754 arrested from armed forces of Turkey after Army Coap

Published in World
Saturday, 16 July 2016 09:51

The AFP news agency is reporting that 754 members of Turkish armed forces have been arrested for involvement in the coup, citing Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency.
It quoted a Turkish official saying that 29 colonels and five generals had been removed from their posts.
Rebel soldiers still control some military helicopters, but no fighter jets, a senior Turkish official has been quoted as saying.

The latest situation in Turkey

Published in Sport
Saturday, 16 July 2016 09:48

The attempted coup became apparent on Friday evening when tanks were positioned on key bridges in Istanbul. Armed forces were then seen in the capital Ankara a short time later and military jets started flying over the city. A group - part of the army - then declared that a "peace council" now ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law. Large explosions were heard near Istanbul's central Taksim Square and there were also reports of blasts at the parliament building in Ankara. 
Broadcaster CNN Turk was also reportedly taken over by soldiers, and its live broadcast was cut. President Erdogan made a statement on Turkish television using his iPhone and FaceTime, calling on people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising. Huge crowds confronted the coup plotters and gunfire and explosions were heard. At least 60 people died in the exchanges.
The president has now returned to Istanbul, calling the coup attempt an "act of treason" and saying the army must be cleansed. He told crowds the government was now back in control. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ordered the military to shoot down aircraft being used by coup plotters. At least 60 people have died, while more than 700 members of the armed forces have been detained.

Istanbul airport attack: the suspects and the victims

Published in World
Friday, 01 July 2016 17:24

Turkish media have released images purporting to show three of the Istanbul airport attackers minutes before they opened fire, killing at least 44 people and wounding more than 200. According to a government official, the suicide bombers were from Russia, Uzbekistan and KyrgyzstanChilling CCTV footage showed one of the attackers shooting down an undercover police officer who had approached him.
More footage showed panicked crowds running across the airport after hearing gunshots — and one assailant who came in to find the check-in terminal empty apparently throwing his rifle on the ground in frustration.
Turkey said evidence pointed towards the Islamic State militant group. Police carried out raids across Istanbul and arrested at least thirteen people in connection with the attack, including three foreigners, according to the interior minister. The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reported that the mastermind of the attack was from the small republic of Chechnya.
On Thursday, a memorial was held at Ataturk airport. At least 24 Turks and 20 foreigners died in Tuesday’s attack. Two Palestinian women and a three year-old boy were among those killed. Other foreign victims include Saudis, Iraqis and citizens from China, Jordan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Ukraine.

 

A-400M type military cargo aircraft of Turkish Air Force

Published in World
Friday, 10 June 2016 17:14

A-400M type military cargo aircraft of Turkish Air Force, returning from a mission to Afghanistan where Turkey has its troops deployed as a part of the NATO operation will make a brief stop-over at Tbilisi International Airport tonihgt at 20:30. The aircraft will leave for Turkey later in the night together with the Turkish Air Force delegation which has been conducting an assessment mission in Georgia within the framework of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package of which Turkey is the lead nation in the field of aviation. Taking this opportunity, Commander of Georgian Air Force and the head of the Turkish delegation returning from Afghanistan will hold a meeting at the VIP lounge of the airport.

Black and Baltic Sea border agencies to jointly counter security threats

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 15:01
Border officials from Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Moldova, Poland and Latvia participated in a conference for border control agencies from the Baltic-Black Sea region, which was held in the south Ukrainian city of Odessa on 28 April. The event discussed the countries’ cooperation towards preventing the uncontrolled expansion of the migration crisis along the EU’s eastern borders.
Representatives of the EU agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), EU Assistance Mission (EUAM) in Ukraine, EU Border Assistance Mission to Ukraine and Moldova (EUBAM), as well as International Organisation for Migration attended the conference.
“Improving regional border management and customs cooperation increases security and helps to fight organised cross-border crime such as trafficking in human beings, arms and drugs and contributes to preventing and managing irregular migration,” Andrew Tesoriere, Head of EUBAM, said. “Events like this allow the Black and Baltic Sea border agencies to share best practices and jointly strategies in order to better meet future needs and scenarios,” he added.
In conclusion, the event participants endorsed a communiqué highlighting the importance of introducing the key principles of Integrated Border Management, strengthening information exchange and operational coordination. They also stressed the need to create a joint risk analysis mechanism in the Black and Baltic Seas format to effectively counteract traditional and emerging illegal activities, EUBAM said in its press release on 29 April.

Council of Europe standards ‘a guiding light’ for Turkey, pledges Prime Minister

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:55

Addressing PACE, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliamentarians: “Turkey is an inseparable part of Europe”. He said Turkey saw the Council of Europe as one of its main partners in bringing about future reforms, and declared that the Council’s standards – including those of the European Convention – constituted a “guiding light” for Turkey.

The Prime Minister also spoke about his country’s commitment to hosting refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, pointing out Turkey was now hosting the highest number of refugees of any country in the world: “Our country is open to these people and, more importantly, our hearts are open to these people.”

The recent EU-Turkey deal was reducing the numbers crossing the Mediterranean by sea and could save lives, he pointed out, but a permanent solution would involve tackling the root causes of the conflict.

On terrorism, Mr Davutoglu made an appeal for victims of terror attacks to be treated equally: “We should not discriminate between those who lose their lives to terrorism – our reaction should be the same.” He also urged support for the Council of Europe’s new protocol on “foreign fighters”.

Turkey shells ISIL targets in Syria after rockets hit Kilis

Published in World
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 15:56

Turkey says it has retaliated against the so-called Islamic State after three days of rockets fired from across the border in Syria caused panic and strife in the Turkish town of Kilis. Two people were reported killed, and around 20 injured. The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu says the military have struck back at ISIL targets in Syria.
“We are conducting a decisive battle to protect our citizens from this circle of fire,” he added. 
Northern Syria has seen fierce battles recently as ISIL – despite retaking the town of al-Rai from rebels – is pushed back by rebels, Kurdish fighters and Syrian government forces.
Kilis residents watched as the Turkish military carried out their retaliatory missions across the border. Turkey is also a strong critic of President al-Assad’s government, having supported opposition fighters in Syria’s civil war. Facing threats on multiple fronts, it is battling Kurdish militants in its southeast since the collapse of a ceasefire last year which has brought the worst violence since the 1990s.
The town is home to some 110,000 Syrian refugees and is frequently hit by shelling from across the border, a region controlled by ISIL.
source: Euronews

Meeting of the Prime Minister with the Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication of Turkey

Published in Politics
Friday, 12 February 2016 14:42

Development of land, rail and air transport and strategic partnership of Georgia and Turkey were the main discussion topics of Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication of Turkey Binali Yıldırım.
The conversation also touched upon the importance of the Marabda-Kartsakhi Railway project. Turkish Minister assured the Prime Minister of Georgia that the project will be finalized at the earliest opportunity.
Meeting conducted at the Administration of the Government of Georgia was attended by the Vice Prime Minister Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Dimitry Kumsishvili and the Secretary of the Economic Council, business ombudsman Giorgi Gakharia.

Turkey: voters offered a variety of choices, but process hindered by incidents of violence

Published in World
Monday, 02 November 2015 17:17

Elections in Turkey offered voters variety of choices, but process was hindered by challenging security environment, incidents of violence and restrictions against media, international election observers say

Strasbourg, 02.11.2015 – The 1 November early parliamentary elections in Turkey offered voters a variety of choices. At the same time, the challenging security environment, particularly in the southeast of the country, coupled with a high number of violent incidents, including attacks against party members, premises and campaign staff, hindered contestants’ ability to campaign freely, international observers said in a statement issued today. Restrictions on media freedom remain a serious concern, the observers said.

“While Turkish citizens could choose between genuine and strong political alternatives in this highly polarised election, the rapidly diminishing choice of media outlets, and restrictions on freedom of expression in general, impacted the process and remain serious concerns,” said Ignacio Sanchez Amor, Special Co-ordinator and Leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission. “Physical attacks on party members, as well as the significant security concerns, particularly in the southeast, further imposed restrictions on the ability to campaign.”

A major terrorist bomb attack in Ankara on 10 October significantly affected the atmosphere and conduct of the campaign, with all political parties temporarily suspending campaign activities. Most contestants could convey their messages to the electorate in a campaign atmosphere that was polarised between the ruling party and other contestants, and confrontational rhetoric was common, the statement says. The last two weeks of the campaign were marked by an increased number of attacks against and arrests of members and activists, who were predominantly from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

“Unfortunately, the campaign for these elections was characterized by unfairness and, to a serious degree, fear,” said Andreas Gross, Head of the PACE delegation. “In light of this, it is even more vital that the president works for an inclusive political process to deal with the problems facing Turkey, ensuring that all voices, including those who lost these elections, are able to be heard.”

“The violence in the largely Kurdish southeast of the country had a significant impact on the elections, and the recent attacks and arrests of members and activists, predominantly from the HDP, are of concern, as they hindered their ability to campaign,” said Margareta Cederfelt, Head of the OSCE PA delegation. “For an election process to be truly democratic, candidates need to feel that they can campaign and voters need to feel that they can cast their ballots in a safe and secure environment.”

While the media landscape comprises a variety of outlets, undue legal restrictions on the freedom of expression remain in place. Investigations against journalists and media outlets for supporting terrorism or defamation of the president, the blocking of websites, the forcible seizure of prominent media outlets and the removal of several television stations from digital service providers reduced voters’ access to a plurality of views and information, the observers said. Media monitoring revealed that three out of the five monitored national television stations, including the public broadcaster, clearly favoured the governing party in their programming.

The elections were well organised by the election administration, and the Supreme Board of Elections met all election deadlines. It concluded that voting should be conducted in the areas affected by violence, and a significant number of polling stations were relocated in a number of neighbourhoods by district election boards, in line with the decision.

If implemented fully and effectively, the legal framework is generally conducive to holding democratic elections. However, certain fundamental freedoms, including the right to vote and be elected, are unduly restricted by the Constitution and legislation. Previous recommendations, dating back to 2011, by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and by the Council of Europe to address gaps and ambiguities have generally not been addressed, the observers noted.

“Once again, our assessment, based on our observation over the past five weeks is not simply black-and-white, and while there were positive elements, there were also shortcomings,” said Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR limited election observation mission. “I hope that the relevant authorities will consider the message in today’s statement, as well as in the ODIHR final report on these elections, and engage in substantive follow-up on the recommendations the final report will make.”

In addition, the 10 per cent threshold for parliamentary elections limits political pluralism, while the system for determining the number of seats per constituency results in significant differences in the number of voters per seat, inconsistent with the principle of equality of the vote, the statement says. In a positive step, the freedom to campaign in any language was guaranteed by law in 2014.

The lack of judicial review of decisions by the Supreme Board of Elections runs counter to the principle of the separation of powers and prevents access to judicial remedy in electoral matters. The Constitutional Court's recent ruling that the Board’s decisions cannot be reviewed even where fundamental rights and freedoms might have been violated further restricted the opportunity for judicial redress, the observers said.

Candidate registration was inclusive overall, providing voters a diverse and genuine choice. However, candidacy restrictions against those who have not completed compulsory military service or have been convicted of any of a broad range of crimes, including minor criminal offences, are incompatible with the fundamental right to stand for election, the statement says.

There was general confidence in the voter register, the observers noted. However, the restrictions on voting by conscripts, students in military schools and prisoners are not in line with OSCE commitments and other international standards, they said.

Women played an active role in the campaign, although they remain under-represented in political life. While the Constitution guarantees gender equality, there are no special legal obligations for the parties to nominate women candidates. On a positive note, some parties implemented gender quotas and introduced affirmative measures to enhance the participation of women. Approximately 24 per cent of candidates on party lists were female, although not in higher positions.

Election day was generally peaceful, and in the limited number of polling stations observed, voting was largely organised in an efficient manner, although observers were asked to leave in seven polling stations, and there were instances of citizen observers accredited on behalf of political parties being denied access. Counting procedures were assessed as transparent and well organised, although there were some instances where procedures prescribed by law were not followed.

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