Located at some 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level near the town of Orgov, the giant antenna was built between 1981-1985 but it fell into disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Supporters of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan tried to close Tumanyan Street, where Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s motorcade reportedly had to pass.
A brawl occurred between Kocharyan’s supporters and police officers. Some protesters have been detained as a result of clashes.
At present, the situation in the center of Yerevan remains tense. The protesters are heading to the Kentron Police Department to release the detainees.
Turkish exporters are reeling from an unprecedented blow in trade with Iraq that has splashed cold water on Ankara’s hopes to launch a second border crossing with its southern neighbor and boost bilateral trade to $20 billion.
In a series of steps since May, touted as an effort to promote domestic production, the Iraqi government has restricted food imports from Turkey, including in major categories such as eggs and beverages. Turkey’s business community suspects that there are political factors behind the move, including the role of non-market actors harming competition, pressure from companies linked to the ruling partners in Baghdad and the influence of Iran.
Turkey’s trade volume with Iraq amounted to about $13 billion last year. Iraq was the fourth largest buyer of Turkish goods, with $8.4 billion worth of imports. Some 12,000 Turkish companies sell goods to Iraq.
Baghdad’s first step on May 1 barred the importation of eggs from Turkey, leaving Turkish producers in a tight spot. Last year, 71% of Turkey’s egg exports went to the Iraqi market, meeting 76% of Iraq’s consumption.
The Iraqi Poultry Producers Association says local egg producers are capable of meeting the demand, but according to a Turkish official, Iraqi officials had recently shared that the domestic output could meet only 30% of demand despite new investments. Remarkably, egg prices have increased since the imports from Turkey stopped.
Yet while Turkey was making efforts to get Iraq rethink its decision, more restrictions took effect June 1, covering fizzy and non-fizzy beverages, fruit juices, ice cream, fish and poultry meat. On June 19, table salt, pasta and noodles joined the list.
The moves raised alarm in Turkey’s food industry, with the threat of bankruptcy looming for some egg producers. Short of alternative markets, many have opted to send their egg-laying chickens to slaughter.
Eggs, along with flour, topped Turkey’s $2.8 billion in food exports to Iraq last year, bringing in $306 million and $530 million respectively. Iraq was the top buyer of Turkish ice cream, accounting for 16% of Turkey’s $34.4 million exports in this category. The Iraqi market took also 11.4% of Turkey’s $152.6 million soda exports and 3% of its $62.3 million mineral water exports.
Accompanied by businesspeople, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan headed to Baghdad on June 19, meeting with President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the Iraqi ministers of the economy, finance and planning during her two-day visit.
Emin Taha, the head of the Turkish-Iraqi Business Council and who was part of the delegation, told Al-Monitor that the latest restrictions as well as surtaxes and hardships facing business people in Iraq were high on the agenda of the talks. He said Baghdad was likely to review its decision and allow the resumption of imports on the basis of quotas determined according to domestic output and consumption levels. Yet according to another source knowledgeable about the talks, there has been no sign that Baghdad is indeed reviewing the matter.
Baghdad might eventually show some flexibility, but it seems the Iraqi market will no longer be as accessible as it used to be for Turkish exporters. Business people interviewed by Al-Monitor believe the Iranian factor is as significant as other reasons such as increasing investments in various sectors in Iraq and the pressure of local producers on the government.
Although measures to protect local producers are commonplace in all countries, Baghdad’s restrictions and tariff hikes are being designed in a way that seems to facilitate Iran, Taha said. Mehmet Kaya, head of the trade and industry chamber in Diyarbakir, a province not far from the Iraqi border, was of the same opinion.
Businesspeople complain that excessive tariffs have been levied on goods that figure prominently in Turkish exports. In May alone, tariffs were raised on 79 products. The tariff on white meat, an important export item for Turkey, was doubled, with some tariffs increasing three- and even five-fold.
Although the rules apply to everyone trading with Iraq, things are said to be different on the ground. Turkish traders claim that many Iranian goods go undeclared into Iraq, evading tariffs, and, more importantly, many products enter Iraq through several “illegal” crossings. As a result, Turkish products become less competitive against Iranian ones, which could tempt desperate Turkish exporters to use the Iranian routes. In fact, this is already said to be happening.
An alternative idea is to move production to Iraq, provided that the business environment improves. “We told the Iraqis we are willing to invest and enhance their production strength and technology,” Taha said. “This, however, requires [favorable] investment conditions.”
Iraq’s existing regulations are “not reassuring” for investors, financiers and insurers, Taha said. Pointing to political factors, he added, “Five ministry posts in the government were only recently filled. We need to see what assurances the government will give investors and what legal amendments will be made. Small investors could brave certain risks, but large investments cannot afford risks at such a scale.”
Along with general security problems, Turkish entrepreneurs worry about pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units militias. A businessman with a long experience in Iraq, who asked not to be named, said, “You make a multimillion investment and then there come militias who do not recognize the legal order and [often] disturb investors. Investors need confidence. Yet, a telephone call from Iran can change everything. Moreover, the Popular Mobilization Units are setting up their own companies. They would not leave you in peace in overlapping areas.”
Iraqi Kurdistan used to be a crucial alternative for Turkey in times of trouble with Baghdad, but things have changed since Ankara’s hard-line stance against the Kurds over their failed independence referendum in 2017.
To pressure the Kurds, Ankara initiated talks with Baghdad for a second border crossing to bypass the existing one at Habur, which opens into Iraqi Kurdistan. It also urged Baghdad to take the control of the crossing from the Kurds. As part of reconciliation between Baghdad and the Kurds, a deal was reached in February, under which the central government’s rules apply at the crossing now. As a result, goods are being taxed only at the crossing, unlike before when the central government, too, collected fees on the route from Kirkuk to Baghdad.
The arrangement prevents the Kurds from making unilateral deals with Turkey, including, for instance, the lowering of tariffs.
In terms of investment, Kurdistan retains its appeal to Turkish entrepreneurs. “We could set up factories in Erbil, Dahuk and Zakho, from where we could sell goods to the rest of Iraq. Still, we need to find alternative markets beside Iraq,” Taha said.
Yet Kaya, who has been in contact with Kurdistan officials, argued that Turkey’s efforts to move closer to Erbil after “seeing the Iranian influence on the Iraqi market” could prove fruitless for two key reasons. “First, Turkey is no longer a reliable country in the eyes of Erbil and Baghdad alike. Second, Erbil can no longer act independently from Baghdad,” Kaya said, pointing to statements by Iraqi Kurdish leaders expressing commitment to harmony with Baghdad.
Kaya said Ankara has realized that its harsh stance over the referendum, marked by threats to “starve” the Iraqi Kurds, was an ill-advised policy with economic blowback. “Speaking in terms of Diyarbakir alone, 65% of our exports used to be to Iraq. The figure, which stood at $300 million prior to the referendum, fell to $100 million in its aftermath. It will now decrease further because of the new restrictions,” he said.
Iraq’s internal dynamics seem to be developing score-settling
dimensions with Turkey at each and every milestone in bilateral ties.
For Turkey, Iraq is becoming a place where the luxury of separating
trade from security and political tensions is being increasingly lost.
Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/turkey-iraq-throws-ankara-curveball-in-bilateral-trade.html#ixzz5tIUm8MOW
Turkish prosecutors on July 9 issued arrest warrants for over 200 suspected soldiers in Istanbul and in western Izmir province for their alleged links to the FETÖ, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
According to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s office in Istanbul, the arrest warrants were issued for 176 active serving soldiers including colonels, lieutenants, majors, and captains in Istanbul, 20 active serving and five former soldiers as well as 10 civilian suspects in Izmir.
The suspects are sought as part of a probe into FETÖ‘s clandestine network in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), according to sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The suspects in Izmir are accused of communicating with FETÖ‘s “covert imams- senior FETO operatives- via pay phones.
The 10 civilian suspects in Izmir are accused of using FETÖ‘s encrypted messaging application ByLock.
Police have rounded up eight of the suspects so far in simultaneous operations in 20 provinces across Turkey.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Texas billionaire and two-time independent presidential candidate Ross Perot died Tuesday at 89 after a five-month battle with leukemia.
Perot is probably best known for his presidential runs in 1992 and 1996, reported the Dallas Morning News. Perot garnered 19% of the popular vote but no electoral college votes in 1992 and was viewed as a spoiler who helped then-candidate Bill Clinton defeat President George H.W. Bush.
Perot nearly died from an infection in March following his leukemia diagnosis, his family said. But he recovered and continued going into the office almost daily. He celebrated his 89th birthday in June with family, according to the Dallas Morning News. (RELATED: Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter Celebrate Their First Wedding Anniversary With This Title)
Perot campaigned as a populist who stood against government waste. He turned his eye toward politics after becoming a self-made billionaire ranked as the 478th-richest person in the world by Forbes. His estimated net worth was $4.1 billion.
Perot was born in Texarkana, Texas, in 1930 and went from paper boy to entrepreneur by age 32. He founded two pioneering computer services companies, Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Perot Systems Corp., according to the Dallas Morning News.
Perot will also be remembered for being endlessly quotable, both on politics and general success in life
“The most successful people in the world aren’t usually the brightest. They are the ones who persevere,” he once said.
Armenian weightlifter, multiple champion Aghasi Aghasyan has been killed as a result of a car accident, sports journalist Gevorg Loretsyan wrote on his Facebook.
Armenia’s multiple champion Aghasi Aghasyan has begun training with coach Yervand Kirakosyan.
His first international competition was held in 2005, and he was ranked sixth in the European U17 Championship. He won the third place at the European Youth Championships in 2008, became the double champion of the European U23 Championship in 2009, and in 2010 he won the second place at the U23 European Championship.
The government is introducing legislation that would make it easier to investigate businesses in Armenia, fulfilling a promise to increase transparency.
Armenia is considering new legislation that would substantially ease access to state business and land registries, a boon to investigative journalism and fighting corruption.
Currently, looking up one business record in the Ministry of Justice registry costs $7, and a land record $10. That can quickly add up for journalists, especially if they are working on a story that requires them to cast a wide net.
But the ministry is proposing a number of pieces of legislation, including one submitted on June 28 that would make it free for journalists to access the ministry’s State Register of Legal Entities. Sisak Gabrielyan, a former journalist who is now a member of parliament in the ruling “My Step” alliance told Eurasianet that legislation doing the same for the state land registry is planned before the end of the year. Another initiative in the works would force mining companies to report their real ownership.
My Step dominates the parliament, and the backers of these initiatives say they expect them to pass easily.
The new government, led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, came to power last year on a promise to eliminate the endemic corruption that has plagued Armenia since it gained independence nearly three decades ago. Some of the new figures now in power, including Gabrielyan and Artak Manukyan, another My Step MP and a former expert at the Armenian office of Transparency International, have been particularly outspoken on increasing access to public records.
Investigative journalists working in Armenia have hailed the moves. “I do a lot of work on government purchasing, and when I’m picking which company records to buy I have to limit myself,” said Diana Ghazaryan, a reporter for the investigative website Hetq.am. Opening up the databases will be invaluable to journalists in Armenia, she said. If the law passes, “we would be able to easily examine the data and expose numerous corruption-related transactions,” she told Eurasianet.
Corruption in Armenia frequently takes the form of a senior government official controlling a business through proxies. In one recent, and relatively simple, alleged scheme, an official in the government procurement agency was accused of steering official business toward a company connected to his brother. In a more complicated case, a nephew of a former minister of finance, Gagik Khachatryan, was allegedly director or shareholder at least 15 businesses. Unmasking those proxies and tracing the links between their businesses is possible, but laborious, with sufficient access to land and business records.
Hetq was able to unravel both schemes by poring through business registry documents.
Public documents are the sine qua non of investigative journalism, said Ilya Lozovsky, the managing editor of the international investigative news platform OCCRP. “In our case, it can make the difference between having a story and not having a story, since we won’t accept a story that’s sourced only from second-hand information or verbal interviews,” he told Eurasianet. (Disclosure: This reporter has worked in the past with OCCRP and has received a fellowship from the organization.)
Currently, journalists in Armenia can only get basic information from the public registries without paying – like the address, date of incorporation, and founders of a business. To get more details, such as names of shareholders, directors, the business’s charter and so on, one has to pay. Good investigative work requires a lot of fishing, and when a journalist has to pay per document, the cost can be prohibitive and make it effectively impossible to do the story. To establish the real owner of a business a journalist may have to buy dozens of company records to determine what figures they have in common, a process that can eventually lead to the real owner.
For a recent investigative piece published by the news site Civilnet on the properties owned by Armenia’s political elites, Mkrtich Karapetyan spent about $68, but he had to do a lot of legwork ahead of time to minimize his spending. “The fact that registries aren’t free makes it very difficult to do our jobs,” he told Eurasianet.
Karapetyan sees room for other improvements, as well, in Armenia’s government transparency. A request under the Freedom of Information Act should take only five days but can take up to 30 days to fulfill in more complex cases; in neighboring Georgia it is just 10 days.
One journalist who has been advocating for opening up the databases, Artak Hambardzumyan, said the move would place Armenia in line with other “post-revolutionary” governments like those in Georgia (following the 2003 Rose Revolution) and Ukraine (following the Maidan revolution in 2013-4) which both opened up their public records in a similar fashion. “[I]n both cases, the creation of generally free of charge business registers was considered as an important change for the democratization of countries and was one of the triggers for the rise of investigative journalism,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
But Hambardzumyan said the registry should be opened to everyone, not only journalists. “How will they define who is media and who is not? What about freelance journalists, or foreign investigative media, or NGOs?” he wrote in a Facebook post after the legislation was submitted. He also noted that the government only took in about $30,000 in fees from registry access in 2018, making it a negligible revenue source.
Ani Mejlumyan is a reporter based in Yerevan.
By Harut Sassounian,
Pres. Donald Trump is on the verge of making a serious mistake, jeopardizing the security of the United States and other NATO members if he decides not to sanction Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 missiles which are incompatible with NATO military systems and expose the operational secrets of the latest F-35 U.S. air force jets.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed three resolutions warning Turkey not to purchase the Russian missiles and has threatened to block the sale of F-35 jets to Turkey. In addition, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security officials have publicly announced that the United States will impose severe sanctions on Turkey for purchasing the Russian missiles. Pres. Trump, an indecisive man and fond of all dictators and particularly Turkey’s despotic President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, is on the verge of ignoring all his top advisors and the majority of Congress, allowing Turkey to violate the U.S. sanctions law.
On June 29, 2019, when the leaders of G-20 countries met in Osaka, Japan, Pres. Erdogan had a final chance to convince Pres. Trump not to punish Turkey for the purchase of the Russian missiles.
Here are excerpts of the alarming statements Pres. Trump made during his meeting with Pres. Erdogan in the presence of journalists:
Pres. Trump: “… It’s my honor to be with a friend of mine, somebody I’ve become very close to, in many respects, and he’s doing a very good job: the President of Turkey. And we have a meeting largely to do with trade. We’re doing more and more business, and we expect to be able to quadruple that business with Turkey. We think it will be great. They’re great craftsmen. They have great product. And we’re opening it up. We also do military trading, and they buy a lot of our military equipment. And it’s an honor to be with you, Mr. President.”
Then pointing to Pres. Erdogan’s entourage in the room, Pres. Trump said: “And look at these people, how nice they are. Look at them. They’re so easy to deal with. Look at them. Central casting. There’s no Hollywood set where you could produce people that look like them.”
Pres. Erdogan responded: “Mr. President, first, I would like to express that it’s very meaningful for us to come together here at the Osaka Summit. And we are currently going towards fulfilling the goal of a $75 billion trade volume. And there are many steps that we need to take within the defense industry area, but, more importantly, we have a strategic partnership. And the strategic partnership also encourages us to create solidarity across many areas, and I have full belief that our solidarity will continue throughout the strategic partnership.”
After these introductory remarks, Pres. Trump responded to reporters’ questions:
Reporter: “Mr. President, what will you do about the S-400s? Is the U.S. going to have to impose sanctions if he takes possession?”
Pres. Trump: “Well, we’re discussing it. We have a complicated situation because the President was not allowed to buy the Patriot missiles. So when he bought the other ones — the S-200s or 400s — when he bought them, he wanted to do this, but he wasn’t allowed by the Obama administration to buy them until after he made a deal to buy other missiles. So he buys the other missile and then, all of a sudden, they say, ‘Well, you can now buy our missile.’ You don’t — you can’t do business that way. It’s not good. It’s not good.”
Reporter: “Does that mean is there way — so could you….”
Pres. Trump: “We’re looking at different solutions. It’s a problem, there’s no question about it. We’re looking at different solutions. But he was prohibited from buying until he said he bought something else. And then, as soon as he buys something else, everybody says, ‘Okay. You can buy it.’ You can’t do business that way. Turkey has been a friend of ours and they’ve done — we’ve done great things together. We’re a big trading partner. We’re going to be much bigger. I think the $75 billion is small. I think it’s going to be well over $100 billion soon. You can’t treat people that way, like the Obama administration did….”
Reporter: “Will the U.S. impose sanctions against Turkey on S-400 purchase?”
Pres. Trump: “We’re looking at it. But it’s a double — it’s a two-way street. They wouldn’t sell the President — they wouldn’t let him — they wouldn’t let him buy the missile that he wanted to buy, which is the Patriot. And then, after he buys from somebody else, he says ‘Now we’ll sell you the Patriot.’ So, I have to tell you, he’s a NATO member, he’s somebody that I have become friendly with. And you have to treat people fairly. You understand that. You have to treat people fairly. And I don’t think he was treated fairly. I don’t think he was treated fairly.”
Reporter: “The ball is in your court though now, Mr. President. Will you? You’re the one who makes the decision. Will impose the sanctions?”
Pres. Trump: “So we’ll see you at the hotel at 3:30….”
Reporter: “Mr. President, are you going to Turkey in July? Will you be going to Turkey in July, Mr. President? When are you going to Turkey?”
Pres. Trump: “I will, at some point, be going to Turkey. I’ve been invited, and I will be — I will be going to Turkey, yes.”
Reporter: “This year, Mr. President? Will you go to Turkey this year? Will you go in July?”
Pres. Trump: “We haven’t set a date.”
It is shocking that Pres. Trump is siding with the Turkish leader against former Pres. Obama, the U.S. Congress and his own national security officials. Secondly, it is a lie that Pres. Obama had refused to sell Turkey U.S. Patriot missiles. Turkey did not accept the terms of the sale.
Just like in many of his decisions, Pres. Trump seems to be putting his personal interests — several million dollars of income for having his name on two Trump buildings in Istanbul — ahead of U.S. national interests. Why would he repeatedly praise Erdogan, a dictator and a major human rights violator?
At the time of writing this article, the Russian missiles were already on their way to Turkey. What will be Pres. Trump’s final decision on sanctions? Will he damage NATO’s and U.S. national interests just to please Erdogan? If he does, I hope no Armenian-American or anyone else will vote for Trump in 2020!
Turkey isn’t hesitating to escalate the situation in Libya even though the Turkish government is already under pressure on multiple fronts. Why? Ankara’s reasoning has to do with issues far larger than Libya itself.
Currently, two rival seats of power are contesting for supremacy in Libya: Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and an “interim” government led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, supported by a parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk. Hifter leads the Libyan National Army of the Tobruk government and controls much of the country’s eastern and southern regions. Starting in January, the Libyan National Army launched a military campaign in the Libyan south to secure oil fields and eliminate groups that he defined as “criminal gangs.”
At the beginning of March, the Libyan National Army announced it had taken full control of southern Libya after capturing several cities and oil fields. This military offensive angered the Government of National Accord, which has pinned its hopes on Ankara’s help, military and otherwise.
Turkey says Hifter is a “warlord” seeking to destabilize the country. The Libyan National Army, in response, has been accusing Turkey of meddling in Libya’s conflict. Turkey is accused of sending Jabhat al-Nusra extremists from Syria to Tripoli to combat the Libyan National Army.
Over the last month, the crisis between Ankara and Hifter, who is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, came to the brink of armed clashes.
The latest incident was on July 1, when six Turkish citizens on a ship in Libya were detained by the Libyan National Army. The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed that six Turks were taken hostage. Ankara reacted strongly.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Hifter forces would pay a “very heavy” cost for this action.
“The detention of six Turkish citizens by Hifter’s illegal militia in Libya is an act of banditry,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement. “We expect our citizens to be released immediately. Otherwise, Hifter elements will become legitimate targets.” Turkish media reported that Ankara had given the Libyan National Army 72 hours for the release of the hostages.
The six Turkish hostages, said to be working for a Libya-based oil company, were released and returned to their ship after the Turkish side’s strong reaction.
But why is Ankara paying so much attention to Libya? Why is the Turkish side not hesitating to escalate the situation at a time when the Turkish government is already under deep pressure stemming from problems in its Syria policy?
According to international media, this is because of the ruling party’s policy of supporting Libyan tribal and political groups with Islamist leanings. However, considering the actors involved in the balance of power, this is not enough to explain the Turkish position.
Turkey’s interest in Libya is more related to strategic balances in the power struggle going on in the eastern Mediterranean. While it is true that Turkey is supporting pro-Islamist groups in Libya, the Turkish actors involved in the conflict are not limited to the Islamist government in Ankara. They have connections with the Turkish military, especially its navy, which is certainly more secular than Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
For Ankara, the worst-case scenario in the eastern Mediterranean is a possible agreement between Greek Cypriots and Greece on sharing of naval sovereignty areas. This could threaten Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests in naval sovereignty zones in the region, which is believed to be rich in terms of hydrocarbon resources.
According to a naval strategist, Greece has claimed rights over a naval zone of some 39,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) north of Libya following Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s 2011 death.
“Especially after 2013, Greece slowly but decisively filled the vacuum left behind by Libya and began to consider the international waters north of Libya as if they are its own territorial waters,” the strategist told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “While there are rich natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece’s seizure of Libyan territorial waters contributes significantly to its power south and southwest of Crete island that is seen as the gate to eastern Mediterranean.”
Thus, Turkey is trying to reach a deal with Libya about coastal sharing to curtail Greece’s naval sovereignty claims over the region. This could allow Ankara to increase its influence in the region to counter the pressure stemming from the Greek Cypriot-Greece-Egypt-Israel bloc and confine Egypt to the south.
Turkey’s Mediterranean coastal towns of Marmaris and Fethiye face Libya’s Derme, Tobruk and Bordiya and it could be possible to devise a demarcation accord between the two countries (although Greece’s island of Crete lies in between). Ankara also thinks that given that Libya’s coast from its Egyptian border to Derne and Turkey’s coasts from Deveboynu at the southwest of Marmaris face each other, a demarcation of naval sovereignty zones is the most basic right of Turkey and Libya. Ankara says this is also in Libya’s interest as it could have a further 16,000 square kilometers of naval sovereignty if it signs such an agreement with Turkey.
Moreover, if Libya, with Ankara’s support, reaches a demarcation agreement with Greece using the mainland shores as basis, its cumulative naval sovereignty area could increase by 62% to reach at least 40,000 square kilometers.
In November 2018, Akar went to Libya to explain these options to the Government of National Accord. Sources said that during his visit, the Turkish defense minister tried to assure the Libyans that there would be substantial Turkish assistance for Libya’s capacity building and security efforts and called on Libyans to cooperate with Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean.
However, these efforts spearheaded by the Turkish military were undermined when Hifter attacked the Tripoli government. Hifter not only is supported by Egypt and the UAE but also gets along well with Greece and Russia. He is a respected military man in the eye of the Western world due to his pro-Western and secular stance.
In response to Hifter’s attacks, Ankara began providing the Government of National Accord with needed assistance; some say this included arms and soldiers. Some Greek and Egyptian media outlets even claimed that Turkish officers are actively involved in combat and are not just providing training and equipment support. Government of National Accord forces also are being equipped with sophisticated weapons systems, including Turkish-made armed drones.
All this shows that Ankara’s interest in the Libyan conflict is not based simply on politics or ideology but also on geostrategic concerns.
According to Ankara’s strategic mindset, if Turkey loses in Libya, it will be tightly confined to a limited area in the eastern Mediterranean. Thus Turkey will likely increase its support to the Tripoli government and its forces in the coming days.
The government on Monday strongly condemned Turkey’s new, illegal drill off the east coast of Cyprus, saying it was an escalation of the ongoing violation of the Republic’s sovereign rights.
In a statement, the presidency said it “strongly condemns” Turkey’s actions, which came two months after Ankara started drilling for natural gas off the island’s west coast.
A second Turkish drillship, Yavuz, which is expected to begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus this week, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast on Monday, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed.
Turkey already has a drilling ship, Fatih, off the west coast of Cyprus and Cyprus issued arrest warrants for its crew in June.
The presidency said Turkey’s action was a very serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
“Turkey continues to violate international law, conventional and customary, blatantly ignoring calls by the European Union’s and the international community to end its illegal actions and respect the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources within its sea areas,” the statement said.
It accused Ankara of refusing to engage in talks, deliberately avoiding them with the aim of creating new fait accompli.
The presidency said it was paradoxical that Turkey while refusing to recognise the Republic, a member of the EU and the UN that has struck agreements with neighbouring countries, “sites international law and claims to be acting with the permission of an illegal occupation regime.”
The statement said Ankara should realise that the only way of tackling the problems it creates was through intense and decisive dialogue based on UN resolutions and EU principles.