NATO allies US, Turkey try to mend fences but rifts persist
The United States and Turkey are looking to brush aside differences that have strained relations for years, but have yet to report progress in resolving disagreements over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and NATO expansion that have soured ties between the allies.
Live updates | UN Chief: War in Ukraine driving world hunger
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday he's in “intense contacts” with Russia and other countries to stop escalating global hunger exacerbated by the war in Ukraine by allowing the export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports and ensuring Russian food and fertilizers have unrestricted access to world markets.
Turkey, Armenia agree to press ahead with mending fences
The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers say their countries have agreed to press ahead with efforts to establish diplomatic relations “without conditions” and continue the normalization efforts that could lead to the reopening of their shared borders for trade.
Cyprus holds rig security drills amid hydrocarbon tensions
Ships and aircraft from eight nations are taking part in annual drills to boost safety and security procedures on vessels and oil rigs off Cyprus’ southern coastline amid ongoing tensions with neighboring Turkey over competing claims to hydrocarbon reserves.
Biden speaks to Erdogan as Armenian genocide question looms
President Joe Biden has spoken with Turkey’s president as Biden prepares to move forward with a campaign pledge to formally recognize that atrocities committed against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire more than a century ago were genocide.
China sanctions Britons over West's Xinjiang criticism
Residents wearing masks pass by government propaganda with slogans some of which read "Forever follow the Party" and "China's Ethnicities One Family" in the city of Aksu in western China's Xinjiang region on Thursday, March 18, 2021. China on Friday announced sanctions on British individuals and entities following the U.K.'s joining the EU and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING – China slapped sanctions on several British politicians and organizations Friday after the U.K. joined the European Union and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. China has rejected all criticism over its policies in Xinjiang, along with its crackdown on opposition figures in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy China claims as its own territory. Cotton and other agricultural products form a major component of the local economy in vast but thinly populated Xinjiang.
Uyghurs in Turkey protest Chinese foreign minister's visit
A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey waves a Turkish flag during a protest against the visit of China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Turkey, in Istanbul, Thursday, March 25, 2021. Dozens of Uyghurs, Turkish opposition lawmakers and academics also assembled near the Chinese Embassy in Ankara, as Wang met with Turkish Foreign Mevlut Cavusoglu and later with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We call on Turkey to stand with East Turkestan,” said Burhan Uluyol, who joined the protest in Istanbul. AdUyghurs, a Turkic group native to China’s Xinjiang region, have sought refuge in Turkey for decades because of their shared cultural ties with the country. Both Turkish and Chinese authorities insist that the extradition bill doesn't aim to target Uyghurs for deportation.
5 years on, stalled EU Turkey migrant deal remains a model
For Borrell, the deal saved lives, stopped most people trying to cross the Aegean Sea to islands like Lesbos and Samos, and improved the circumstances of refugees in Turkey. For every migrant that Turkey took from the Greek islands, a Syrian would be resettled from Turkey to the EU. Since March 2016, according to EU figures, Turkey took 2,140 people, plus 601 under an arrangement with Greece, while the EU resettled 28,621 people. Arrivals from Turkey plummeted within two years, but the disputes among EU countries continue today. This outsourcing increases the risk of human right violations of refugees, without the EU taking action against it.
Call me? US-Turkey reset faces long list of hurdles
Erdogan has toned down his anti-Western and anti-US rhetoric in an apparent effort to reset the rocky relationship with his NATO allies. So far, however, hes been met by silence from U.S. President Joe Biden. Nearly two months into his presidency, Biden still hasnt called Erdogan, which some in Turkey see as a worrying sign. Nearly two months into his presidency, Biden still hasn’t called Erdogan, which some in Turkey see as a worrying sign. Washington insists the sanctions cannot be lifted as long as the Russian system remains on Turkish soil.
Greece: Thousands spend night outdoors after powerful quake
Red Cross distribute food to local residents after an earthquake in Damasi village, central Greece, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 6.0 struck central Greece Wednesday and was also felt in neighboring Albania and North Macedonia, and as far as Kosovo and Montenegro. (AP Photo/Vaggelis Kousioras)ATHENS – Fearful of returning to their homes, thousands of people in central Greece were spending the night outdoors late Wednesday after a powerful earthquake, felt across the region, damaged homes and public buildings. The shallow, magnitude-6.0 quake struck near the central city of Larissa. Ad___ Elena Becatoros and Theodora Tongas in Athens, Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey contributed.
Greece says Turkey's 2-state model for Cyprus a non-starter
Raab pledged support in helping to “break the logjam” that has blocked a peace deal for nearly a half-century, fueled tensions over offshore energy reserves and encumbered Turkey’s relationship with the European Union. Greek Cypriots strongly reject any deal that would legitimize the east Mediterranean island nation’s ethnic partition. AdOnly Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third where it keeps more than 35,000 troops. Although Cyprus is an EU member, only the Greek Cypriot southern part where the internationally recognized government is seated enjoys full membership benefits. The last push for a peace deal in July 2017 collapsed amid much acrimony.
Turkey Uighurs fear sellout to China in exchange for vaccine
Opposition legislators in Turkey are accusing Ankara's leaders of secretly selling out Uighurs to China in exchange for coronavirus vaccines. Opposition legislators in Turkey are accusing Ankara’s leaders of secretly selling out Uighurs to China in exchange for coronavirus vaccines. Tens of millions of vials of promised Chinese vaccines have not yet been delivered. “I’m worried for my husband's mental health.”Suspicions of a deal emerged when the first shipment of Chinese vaccines was held up for weeks in December. Some are so desperate they’re even sneaking across borders illegally, said Ali Kutad, who fled China for Turkey in 2016.
British FM says compromise needed for Cyprus talks restart
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, right, and Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, clad due before their meeting at the foreign house in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Raab is in Cyprus for one day of talks (Iakovos Hatzistavrou Pool via AP)NICOSIA – Britain’s foreign minister said Thursday that flexibility and compromise are key to making the most of a new U.N. bid to restart talks on resolving Cyprus’ decades-old ethnic division. “I think a failure to reach a settlement after so many efforts would benefit no-one," Raab said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides. AdOnly Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island's northern third where it keeps more than 35,000 troops. Although Cyprus is an EU member, only the Greek Cypriot southern part where the internationally recognized government is seated enjoys full membership benefits.
Tentative start to Turkey-Greece talks after year of strife
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gives a joint statement with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell prior to their meeting in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Stephanie Lecocq/Pool Photo via AP)ANKARA – The first high-level talks aimed at reducing tensions between Turkey and Greece in five years took place behind closed doors on Monday. The summit of senior officials came after a year that saw the two NATO members come to the verge of conflict in the eastern Mediterranean — a crisis that pushed the European Union toward imposing sanctions on Ankara. The exploratory talks at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace were the 61st round of meetings between the frequent rivals since discussions were launched in 2002. While the coronavirus pandemic has sowed deep financial problems, tensions between Turkey and the EU, its main trading partner, have also played a role.
Turkey launches charm offensive to ease tensions with EU
Turkey has been a candidate to join the EU for more than 15 years, but its membership quest is at a standstill. Tensions are high over Ankara’s role in the conflicts in Syria and Libya, the divided island of Cyprus — an EU member country — and its energy exploration in the Mediterranean Sea. But the EU relies heavily on Turkey to stop migrants from entering its borders. The EU has paid billions of euros in refugee support for Ankara to halt the flow, and it has worked. Turkey is home to almost 4 million refugees.
Turkey invites rival Greece to resume talks on disputes
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks at a news conference in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Turkey on Monday, Jan. 11 invited Greece to resume talks designed to reduce tensions between the neighbors, following this summer's dispute over maritime borders and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Cavusoglu also extended an invitation to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, for a meeting to discuss their troubled relations. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also extended an invitation to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, for a meeting to discuss their troubled relations. “Today ... we want to extend an open invitation to Greece” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey's President Erdogan congratulates Biden on his win
ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, expressing Turkey’s determination to work closely with the new administration. Separately, Erdogan also sent a message to President Donald Trump thanking him for his “sincere and determined vision" for expanding the ties between the U.S. and Turkey during his four years in office. In his message, Erdogan also thanked Trump for his “warm friendship." Trump and Erdogan forged a strong personal relationship despite troubled ties between the two NATO allies. Earlier Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey expects steps that would resolve issues that are “poisoning” ties with the United States.
Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh region drags on into 6th week
Women take refuge in a bomb shelter in Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh entered sixth week on Sunday, with Armenian and Azerbaijani forces blaming each other for new attacks. (AP Photo)YEREVAN – Fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh entered a sixth week Sunday with Armenian and Azerbaijani forces blaming each other for new attacks. The ministry also said Armenian forces shelled settlements in the regions of Terter and Aghjabedi of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.
Turkish, Swedish ministers trade swipes in tense meeting
Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde, left, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speak to the media after their talks, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Linde on Tuesday subtly criticized Turkey over its curbs on freedom of expression, after Cavusoglu took a swipe at Stockholm's policies during a joint news conference that quickly turned tense. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)ANKARA – Sweden’s foreign minister on Tuesday subtly criticized Turkey over its curbs on freedom of expression, after her Turkish counterpart took a swipe at Stockholm’s policies during a joint news conference that quickly turned tense. “I want to ask this: On whose authority are you telling Turkey to withdraw from Syria or warning Turkey?” Cavusoglu asked. It was a thinly-veiled reference to Turkey’s much-criticized record on freedom of expression, including the jailing of scores of journalists and pro-Kurdish politicians.
After 46 years, Cypriot ghost town's beach opens to public
For the first time in 46 years, members of the public were permitted on Thursday to access the beach of Varosha in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of ethnically divided Cyprus. For some, like one woman draped in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags, it was a moment of joy to witness an “historic” moment. For others, like Greek Cypriot Varosha native Kyriakos Charalambides watching on TV from his Nicosia home, it was a moment of bitterness and sorrow. Greek Cypriots fear the beach opening is only a first step to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots completely taking over Varosha. “How can someone not be upset by what they have seen today?” the Greek Cypriot mayor of Famagusta, Simos Ioannou told the Associated Press.
Greek, Turkish foreign ministers meet as tensions ease
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, meets with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on the sidelines of a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Greek and Turkish officials say the ministers agreed to set a date for the start of a new round of exploratory talks between the two. Turkey’s foreign ministry released a short video of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusloglu meeting on the sidelines of the Globsec Forum in Bratislava. “We agreed that the exploratory and confidence-building talks should take place in the period ahead of us,” Cavusloglu said, adding that as host of the meeting, Turkey would be suggesting some dates. A Greek diplomatic official said the two agreed to set a date for the exploratory talks.
Turkish diplomat denounces Armenia on trip to Azerbaijan
Men inspect an unexploded projectile of a multiple rocket launcher after shelling in Stepanakert, the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing missiles into the capital of the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, while Azerbaijan said several of its towns and its second-largest city were attacked. Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia for more than a quarter-century. In Tuesday's fighting, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of attacking several of its regions in the evening. Shushan Stepanian, the spokeswoman for the Armenian Defense Ministry, denied that the Armenian forces were targeting oil and gas facilities.
EU sanctions Belarus over election, gets in-kind response
European Union leaders will be assessing the state of their economy and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on it during their final day of a summit meeting. Russia, in turn, said it would follow Belarus' lead on sanctioning officials in the 27-nation European bloc, while the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it had followed the EU and imposed sanctions on eight Belarus officials. The EU leaders suggested that Lukashenko, once dubbed Europe’s last dictator, could be subject to sanctions later, if he does not enter into talks with his country's political opposition. Cyprus wanted its EU partners to also impose sanctions against Turkey for its energy exploration work in waters where the Mediterranean island nation claims exclusive rights before it would agree to the Belarus sanctions. At the same time, he said EU leaders have left the door open to impose them at their next scheduled summit in December, if Ankara doesn’t cease and desist by then.
Azerbaijan, Armenia no closer to ending clashes after 4 days
In this image taken from video released by the Armenian Defense Ministry on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, Armenian solders guard their position in the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The president of Azerbaijan said Armenia's withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh was the sole condition to end fighting over the separatist territory. Turkey, which has been vocal about siding with Azerbaijan in the dispute, denied those claims, and so did Azerbaijan. Turkey’s Defense Ministry dismissed claims that Turkey’s planes and drones were deployed to help Azerbaijan as propaganda by Armenia. The ministry said Armenia sought to increase international support “by creating the perception” that it was fighting Turkey.
Azerbaijan and Armenia brush off suggestion of peace talks
An Armenian serviceman fires a cannon towards Azerbaijan positions in the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The U.N. Security Council called on Armenia and Azerbaijan Tuesday evening to immediately halt the fighting and urgently resume talks without preconditions. But first, Azerbaijan must “immediately end (its) aggression towards Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia," Pashinyan said. Armenia also alleged that Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan, was involved. Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said Armenian forces shelled the Dashkesan region in Azerbaijan.
Migrants accuse Greece of pushing them back out to sea
The Turkish coast guard says it rescued over 300 migrants "pushed back by Greek elements to Turkish waters" this month alone. The Turkish coast guard says it rescued over 300 migrants “pushed back by Greek elements to Turkish waters” this month alone. Greece’s coast guard says Turkey's coast guard frequently escorts migrant smuggling boats toward Greece, and has provided videos to back its claims. Human Rights Watch has accused Greece of summarily returning migrants across land and sea borders with Turkey, citing interviews with asylum-seekers. Another Turkish coast guard vessel was already in the area when the patrol boat carrying the AP crew arrived.
Greek FM heads to UN amid tense standoff with Turkey
Turkey on Monday, Aug. 31, accused Greece of "piracy" and warned it will stand up to Athens' alleged efforts to militarize islands near its coast. Neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been locked in a tense standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Dendias would be delivering a letter from him to Guterres detailing what he said was Turkey's illegal activity in the region. Simulated dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter pilots have multiplied over the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. A Turkish and a Greek frigate collided last month, reportedly causing minor damage to the Turkish frigate but no injuries.
Tension with Washington helps fuel Turkey-Venezuela alliance
There is an economic relationship; the murkier aspects have attracted the scrutiny of the U.S. Treasury Department. There is solidarity in their anti-U.S. rhetoric, even if the United States is a key trading partner of Turkey. The alliance was on display Tuesday when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Caracas to sign agreements and mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. We should keep going," the Turkish foreign minister said. In an analysis for the Washington-based Wilson Center, he described the relationship between Turkey and Venezuela as an alliance of convenience."
Greece welcomes French boost as tension rises in east Med
In this photo provided by the Greek National Defence, a French Tonnerre helicopter carrier, rear left is escorted by Greek and French military vessels during a maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Greece claims part of the area is over its own continental shelf and has demanded that the Turkish ships withdraw. The path for a solution in the eastern Mediterranean is dialogue and negotiation, Erdogan said during an address to his ruling party's officials. In a televised statement Wednesday, Mitsotakis warned of the risk of an accident in the area where the Greek and Turkish warships are gathered. On Thursday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias traveled to Israel for talks on the matter.
The Latest: Protesters storm Lebanon's Foreign Ministry
A soldier stands at the devastated site of the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. The protesters said Saturday the Foreign Ministry would be the headquarters for a revolution and called on the current government to resign. Rage against the government spiked after the Beirut port explosion Tuesday that killed nearly 160 people and injured 6,000 while leaving much of the coastline mangled. A Lebanese health ministry official said on Saturday that the blast killed 154 people, including 21 bodies who have not been identified. Oktay arrived earlier in the day with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Cyprus: EU partners aim to rein in Turkey's 'expansionism'
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representativeand Vice-Presidentof the European Commission, speak during a joint news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 6, 2020. Unfortunately, we're talking about an agitator that's seeking to dominate the entire eastern Mediterranean and place under its control a number of countries that ring the eastern Mediterranean," Anastasiades said. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys full membership benefits. Cavusoglu held talks Monday with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who traveled in a bid to ease tensions. Turkey's top diplomat said Ankara expects the bloc to act as an honest broker with regard to energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean instead of expressing its backing for Cyprus' rights.
Turkey calls on EU to be 'honest' in dispute with members
Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that Turkey would be forced to reciprocate against any decisions the bloc takes against the country. His visits comes before an EU meeting where the bloc could take up measures against Turkey. We want to work with the EU, Cavusoglu said, but added: If the EU takes additional decisions against Turkey we will be forced to reciprocate. Borrell also spoke of the need to overhaul a 2016 agreement between Turkey and the EU. Cavusoglu said Turkey wouldn't accept a revision of the agreement that would be attached to new conditions.
Egyptian president says Libyan city Sirte a 'red line'
CAIRO Egypts president Saturday warned that an attempt by Turkey-backed forces in Libya to attack the strategic city of Sirte would cross a red line" and trigger a direct Egyptian military intervention in the conflict. El-Sissi's strong comments come after Libyan fighters allied with the Tripoli-based government earlier this month advanced toward Sirte, the gateway to oil facilities in Libyas south. That move ignored an Egyptian initiative, backed by the east-Libya camp, to stop fighting and embark on peace talks. Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. Cavusoglu said Friday that Turkey would work with Italy to create a lasting peace and political solution in Libya.
Turkey says will work with Italy for Libya peace, slams EU
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio say goodbye by using their elbows after their joint press conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, June 19, 2020. Turkey says the EUs naval operation dubbed Irini is focusing its efforts on the Tripoli-based administration and not enough on Hifters forces who launched an offensive in April 2019 to capture the capital. We will continue to work with Italy for a last peace and a solution-oriented political process, Cavusoglu told reporters, praising Italy for what he described as its balanced stance on Libya. He maintained that the operation ignores alleged constant arms transfers to Hifter by France.Cavusoglus comments come amid growing tensions between Turkey and France over Libya. He also defended the EU naval operation, describing it as balanced.The aim is to control the arrival of all armaments, Di Maio said.
Turkey, Russia cooperate on virus vaccine
People walk along a popular street, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, June 3, 2020, days after the government lifted a series of restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)ANKARA Turkey and Russia have agreed to cooperate in the development of a coronavirus vaccine and plan to carry out joint clinical trials, the Turkish health minister said Wednesday. Koca said that unlike other countries, Turkey has been using the drug early in COVID-19 threatment. Turkey recorded 867 confirmed virus cases and 24 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday, the minister said. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier Wednesday that Turkey evacuated more than 75,000 stranded Turkish nationals from 126 countries during the pandemic.