Turkey removed 8,000 police across the country, including in Istanbul and the capital Ankara due to alleged links with Friday’s failed coup attempt, a senior security official told Reuters on Monday.
The moves come days after a failed coup attempt the government blames on a “parallel state” led by self-exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun and Ece Toksabay, writing by Dasha Afanasieva)
YEREVAN (RFE/RL) —The Armenian government moved on Thursday to lift visa requirements for Iranian nationals, saying that the measure will strengthen Armenia’s relations with Iran and attract more Iranian tourists to the country.
The government formally approved a draft on visa-free travel between the two neighboring states. It did not specify when the deal will be signed.
A government statement said that visa liberalization “stems from the need to boost mutually beneficial commercial and other links between Armenia and Iran.” In particular, it will create “more favorable conditions” for tourism, added the statement.
The number of Iranians visiting Armenia has increased sharply over the past decade. According to data from the Armenian government, it reached to 144,000 visitors in 2015, up by 24 percent from 2014.
Many Iranians travel to Armenia during annual celebrations in March of Nowruz, the ancient Persian New Year that has long been their country’s most popular and longest holiday. The number of visitors more than doubled this year.
Iranian citizens are currently able to receive Armenian visas at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport and the sole Armenian-Iranian overland border crossing. They are charged 3,000 drams ($6.30) for a single-entry short-term visa.
The planned Armenian-Iranian deal would allow Iranians to stay in Armenia visa-free for up to 90 days. The same arrangement will also apply to Armenians visiting the Islamic Republic.
Mekhak Apresian, the head of a tourism department at the Armenian Ministry of Economy, insisted that the scrapping of visa requirements will give a further significant boost to the influx of Iranian tourists. “It’s not just about money; it’s also a matter of treatment. It takes time to get a visa at the border,” he said.
Some Iranian tourists visiting Armenia agreed. “The visa price doesn’t really matter, but if the visas are abolished Iranians will feel at home in Armenia,” an Iranian tourist named Hossein said.
“We won’t waste time at the border,” said one of Hossein’s friends, Amir. “Besides, I view visa liberalization as a sign of closeness between the two countries.”
But another Iranian tourist disagreed, saying that he needed only 5 minutes to get his Armenian visa.
Armenia has maintained close political and economic relations with Iran ever since it gained independence. The two states agreed to expand bilateral commercial ties following last year’s lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.
Relations between Abkhazia independent Georgian territory made since 1992 and the Nagorno Karabakh have reached a new level with the decision of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry, reported by a Russian news agency, signed an agreement with Artsakh to remove the visa regime between the two territories.
This follows the announcement in early February by the Abkhaz government on simplification of visa regime from April 1 to citizens of countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and the South Ossetia after the blitzkrieg that it had waged against Georgia in August 2008 on behalf of the defense of the two breakaway territories, where it has since strengthened its military presence.
Russia has however not recognized Nagorno Karabakh any more that Armenia itself, which nevertheless supports the independence of Karabakh Armenians. The Abkhaz authorities plan to set up new border posts where visas will be issued, strict visa regime being provided to all countries that refuse to recognize the independence of the territory. The Abkhaz authorities believe that the new visa regime will help to regulate immigration.
At the same time, the press officer of the President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh David Babayan, said that Artsakh welcomed the decision of Abkhazia. “I think this issue should not be politicized. I can say that we support the decision of Abkhazia. We want our citizens to have the opportunity to visit as many countries without having to carry a visa, “said Mr. Babayan, adding that this will help to strengthen and develop bilateral relations in the political, economic , culture and tourism.
M.Babayan took the opportunity to denounce Azerbaijan’s policy. “I would ask the authorities of Baku if they have introduced a visa regime with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and if Azerbaijani citizens need visas to get there. So why Baku does not condemn its own policy in this case? “Exclaimed Mr. Babayan. Abkhaz Minister of Foreign Affairs Kan Taniya announced that Abkhazia preparing the signing of an agreement on visa liberalization with Transnistria, Russian-speaking separatist region of Moldova, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh.
He justified this measure by relying on legislation on immigration procedure of the Republic of Abkhazia, which will take effect as of April 1. Under the law, only citizens of countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and have bilateral agreements on abolition of visa regime will be free to enter the country. The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev reacted to this statement by saying that Azerbaijan supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. He also said his ministry called its citizens not to travel to the areas concerned, which are not under the control of the authorities of Georgia without the permission of the competent authorities of that country.
Gari © armenews.com
Marie-Christine VERGIAT, European MP has launched an appeal to member states to remove the PKK from the terrorist list and received the support of over 100 MEPs. Here is the call and the list of signatories:
The PKK must be removed from the EU list of terrorist organizations
Call more than 100 European parliamentarians to Member States
The prospect of achieving a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey is threatened. The violence intensifies and pose a serious risk to the stability of Turkey and the region. In Turkey, we are facing more and more to an explosion of violence that puts the idea of a peace process and weakens the fight against Daech.
Already, the European Union through the voice of its High Representative but also the European Council, the UN and the US have launched appeals for peace in Turkey.
In this context, there is evidence that the PKK’s inclusion on this list is therefore opposed to the establishment of peace, dialogue and negotiations. It aids in the name of the fight against terrorism, violations of human rights, allows the restriction of thought and press freedoms.
The Kurds are an important component of the political struggles in the Middle East and a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict is not possible without negotiations with the PKK, which were accepted by the former Prime Minister and current President Erdogan. Similarly in Northern Ireland, a peaceful solution will be possible only by involving all concerned parties.
We parliamentarians undersigned, ask the Council of the European Union that this list be revised and that the PKK removed from the list of EU terrorist organizations.
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO
Marina ALBIOL GUZMAN
DE MASI Fabio
FARIA Jose Inacio
Paloma LOPEZ BERMEJO
Sergio Gaetano COFFERATI
Dennis DE JONG
António Marinho e Pinto
Eva Joly Gro
KARI Rina Ronja
THE HYARIC Patrick
JUARISTI ABAUNZ Iosu
GONZALEZ PENAS Tania
NI RIADA Liadh
PANZERI Pier Antonio
VALLINA OF NOVAL Angela Rosa
SÁNCHEZ CALDENTEY María Dolores Lola
SCOTT CATO Molly
SERRÃO Ricardo SANTOS
SENRA Lidia RODRIGUEZ
REVAULT of ALLONNES Bonnefoy Christine
TORRES MARTINEZ Estefania
URBAN CRESPO Miguel
Stéphane © armenews.com
Hastert did withdrawn the Armenian Genocide resolution for $ 500,000, Those who read The American Conservative has long been familiar with the saga of Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds is an FBI translator who revealed the widespread corruption throughout the government, and has received multiple orders for silence motivated by the State Secrets Act [Act status Secrets]. She still persevered even exposed to prosecution, even threatened with imprisonment. In a feature article, TAC had interviewed in 2009 and I reviewed myself the more calls she launched, particularly when the release of his book Classified Woman [A Woman Secret Classified Defence, ndt] in 2012.
By İdris Emen – ADIYAMAN,
A self-described atheist from the southeastern province of Adıyaman has been forced to leave his hometown after receiving death threats for removing the term “Islam” from the religious affiliation section of his national identity card.
The threats began on May 21, with the young man, identified only by the initials E.F., receiving two letters containing death threats and his house being marked.
Fearing for his life, E.F. appealed to the Adıyaman branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), which filed a criminal complaint in his name.
He subsequently decided to leave Adıyaman for the neighboring province of Gaziantep, where started to live with his uncle.
However, the threats continued when E.F. visited Adıyaman with his uncle on June 13 for the funeral of his grandfather.
Upon his return to Gaziantep, E.F. found another letter containing a verse from the Quran written in Arabic and a sentence written in Turkish below that read “We are entitled to your blood.”
Although he filed a complaint at the police station in Gaziantep’s Şahinbey district, E.F. returned to his hometown Adıyaman as the death threats did not subside in Gaziantep.
Speaking to Radikal newspaper, E.F. said the state should grant him legal protection.
“I can no longer leave my house or hang out with my friends. I am an atheist. My family members are Alevis. I believe this is why I’m receiving death threats. I want the state to find those who are threatening me and I want the state to protect me,” he said.
The head of İHD’s Adıyaman branch, Osman Süzen, urged the chief public prosecutor’s office to shed light on the incidents.
“We believe the continuation of such threats could damage E.F.’s mental health. Those who are threatening him could be people who are closely acquainted with him. We demand that the public prosecutor’s office clarify the situation,” Süzen said.
The religious affiliation section in national ID cards remains a thorny issue in Turkey, where citizens were obliged to declare their religion until 2006.
Turkish citizens have since been allowed to leave the section blank.
Nevertheless, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Feb. 2, 2010 that the mere presence of a religious affiliation section on national identity cards is a violation of freedom of conscience and religion as defined in the European Convention on Human Rights.