Sunday, 29 November 2015

Worsening Turkish -Russian relations - 11/28/2015

Putin approves economic sanctions against Turkey following downing of Russian warplane

Russian President Vladimir Putin © Mikhail Klimentyev
RT,
28 November, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing a package of economic sanctions against Turkey following its downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria. The measures include banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods.

A decree on "measures providing the national security of the Russian Federation and the protection of its citizens against criminal and other unlawful acts, and on imposing special economic measures in relation to Turkish Republic" was signed on Saturday, the Kremlin press service said.

Under the decree, the import of certain products originating from Turkey will be temporarily banned or restricted.

A number of Turkish organizations operating in Russia will also be restricted

Employers in Russia will be prohibited from hiring Turkish nationals for work starting January 1, 2016.

The ban will touch upon only new workers, the decree said, adding that employees who already officially hired as of December 31, 2015 will not fall subject to the sanctions.

The president has directed the government to introduce a ban on charter flights between Russia and Turkey. Russian travel agencies have been advised to stop selling tours to Turkey, the Kremlin announced.

The government has also been tasked with enhancing security control at Russian ports in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea. The illegal presence and movement of Turkish vessels near to the sea ports must be prevented, the decree said.


Bringing Turkish products into Russia for personal use will not be restricted, the decree said.

The visa-free regime for Turkish nationals traveling to Russia will be suspended starting from 2016, the decree signed by the Russian leader says.

It will not affect those who have residence permits, as well as Turkish diplomats working in Turkish embassies and consulates on the territory of Russia, and their families.

A list of contracts not to be affected by the new economic measures will be compiled by the Cabinet, the Kremlin said in its Saturday statement.

The cooling of relations between the two countries was prompted by the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber jet by a Turkish F-16 fighter at the Syrian border on Tuesday. As the plane was hit and went down in Syria, the two pilots ejected, but only one pilot was later rescued by the Russian forces. Another serviceman, Captain Sergey Rumyantsev was killed, with a rebel Turkmen brigade claiming they shot him to death while he was still parachuting.


Relations between Moscow and Ankara have been in decline ever since. On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement advising its citizens against all non-urgent travel to Russia. Meanwhile, many businesses in Turkey have expressed fears Russian sanctions might badly hit the Turkish economy, affecting its trade and tourism industries. According to Russian Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev, the Turkish Stream project to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey, and the construction


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.

This incident upset us greatly. I really hope this will not happen again,” Erdogan stated.

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.”

In response to the Tuesday incident, Russia has imposed restrictions on tourist travel with Turkey, while a large number of Turkish trucks are left stranded at the Russian border. The Russian Defense Ministry has also suspended all military agreements with Turkey.


The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday said it is preparing travel alert for citizens willing to go to Russia

Earlier


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP photo)

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.

This incident upset us greatly. I really hope this will not happen again,” Erdogan stated.

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.”

In response to the Tuesday incident, Russia has imposed restrictions on tourist travel with Turkey, while a large number of Turkish trucks are left stranded at the Russian border. The Russian Defense Ministry has also suspended all military agreements with Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday said it is preparing travel alert for citizens willing to go to Russia


Prominent Kurdish lawyer shot dead in southeast Turkey



The president of the bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech.

A campaigner for Kurdish rights, Tahir Elci had been criticized for challenging Turkey's official stance of calling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization.



Elci died of gunshots to the head, hospital sources confirmed.

After making comments about PKK on CNN Turk TV in October, Elci was detained. He was subsequently released and had been awaiting trial.

The killing took place while Tahir Elci was making a statement to the media. According to the state Anadolu news agency, it was Kurdish insurgents that opened fire, killing Elci, as well as a police officer, and injuring three other people, among them correspondents of the leading Turkish media organizations – the Anatolia and Dogan news agencies.

Two policemen were also killed in the attack, officials said, adding that one officer had been shot dead on the spot while another died of his injuries later in hospital.

A gun battle erupted after gunfire was opened at police from an unidentified car, Interior Minister Efkan Ala told the media. The official did not mention if anyone had been detained, Reuters reported.

The attack in which Elci was killed might be "an assassination," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday in a televised speech, Hurriyet Daily News reported. But "there are two possibilities," the PM added, saying that the other might be an accident, with the lawyer having been caught in an exchange of fire between security forces and attackers.

A curfew was declared in the region.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) described Elci's killing as a "planned assassination," Reuters reported citing HDP's statement, which added: "In the place left by Tahir Elci, thousands more Tahir Elcis will carry on the work in the struggle for law and justice."

Tahir Elci studied law in Europe and took part in many high profile cases in the Turkish courts. The lawyer was among the founding members of many human rights and non-governmental organizations.

The moment the statement ended, the crowd was sprayed with bullets,” Reuters cited Omer Tastan, a local official from the pro-Kurdish HDP party, as saying.

A single bullet struck Elci in the head,” Tastan said, adding that 11 people were also wounded in the incident.

Dogan News Agency recorded a video of the incident, showing a group of gunmen hiding behind the minaret of a nearby mosque close to where Elci was making his statement. When he finished speaking, the group opened fire at the lawyer and people standing beside him.

A person ran towards Tahir Elci, fired and then started to run away,” Dogan news agency’s reporter Felat Bozarslan recalls.


The PKK demands greater autonomy for Turkey's Kurds and is classified as a terrorist organization in Turkey and the US.

After the ceasefire agreement between the PKK and Turkish security forces ended in July, hundreds of people were killed in terror acts and clashes in addition to the estimated 40,000 who have died since the Kurds started their armed struggle for autonomy in 1984.



American officials have denied that the Russian military had given the details of its downed jet’s flight plan to the Pentagon before the aircraft was shot down by Turkey inside Syrian territory.

The Reuters news agency quoted two unnamed US officials as saying on Friday that Russia had not passed along the kind of granular operational details that were suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin.




TEHRAN (FNA)- A Syrian rebel commander who boasted of killing a Russian pilot after Turkey downed the Russian jet on Tuesday appeared to be Turkish ultranationalist and a son of former mayor in one of Turkish provinces.
Alparslan Celik, deputy commander of a Syrian Turkmen brigade turned out to be the son of a mayor of a Keban municipality in Turkey’s Elazig province, RT reported.

He also turned out to be the member of The Grey Wolves ultranationalist group, members of which have carried out scores of political murders since 1970s.

Celic came under spotlight after he announced that as the two Russian pilots descended by parachute after the Su-24 jet was downed by Turkish military, both were shot dead by Turkmen forces on Tuesday.


A graphic video posted earlier on social media purported to show a Russian pilot lying on the ground surrounded by a group of armed militants. 

Turkish intelligence chief: ISIS is a reality and we must stop Putin from crushing the Islamic revolution (Updated)



Hakan Fidan
AWD News

Posted October 18, 2015

Turkish intelligence chief: Putin's intervention in Syria is against Islam and international law, ISIS is a reality and we are optimistic about the future

Ankara--- Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization, known by the MİT acronym, has drawn a lot of attention and criticism for his controversial comments about ISIS.

Mr. Hakan Fidan, Turkish President's staunchest ally, condemned Russian military intervention in Syria, accusing Moscow of trying to 'smother' Syria's Islamist revolution and serious breach of United Nations law.

“ISIS is a reality and we have to accept that we cannot eradicate a well-organized and popular establishment such as the Islamic State; therefore I urge my western colleagues to revise their mindset about Islamic political currents, put aside their cynical mentalité and thwart Vladimir Putin's plans to crush Syrian Islamist revolutionaries,” - Anadolu News Agency quoted Mr. Fidan as saying on Sunday.

Fidan further added that in order to deal with the vast number of foreign Jihadists craving to travel to Syria, it is imperative that 
ISIS must set up a consulate or at least a political office in Istanbul. He underlined that it is Turkey’s firm belief to provide medical care for all injured people fleeing Russian ruthless airstrikes regardless of their political or religious affiliation.

Recently as the fierce clashes between Russian army and ISIS terrorists are raging across the war-torn Syria, countless number of ISIS injured fighters enter the Turkish territory and are being admitted in the military hospitals namely those in Hatay Province. Over the last few days, the Syrian army with the support of Russian air cover could fend off ISIS forces in strategic provinces of Homs and Hama.

Emile Hokayem, a Washington-based Middle East analyst said that Turkey's Erdoğan and his oil-rich Arab allies have dual agendas in the war on terror and as a matter of fact they are supplying the Islamist militants with weapons and money, thus Russian intervention is considered a devastating setback for their efforts to overthrow Syrian secular President Assad.

Hokayem who was speaking via Skype from Washington, D.C. highlighted the danger of Turkish-backed terrorist groups and added that what is happening in Syria cannot be categorized as a genuine and popular revolution against dictatorship but rather it is a chaos orchestrated by Erdoğan who is dreaming to revive this ancestor's infamous Ottoman Empire.
*In 2014, voice recordings, where Hakan Fidan, foreign minister Davutoğlu, Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Yasar Güler, and other military personnel discusses a potential false flag incursion into Syria, was leaked to YouTube and shared across Twitter. The event resulted in the Turkish government blocking access to Twitter, then YouTube, and finally the DNS servers of Google DNS and OpenDNS.[10] In the voice recording, he is heard saying, to a military personnel, "... [i]f legitimacy [of a possible incursion into Syria] is an issue, I can simply send a few men there [across the Syria-Turkey border] and have them launch missiles over to us. Legitimacy is not a problem. Legitimacy can be manufactured." Seymour Hersh later linked what was said in this leaked meeting with CIA-Erdoğan dealings on Syria




Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes “has nothing to do with the S400 deployment” in Syria.


Syrian Army Fired Upon by Mortars From Turkish Territory – Spokesman

Turkey fired a number of mortar bombs toward Syrian army positions, the Syrian army spokesman said Saturday.


"Last night, there was intense mortar fire on Syrian government forces' positions fire from the Mount Jebel Aqra area, which is on the Turkish side," Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub said during a press briefing.

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