- Turkish President ‘Sad’ about Russia Plane Downing
- Declaring ‘New Beginning,’ EU and Turkey Seal Migrant Deal
- Thousands Mourn Kurdish Lawyer Tahir Elci after Gun Death in Turkey
Turkish President ‘Sad’ about Russia Plane Downing
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed “sadness” over a recent move by Turkey’s military to shoot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.
Erdogan said on Saturday that he regretted the November 24 downing of the Su-24M fighter jet, which Turkish officials had accused of violating the Turkish airspace.
“We are truly saddened by this incident,” Erdogan said. “We wish it hadn’t happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn’t occur again.”
Russia dismisses Ankara’s claims and says the fighter jet was downed in the Syrian airspace, where the Russian air force has been carrying out combat sorties against Takfiri terrorists since September 30 upon a request by the Syrian government.
The Turkish president had on Friday warned Russia “not to play with fire,” in reference to Moscow’s potential retaliatory moves over the incident, which may include an array of economic and military sanctions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that “Turkey’s reactions to the incident… reminds of the Theatre of the Absurd.”
During the Saturday address, Erdogan urged Russia to leave the door open for a mutual settlement of the dispute.
“We shall discuss this issue and find a solution. On Monday, Paris will host the international climate summit, this could be a chance to restore our relations with Russia,” Erdogan said, adding, “Confrontation will not make anyone happy. As Russia is important for Turkey, Turkey is important for Russia. We cannot remove each other from the horizon.” [Source: Press TV]
Why doesn’t Erdogan declare his sadness when Russian planes bombs Muslim civilians, including babies and women? Doesn’t he really feel any sadness at all?
Declaring ‘New Beginning,’ EU and Turkey Seal Migrant Deal
Turkey promised to help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visas and renewed talks on joining the EU in a deal struck on Sunday that the Turkish prime minister called a “new beginning” for the uneasy neighbors.
Leaders of the European Union met Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Sunday to finalize an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past month, as Europeans struggle to limit the strain on their 28-nation bloc from taking in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
A key element is 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrians now in Turkey. The money is intended to raise their living standards and so persuade more of them to stay put rather than attempt perilous crossings to the EU via the Greek islands.
The final offer of “an initial” 3 billion euros represents a compromise between the EU, which offered that sum over two years, and Turkey, which wanted it every year. Now the money, as French President Francois Hollande said, will be paid out bit by bit as conditions are met, leaving the total payout unclear.
Also on offer to Ankara, which wants to revive relations with its European neighbors after years of coolness as it faces trouble in the Middle East and from Russia, is a “re-energized” negotiating process on Turkish membership of the EU, even if few expect it to join soon.
Many Turks could also benefit from visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen zone within a year if Turkey meets conditions on tightening its borders in the east to Asian migrants and moves other benchmarks on reducing departures to Europe.
Aware of a sense of desperation in Europe for a solution to a crisis that has called into question its own cohesion and the future of its Schengen passport-free travel zone, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has driven a hard bargain.
The deal involves Turkish help, including through naval patrols and border checks, in handling the flow of migrants to the EU, expected to reach 1.5 million people this year alone. [Source: Reuters]
What a deal? Turkish government is keen on exploiting the migrant wave for the account of European countries. Is this a bribe to stay quiet and watch Syrian civilians die? Or is this the rent of Turkish airbases serving Europe’s interests?
Thousands Mourn Kurdish Lawyer Tahir Elci after Gun Death in Turkey
Thousands of people have gathered for the funeral of Tahir Elci, a Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist gunned down in Diyarbakır, which has been at the centre of months of violence.
Funerals were also held for the two policemen killed in the attack on Saturday.
Elci, who died after speaking to journalists, was facing trial for saying the banned Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) was not a terrorist organisation, as the government describes it. He had, however, denounced PKK violence.
Elci’s killing was likely to fuel further unrest in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish south-east.
A curfew had been called in the Sur district of Diyarbakır where the killing took place. Security forces continued operations to drive back the youth wing of the PKK, removing barricades and trenches, with occasional gunfire and explosions heard.
Four investigators have begun work to determine whether the death was an assassination or the result of crossfire.
Elci’s brother Ahmet was convinced that the lawyer had been a target: “My brother is not our first martyr and neither will he be the last,” he said at the funeral. “As a Kurdish intellectual, he was slain by the state. We have seen this state murdering Kurdish intellectuals throughout the history. But we will not give up and we will win.” [Source: The Guardian]
Near Syrian border, at the Turkish side is experienced conflicts, killing over 40,000 people until now but there is no war. Is this the destiny of Muslim lands or is it just heedlessness?