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Divided Turkey: Erdogan Leads His Country into the Abyss

Der Spiegel International

Nothing can hold them back. On Tuesday evening, several thousand demonstrators marched through Istanbul, a diverse group including students, pensioners, women in headscarves and punks, and many of them held up signs as they walked: "No to the presidency!" Erdogan!" And: "This is just the beginning. The protests began on Sunday, just a few hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the referendum that grants him significantly expanded powers and the demonstrations have become larger on each successive day since then, spreading to more than three dozen cities. People in Ankara and Izmir, in Adana and Mersin, in Edirne and Canakkale have taken to the streets in opposition to Erdogan, accusing him of having manipulated the vote on the constitutional referendum. According to media reports, the country's electoral commission accepted up to 2.5 million ballots despite their not having been stamped in accordance with the rules.


Turkish police search Saudi hit squad-linked villas in Jamal Khashoggi murder probe

The Japan Times

ANKARA – Police searched a mansion in northwestern Turkey belonging to a Saudi citizen on Monday after investigators determined that the man had been in contact with one of the suspects in the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish officials said. Crime scene investigators and other officials, aided by sniffer dogs and a drone, scoured the luxury villa near the town of Termal, in Yalova province, and later expanded their search to the grounds of the neighboring villa, the state-run Anadolu agency reported. Police spent around 10 hours searching the two villas for the journalist's remains, Anadolu reported, without saying if any evidence or trace had been found. The Istanbul prosecutor's office said Mansour Othman Abbahussain -- a member of a 15-person squad sent from Riyadh to kill Khashoggi -- had contacted the mansion's owner, Mohammed Ahmed Alfaozan, by telephone a day before Khashoggi's Oct. 2 killing. "It is being assessed that this conversation was geared toward the disposal (or) the hiding of Jamal Khashoggi's body after its dismemberment," the prosecutor's statement read.


Will Congress Rein in U.S. Support for Syrian Kurds?

U.S. News

Turkey is finally starting to get through to US lawmakers about its concerns with American support for the Syrian Kurds, with potential repercussions for the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). Fresh off a trip to the Syrian refugee camp in Gaziantep, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters last week that the Obama administration's strategy of relying on the People's Protection Units (YPG) to destroy IS is "never going to work." The remarks were immediately picked up by the Turkish press, which eagerly framed them as evidence that Washington may be coming around to Ankara's point of view that the YPG is a close cousin to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist group. "What I saw from Turkey was a real anxiety about our strategy in Syria," said Graham, a hawkish member of the Armed Services Committee who unsuccessfully ran for president this cycle. "Turkey is of the view that this strategy will never work and will never result in destroying [IS].


Turkey 'detains hundreds' in major anti-ISIL operation

Al Jazeera

Turkish police have detained hundreds of suspected ISIL members in nationwide raids, according to state media, in the biggest roundup to target the armed group in Turkey. More than 400 suspects, most of them foreign nationals, were arrested during operations conducted in at least 18 provinces, Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday. At least 60 people were detained in the capital, Ankara, while 150 were arrested in Sanliurfa in the southeast and a further 47 in the nearby city of Gaziantep close to the Syrian border. In the Aegean province of Izmir, security forces also held at least nine suspected ISIL members who were allegedly preparing for an attack. Another 18 people were detained in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli on suspicion of planning attacks.


Turkish airstrikes kill at least 18 Kurds in Iraq, Syria, drawing condemnation from U.S. coalition

The Japan Times

ANKARA – Turkish warplanes struck suspected Kurdish rebel positions in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from Baghdad and criticism from the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which is allied with Kurdish factions in both countries. Syrian activists said the attack killed at least 18 members of the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, which is a close U.S. ally against IS but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey's Kurdish rebels. The airstrikes also killed five members of the Iraqi Kurdish militia known as the peshmerga, which is also battling the extremist group with help from the U.S.-led coalition. The YPG said the strikes hit a media center, a local radio station, a communication headquarters and some military posts, killing an undetermined number of fighters in the town of Karachok, in Syria's northeastern Hassakeh province. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors all sides of the conflict, said the strikes killed 18 YPG fighters.