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Pedro Gonçalves

Social media and opposition to blame for protests, says Turkish PM | World news | The G... - 0 views

  • The dramatic events also exposed the complicity and almost complete government control of mainstream Turkish media, which has largely failed to report the protests.

    "The Turkish media have embarrassed themselves," Caliskan said. "While the whole world was broadcasting from Taksim Square, Turkish television stations were showing cooking shows. It is now very clear that we do not have press freedom in Turkey."

  • Hasip Kaplan, an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party, said: "After 1 June, the policy of 'for the people despite the people' is bankrupt. [The government] will have to listen to the people's opinions on mega-projects. Now is the time of participatory decision-making."
Pedro Gonçalves

Exclusive - Secret Turkish nerve centre leads aid to Syria rebels | Reuters - 0 views

  • Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria's rebels from a city near the border
  • "It's the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the main co-ordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,"
  • "The Americans are very hands-off on this. U.S. intel(ligence) are working through middlemen. Middlemen are controlling access to weapons and routes."
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  • The centre in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 100 km (60 miles) from the Syrian border, was set up after Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud visited Turkey and requested it, a source in the Gulf said
  • Adana is home to Incirlik, a large Turkish/U.S. air force base which Washington has used in the past for reconnaissance and military logistics operations. It was not clear from the sources whether the anti-Syrian "nerve centre" was located inside Incirlik base or in the city of Adana.
  • 20 former Syrian generals are now based in Turkey, from where they are helping shape the rebel forces. Israel believes up to 20,000 Syrian troops may now have defected to the opposition.
  • "All weaponry is Russian. The obvious reason is that these guys (the Syrian rebels) are trained to use Russian weapons, also because the Americans don't want their hands on it. All weapons are from the black market. The other way they get weapons is to steal them from the Syrian army. They raid weapons stores."
  • The presence of the secret Middle East-run "nerve centre" may explain how the Syrian rebels, a rag-tag assortment of ill-armed and poorly organised groups, have pulled off major strikes such as the devastating bomb attack on July 18 which killed at least four key Assad aides including the defence minister.
  • Qatar, the tiny gas-rich Gulf state which played a leading part in supplying weapons to Libyan rebels, has a key role in directing operations at the Adana base, the sources said. Qatari military intelligence and state security officials are involved.
  • "The Qataris mobilized their special forces team two weeks ago. Their remit is to train and help logistically, not to fight," said a Doha-based source with ties to the FSA.

    Qatar's military intelligence directorate, Foreign Ministry and State Security Bureau are involved, said the source.

Pedro Gonçalves

Top military chief arrested in alleged plot against Turkish government - - 0 views

  • Gen. Ilker Basbug spent the night behind bars at Silivri prison after testifying for seven hours Thursday in an Istanbul court. He was accused of creating dozens of websites aimed at bringing down the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • arrested based on charges related to eliminating the government of Turkish Republic and establishing and leading a terrorist organization
  • Last July, Turkey's top four military officers resigned after a squabble with the government over the fate of officers jailed in the alleged plot against the Justice and Development Party.
Pedro Gonçalves

Kurdish separatists call for 'uprising' in Turkey - TURKEY - KURDS - FRANCE 24 - 0 views

  • Kurdish separatists in Turkey on Friday called for an "uprising" after an air force raid killed 35 villagers near the Iraqi border in what the ruling party admitted could have been a blunder.
  • The PKK took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives. It is labelled a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community.
  • "According to initial reports, these people were smugglers and not terrorists," said Huseyin Celik, vice-president of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP).
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  • The protest in Istanbul on Thursday called by the BDP drew 2,000 people in the city's Taksim Square.

    Afterwards, several hundred youths shouting pro-PKK slogans threw stones at riot police, who responded with water cannon and tear gas, making several arrests.

  • Clashes between Kurdish rebels and the army have escalated in recent months.

    The Turkish military launched an operation on militant bases inside northern Iraq in October after a PKK attack killed 24 soldiers in the border town of Cukurca, the army's biggest loss since 1993.

Pedro Gonçalves

Turkey sanctions France over genocide bill - Europe - Al Jazeera English - 0 views

  • France is home to around 500,000 citizens of Armenian descent and they are seen as a key source of support for Sarkozy and the UMP ahead of presidential and legislative elections in April and June next year.
  • The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued a statement of concern about the French vote setting a precedent and warned that the "criminalisation of debates on history's true course, even of obviously false and offensive statements about a nation's tragic moment, is not conducive to better understanding" among people and states.
  • Franco-Turkish relations are often tense - Sarkozy is a firm opponent of allowing Turkey to join the European Union - but 1,000 French firms work there and trade between the two is worth 12 billion euros per year.

    Much of Europe, including France, is facing recession amid a sovereign debt crisis, but Turkey enjoys growth rates in excess of eight percent and, with 78 million people, it is a huge potential market.

Pedro Gonçalves

With 4 Promotions, Turkey Begins a New Era - - 0 views

  • Turkey’s civilian leadership appointed four new commanders on Thursday, decisively strengthening its control over its armed forces less than a week after the military leadership abruptly resigned in frustration over the continuing prosecution of officers accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
  • The new appointments of a chief of general staff and commanders of the army, navy and air force reflected the Islamic-leaning civilian government’s increased assertiveness in its struggle with the country’s military establishment, which has orchestrated three coups since 1960 and forced another government from power in 1997.
  • In prior years, the council funneled military influence into the public sphere. But on Thursday, the meeting was led exclusively by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a widely circulated photograph of the event seemed to illustrate his success in ensuring civilian supremacy in Turkish politics. The appointees resemble their predecessors in background and experience, but their rise is the start of what many see as a new era of civilian dominance here.
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