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Archive for Turkey

Newsline: Belarus embassy official wounded by gunshot in Turkey

The undersecretary of administrative affairs at the Belarusian embassy in Ankara was wounded by gunshot late Wednesday. According to reports, the official, Alexander Poganshev, was taking a walk with his 13-year-old child near the embassy in Oran neighborhood in Çankaya district when a man opened fire on him. It was learned that there was a longstanding feud between the diplomat and the attacker, who was a retired colonel and his neighbor. The attacker later shot himself in the head and died. (https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/07/24/belarus-embassy-official-wounded-by-gunshot-in-personal-dispute-with-retired-soldier-in-ankara) Poganshev was immediately taken into surgery, and is now receiving treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU). Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that an attack earlier in the day on a Belarusian diplomat was not politically motivated.


Newsline: Turkish diplomat and Iraqi civilian shot dead in Iraqi Kurdistan

A Turkish diplomat was among two people shot dead on Wednesday in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. The victims, who were eating at a restaurant when gunmen opened fire, were reportedly Turkey’s deputy consul in the city and an Iraqi civilian. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “heinous attack”. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49020786) No-one has so far said they were behind it. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought Turkey for decades and has bases in Iraq, has denied any role.

Newsline: Syrian dissident claims he was attacked at country’s Istanbul consulate

A prominent Syrian opposition figure who once served as a spokesman for a military negotiation committee of the opposition, says he was “attacked” at the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul. (https://www.dailysabah.com/istanbul/2019/07/10/syrian-dissident-claims-he-was-attacked-at-countrys-istanbul-consulate) Osama Abo Zayd was at the consulate for the legal registration of his marriage in Istanbul. He said he had to “pay” $300 for an appointment at the consulate and was mistreated when he arrived. “A clerk saw a wristband symbolizing the Syrian revolution on my wrist and told me he would not process my application if I didn’t remove it,” Zayd told Anadolu Agency (AA), referring to the opposition movement against the Bashar Assad regime. “Then, officials there hurled insults at me and tried to remove me from the consulate. “They intimidated me and tried to hit me. Security officers came and forced me out of the building,” Zayd said. The dissident said he has filed a lawsuit against the consulate clerks. “Turkey’s relations with the regime are bad, but it still did not shut down the consulate so that it can help the Syrian people. Instead, people coming here are subject to insults,” Zayd complained. He said the consulate has to serve all Syrian citizens, regardless of their views, under international laws.

Newsline: US appoints ambassador to Ankara after almost two years

The Embassy of the United States in Ankara announced that the U.S. Senate on late June 27 confirmed David Satterfield to be the next U.S. ambassador to Turkey. “We have exciting news! Last night, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ambassador David Satterfield to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. We look forward to welcoming him in the near future. Stay tuned!” the embassy said on its Twitter account on June 28. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-appoints-ambassador-to-ankara-after-almost-two-years-144541) Satterfield is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and has been acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs since 2017. Satterfield also assumed top posts at U.S. missions in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon. John Bass was the last serving American ambassador to Ankara from 2014 to 2017. Bass, who is assuming office of the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, left Turkey in October 2017 amid a visa crisis between Washington and Ankara. The post has been empty since then. The U.S. Embassy in Ankara suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey as a reaction to the detention of U.S. Consulate employee Metin Topuz, and Turkey’s Washington Embassy followed suit in suspending non-immigrant visa services. The blame for Turkey’s visa spat with Washington lies with the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said in 2017, singling out then U.S. ambassador to Ankara, Bass, as responsible for the situation.

Newsline: Consulate recordings reveal Saudi plan for Khashoggi murder

The UN report into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi reveals disturbing new details about what happened in the hours before he died, and the conversations that were taking place between Saudi officials who were involved in his killing. Relying on the transcripts of recordings provided by the Turkish authorities, the report describes how Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Turkey by appointment on 2 October last year, to obtain papers he needed to pave the way for his marriage to his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. The report relies on recordings of conversations within the consulate in the days prior to his death, which show how a team of Saudi officials flew from Riyadh to Istanbul to kill him. Five came on a commercial flight, nine others on a private jet. One Saudi official asked whether it would “be possible to put the trunk in a bag”. Another replied: “No. Too heavy. It is not a problem. The body is heavy. First time I cut on the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/19/consulate-recordings-reveal-saudi-plan-for-jamal-khashoggi) In the recordings, sounds of a struggle can be heard, the UN report says, and then voices saying: “Did he sleep? … Keep pushing … Push here. Don’t remove your hand. Push it.” The report adds: “The sound of plastic sheets (wrapping) could also be heard. Turkish intelligence concluded that these came after Mr Khashoggi’s death while the Saudi officials were dismembering his body.”

Newsline: Molotov cocktails hit Turkish Consulate in Zurich

Turkey’s Consulate in the Swiss city of Zurich was attacked by a Molotov cocktail in the early hours of April 22, said the Turkish consul serving there. Asiye Nurcan İpekçi told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that the attack came at 2.51 a.m. local time (0051GMT) but no one was hurt and the building suffered no damage. She added that there were previous attacks on the consulate but this latest wasn’t claimed by any group. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/molotov-cocktails-hit-turkish-consulate-in-zurich-142865) The police detained three young people over the attack, she said, but had no further details about them. Over the last two-and-a-half years, the Turkish Consulate has suffered from six attacks. In May 2017, people wearing balaclavas vandalized the consulate with paints and wrote “Kill Erdoğan” on a nearby bus stop and building. In January 2018, an official car at the consulate was targeted by an arson attack.

Newsline: US Consulate Worker on Trial in Turkey on Terror Charges

A Turkish employee of the U.S. consulate in Istanbul went on trial on Mar. 26 for the first time on charges of espionage, terrorism and playing a role in an attempted overthrow of the government in a case that has strained Turkey’s ties with the U.S. Metin Topuz, who has been jailed since October, is facing life in prison if convicted for ties to the outlawed network of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric who is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the failed coup attempt in 2016. Topuz denied the accusations during Mar. 26 hearing, which was attended by U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-26/u-s-consulate-worker-goes-on-trial-in-turkey-on-terror-charges) “I have had no relationship with FETO throughout my life,” Topuz told the court, using an acronym for Gulen’s movement. “I have not engaged in espionage. I did not commit treason against my homeland. I am innocent.” The trial, which is expected to run through Mar. 28, adds yet another complication to repairing Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. The two NATO allies have been feuding over a number of issues, even after Turkey’s release last year of a long-held American pastor.