JERUSALEM/ANKARA (Reuters) – Israel, facing mounting international outrage at its raid on an aid convoy sailing to Gaza, said on Tuesday that it would expel all activists seized on the ships and dropped threats to prosecute some of them.
Israel had said it would deport 682 activists from over 35 countries, seized during the assault in which nine activists were killed on a Turkish vessel, but the police minister had said some might be prosecuted for assaulting Israeli marines.
JERUSALEM/ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey called on Tuesday for Israel to be punished for storming a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in an attack that left nine dead and Israel increasingly isolated in the face of international outrage.
Israel detained or deported hundreds of activists who were on the ships which were seized en route to the Palestinian enclave which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.
In the cool hush of the marble mausoleum above Ankara, Turks pay homage as they have for decades to secular state founder Kemal Ataturk. With the advent of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the view from the mausoleum has become confusing and troubling. The secularist opposition, while accusing his AK Party of seeking an Islamist state, has struggled since traditional parties tainted by accusations of corruption crashed to defeat in 2002.
ANKARA (Reuters) – In the cool hush of the marble mausoleum above Ankara, Turks pay homage as they have for decades to secular state founder Kemal Ataturk. Down below, the traffic roars, streets teem with well-heeled youth, mosques are built, stylish cafes and bars thrive, the call to prayer echoes.
With the advent of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the view from the mausoleum has become confusing and troubling. The secularist opposition, while accusing his AK Party of seeking an Islamist state, has struggled since traditional parties tainted by accusations of corruption crashed to defeat in 2002.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s diplomatic drive to head off sanctions against Iran appeared to founder on U.S. resistance on Wednesday, but demonstrated Washington’s chief Muslim ally is increasingly minded to dance to its own tune.
A day after Turkey and Brazil announced a last-minute deal with Iran to send some of Tehran’s uranium abroad, the United States handed the U.N. Security Council a draft resolution that would expand sanctions against Tehran.
ANKARA/ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s debt crisis may lead to improved ties with its old rival Turkey as the prime ministers of the two countries meet to discuss issues from cuts in defense spending, to financial crisis management.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visits Athens on Friday for talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in what Turkish and Greek officials hope will bring a new era in relations between the often feuding Aegean neighbors.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s prime minister has threatened to expel thousands of illegal Armenian immigrants after U.S. and Swedish lawmakers passed votes branding World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.
Muslim Turkey, a NATO member and candidate to join the European Union, recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Stockholm earlier this month after the non-binding votes and warned they could hurt a fragile effort to reconcile with Christian Armenia after a century of hostility.
ANKARA, March 17 (Reuters) – Turkey’s prime minister has threatened to expel thousands of illegal Armenian immigrants after U.S. and Swedish lawmakers passed votes branding World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.
Turkey, a NATO member and candidate to join the European Union, recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Stockholm after the non-binding votes and warned they could hurt a fragile effort to reconcile with Armenia after a century of hostility.
Asked about the votes in an interview with the BBC Turkish service that was broadcast late on Tuesday, Erdogan said: "There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000. If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don’t have to keep them in my country."
Thousands of illegal Armenian immigrants, mostly women from the impoverished countryside, work as cleaning ladies and in other low-skilled jobs in Istanbul, where they settled after an earthquake in their homeland in 1988.
The exact number of Armenian immigrants in Turkey is unknown. But Turkish-Armenian groups say Turkish politicians inflate numbers of illegal workers and threaten expulsions whenever tensions escalate between Ankara and Yerevan.
Erdogan said Armenian immigrants had been allowed to work in Turkey as a "display of our peaceful approach, but we have to get something in return".
Aris Nalci, an editor at Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos, said it was not the first time Erdogan had made such remarks. "We are not taking it as a serious threat," he said.
Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia signed historic accords last year to establish diplomatic ties and open their common border.
But the deal has yet to be ratified by their respective parliaments and the governments have accused each other of trying to rewrite the texts. Erdogan’s comments could further strain the process of normalising ties that have been burdened by the deportation and killing of Armenians during the chaotic end of the Ottoman empire nearly a century ago.
The deportation threats will also be frowned upon in Europe, which supported the peace accords with Armenia and said they would help Ankara’s EU bid.
Suat Kiniklioglu, foreign affairs spokesman for the ruling AK Party, played down Erdogan’s words, saying the premier felt the need to "remind the public" about Armenians living illegally in Turkey. He said Erdogan was "not talking about something that would happen today or tomorrow".
In the interview, Erdogan accused the Armenian diaspora of pushing the resolutions in the United States and Sweden and called on Armenia and other foreign governments to avoid being swayed by their lobbying. The U.S. and Swedish governments opposed the non-binding resolutions, which passed by extremely thin margins.
The issue of the Armenian massacres is deeply sensitive in Turkey, which accepts that many Christian Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks but vehemently denies that up to 1.5 million died and that it amounted to genocide — a term employed by many Western historians and some foreign parliaments. (Additional reporting by Alexandra Hudson and Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Noah Barkin)
ANKARA (Reuters) – A resolution by the Swedish parliament branding the World War One killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide could hurt peace efforts between Turkey and Armenia, Turkey’s prime minister said on Friday.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Stockholm after the vote in the Swedish parliament on Thursday. The move came a week after Ankara called home its envoy to the United States over the approval of a similar resolution by a U.S. congressional panel.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey recalled its ambassador to Sweden on Thursday and canceled an upcoming summit between the countries after the Swedish parliament branded the World War One killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces genocide.
The move comes only a week after Ankara called home its ambassador to the United States because a U.S. congressional committee approved a similar resolution.