Category Archives: Turkey
ANKARA: A bomb exploded Monday near the offices of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, lightly injuring one person, officials and media said.
The device, which was in a small plastic bottle, went off at around 0730 GMT, 20 metres (yards) from the building in the central Kizilay district, one and a half hour before a cabinet meeting to be headed by Erdogan.
“It appears that the explosive material was 150 grammes of light explosives placed inside a plastic bottle,” Ankara governor Alaaddin Yuksel was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
The official however declined to comment on the possible motive of the attack that occured on the same street housing both the prime minister’s offices and the supreme court of appeals.
“There’s an ongoing investigation,” he said.
The blast came less than a week after a remote-controlled bomb exploded in Istanbul near Erdogan’s ruling party headquarters, which wounded 15 police officers and one civilian.
read more at www.thenews.com.pk
ANKARA, Turkey — The Syrian army launched an offensive early Saturday against rebels in the village of Ain al-Beida, not far from the border with Turkey, the Turkish news agency Anatolia reported.It quoted witnesses as saying around 2,000 soldiers and 15 tanks were involved in the operation to seize control of the village only a few kilometres from Turkey.The army overran the village and set fire to the houses, Anatolia said.The agency said opposition fighters injured in the clashes had been taken to Turkey for treatment.Residents in the Turkish village of Guvecci, just across the border in the southern province of Hatay, told AFP by telephone they had heard automatic gunfire and artillery at dawn.
read more at www.vancouversun.com
Secret Bible Unearthed: ‘Jesus Predicts Coming Of Prophet Muhammad’
Ankara / Turkey – The bible was already in custody of Turkish authorities after having been seized in 2000 in an operation in Mediterranean area in Turkey. The gang of smugglers had been charged with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives and went to trial. Turkish police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript in the bible could be about 1500 to 2000 years old.After waiting eight years in Ankara the ancient bible is being transferred to the Ankaran Ethnography Museum with a police escort.
The manuscript carries excerpts of the Bible written in gold lettering on leather and loosely strung together, with lines of Syriac script with Aramaic dialect. Turkish authorities express the bible is a cultural asset and should be protected for being worthy of a museum.
A report Saturday said that the United States was planning to intervene militarily in Syria, with or without United Nations authorization.
By David Lev
A report Saturday said that the United States was planning to intervene militarily in Syria, with or without United Nations authorization, if the killing in the country continued. A senior American official quoted in the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper said that the action would be based on the UN intervention in Kosovo several years ago: Establishment of a beachhead and carving out an area that was off-limits to forces controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, where refugees could come to flee Assad’s troops, and which could be used as aforward base to reduce Assad’s hold on the country, and eventually remove him.
Turkey is planning to purchase 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters worth $16 billion in an attempt to meet its future air force needs, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz was quoted as saying Feb. 23.
“Turkey plans to buy 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, two of which will be delivered in 2015,” Yilmaz told the daily Milliyet.
It is the first public announcement by Ankara of how much the program will cost.
Turkey has long planned to purchase about 100 jets to replace its aging F-4 and F-16 fleet, but increasing costs have hampered the acquisitions.
The Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program ever.
The U.S. Defense Department plans to buy more than 2,400 of the aircraft at a cost of about $385 billion. The cost of each plane is now well over $100 million.
- Turkey plans to buy 100 US F-35 fighters: report (blogginghounds.wordpress.com)
By Alex Lantier
20 February 2012
US military officials confirmed Saturday that US drones are flying over Syria, as fighting spreads inside the country and US officials discuss military or “humanitarian” intervention to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
The drone flights, which flagrantly violate Syrian air space, include a “good number” of both military and US intelligence drones, according to US defense officials. These officials said the drones’ mission is to obtain “intercepts of Syrian government and military communications in an effort to ‘make the case for a widespread international response.’”
The Israeli daily Ha’aretz also reported Saturday that Syrian forces had captured 40 Turkish intelligence operatives working with the “opposition” inside Syria. It said the Turkish operatives confessed to working with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to train the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), and claimed that Mossad operatives were working with Al Qaeda operatives in Jordan planning operations in Syria.
This echoes testimony Thursday before the US Senate Armed Services Committee by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. He said that recent bombings in Damascus and Aleppo “had all the earmarks of an al Qaeda-like attack. So we believe that al Qaeda in Iraq is extending its reach into Syria.”
As in last year’s war in Libya, Washington is seizing on violence between the Assad regime and US-backed opposition forces—which are organizing protests and killings inside Syria—to justify military intervention.
Significantly, the US relied extensively on former Al Qaeda fighters of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) to topple Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and it appears a similar relationship is being established in Syria.
read more at www.wsws.org
China’s leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, kicked off a key visit to Turkey on Monday night to boost already blossoming commercial ties between the two rising powers.
Xi, who is expected to be president of the world’s most populous nation next year, is set to have talks with Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a written statement he delivered upon his arrival in Ankara on Monday night.
Xi’s key visit to Turkey came following a week-long trip to the US and Ireland last week.
Trade Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yüksel greeted the Chinese vice president upon his arrival.
He said in the written statement that he came to Turkey on the invitation of President Abdullah Gül, aiming to deepen, what he described as, “understanding and friendship” between the two nations.
The last high-level visit to China by Turkish officials was in 2009, when Gül visited China, followed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s trip to Turkey a year later. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also paid a six-day visit to China in late 2010 and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, came to Turkey in January of 2010.
read more at www.todayszaman.com
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Indonesia picks up a South Korean offer for three U209 model submarines instead of a Turkish-German joint offer. Still, the two countries may bid for a tender for the more developed U214 models, Jakarta says
Indonesia has informed a German-Turkish partnership that South Korea has won Jakarta’s competition for U209 submarines and that the duo should instead focus on the sale of more-developed U214 subs to the Southeast Asian giant, a senior Turkish official has said.
The message was conveyed during the visit of Adm. Agus Suhartono, the chief of staff of Indonesia’s military forces, to Turkey last week, the Turkish official said this weekend.
Turkey, led by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, SSM, and Germany, led by ThyssenKrupp’s shipyard, HDW, entered the Indonesian Navy’s competition of more than $1 billion after it came to an end, effectively ensuring Seoul’s victory.
South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering announced on Dec. 22 that it had won the Indonesian deal $1.1 billion for three submarines.
As for Turkey, a $2 billion submarine deal with HDW for the joint manufacture of six U214 platforms formally took effect in July, the German company said. Turkish procurement officials also confirmed the information.
“As a longstanding partner and supplier to the Turkish Navy, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems can now begin executing the order. The order will contribute to securing employment at [ThyssenKrupp’s] HDW in Kiel, as well as at many subcontractors in Germany and Turkey, for the next 10 years,” it said.
A major loan deal between German banks and the Turkish Treasury rescued the multibillion-dollar submarine contract between the Turkish state and Howaldswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) on the last day of 2010, Turkish procurement officials said earlier.
“We will try to work hard to meet the requirements for the second competition [for the U214 deal],” said the Turkish procurement official.
The Indonesian side also offered a number of consolations to the Turkish side. The Indonesians will come up with a $100 million Turkish proposal to make military radios produced by Aselsan, the procurement official said.
The Indonesians separately plan to propose a facility to produce Roketsan-made missiles after they sign a contract with the company.
Jakarta will also produce FNSS-made 8×8 vehicles.
Turkey and Indonesia are two of the largest Muslim countries and are keen to develop their defense industries and ties.
Iran continues to behave as though it is calling the shots. The first formal announcement of the resumption of Iran-world powers nuclear talks (confirming debkafile’s exclusive) came from its Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Selahi who Sunday, Feb. 19, named the venue as Istanbul, Turkey. Saturday, two Iranian warships got away with delivering arms for Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protest without US or Israeli interference.
They docked at Tartus port Saturday alongside a Russian naval flotilla, symbolizing their joint effort to preserve Assad.
US and Israeli naval craft were entitled by UN sanctions to intercept and search the Kharq supply ship carrying illegal arms and military equipment for Bashar Assad’s army as it sailed past Israel’s Mediterranean coast with the Sahid Qandi destroyer. But they abstained from doing so for fear of a firefight at sea with the Iranian destroyer.
The Egyptian Suez authorities were equally wary of trouble and so did not exercise their authority to search the arms vessel.
The US and Israel therefore let Iran get away with establishing three disagreeable facts:
1. A precedent for bringing arms to the Assad regime and the Lebanese Hizballah group without being challenged;
2. Iran flaunted its comradeship with Russia for buttressing the Assad regime and warding off Western-Arab military intervention by their military strength. Its warship entered Tartus and docked alongisde the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its strike group.
3. Tehran felt it could safely ignore the warning that “Israel is watching Iran’s military movements in the Mediterranean” which came from “military sources” tardily after the two warships were berthed at Tartus ready to unload their cargo.
Israel did not interfere either when exactly a year ago, the Kharq passed through the Suez Canal on its way past the Israeli coast to deliver missiles for Hizballah, even though Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the time that the Israel Navy would halt the ship if it was laden with arms.
A whole year has gone by and Israel is still not geared for stemming the flow of Iranian weapons to its enemies. Inaction this time is bound to detract from Israel’s military credibility at the very moment that
another round of intense US-Israeli talks on Iran is taking place.
Top-flight White House advisers, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator Gary Seymour and head of the NSC’s Middle East Desk Steve Simon, arrived in Israel Saturday, Feb. 18, for three days of critical talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his senior security team headed by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yaakov Amidror.
debkafile’s sources note that military and intelligence officials conversant with Iran’s nuclear projects are not part of this delegation. This US-Israeli round is therefore designed hammer out political and diplomatic coordination between the two governments, not the military aspects of a strike against Iran.
The Obama administration is walking on eggs so not to jeopardize the new chances opening up for resumed international negotiations with Iran. Following debkafile disclosed exclusively at week’s end, Sunday, Feb. 19, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi confirmed that the next round of talks between Iran and six world powers on the country’s nuclear program will be held in Istanbul, Turkey. He did not mention a date.
He also reiterated Tehran’s standard refrain that neither sanctions nor any other penalties would make Iran give up its nuclear aspirations.
In this sense, the dispute between Washington and Israel over whether or not sanctions are effective is academic. Still, as an added incentive for the Netanyahu government to hold its fire against Iran, Washington persuaded the Brussels-based Swift financial clearinghouse used by 210 countries to agree to shut Iran out of its network, thereby choking off much of its international trade.
However, as debkafile reveals here for the first time, Tehran had already taken the precaution of opening alternative lines to KTT, a company which provides certain financial and trading services to some European, Far Eastern and Muslim governments. It is registered with the Government of Pakistan Department of Export & Import and Ministry of Defense.
Shortly after the Donilon team landed in Israel, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff made these comments to a CNN TV interviewer for broadcast Sunday, Feb. 19: “It’s not prudent at this point for Israel to decide to attack Iran. It would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives.”
He went on to say that the U.S. government is confident the Israelis “understand our concerns.” But then added: “I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion.”
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources note that Israeli is paying a heavy strategic price for the interminable wrangling over an attack on Iran going back and forth between Washington and Jerusalem for months. It is forcing the Netanyahu government to sit on its hands in circumstances where inaction is dangerous and watch its deterrent strength drain away. Therefore, not a finger was lifted to break up Iran’s latest breakthrough to a seaborne route for replenishing Assad’s depleted arsenals.