Archive for November 20, 2015


November 15, 2015

ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — Police in the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya detained dozens of people Sunday during a series of protests denouncing a G-20 summit that is underway in a nearby seaside resort, although the demonstrations were mostly peaceful.

Security is tight during two-day meeting that was expected to be dominated by discussions about how the G-20 nations will respond to the deadly Paris attacks, claimed by the Islamic State group. Demonstrators were being kept miles away from the venue at a secluded seaside resort some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Antalya city.

A group of some 500 youths belonging to a Turkish nationalist association gathered in the city, holding up card-board effigies of U.S. President Barack Obama and denouncing U.S. interventions in the Middle East. Police allowed the group to march briefly only after they agreed to leave the effigies behind.

Hundreds of members of Turkish left-wing groups and trade unions later held another protest denouncing the organization which gathers the world’s wealthiest economies. They marched in central Antalya carrying a banner that read in Turkish and in English: “Killer, colonialist, imperialist war organization G-20 get out!” Police detained dozens of demonstrators after one of the demonstrators threw fireworks at police while the crowd was dispersing.

Earlier, police detained four protesters who wanted to walk to the venue of the G-20 summit to deliver a letter to participants. Police also detained a group of about 20 protesters who refused to undergo a security check, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Separately, members of Turkey’s ethnic Uighur community also gathered in the city to protest China’s treatment of the Muslim minority. Chinese President Xi Jinping is among the summit participants. Turkey has turned a sports center in Antalya into a temporary detention center in case of large-scale protests.

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November 15, 2015

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkey has ended negotiations with China on building a missile defense system.

The Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed officials, said Sunday that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu decided to abandon the missile tender over the possibility that Turkey may construct its own “national” defense system.

The deal with China had been a source of tension with NATO partners, who said they would not integrate Chinese-made hardware with a European-wide system. The indications that the deal is being abandoned come as leaders from the 20 leading world economies— including China and NATO allies— are meeting in Turkey in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris.

Western leaders are discussing how to respond to the attack that French President Francois Hollande called an act of war.

November 05, 2015

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkey has granted access to 30 suspected grave sites in military-controlled areas in northern Cyprus, a move that will significantly speed up exhumation work, an official with a committee searching for missing persons on the war-divided island nation said Thursday.

Paul-Henri Arni, the U.N.-appointed member of the Committee on Missing Persons, said such access will accelerate the work to an estimated three years. He said it’s important to move ahead quickly because many witnesses with information on such graves are elderly.

“It’s a race against time,” Arni told The Associated Press. “The only credible sources of information we have are these witnesses and they’re dying fast.” Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Some 1,500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots had disappeared from the mid-1960s during fighting between the two communities, as well as the invasion.

In the last decade, the remains of 1,020 people have been exhumed. Turkey still maintains some 35,000 troops in the island’s north, where Turkish Cypriots declared independence that’s recognized only by Ankara.

It’s not the first time that Turkey has allowed crews to dig in military-controlled areas that dot the island’s north and where access is strictly prohibited, but Arni said work has proceeded too slowly. He said his group has information of possible burials regarding all 30 sites, but declined to give an estimate on how many people might be buried there.

Turkey’s decision comes as U.N.-brokered talks aimed at reunifying Cyprus have been significantly ramped up. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Turkish Cypriot leader’s confirmation that Turkey has granted access to the sites, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The U.N. chief “is encouraged by the steps being taken to build trust and confidence between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities as the two sides have begun intensified talks this month,” Dujarric said.

The Cypriot government welcomed Turkey’s move, adding that it now expects Ankara to do more to help uncover the fate of the missing, including granting access to its military archives as well as allowing crews into areas where exhumed remains have been reburied.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Friday that measures to move sovereign institutions to Jerusalem are underway, Anadolu has reported.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the PA foreign ministry in Ramallah, Abbas said that this would be achieved soon, but through “political and diplomatic” efforts. The foreign ministry building was funded by China and a Chinese delegation headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yan attended the ceremony.

“Today in Ramallah, but soon in our capital Jerusalem, where we will move all our sovereign institutions,” Abbas said. “This is what we are working on and this will be through political and diplomatic efforts, which the foreign ministry and our embassies abroad are taking part in.”

Hailing PA-Chinese friendship, Abbas added that China has been and is still one of the largest supporters of the Palestinians’ hope for freedom and independence. “We are looking forward to receiving you in our eternal capital, East Jerusalem,” he told the Chinese delegation.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/22277-palestinian-authority-to-move-institutions-to-jerusalem.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The head of the Hamas Political Bureau renewed his movement’s call on Friday for a national leadership for the ongoing Palestinian uprising, Al-Resalah has reported.

“We have to work together based on one strategy to achieve active national goals,” Khaled Meshaal told Al-Quds TV channel. “We [Hamas leaders] are working to achieve an agreement on the tactics and tools of Al-Quds Intifada as well as an agreement to achieve strategic goals together.”

Meshaal stressed the importance of forming a united field leadership for the intifada, which was ignited at the beginning of October as a response to the continuous Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and Jerusalem, mainly in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/22282-hamas-renews-call-for-national-uprising-leadership.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Palestinian Authority’s Minister of National Economy, Abeer Oudeh, has welcomed the EU decision to label Israeli settlement products sold in the European market. She praised the EU decision as “a step in the right direction” towards de-legitimising the products of Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land occupied since 1967.

Oudeh called on the EU to speed up the process of implementing the decision so that the labeling will be clear for EU consumers as soon as possible. She pointed out that settlements produce more than 146 types of goods in various sectors; they are usually labelled “Made in Israel”, which is inaccurate and misleading as Israel has no sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories.

The EU decision came after three weeks’ of deliberations and attempts by the Israeli government to block the move. Israel Radio reported that it is likely that the decision will apply to fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, olive oil, wine and cosmetics.

On 26 April, 2010, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approved a law banning products and services produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The law provided for settlement produce to be replaced by Palestinian products in order to support the local economy and provide a better marketing opportunity for Palestinian businesses.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/22234-palestine-welcomes-eu-decision-to-label-settlement-products.

November 11, 2015

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A shooting rampage at a police training center that killed five people, including two American instructors, took place in a canteen in the compound, the Jordanian government spokesman said Tuesday.

Monday’s shooting also killed a South African contractor and two Jordanians who worked as translators for the foreign instructors at the facility. Six people were wounded, including two Americans. Officials have released few details, but government spokesman Mohammed Momani said Tuesday that the attacker, a Jordanian police captain, opened fire in a dining hall. The assailant was killed by security forces, Momani has said.

Images circulating on social media showed three large pools of blood on the floor of a room with at least two tables, one of them bearing plates of food. It was not clear if there was a political motive to the shooting spree.

Concern has swirled in pro-Western Jordan over possible revenge attacks by Islamic militants since the country assumed a high-level role in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State extremist group, which controls large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The government has not released the name of the attacker. A former parliament member, Suleiman Saed, has said security forces told him a relative, 29-year-old police Cpt. Anwar Abu Zaid, was the assailant. Abu Zaid’s family has said he was not an extremist.

The two Jordanian translators were to be buried later Tuesday and Wednesday. Translator Awni al-Akrabawi, 44, worked at the training center for the past three years and had close ties with his American colleagues, said a relative, Khairallah al-Akrabawi.

Al-Akrabawi, a father of four, had lived in the United States for more than a decade and spoke fluent English, said his relative, a former parliament member. His funeral was to take place Wednesday to enable U.S. relatives to reach Jordan, Khairallah al-Akrabawi said.

The U.S. State Department has said the two Americans killed in the attack worked for DynCorp International, a major military contractor, in a program funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. The two wounded Americans are also civilians, the State Department said.

The two dead American instructors were both from Florida, according to a statement released by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He identified the men as Lloyd Carl Fields Jr., of Cape Coral, and James Damon Creach, of Tampa.

Scott said he was “heartbroken” to hear of their deaths “while providing police training to increase safety in the region. “Both men served as law enforcement officers and will be remembered for their service to protect others,” he said.

Thousands of police officers from the region, including the Palestinian territories, have undergone training at the Jordanian-run center on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Popular Front bloc in the Tunisian Parliament submitted a legislative initiative on Wednesday for a draft law to criminalize the normalization of relations with Israel.

According to Ahmad Al-Seddik MP, the bill fits into the policy and position of the Popular Front to “immunize” Tunisia against any attempt at foreign interference. “Particularly by the Zionists,” he told reporters, “as their influence is growing.” Although he expects some other political parties to try to kill the bill, he stressed that it is an initiative to “confirm Tunisia’s support to the Palestinian people.”

Two marches have been organized by the Popular Front since the start of the Jerusalem Uprising last month to protest against the Israeli aggression and the settlers’ incursions at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Popular Front is a coalition of political blocs which includes eleven Tunisian parties. Founded in 2012, it won 15 seats, out of 217, in the latest election.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/22258-tunisian-opposition-wants-to-criminalise-normal-relations-with-israel.