Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syria. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

America should work with Turkey, not terrorists, in Syria


The Washington Post

Serdar Kılıç, Washington

The writer is ambassador of the Republic of Turkey

The April 6 editorial “A gift to America’s enemies” claimed that Turkey is “irrationally bent on annihilating” Syrian forces, led by Kurds, “who have collaborated with the United States in fighting” Daesh.

The PKK and its Syrian branch the PYD/YPG are terrorist organizations that victimized the Kurdish people above all. As Daesh (also known as ISIS) does not represent the Muslims, the PYD/YPG does not represent the Kurds.

Turkey hosts 3.5 million Syrians from all faiths and ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians and Armenians. The brutal Assad regime let the PYD/YPG widen its reign of terror to the areas these Syrians had to flee. A cynical cohabitation in these areas has emerged, similar to the one the regime had with Daesh. The PYD/YPG has never been an opposition element but an accomplice of the regime.

Turkey is the only country that fought with regular forces against Daesh in Syria and that took on another terrorist organization that was heavily entrenched in the mountainous terrain of Afrin. The Turkish Armed Forces showed an exemplary sensitivity for the protection of civilians. The liberated Afrin city center, which was left unscratched, stands in extreme contrast with the utter devastation caused in Raqqa by the PYD/YPG.

There is no room left for irresponsible tactical role-playing on the ground. It is time to see it all from a strategic perspective. The United States should rely on its decades-long alliance with Turkey, but not with a terrorist organization, while tackling the complexities of the Syrian conflict. This is essential for the future stability and security of the region.

Erdogan, Rouhani agree to maintain Turkey, Iran, Russia cooperation in Syria

APRIL 17, 2018 / 4:05 PM / UPDATED 16 HOURS AGO
Reuters Staff

1 MIN READ

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani agreed on Tuesday to maintain the cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Russia for a political solution to the conflict in Syria, a source in Erdogan’s office said.

Erdogan also told Rouhani in a telephone call that actions to increase tensions in the region should be avoided, after U.S., British and French forces carried out air strikes on Syria over the weekend.Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Greece’s Island of Despair

Text by ILIANA MAGRAMARCH 29, 2018

The New York Times

His brown eyes sunken and flat, Jahangir Baroch had spent another sleepless night in the metal container on the Greek island of Lesbos where he has lived for more than a year.

“There was no electricity in the container last night,” Mr. Baroch, 26, said desperately, at a center for refugees, away from the holding camp in Moria, where he is housed. “It was like a fridge.”

“I want to go to Athens,” said Mr. Baroch, who came from Baluchistan, an embattled province in Pakistan. “If you don’t want me, I want to go to another country.”

“Why am I here?” he asked, somberly.

Others are asking the same question two years after the European Union struck a deal with Turkey aimed at cutting off the route across the Aegean Sea for asylum seekers, many propelled by wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since then, thousands have remained stranded on Lesbos, unwilling to go back to the countries they left, unable to move forward, toward the opportunity they had hoped to find in Europe. Though the numbers are fewer, they keep coming.

The lucky ones, whose asylum applications are accepted, are eventually shipped to the Greek mainland. Those whose applications are rejected (they can apply twice) are sent back to Turkey as part of the deal with the European Union.

Turkey’s Double ISIS Standard

Foreign Policy Blog
Ankara claims to oppose the Islamic State. Its actions suggest otherwise.
BY AHMET S. YAYLA, COLIN P. CLARKE | APRIL 12, 2018, 4:43 PM

he decline of the Islamic State, nearly four years after its emergence, was the result of an aggressive military campaign to combat the group spearheaded primarily by the United States. That has not stopped Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu from writing an article for Foreign Policy to take credit for the group’s demise, insisting that Turkey’s actions in northern Syria have helped lay the groundwork for a sustainable peace.

What he neglected to mention is that it was Turkey’s actions, or perhaps the lack thereof, that helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State in the first place. The two most commonly cited factors leading to the growth of the Islamic State are the Syrian civil war and the government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and its persecution of Sunni Arabs in Iraq. But another significant part of this story is the negligence exhibited by the Turkish state.

UPDATE 2-Turkey's Erdogan lashes out at investors over tumbling lira

APRIL 12, 2018 / 2:29 PM / UPDATED 18 HOURS AGO
Reuters Staff

3 MIN READ

(Adds graphic, central bank governor)

By Tuvan Gumrukcu

ANKARA, April 12 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at international investors on Thursday, saying that no one could use exchange rates to bring the country to heel - casting a slide in value of its currency, the lira, as a foreign conspiracy.

His comments came after the lira plumbed record lows for five straight trading days, a sell-off that Erdogan and his ministers called an economic attack by outside forces.

The lira’s slide - it is down 8 percent against the dollar so far this year, one of the worst performances among emerging markets - reflects the gulf between Erdogan and international investors over monetary policy. Erdogan, an economic populist and a self-described “enemy of interest rates” wants to see lower borrowing costs despite double-digit inflation.

“Do not worry, Turkey continues on its path with determined steps, nobody can discipline us based on exchange rates,” he said in a speech in Ankara. “The rise in exchange rates has no reasonable, logical or by-the-book explanation.”

Economists say the lira’s slide is a reflection of entrenched inflation and wage growth and that interest rates needs to be raised to arrest its fall.

The lira was at 4.0970 to the dollar at 1321 GMT. On Wednesday, it set a record low of 4.1944. It was trading at 5.0475 against the euro after reaching a record low of 5.1914 on Wednesday.

The lira has faced some pressure from growing tension between the United States and neighbouring Syria and from a sell-off in the Russian rouble, the currency of a major trading partner and a fellow emerging-market heavyweight. But investors say most of Turkey’s problems are home-grown.

Markets are looking ahead to the central bank’s next policy-setting meeting on April 25. The bank’s reluctance to raise rates at its last two meetings has heightened the perception that it is less than independent.

The central bank is following developments in inflation and will tighten monetary policy further if that is deemed necessary, the governor of the central bank, Murat Cetinkaya, said on Thursday, comments that appeared to give the currency some relief.

Data released on Wednesday showed the current account - a broadly defined measure of trade that includes services and investment income - recorded a deficit of $4.152 billion in February.

That was less than the $4.2 billion forecast in a Reuters poll but an increase of more than 60 percent from the same period a year earlier. Analysts said it affirmed Turkey’s vulnerabilities on the balance of payments front.

Additional reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu in Ankara and Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul; writing by David Dolan; editing by Robin Pomeroy, Larry King

Friday, March 30, 2018

Turkey says will take action if militants do not leave Syria's Manbij

MARCH 28, 2018 / 8:09 PM / 2 DAYS AGO
Reuters Staff

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey will take action if militants do not withdraw immediately from Syria’s Manbij region and areas in the country east of the Euphrates, Turkey’s National Security Council said on Wednesday.

Turkey, which stormed the northern Syrian town of Afrin last week after a two-month offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, has repeatedly threatened to push its operations further east to Manbij where U.S. troops are stationed.

Expanding Turkey’s military campaign into the much larger Kurdish-held territory further east, which President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to do, would risk confrontation between the NATO allies who have been at loggerheads over the U.S. policy in Syria and other issues.

“In the meeting, it is stated that the terrorists in Manbij should be removed from the area, otherwise Turkey will not hesitate to take initiative by itself as it did in other regions,” the statement from the security council, chaired by Erdogan, said.

It said the same approach also applied to the militants on Syrian soil at the east of Euphrates, without elaborating where that would specifically apply to, or who it might target.

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the state, and has been infuriated by the support Washington has provided the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The Council said it also expected Iraq’s government to prevent the PKK operating in Iraq, especially in towns of Sinjar and Qandil. If that was not possible Turkey would prevent them itself, the council added.

“In the meeting it is stated that aside from Syria, Turkey expects Iraq to prevent operations by the separatist terrorist organization in its territory and if it is not possible Turkey will prevent them by itself,” the council statement said using the term it applies to PKK.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraqi armed forces would prevent Kurdish militants based in northern Iraq from staging cross-border attacks against Turkey during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Turkey's Erdogan tells crying girl, 6, she'd be honored if killed in battle: report

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/27/turkeys-erdogan-tells-crying-girl-6-shed-be-honored-if-killed-in-battle-report.html


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last weekend raised eyebrows when he called a visibly emotional girl, 6, onstage during a military rally and talked about the possibility of her becoming a martyr.

The New York Times reported Monday that Amine Tiras, a first grader and cadet, was in the crowd during the Saturday event. At some point Erdogan called on  Tiras and she was “lifted into the air” and sent towards him.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The United States and Turkey should fix their relationship—Before it’s too late

ORDER FROM CHAOS
Amanda SloatFriday, February 16, 2018

The Brookings Institute

Editor's Note: It is positive that Washington is going to Ankara this week. Engagement by America’s three most senior national security officials with their Turkish counterparts in the same week sends a strong signal about the seriousness with which the United States takes this relationship. At the same time, U.S. officials must express their concerns about Turkish actions that are contributing to fractious ties. This piece originally appeared on Foreign Policy.

American diplomats are out in force in Turkey this week. On Sunday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster met in Istanbul with Ibrahim Kalin, his nominal counterpart. On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in Brussels on the margins of the NATO ministerial summit. Later this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to visit Ankara for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Turkey assails US over ties with Syrian Kurdish militia


By Associated Press February 12 at 7:39 AM
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s foreign minister assailed the United States on Monday, claiming that American forces in Syria are intentionally stalling the fight against Islamic State militants as an excuse not to cut ties with Syrian Kurdish militiamen as Ankara has demanded.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Istanbul that U.S. forces are leaving “pockets” with IS militants intact to justify continued cooperation with the Kurdish militia.

Speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later this week, Cavusoglu said Turkey’s ties with the U.S. are at a make-or-break stage and that Washington needs to take “concrete steps” to regain Turkey’s trust.

“Our relations are at a very critical stage,” Cavusoglu said. “Either we will improve ties or these ties will totally break down.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First on CNN: US troops exchange fire with Turkish-backed rebels in Syria



By Ryan Browne, CNN
Updated 1927 GMT (0327 HKT) August 29, 2017

(CNN)US troops in northern Syria came under direct attack last week by Turkish-backed rebels, a military official with the coalition fighting ISIS told CNN Tuesday. The official said that while US troops returned fire there were no casualties on either side.

The coalition believes the attackers are part of the Turkish-backed opposition forces, a loose grouping of Arab and Turkmen fighters that have helped the Turkish military clear ISIS from the Turkish-Syria border area.

Iran Building Weapons Factories in Lebanon and Syria, Israel Says


By ISABEL KERSHNERAUG. 29, 2017

The New York Times

JERUSALEM — Israel is using a visit this week by the United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres, to highlight concerns about what it says are Iran’s efforts to produce advanced, precision weapons in Lebanon and Syria.

“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference with Mr. Guterres on Monday, “and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria

Ankara has long been angered by the alliance between Washington and Kurdish factions. But a new report exposing secret American bases is a dangerous way to strike back.

Roy Gutman
ROY GUTMAN
07.19.17 1:00 AM ET

The Daily Beast

ISTANBUL—In the latest display of Turkish anger at U.S. policy in Syria, the state news agency has divulged the locations of 10 U.S. military bases and outposts in northern Syria where the U.S. is leading an operation to destroy the so-called Islamic State in its self-styled capital of Raqqa.
The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region—a distance of more than 200 miles. The Anadolu news agency even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations and in two instances stipulated the presence of French special forces.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lone wolf or complex plot? Analysing the Manchester bombing


The use of an improvised bomb may suggest a more elaborate plan than other recent attacks


Economist

Britain
May 23rd 2017

DETAILS of the Manchester Arena bombing are slowly emerging. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. The police have confirmed that the murderous act last night was carried out by a single suicide-bomber who detonated an improvised explosive device packed with shrapnel in a crowded foyer. He has been named as Salman Abedi, reportedly a Manchester-born 22-year-old with family of Libyan origin. Separately, a 23-year-old man has been arrested in a Manchester suburb in connection with the crime. Wrenching photos of the first young victims and missing concert-goers have been posted online.

What an Attack at an Ariana Grande Show Means for Teen Girls

By NATALIE SHUTLERMAY 23, 2017

The New York Times

The pink balloons, floating above the maelstrom of panicked concertgoers, are what struck me first. Images of innocence, bumping along above hordes of shrieking children, many of whom refused to release their balloons even as they fled the arena.

Do you remember your first pop concert? That first time you watched a female hero belt it out onstage without apologies? I was in eighth grade when my dad agreed to drive me and my best friend to see Garbage, a Scottish pop band led by the coolest woman of all time, Shirley Manson. Her anger, confidence and sexuality stood in for stirrings of teenage passion that I had no way to express. I was awkward and insecure — weren’t we all? — but when I stood in the presence of a woman who stared down the system with a growl in her voice, I forgot about how weird it felt to be 13.

British prime minister raises nation’s threat level, saying another attack ‘may be imminent’


The Washington Post

By Griff Witte, Karla Adam and Souad Mekhennet May 23 at 5:32 PM
MANCHESTER, England — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead.

The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Turkey strikes Kurds in Iraq, Syria, drawing condemnation

The Washington Post

By Suzan Fraser | AP April 25 at 2:26 PM
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish warplanes struck suspected Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from Baghdad and criticism from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which is allied with Kurdish factions in both countries.

Syrian activists said the attack killed at least 18 members of the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is a close U.S. ally against IS but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Syria has secretly executed thousands of political prisoners: rights group


The Washington Post

By Liz Sly February 6 at 8:18 PM
BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government secretly executed between 5,000 and 13,000 people in just one prison as part of its campaign to eliminate opposition to his rule, a new report by the watchdog group Amnesty International has found.

The killings took place over a four-year period between 2011 and 2015 in the notorious Sednaya facility outside Damascus, and the bodies were later disposed of in mass graves, according to the report released Monday by Amnesty.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Russia, Turkey, Iran discuss Syria ceasefire implementation in Astana

Mon Feb 6, 2017 | 12:42am EST

Ruters

Experts from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations have started a technical meeting in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, to discuss in detail the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire agreement, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"Representatives of Jordan are expected to take part for the first time," a ministry spokesman said of the talks.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Syrian army says it will press on against Islamic State near Aleppo

WORLD NEWS | Thu Feb 2, 2017 | 9:08am EST

Reuters

By John Davison and Tom Perry | BEIRUT
The Syrian army signaled on Thursday it would press on with operations against Islamic State northeast of Aleppo, in a veiled warning to Turkey which backs a separate military campaign in northern Syria.

Syrian government forces have rapidly driven Islamic State back in the last two weeks, advancing to within 6 km (4 miles) of the city of al-Bab that the jihadists are fighting to hold.

The army's gains risk sparking a confrontation with Turkey, which has sent tanks and warplanes across the border to support Syrian insurgents who are trying to seize al-Bab in a separate offensive.

Friday, January 20, 2017

As caliphate crumbles, Islamic State lashes out in Iraq

Wed Jan 18, 2017 | 8:51am EST

Reuters

By John Davison | BAGHDAD
Two days after Iraqi forces launched a new push against Islamic State in Mosul, bomb blasts ripped through a marketplace in central Baghdad - the start of a spate of attacks that appear to signal a shift in tactics by the Islamist group.

The Sunni jihadists have targeted Shi'ite Muslim civilians. Raids on police and army posts in other cities, also claimed by Islamic State, have accompanied the bombings.

The attacks show that even if Islamic State loses the Iraqi side of its self-styled caliphate, the threat from the group may not subside.