Tag Archives: Turkey

Russia-Ukraine peace talks progress

Brussels 30.03.2022 A round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine took place in Istanbul, Turkey, providing some perspective of progress. Ukrainian officials confirmed that the Ukrainian state was ready to declare itself permanently neutral and drop the project of joining NATO. More talks are expected to follow.

The delegation was also interested to discuss Russia’s territorial claims in exchange for “security guarantees” from a group of other states, mainly NATO allies.

The head of Russian delegations confirmed that the Russian military would “drastically” scale back its combat operations around Kyiv to “increase mutual trust.” However the activities aimed at establishing control over territories in eastern Ukraine continued.The operations around two separatist Republics recognised by Moscow recently as independent continued.

Western officials cautioned against taking at face value Russian delegation statements about its aims in Kyiv or elsewhere. President Biden said he would not draw any conclusions about the intentions of Russia and its military forces “until I see what their actions are.” The sanctions on Russia would remain in place, he added.

The Russian delegation suggested a meeting between Putin and Zelensky aiming at the endorsement of a bilateral peace treaty by the Foreign ministers.

“After today’s meaningful conversation, we agreed and suggest a solution, under which a meeting between the heads of state is possible concurrently with the endorsement of the treaty by the foreign ministers, the more so as during this initialing and consideration of the treaty’s details, it will be possible to discuss various political nuances and details,” Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation said after the Russian-Ukrainian talks in Istanbul.

“So, if the work on the treaty and a required compromise proceeds swiftly, the possibility of peace will be much closer,” he added.

EU: Greece sovereignty over islands “unquestionable”

Brussels 14.02.2022 “Comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a recent interview, disputing Greece’s sovereignty over some of its islands, are counterproductive and contradict de-escalation efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean called for in the Conclusions of the European Council from 23 March and 24-25 June 2021”, reads the statement by the European External Action Service spokesperson on the sovereignty of Greece over its islands.

“Greece’s sovereignty over these islands is unquestionable. Turkey should respect it, refrain from provocative statements and actions in this regard, commit unequivocally to good neighbourly relations and work to settle any disputes peacefully. International agreements must be respected” the spokesperson concludes.

In letters sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last July and September, Turkey for the first time disputed Greece’s sovereignty over east Aegean islands, “over which sovereignty was ceded to Greece on the specific and strict condition that they be kept demilitarised,” according to Turkey’s permanent representative, Feridun Sinirlioglu.

Greece: army evacuates travellers

Brussels 25.01.2022 Rescue crews, including the army, worked through the night to evacuate thousands of people stranded in their cars on an Athens motorway after a severe snowstorm swept across Greece.
A rare and severe snowstorm has blanketed parts of Greece and Turkey, causing chaos on the streets of major cities and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Storm Elpida swept across Greece on Monday,January 24, covering Athens with heavy snow, which rarely falls in the Greek capital but has now occurred in a second consecutive year.

Athens has only seen six snow events since 2000, and while it usually experiences average snowfall of 1.3 centimeters (0.5 inches) annually, Elpida has already brought around 8 centimeters (3.1 inches), the most since February 2021, when 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) fell. The islands of Mykonos and Santorini also experienced rare snowfalls.

Parts of Athens were hit by power cuts, and the grid operator said crews were working to restore electricity.
Rescue crews, including the army, worked through the night to assist thousands of people stranded in their cars on a motorway in the Greek capital after the snowstorm swept through the country on Monday, January 24.
As temperatures fell overnight, soldiers handed out food, water and blankets to drivers, some of whom were stranded for more than 10 hours. TV footage showed the road and vehicles covered in snow.

More than 3,500 people had been evacuated by early Tuesday, some abandoning their cars on foot; around 1,200 cars remained stuck on the Attiki Odos, the capital’s main ring-road, government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou said.

“We had a very difficult night and a superhuman evacuation effort is underway on Attiki Odos,” Oikonomou told Greek television.
“We are still in a very difficult phase, as the forecasts indicate that we will face [weather] difficulties again in a while,” he said.

Greece: migrant vessel returns to Turkey

Brussels 29.10.2021 Greece engaged in a rescue operation on Friday, October 29, for a Turkish-flagged cargo ship carrying about 400 migrants after it sent out a distress signal off shore the island of Crete, the coast guard said.

The Greek coast guard quoted passengers as saying the vessel had sailed from Turkey, calling it “one of the largest search and rescue operations carried out in the eastern Mediterranean.”

“The ship is now sailing in international waters. Greece’s Shipping Ministry has asked Turkey to accept the vessel’s return to Turkey,” a migration ministry official said, declining to be named.

The official said Greece’s migration and asylum minister had contacted Turkish authorities and the EU Commission to resolve the matter.

Earlier, Greek authorities had said the ship was being taken to land without giving further details. The nationalities of the passengers were not immediately available to public.

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for migrants, and asylum-seekers arriving from Turkey. However the number of arrivals has fallen sharply since 2016 after the EU and Ankara agreed a deal to stop migrants from crossing to Greece.

Nearly 1 million people, mainly Syrian refugees, arrived in the EU in 2015 after crossing to Greek islands close to Turkey. Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, many EU states fear a replay of that crisis.

On Tuesday, four migrants, three of them children, drowned after a boat in which they and 23 others were trying to cross from Turkey to Greece sank off the island of Chios.

Varosha: EU response to Turkey announcement

Brussels 20.07.2021 “The High Representative of the European Union expresses his deep concern over the announcements made by President Erdoğan and Mr. Tatar on 20 July 2021, with respect to the fenced-off area of Varosha, which constitutes an unacceptable unilateral decision to change the status of Varosha” reads the announcement of the European External Action Service.

“The EU continues to be guided by the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions with respect to Varosha, which must be respected in full — including Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). No actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those Resolutions. The EU continues to hold the Government of Turkey responsible for the situation in Varosha. The EU will follow tomorrow’s closed consultation of the UN Security Council on Cyprus closely and decide on next steps accordingly.

“The EU once again underlines the need to avoid unilateral actions in breach of international law and renewed provocations, which could raise tensions on the island and compromise a return to talks on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue in line with UN Security Council Resolutions.

“The EU calls for the immediate end to restrictions on the freedom of movement of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) imposed in the Varosha area, so that the mission may patrol and implement its mandated activities.

“The EU remains fully committed to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded and expects the same of Turkey”.

EU leaders spring Council

Brussels 19.03.2021 On 25 and 26 March, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Single Market, industrial policy, digital transformation and the economy, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and relations with Russia.

COVID-19
The European Council will take stock of the roll-out of vaccines and the epidemiological situation and pursue the coordinated response to the pandemic crisis.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: the EU’s response
Single market, industrial policy, digital transformation and the economy
The European Council will discuss the key priorities for the single market, industrial policy and the digital transformation. The leaders will look at the Digital Compass, including targets set for 2030, and review work on digital taxation.

The European Council will address the priorities for the 2021 European Semester and leaders will be invited to endorse the recommendation on the economic policy of the Eurozone.

A digital future for Europe
EU single market
Eastern Mediterranean

The European Council will discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. The High Representative and the Commission are expected to submit a report on EU-Turkey relations ahead of the meeting, following the conclusions of the European Council in December 2020.

Russia

The EU leaders will hold a strategic debate on the relations with Russia.

NATO2030: Foreign ministers focus on future

Brussels 01.12.2020 NATO Foreign Ministers met virtually on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 to discuss key issues for the Alliance. They include an outside expert panel report on how to further adapt NATO for the future, Russia’s military build-up and NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.

“We have just concluded the first session of this meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. We had a good, constructive exchange. And I am looking forward to when I can once again welcome all the ministers here in Brussels, in person. We discussed NATO2030 and how to further adapt our Alliance for the future. We also addressed Russia. And the situation in Afghanistan.

NATO supports the Afghan peace process. And as part of that, we have adjusted our presence. While United States has decided to further reduce its troop numbers to 2,500, NATO’s training mission continues. And over half of our forces are, now, non-US. Ministers made clear that all Allies remain committed to the mission. And to supporting Afghan security forces in the fight against terrorism.As we continue to assess the situation in Afghanistan, it is clear that we will face a turning point early next year.

If we stay, we risk continued fighting. And an even longer-term engagement.
If we leave, we risk Afghanistan once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists. And the loss of the gains made with such sacrifice.

So there is a price for staying longer. But there is also a price for leaving too soon. We will have to take some hard decisions when NATO defence ministers meet next February. But whatever we decide, we must do it in a coordinated and orderly way.

We also discussed Russia’s continued military build-up in our neighbourhood. As well as arms control. We see Russia violating and undermining treaties. And deploying new weapons. Ministers expressed support for preserving limitations of nuclear weapons. And for developing a more comprehensive arms control regime. We all know that the New START treaty will expire next February, so time is running out. We welcome the dialogue between the United States and Russia to find a way forward. Because we should not find ourselves in a situation where there is no agreement regulating the number of nuclear warheads. We are adapting NATO’s deterrence posture to address Russia’s destabilising actions. At the same time, we all agree that we must continue to pursue dialogue with Russia.

We also addressed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Working together here at NATO, we recently developed a military de-confliction mechanism between Greece and Turkey. A hotline between the two Allies. And the cancellation of specific military exercises. I am committed to strengthening this mechanism further, to build more comprehensive confidence-building measures.

We also discussed the NATO2030 project on how we can make our strong Alliance even stronger. Earlier this year, I appointed a group of experts to support my work on NATO’s continued adaptation. The group, led by co-chairs Thomas de Maizière and Wess Mitchell, has now finalised its work. Today the co-chairs briefed Ministers on their findings. And we have just made their report public. I want to thank all the members of the group for their efforts and dedication.

Their report shows that NATO is agile. It recognises that in recent years we have been able to adapt, both militarily and politically. The report also demonstrates that political consultation and decision-making work at NATO. So we build on solid foundations. he group’s work concludes today, and is one input into NATO2030.

I will continue to consult with civil society, parliamentarians, young leaders, the private sector, and of course with Allies. I will then prepare my recommendations for NATO Leaders when they meet next year. The goal is to keep NATO as a strong military Alliance. Make it more united politically. And with a more global approach”

“Donors have pledged more than $ 3 billion for the first year of the upcoming four-year plan,” running from 2021 to 2024, “with annual pledges expected to remain at that same level year after year, this is expected to add up to $ 12 billion dollars over four years, ” Ville Skinnari, Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade said. Afghanistan will receive up to $ 12 billion in aid from donor countries by 2024, under certain conditions, the Finnish Minister of Cooperation said on Tuesday after a two-day conference in Geneva and by video conference on November 24.

Turkey shifts away from EU values

Brussels 29.11.2020 Members of European Parliament condemn Turkey’s activities in Varosha, Cyprus, and call for sanctions, calling Turkey to refrain from any action that alters Cyprus’ demographic balance.

In a resolution adopted on November 26 by 631 votes in favour, 3 against and 59 abstentions, MEPs condemn Turkey’s illegal activities in the Varosha suburb of the city of Famagusta and warn that its partial “opening” weakens prospects of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, exacerbating divisions and entrenching the permanent partition of the island.

MEPs call on Turkey to transfer Varosha to its lawful inhabitants under the temporary administration of the UN (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 550 (1984)) and to refrain from any actions that alter the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlement.

A sustainable solution to reunify the island of Cyprus and its people can only be found through dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiations, MEPs stress. They call on the European Council to maintain its unified position on Turkey’s illegal actions and impose tough sanctions in response.

MEPS regret that the Turkish authorities have endorsed the two-state solution for Cyprus and reiterate their support for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with a single international legal status. They also call on the EU to play a more active role in bringing the negotiations under UN auspices to a successful conclusion.

As Turkey distances itself more and more from European values and standards, EU-Turkey relations are at a historic low, warns Parliament. Its illegal and unilateral military actions in the Eastern Mediterranean infringe on the sovereignty of EU member states Greece and Cyprus. MEPs also point out Turkey’s direct support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as its actions in Libya and Syria.

The Turkish army fenced off Varosha immediately after the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Greek Cypriots who fled from Varosha were not allowed to return and with public entry prohibited, Varosha has effectively become a ghost town.

Azerbaijan shot two Russian helicopter pilots

Azerbaijan downed Russian helicopter by mistake and is ready to compensate Moscow for the damages, the Republic’s Foreign Ministry announced. (Image: illustration).

“The helicopter was flying in the close vicinity of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border at the time of active hostilities in the zone of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The flight was taking place after dark, at a low altitude, outside the air defence radar detection zone. Helicopters of the Russian Armed Forces had not been detected in said area previously,” the Ministry stated. According to the ministry, “in the context of the aforementioned factors and in the light of the tense situation in the region and the high military alert due to possible provocations of the Armenian side, the on-duty operational crew made the decision to use deadly force.”

Turkey: new tensions in Mediterranean

“The latest Navtex announcements and the continued conduct of seismic survey activities by Turkey, which is affecting Greek and Cypriot maritime zones, are deeply regrettable – especially in view of ongoing constructive attempts at all levels to create space for dialogue” the statement of the European External Action Service reads. The reaction of the European diplomacy followed issued by Turkey a new navigational telex (Navtex) late on November 3, reserving an area off the southwestern coast of Cyprus.

“This is yet another course of action that, unfortunately, continues to create more tensions and distrust in the region instead of contributing to lasting solutions”.

“Dialogue in good faith and abstention from unilateral actions are crucial elements for reaching a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and developing a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and Turkey. Differences need to be discussed and sorted at the negotiations table”.

Turkey issued a new navigational telex (Navtex) late on Tuesday reserving an area off the southwestern coast of Cyprus, with the Republic of Cyprus on Wednesday demanding Turkey that immediately halts seismic research within the Cyprus EEZ.

NAVTEX allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, as well as other information.

NAVTEX can also serve as a warning to other vessels to steer clear of an area due to the sensitivity of the work being carried out and a signal of a country’s sovereign exploration rights. (ILKHA)

https://ilkha.com/english/latest/turkey-announces-a-new-navtex-in-eastern-mediterranean-10564

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