Archive for July 22, 2016

15 July 2016 Friday

Turkey will ready another aid ship to Gaza before the Eid-al-Adha holiday in September, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said on Thursday.

Speaking in Turkey’s capital Ankara, Kaynak confirmed that another aid ship will be readied before the Eid of Sacrifice.

Following a breakthrough restoration of Turkish-Israeli ties, a Turkish aid ship carrying 11,000 tons of supplies for the Gaza Strip arrived at Israel’s Ashdod port on July 3, just before the post-Ramadan Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The Panama-flagged Lady Leyla delivered 10,000 toys and 10,000 packages of food and aid for children in Gaza.

Kaynak recalled how Turkey and Israel froze their ties in 2010 after Israeli troops stormed the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in international waters, killing 10 Turkish activists.

“Israel realized our terms to revive relations between the two countries,” he said. “Israel agreed that Turkey will be the coordinating country in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Kaynak said that distribution of the aid shipment — food, toys, and packages of aid for children — began on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday and still continues.

He also confirmed that the new shipment will deliver as much aid as the first.

Under the deal reached between Turkey and Israel — in addition to agreeing to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in Gaza — Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.

Source: World Bulletin.


15 July 2016 Friday

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip said Friday it will participate in local elections set for October, after boycotting the last round four years ago.

Its rival, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority headed by president Mahmud Abbas, has said local and municipal polls will be held on October 8 throughout the Palestinian territories.

The movement boycotted the last round of elections held in 2012 and Gazans have been unable to vote since the Islamists took power in the territory in 2007.

“Hamas will work for the success of these elections and will facilitate them in the interest of the people and the (Palestinian) cause,” the statement said.

Hamas and Fatah agreed a unity deal in April 2014 that was supposed to lead to a technocratic government taking over administration of Gaza and the West Bank.

However, Hamas never accepted relinquishing its authority in Gaza, and the two sides remain at loggerheads.

Source: World Bulletin.


July 21, 2016

ALEXANDROUPOLIS, Greece (AP) — A Greek court on Thursday sentenced eight Turkish military personnel who fled to Greece aboard a helicopter during an attempted coup in their country to two months in prison on charges of illegal entry into Greece.

All eight — six pilots and two engineers — received the same sentence, with the recognition of mitigating circumstances of having acted while under threat. The pilot was acquitted of an additional charge of violating flight regulations, and the other seven of being accomplices in the violation.

The sentence was suspended for three years, but they were being held in custody pending resolution of their asylum applications. Turkey has demanded their return to stand trial for participation in Friday’s coup attempt. The eight deny involvement and have applied for asylum, saying they fear for their safety amid widespread purges in Turkey in the aftermath of the attempted overthrow of the government.

The eight arrived at the courthouse in handcuffs and with their heads covered by T-shirts or towels in an attempt to protect their identities. Their asylum applications were being examined, and they will appear before immigration authorities on July 27 for the second time for interviews.

The eight landed at the airport of the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupolis early Saturday in a Black Hawk helicopter after issuing a mayday signal and requesting permission for an emergency landing, which was granted.

During Thursday’s court proceedings, all testified that they were crew members of three helicopters and had been unaware that a coup attempt was underway. They said they had been tasked with transporting wounded soldiers and civilians and that their helicopters had come under fire from police and others on the ground.

They said they landed at a military base near a hospital and came under fire again, and were told by their unit not to return to their home base because the situation was too dangerous. After heading to another location, the personnel decided to flee for their lives in one helicopter, they said.

The eight spent the night in a clearing in woodland, where they found out from the internet on mobile phones that an attempted coup had taken place and that anyone in military uniform was being detained.

After debating on whether to flee to Bulgaria, Romania or Greece, they decided on the latter. A Greek policeman also testifying in the trial said all eight were unarmed and cooperative after landing, offered no resistance to arrest, surrendered immediately and asked for political asylum.

16 July 2016 Saturday

Police seized tens of thousands of newspapers in Indian-occupied Kashmir early Saturday and detained printing press workers, ramping up an information blackout after a week of unrest left 39 dead, officials and media outlets said.

Teams of officers swooped on major newspaper offices in the restive region overnight, seizing printing plates in an attempt to curb news of fatal clashes from spreading as a curfew was extended into its eighth day.

With internet and mobile networks already suspended, authorities halted cable television, fearing news of protesters’ deaths could fuel further protests after the restive region’s worst violence in years.

“Police on Saturday night raided the printing press and seized the printed copies of Kashmir Reader,” the English language daily said on its website, adding that eight of its workers had been arrested.

Newspaper copies that had reached some distributors in the main city of Srinagar were also taken by police, said Irfan, a local who gave only one name.

“The policemen seized the plates of Greater Kashmir (newspaper) and more than 50,000 printed copies of (Urdu-language daily) Kashmir Uzma and closed down the GKC printing press,” said another group that publishes the region’s highest-circulation newspaper, adding that three of its workers had been detained.

The disputed territory has been gripped by a week of intensifying unrest sparked by the killing of a popular, young rebel commander, Burhan Wani, in a firefight with government forces on July 8.

“These are difficult times here. This is one of the ways to contain the mayhem,” a senior local government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Also on Saturday, the Indian army said it had killed three “terrorists” who tried to enter from the Pakistan side of the unofficial border that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

Protesters in the past week have torched police stations and armored vehicles, and hurled stones at military camps in the restive territory where an estimated 500,000 Indian troops, deeply resented by locals, are stationed.

More than 3,000 people have been injured, including around 200 police, while hospitals have struggled to cope with the rush of injured protesters.

Hundreds have bullet wounds including many who suffered severe eye injuries caused by shotgun pellets fired by the police.

The violence is the worst since 2010 when huge rallies were crushed, leaving 120 dead.

New Delhi has rushed in more troops to contain the violence and flown in eye specialists to deal with injuries caused by pellets.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since Partition in 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

Several rebel groups, including Wani’s Hizbul Mujahideen have fought for decades against Indian troops deployed in the region, demanding independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead since 1989 when the armed rebellion against Indian rule began.

The latest unrest has heightened tension between the nuclear-armed rivals, with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calling on his nation to observe a “black day” on July 19 in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Source: World Bulletin.