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Archive for Turkey

Newsline: Foreign ambassadors were in Turkey during earthquake

Spokespeople for most of the ambassadors in question said they were in Turkey during the Feb. 6 earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people. A spokesperson for the Federal Foreign Office of Germany; Marilyne Guèvremont, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada; and Wouter Poels, a spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told USA TODAY over email that the ambassadors were in Turkey at the time of the earthquake. “Both the Belgian ambassador to Turkey and the Belgian consul general in Istanbul were on Turkish territory that day,” said Poels. “All Belgian diplomatic and consular staff in Turkey were fully operational by 5 am on Feb. 6 to deal with the consequences of the earthquake.” (https://news.yahoo.com/fact-check-false-claim-numerous-160554980.html) Representatives for the French, Italian and Dutch embassies told AFP their ambassadors were in the country when the earthquake struck as well. The U.S. Embassy didn’t respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment and the U.K. Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the record. But U.S. ambassador Jeffry Flake shared a picture on Instagram of a flag at half-staff tagged in Ankara on Feb. 6, and he spoke on CNN from the city early the next morning.

Newsline: Turkey summons U.S. ambassador

Turkey on Monday summoned U.S. envoy Jeff Flake to convey its discomfort about a top U.S. general visiting northeast Syria over the weekend, a foreign ministry source said. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said later on Monday that Flake went to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for meetings and discussions. (https://neuters.de/world/turkey-summons-us-envoy-over-top-generals-syria-visit-2023-03-06/) Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unannounced visit on March 4 to review a nearly eight-year-old U.S. mission to an area controlled by the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Price told reporters it was the State Department’s understanding that Milley met only with U.S. troops while in Syria and referred to the Department of Defense for details.

Newsline: Claims that Western ambassadors ‘evacuated’ from Turkey before quake seen as conspiracy theories

Western embassies in Turkey have rubbished claims that they removed their ambassadors from the country shortly before a devastating earthquake on February 6, an accusation shared in social media posts spewing baseless conspiracy theories that the disaster was planned. Media reports and social media activities placed the ambassadors in the country around the time of the quake. “Planned demolition anybody,” reads a Facebook post shared on February 16. The post shows a tweet by US conspiracy theorist David Wolfe that says Canada, the United States, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Holland and France “pulled their ambassadors out of Turkey 24 hours before the earthquake”. (https://news.yahoo.com/baseless-claim-turkey-ambassadors-evacuated-092000040.html) Similar posts circulated around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain, racking up thousands of shares. Some Facebook users appeared to link the claim to conspiracy theories that the 7.8-magnitude tremor that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria was man-made. Turkey is one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. A combination of factors made February’s tremor particularly deadly, including its timing, location and the weak construction of the collapsed buildings, according to experts.

Newsline: Turkey eyes earthquake diplomacy to mend Armenia ties

Humanitarian aid sent by Armenia for victims of last week’s devastating earthquake in Turkey could boost the neighbouring countries’ efforts to normalise their relations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday. A border gate between the long-feuding neighbours was opened for the first time in 35 years to allow aid for quake victims in southern Turkey. Armenia also sent a rescue team to Turkey to help in the search for survivors. “Armenia has extended its hand of friendship, showed solidarity and cooperation with us in this difficult time … We need to continue this solidarity,” Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference in Ankara with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan. Mirzoyan said through a translator that Armenia remained committed to “the full normalisation of relations and complete opening of the border with Turkey”. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/turkey-says-earthquake-diplomacy-could-help-mend-armenia-ties-2023-02-15/) Turkey severed its diplomatic and commercial ties with Armenia in 1993 to show support for Azerbaijan, which was at the time fighting a losing battle against Armenian separatists in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

Newsline: Saudi embassy in Turkey says no reports of Saudi victims after quake

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey said it has not received reports confirming the death of Saudi citizens in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. The embassy said it was working with the Turkish authorities to confirm whether any Saudi citizens have died in the earthquake that hit the nation early on Monday. (https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/02/06/Saudi-Arabia-s-embassy-in-Turkey-says-no-reports-of-Saudi-deaths-yet-after-quake) The quake – which was felt in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, and several other neighboring countries – has killed hundreds of people in southeast Turkey and northern Syria. A total of at least 640 people have died in both Syria and Turkey, according to authorities. The death toll is expected to keep rising as rescue teams continue to dig under the rubble of collapsed buildings across several Turkish and Syrian provinces.

Newsline: Turkey’s top diplomat says Western missions failed to justify security warnings

Turkey said on Friday that Western nations, including the United States and Germany, had not given it any information to back up their assertions that security threats had prompted them to close their missions in the country. Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested the powers may have been trying to portray Turkey as a volatile state when they temporarily shut embassies and consulates and issued travel warnings following Koran-burning incidents in Europe. “We see the closures of consulates without sharing the details of the information with us as intentional,” Cavusoglu told reporters. “They say there is a terror threat… But when we ask what the source of information was and who the perpetrators of such attacks might be, they did not share any information,” Cavusoglu said on Friday. Turkey would take “some additional steps” in case these countries shut their diplomatic missions again without sharing information with Turkey, Cavusoglu also said. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/turkey-says-western-states-gave-it-no-evidence-to-back-up-security-threat-reports-2902878) On Wednesday Turkey summoned the ambassadors of nine Western countries to criticise the decision, as interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, said on Twitter the embassies were waging “a new psychological war” on his country. Last week, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and others issued warnings to their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Turkey, particularly against diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship, in the wake of Koran-burning protests in Europe. This week, countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland temporarily closed diplomatic missions in Turkey, saying it was for security reasons.

Newsline: Turkey summons ambassadors of nine countries

Turkey summoned ambassadors of nine countries on Thursday to demand an explanation, after countries temporarily shut diplomatic missions and issued security alerts citing a heightened threat following Koran burning incidents in Europe. A Turkish foreign ministry source said ambassadors from nine countries were summoned on Thursday, but did not identify them. The U.S. embassy confirmed that its ambassador attended a meeting at the ministry. Two European diplomatic sources said ambassadors from Germany, France and the Netherlands were also summoned. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/turkey-summons-ambassadors-nine-countries-over-security-alerts-2023-02-02/) Far-right activists burned Korans in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last week, acts that led to a halt in negotiations for Turkey to lift objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The European countries have denounced the incidents but some say they cannot prevent them because of free speech rules. Countries including France, Germany, Italy and the United States have warned their citizens of an increased risk of attacks in Turkey, particularly against diplomatic missions and non-Muslim places of worship. Germany, France and the Netherlands were among countries that temporarily closed diplomatic missions for security reasons this week.

Newsline: U.S. embassy warns of possible terrorist attacks in Turkey

The U.S. embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Koran-burning incidents in Europe. In an updated security alert, the U.S. embassy said “possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists” could take place in areas frequented by Westerners, especially the city’s Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal neighbourhoods. Turkish authorities are investigating the matter, it added. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/us-issues-another-warning-possible-terrorist-attacks-turkey-2023-01-30/) On Friday, several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.

Newsline: Turkey summons Swedish ambassador

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Sweden’s ambassador on Friday over authorities’ permission of a protest near the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm scheduled to be held on Saturday, a source from the Foreign Ministry said. The source said the Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the “provocative” protest, which they said includes burning of the Muslim holy book the Koran, and conveyed Ankara’s expectation for reversal of the permission for the demonstration. The Foreign Ministry also told Sweden’s envoy that granting permission to a separate protest that is to be staged on Saturday by a group sympathetic to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is a violation of agreements between the countries, the source said. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/turkey-summons-swedish-envoy-over-permission-protest-source-2023-01-20/) The incident comes at a sensitive time in bilateral relations when both Sweden and Finland are seeking Turkey’s approval of their bids to join NATO.

Newsline: Top Iranian Diplomat travels to Turkey

Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amirabdollahian traveled to Turkey on Tuesday for a series of political and economic negotiations with the senior officials of the neighboring country. Heading a political delegation, the Iranian foreign minister left Tehran for Ankara on Tuesday morning. Amirabdollahian is expected to hold talks with the Turkish officials about the political, economic and cultural relations between the two neighbors as well as the major regional and international issues. (https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2023/01/17/2838395/top-iranian-diplomat-in-turkey-for-political-talks) In a meeting in Tehran in November 2022, the interior ministers of Iran and Turkey weighed plans for cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism and in ensuring security along the common border.