling route that has swollen its ranks with foreign fighters and filled its coffers with illicit trade.

McGurk, who was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama in October, also said that only 30 % of airstrikes carried out by Russia in Syria targeted Islamic State and the rest hit “other armed groups”.

“Our air campaign in Syria, we feel it really is really efficient and we have the information to back that up. The Russian air campaign has different objectives very frankly,” he said at a briefing for the media in Baghdad.

Russia launched airstrikes in Syria at the end of September in support of its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, with the stated aim of hitting Islamic State.

The West has accused Moscow of mainly targeting Western-backed rebel groups fighting Assad, and a Reuters analysis of Russian Defense Ministry information in October showed nearly 80 percent of Russia’s declared targets in Syria had been in areas not held by Islamic State.

(Added reporting by Ahmed Rasheed Writing by Isabel Coles Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Turkish leader’s son denies Russian allegations of Islamic State trade

ROME The son of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has denied Russian allegations that he and his household had been profiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

Russia’s defense ministry said last week it had proof that the Erdogan family members was benefiting from this trade. Turkey has already dismissed the accusations and the president’s son Bilal added his voice to the numerous denials.

“We develop offices in Istanbul … We do not do business in the Mediterranean, in Syria or Iraq,” he was quoted as saying in Corriere della Sera newspaper, speaking about his own corporate issues, which have been referred to as into question by Russian media.

“ISIS is an enemy of my country. ISIS is a disgrace. It puts my religion in a undesirable light. They never represent Islam and I do not contemplate them to be Muslims,” he stated, referring to Islamic State by a single of its numerous acronyms.

1 of the four kids of President Erdogan, Bilal has shipping and maritime assets and controls numerous oil tankers via his company and partnerships in other firms.

However, he denied he had any operational shipping activities, saying his company had a contract to develop “river tankers” for a Russian client, but that it did not operate the ships itself. He also denied that his brother Burak might have transported oil from lands controlled by Islamic State.

“He has a cargo ship, but it can’t be used as a tanker.”

As an alternative, he stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was profiting from the sale of Islamic State oil. “If you stick to ISIS oil, you will find Assad.”

Damascus has previously accused the Turkish government, which is hostile to Assad, of permitting Islamic State insurgents to smuggle contraband out of northern Syria.

Relations among Turkey and Russia have chilled sharply right after Turkey final month shot down a Russian warplane that it said had crossed into its air space from Syria.

“What happened concerning the Russian jet was unpleasant, but we have to concentrate on the actual troubles: ISIS and the future of Syria,” Bilal Erdogan stated.

Russian media reports suggested that Bilal was straight involved in oil trade with Islamic State and that Turkey downed the Russian jet to defend this oil smuggling company.

Bilal came to Italy earlier this year with his wife and family to finish doctorate research in the city of Bologna. Critics accused him of fleeing Turkey in the wake of preceding graft scandals. He denied any wrongdoing and mentioned he was in Italy to concentrate on his studies.

(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk Writing by Crispian Balmer Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Turkish bank operations in Russia to be excluded from Moscow sanctions -sources

ISTANBUL Dec 7 Turkish banks will be excluded from Russian sanctions, market sources told Reuters on Monday, escaping a crackdown by Moscow that could cost Turkey up to $ 9 billion in retaliation for the shooting down of a Russian jet final month.

The Turkish Banking Association has told banks that their Russian operations will not face sanctions from Moscow, citing information provided by Denizbank, the Turkish unit of Russia’s Sberbank, two banking sources mentioned.

Denizbank declined to comment.

An official for the Turkish Banking Association confirmed it had received such details from Denizbank and forwarded it to other Turkish banks, but declined to give additional information. (Reporting by Ebru Tuncay Writing by Ece Toksabay Editing by David Dolan and David Holmes)

Turkish power projects unharmed by row with Russia, says Erdogan

ISTANBUL Turkey’s row with Moscow more than the downing of a Russian jet more than Syria has not affected joint power projects, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mentioned on Saturday.

Russia has imposed trade sanctions against Turkey, including freezing investment projects and restricting food imports, right after the Turkish air force last week shot down a Russian fighter bomber near the Syrian border as it took component in the Kremlin’s campaign against militants in Syria.

Russia buys about $ 1 billion worth of Turkish food and other items annually and is Turkey’s No. 1 power provider, shipping gas, coal and oil. It is also due to create Turkey’s first nuclear power station in the town of Akkuyu, a deal worth $ 20 billion.

“There is no sign yet that the problems with Russia will have an effect on projects like natural gas and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant,” Erdogan said in a speech to businessmen that was broadcast reside by NTV news channel.

He denied Russian assertions that Moscow had suspended talks with Turkey on the planned TurkStream all-natural gas pipeline project, saying Turkey was the one particular to halt operate.

“Do not believe the erroneous press reports that Russia has halted TurkStream. Just the opposite. This is a project that we shelved simply because our demands were not meant,” he stated.

“No negativity has resulted from the problems we have not too long ago faced,” he mentioned. “Turkey will not collapse due to the fact of your imports of $ 1 billion. Who cares if you acquire it or not? We’ll find other sources behind different doors.”

Turkey is seeking to acquire further gas from Qatar and Azerbaijan ought to Russian supplies decline, he stated. It will also pursue renewable, domestic sources.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Iraqi president says Turkish deployment violates international law

BAGHDAD Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Saturday known as the deployment of numerous hundred Turkish troops near the northern city of Mosul “a violation of international norms and law” and said it would raise regional tensions.

In an on the web statement, Massoum named on Turkey to withdraw the forces and asked Iraq’s foreign ministry to take the essential measures to preserve the country’s sovereignty and independence.

A Turkish security source mentioned on Friday that a number of hundred Turkish troops had been deployed to give instruction for Iraqi troops near Mosul, a city of far more than a single million folks which Islamic State militants overran in July 2014.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed Writing by Stephen Kalin Editing by Toby Chopra)

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