Archive for August 18, 2016


17 August 2016 Wednesday

Turkey’s ties to Africa are centuries-old and based on a “win-win relationship”, Esra Demir, Turkish ambassador to the Ivory Coast has told Anadolu Agency.

“Since 2002, the number of our embassies in Africa has risen from 17 to 39. It is therefore obvious that we show great interest in our African friends. But it is not only economically – we are in a win-win relationship which will continue and intensify,” she said.

Talking about economic cooperation, the ambassador said:

“The Turkish and Ivorian presidents had set a goal – a trade volume of one billion dollars by 2020. We have noticed that we are moving towards this direction. During the first half of 2016, the trade volume increased from $183 to $219 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year.”

Demir also welcomed the solidarity of shown by several African leaders to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.

She sincerely thanked the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara and Foreign Minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri for their messages of support.

On another level, the Turkish diplomat denounced the reservations of some Western countries on measures taken by the state against those accused of involvement in the attempted coup, stressing that the Turkish people expected a different reaction from those who say they “are apostles of democracy”.

“The Turkish people showed maturity and courage by taking to the streets. There were 240 people who died in the shootings but the citizens did not give up and they were successful… It was later expected that countries should show solidarity.

“But this was not the case. Instead of support; the heroic struggle of the Turkish people has seen a lot of criticisms. That is not easy to digest,” Demir said.

She added that “none of these countries who present themselves as apostles of democracy came to visit the half-destroyed parliament or the people who had gathered spontaneously under bombardment the night of the coup attempt”.

Terrorism

Regarding the fight against terrorism, Demir said that Turkey and several African countries, including the Ivory Coast, have to cooperate in the exchange of information in order to maintain stability and security.

In this regard, she said she had informed the Ivorian authorities of the presence in the country of “dangerous nuclei,” namely the Fetullah Terrorist Organization or FETO, accused of being the instigator of the Turkish coup attempt. She added it is the Ivorian decision makers who will settle on what measures are to be taken.

“Children who come out from the institutions of this conspirator [a reference to Fetullah Gulen] become his unconditional followers… We must therefore be vigilant,” warned Demir.

Asked whether Turkey would be able to overcome difficulties in securing the closure of Gulen-linked institutions in the Ivory Coast, the ambassador said that her country was always ready to support friendly states.

Focusing instead on obstacles related to Gulen’s extradition by the United States, Demir said that procedure is still ongoing.

“We have prepared the file, there are a lot of confessions and many testimonies are in it. We have not yet received a negative response but it will continue. We expect his extradition as soon as possible,” she said.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/headlines/176264/turkey-in-africa-for-a-win-win-relationship.

August 17, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey issued a decree Wednesday paving the way for the conditional release of 38,000 prisoners, the justice minister said — an apparent move to reduce its prison population to make space for thousands of people who have been arrested as part of an investigation into last month’s failed coup.

The decree allows the release of inmates who have two years or less to serve of their prison terms and makes convicts who have served half of their prison term eligible for parole. Some prisoners are excluded from the measures: people convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse or terrorism and other crimes against the state.

The measures would not apply for crimes committed after July 1, excluding any people later convicted of coup involvement. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on his Twitter account the measure would lead to the release of some 38,000 people. He insisted it was not a pardon or an amnesty but a conditional release of prisoners.

The government says the July 15 coup, which led to at least 270 deaths, was carried out by followers of the movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who have infiltrated the military and other state institutions. Gulen has denied any prior knowledge or involvement in the coup but Turkey is demanding that the United States extradite him.

The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen’s supporters in the aftermath of the coup. Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.

Tens of thousands more people with suspected links to Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government. The government crackdown has raised concerns among European nations and human rights organizations, who have urged the Turkish government to show restraint.

August 16, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have launched simultaneous raids on 44 companies suspected of providing financial support to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement.

Turkey accuses Gulen of being behind the July 15 failed coup, a claim Gulen denies. The Anadolu Agency says Tuesday’s raids in Istanbul’s Umraniye and Uskudar districts came after authorities issued warrants to detain 120 company executives as part of the investigation into the coup attempt. The agency did not identify the companies searched.

The government has launched a massive crackdown on suspected supporters of Gulen’s movement. More than 35,000 people have been detained for questioning while tens of thousands of others have been dismissed from government jobs, including in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government.