Posted tagged ‘Istanbul’

Turkey Set for Emergency Measures to Quell Post-Coup Turmoil

July 20, 2016

Turkey Set for Emergency Measures to Quell Post-Coup Turmoil

July 20, 2016 10:39 am

Source: Turkey Set for Emergency Measures to Quell Post-Coup Turmoil

By Humeyra Pamuk and Nick Tattersall

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey will announce emergency measures on Wednesday to try to shore up stability and prevent damage to the economy as it purges thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia after an abortive coup.

Around 50,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended or detained since the military coup attempt, raising tensions across the country of 80 million which borders Syria’s chaos and is a Western ally against Islamic State.

Academics were banned from traveling abroad on Wednesday in what a Turkish official said was a temporary measure to prevent the risk of alleged coup plotters in universities from fleeing. State TRT television said 95 academics had been removed from their posts at Istanbul University alone.

“Universities have always been crucial for military juntas in Turkey and certain individuals are believed to be in contact with cells within the military,” the official said.

President Tayyip Erdogan blames the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for Friday night’s attempted coup, in which more than 230 people were killed as soldiers commandeered fighters jets, military helicopters and tanks to try to overthrow the government.

Erdogan has vowed to clean the “virus” responsible for the plot from all state institutions. The depth and scale of the purges have raised concern among Western allies that Erdogan is trying to suppress all dissent, and that opponents unconnected with the plot will be caught in the net.

He will chair meetings in his palace on Wednesday of the cabinet and the National Security Council, after which a series of emergency measures are expected to be announced.

In a sign of how shaken Turkey’s leadership has been by the coup attempt, with dozens of generals arrested as well as Erdogan’s aide de camp, government ministers and top officials have not been briefed in advance of the meetings.

“The cabinet meeting is classified at the highest level for national security reasons. The palace will give ministers a dossier just beforehand,” one senior official told Reuters.

“Ministers do not yet know what is going to be discussed.”

Around a third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have been detained since the coup bid, a second senior official said, with 99 charged pending trial and 14 more being held.

The threat of prolonged instability in a NATO member country, which had not seen a violent military coup for more than three decades, has shaken investors’ confidence.

The lira hit a 10-month low in early trade on Wednesday, touching 3.063 to the dollar. The Istanbul stock index is down 8 percent so far this week, its worst three-day performance since 2013. The cost of insuring Turkish debt against default rose to its highest in nearly a month, according to data from Markit.

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told Reuters a priority in the measures to be discussed on Wednesday would be preventing damage to the economy. He also said on Twitter they would be “market-friendly” and would prioritize structural reform.


Around 1,400 people were wounded as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and warplanes, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul.

At the height of the abortive coup, the rebel pilots of two F-16 fighter jets had Erdogan’s plane in their sights as he returned to Istanbul from a holiday on the coast. Erdogan said he was almost killed or captured by the mutineers.

In testimony published by the Hurriyet newspaper and corroborated by a Turkish official, an infantry lieutenant-colonel said the coup plotters had tried to persuade military chief Hulusi Akar, who was being held hostage, to join the effort to overthrow Erdogan but that he had refused.

“When he refused, they couldn’t convince the senior commanders either. Akar’s refusal to be a part of this paved the way for the failure of the coup attempt,” the written transcript published by the newspaper said.

Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, ministers, senior commanders and generals had been due to be taken one by one during the night of the coup bid, the testimony said.

Turkey’s Western allies have expressed solidarity with the government over the coup attempt but have also voiced increasing alarm at the scale and swiftness of the response, urging it to adhere to democratic values.

On Tuesday, authorities shut down media outlets deemed to be supportive of Gulen and said 15,000 people had been suspended from the education ministry along with 100 intelligence officials. A further 492 people were removed from duty at the Religious Affairs Directorate, 257 at the prime minister’s office and 300 at the energy ministry.

Those moves come after the detention of more than 6,000 members of the armed forces, from foot soldiers to commanders, and the suspension of close to 3,000 judges and prosecutors. About 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, have also been removed.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, voiced “serious alarm” on Tuesday at the mass suspension of judges and prosecutors and urged Turkey to allow independent monitors to visit those who have been detained.

The foreign ministry has said criticism of the government’s response amounts to backing the coup.


Erdogan’s spokesman said on Tuesday the government was preparing a formal request to the United States for the extradition of Gulen. U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the status of Gulen in a telephone call with Erdogan on Tuesday, the White House said, urging Ankara to show restraint as it pursues those responsible for the coup attempt.

Seventy-five-year-old Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania but has a network of supporters within Turkey, has condemned the abortive coup and denied any role in it.

A former ally-turned critic of Erdogan, he suggested the president staged it as an excuse for a crackdown after a steady accumulation of control during 14 years in power.

Prime Minister Yildirim accused Washington, which has said it will consider Gulen’s extradition only if clear evidence is provided, of double standards in its fight against terrorism.

Yildirim said the justice ministry had sent a dossier to U.S. authorities on Gulen, whose religious movement blends conservative Islamic values with a pro-Western outlook and who has a network of supporters within Turkey.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed Ankara had filed materials in electronic form with the U.S. government, which officials were reviewing. Any extradition request from Turkey, once submitted, would be evaluated under the terms of a treaty between the two countries, he added.

Such a request would face legal and political hurdles in the United States. Even if approved by a judge, it would still have to go to Secretary of State John Kerry, who can consider non-legal factors, such as humanitarian arguments.

“I urge the U.S. government to reject any effort to abuse the extradition process to carry out political vendettas,” Gulen said on Tuesday in a statement issued by the Alliance for Shared Values, a group associated with the cleric.

BREAKING !-Report: Military Coup Under Way in Turkey

July 15, 2016

Report: Military Coup Under Way in Turkey

by John Hayward

15 Jul 2016

Source: Report: Military Coup Under Way in Turkey – Breitbart

Reports began emerging from Turkey of a possible military coup on Friday afternoon.

The UK Telegraph reports that while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim urged the public to remain calm, and said “it would be wrong to call it a coup,” he conceded that “part of the military” was making an “illegal attempt” to seize power.

It sounds like a spirited attempt, judging from tidbits of information flowing onto social media:





Social media services Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were reportedly blocked shortly before 11:00 PM local time.

More airports under ISIS threat after Istanbul

June 29, 2016

More airports under ISIS threat after Istanbul, DEBKAfile, June 29, 2016


The US, Europe and the Middle East are again refusing to connect the dots of the terrorist threat, recalling the denial that marked the peak period of Al Qaeda’s atrocities in the early 2000’s.

When the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter trumpeted the Fallujah victory over the Islamic State on June 27, he neglected to disclose that the real victors were Iranians – not Iraqis. The next day, an ISIS suicide attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport overshadowed that success, killing at least 41 people including 13 foreign nationald and injuring more than 230.

As the Obama administration labored to conceal from the public in the West its strategy of using Shiite forces to hammer ISIS in Iraq and parts of Syria, the Sunni terrorists retaliated in Istanbul – and not just there.

Seven ISIS suicide bombers, some on motorcycles, exploded on Monday, June 27, in a Christian village in the Lebanon Valley near Baʿalbek. A week earlier, an ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a large Jordanian military base on the Syrian border.

The connection between the ISIS arenas and cause and event is there for anyone who wants to see it.

ISIS has a ready store of suicide bombers who are willing to blow themselves up, not just because they are ‘extreme fanatics’ or “thugs” as President Obama insists on defining them, but because they believe they are fighting a religious war: Sunnis against Shiites, Sunnis against Christians and Sunnis against Jews.

On this point, Obama is in denial.

Turkey’s Sunni President Tayyip Erdogan was swiftly punished for concluding a political-military-intelligence agreement with the Jewish state. That same day, three suicide bombers, probably waiting for months at a safe house near the Istanbul airport, were ordered from ISIS Syrian headquarters in Raqqa, to go into action.

Neither the dense US intelligence net in the region, nor Turkish and Israeli intelligence managed to intercept the order.

DEBKAfile intelligence sources point out that the highly secure Ataturk airport, the third largest in Europe, is not the only one on the continent at which ISIS suicide units are lurking ready to strike.

American-European intelligence input points to their presence near at least two or three other airports in Europe. The problem is that the intel is very general, pointing to intent, with no specifics on countries or airports.

The public in the West and Middle-East are not told either about the ‘small’ victories scored by ISIS on the battle field. For instance, ISIS forces managed to block the Syrian-Hizballah advance towards the highway leading from Palmyra to Raqqa, inflicting heavy losses despite Russian air cover.

In Israel, where security awareness is usually high, no one was told about the successful ISIS engagement at the Syria-Jordan-Israel border junction bordering on the Israeli Golan against US-trained and armed Syrian rebels, who fought under artillery cover from Jordan.

In other words, ISIS has established itself on the Israeli border, a few kilometers away from the Sea of Galilee and Tiberius.

The Islamic State is fully geared to respond to such losses as Fallujah by going for strategic gains on the ground and inflicting horrible retribution on its victims by remotely activating sleeper cells of suicide killers.

Rather than being degraded, as Obama claims, ISIS is fully equipped to target its victims across several continents.

On Tuesday Istanbul airport was its chosen target. Now, we must wait and see who is next.

Merkel shifts EU-Turkey stance upon migrant crisis

October 18, 2015

Merkel shifts EU-Turkey stance upon migrant crisis ISTANBUL

Sunday,October 18 2015, Your time is 11:37:21

Source: Merkel shifts EU-Turkey stance upon migrant crisis – DIPLOMACY

Turkish PM Davutoğlu (R) and German Chancellor Merkel (L) hold a joint press meeting in Istanbul on Oct. 18, 2015. Reuters Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to give support to four Turkish demands on which Ankara has insisted in return for agreeing to a migrant action plan with the European Union.

“There are four elements. Germany is ready to give support on these issues,” Merkel said Oct. 18 during a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Merkel made the trip to Turkey amid increasing pressure at home after hundreds of thousands of refugees poured into Germany over the summer.

Davutoğlu said Turkey was ready to work with Germany and the EU on the migration crisis and would take all measures to prevent human trafficking. However, Ankara is focused on four issues, the prime minister said: the opening of negotiation chapters, visa liberalization, the transfer of 3 billion euros from the EU to Turkey for migrant support and the invitation of Turkish leaders to EU summits.

Davutoğlu stressed the “fair share of the burden” on the migration problem and welcomed Merkel’s approach on the issue, while noting that the figures were of secondary importance.

Davutoğlu expressed Turkey’s expectation for the implementation of visa privileges for Turkish nationals by 2016, in return for a readmission agreement which would pave the way for the EU to send migrants back to Turkey.

“In terms of the migration crisis, we seek to contribute a new vision to relations between the EU and Turkey and get out of its frozen situation,” he said.

“We agreed on accelerating the opening of negotiation chapters 17, 23, 24,” he said.

Turkey and Germany will continue cooperation through “working groups” which will convene this week, Davutoğlu said.

Expressing support for the Turkish demands, Merkel especially highlighted that they would work to open Chapter 17, and said they would “discuss” details on Chapters 23 and 24. The German chancellor also reiterated her country’s longstanding hesitations about Turkey’s prospective membership in the union and said, “Turkey’s full membership is an open-ended issue.”

“How can we organize the accession process more dynamically?” Merkel asked.

Working groups will study the “share of burden,” Merkel said, noting that the invitation of Turkish leaders to EU summits would be evaluated by the union.

Ahead of her visit to Turkey, Merkel stated that Turkey’s help was needed to stem the flow of refugees to Europe but that this had not changed her view that Ankara should not become a member of the European Union. “I have always been against EU membership, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan knows this, and I still am,” Merkel told a talk show on German public broadcaster ARD on Oct. 7.

Turkey and European Union agreed to a “draft” agreement on migrants last week which will be implemented after Ankara’s political demands are met by Brussels.

The EU has suddenly rediscovered Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu told reporters on Oct. 16. The minister identified the draft agreement on migrant action plant as an “ad referendum” which is for further consideration by one having the authority to make a final decision.

Close military cooperation 

The two leaders also discussed Syria, with Turkey informing the German chancellor about violations of Turkish airspace and the change of the power balance in the country, Davutoğlu said, adding that he delivered some intelligence information.

Despite Germany’s withdrawal of Patriot batteries from Turkey, the two countries will step up for closer military cooperation, Merkel said.

Davutoğlu also condemned an attack on the independent candidate for mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker.

The German and Turkish foreign, defense and economy ministers will also meet in January 2016 in Berlin, Davutoğlu said.

Merkel also met with Erdoğan. Making a joint statement, Erdoğan stated that the two countries recommended an “action plan against terror.”


ISIS to open its first consulate in Istanbul

October 1, 2014

ISIS to open its first consulate in Istanbul

Published on Monday, 29 September 2014 09:36

via AWDNews – ISIS to open its first consulate in Istanbul.


The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) intends to inaugurate its first diplomatic mission in Istanbul in order to provide consular services for all who wish to join the extremist group in Iraq, reported Turkish daily Aydinlik as saying.

Abu-Omar Al-Tunisi, the ISIS de facto head of foreign relations issued a statement, saying that the Islamic Caliphate is determined to launch its first diplomatic mission in a friendly and Muslim country. He further noted that the ISIS hopes that the bilateral relations with Ankara will witness more developments under the aegis of newly-elected president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

ISIS also claims that its consulate in Istanbul will pay the hospital bills of all wounded Islamist militants who traveled to turkey to receive medical treatment.

CHP (Republican People’s Party) , a leading Turkish opposing party issued a communique condemning Turkish government decision to allow ISIS to open a legal diplomatic office  in Çankaya – the central and elegant metropolitan district of the city of Istanbul.

Earlier, the Turkish Prime Minster Ahmet Davutoglu acknowledged that Turkish diplomats, kidnapped by ISIS militants when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city was seized in early-June, were released in a prisoner exchange deal with ISIS.

The Turkish government spokesperson said on Sunday in a press conference that nearly 50 Islamist merciless detainees including a family of a prominent warlord were set free in a swap deal and in return, all Turkish hostages were released and reunited with their families. The government spokesman reiterated that he is not authorized to neither confirm nor reject reports about the probable opening of ISIS consulate in Istanbul.

The Turkish omnipotent president in an interview with government-run TRT news channel dismissed many reports alleging that his government is keen to establish a formal relation with ISIS, the hardline organization which controls vast swaths of northern and western Iraq and also neighboring Syrian provinces but in a same time, he blatantly advocated the prison exchange deal with the infamous ultra-Islamist militants.

“ we shouldn’t be remiss in  understanding the great and risky mission  our intelligence service accomplished in a meticulous prison exchange deal , thus we are sorry for those corrupt politicians criticizing us for negotiating with militants for the sake of securing the release of our brave diplomats” said the populist Turkish leader  during Sunday night interview with TRT.