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Turkish opposition unsatisfied with changes to intelligence bill

The government has announced it will amend two articles in a controversial draft law on the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) following harsh reactions by the opposition, which maintains that the bill bestows extraordinary powers on MİT while rendering members of the intelligence organization almost untouchable before the law.

While discussions on the proposed bill continued in the Internal Affairs Commission on Sunday, deputies from the opposition parties took to the floor to express their concerns over the MİT law. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Engin Altay reacted harshly to the bill and the insufficiency of the changes to the two articles, saying: “The draft law eliminates the accountability [of members of MİT] before the law. All laws on the issue will finally target you [those who are currently in power; the government] since it lacks sufficient legal grounds and accountability when we consider the results.” 24.02.14 More

Ankara planning to increase oil import from Iran

“Turkey purchases some portion of its energy needs from Iran and it will continue to import crude and gas from Iran,” Yildiz said. 

The Turkish energy minister described Iran and Turkey as two powerful countries in the Middle East and once again underlined on the importance of strengthening Tehran-Ankara bilateral relations. 

“Iran and Turkey signed a gas contract during former Turkish President Necmedin Erbakan to Tehran in 1996 and the contract played an important role in development of mutual cooperation between the two countries,” the Turkish energy minister said. 14.02.14 More

Turkey likely to remain on gray list for terror financing

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is seen as unlikely to downgrade Turkey's “gray list” status during a meeting of the international standard-setting body that started on Wednesday.

The FATF, which has 36 members and is currently under the presidency of Russia, is holding its plenary session in Paris until Feb. 14.

Turkish sources in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said they do not expect Turkey to be dropped down a level to the “dark gray list.” The dark gray list is composed of countries on the “gray list” for over a year that have not made sufficient progress in implementing their action plans. 13.02.14 More

EU officials discuss Internet law with Davutoğlu

In a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu amid increasing criticism over a controversial Internet law, top European Union officials urged Turkey on Monday to have “early consultations” with the bloc's executive arm, the European Commission (EC), regarding legislation that might affect Turkey's accession talks.

“Today, we have discussed the recent developments in Turkey. We have underlined the need for Turkey as a candidate country in accession negotiations to engage in early consultations with the EC on all laws related to both the accession process and the political criteria,” Stefan Füle, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, said after talks with Davutoğlu in Brussels, according to a statement from the EU Commission. “We discussed this in particular in light of the recent exchanges on the importance of an independent judiciary and the Internet law adopted by [the Turkish] Parliament last week,” he added. 11.02.14 More

Turkey to demine area bordering with Armenia in 2014

Turkey will demine and increase border surveillance capacity of its borders with Armenia and Iran, informed. This is an EU-funded project. The Turkish Ashkam Periodical informed that demining of eastern border of Turkey has started with joint coordination of its general staff of the armed forces and ministry of interior. Note that according to the report of Turkey Without Mines Initiative, as of 2009 there were about 1 million mines in the minefields of Turkey. 10.02.14 More

Boeing delivers first early-warning and control aircraft to Turkey

U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing has silently delivered the first airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to Turkey under a program that was launched more than a decade ago. Now, however, the buyer and the seller are wrangling over penalties for delays.

The defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), and the Turkish Air Force simultaneously announced Jan. 31 that the AEW&C aircraft had arrived in Turkey for acceptance tests. The tests are to be followed by an inauguration ceremony Feb. 21 at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command in Konya, they said. 04.02.14 More

Turkish army strikes al-Qaeda-linked group's convoy in Syria

The Turkish army said Jan. 29 it had opened fire on a convoy of vehicles in northern Syria belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group.

The army said the attack, carried out Jan. 28, came after two Turkish military vehicles had been fired upon at the Çobanbey border post in the southern Kilis province.

"A pick-up, a truck and a bus in an ISIL convoy were destroyed," read the statement, released by the Turkish General Staff. There were no casualties on the Turkish side. 30.01.14 More

700 party members resign from ruling AK Party in Diyarbakır

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) saw 700 of its members resign over two days in protest of the party's decision to not re-nominate Mehmet Geçitli for mayor of Çüngüs, a town in Diyarbakır province.

Speaking to reporters, Geçitli said 400 people resigned from the AK Party on Tuesday and 300 more on Wednesday. “The resignations will reach 1,200 once our friends in the villages resign as well,” Geçitli said.

On Jan. 20, all of the members of the (AK Party) Adana provincial administration board resigned from their posts in a protest initiated by the board's chairman, Ziyaeddin Yağcı, who submitted his resignation following the unveiling of mayoral candidates in the province of Adana. 23.01.14 More

Turkish intel issues al-Qaeda-linked suicide attack warning

It has been reported by Turkish intelligence that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is planning attacks in three Turkish cities in order to sabotage talks in Geneva aimed at finding a solution in war-torn Syria and has assigned 20 people to carry out these attacks.

A tip about the al-Qaeda-linked group has put the security forces on alert and precautions are being taken in Ankara, İstanbul and southern Turkish province of Hatay by Turkish intelligence units.

The Geneva talks, known informally as “Geneva II,” will be held in Montreux on the opposite side of Leman Lake, between Jan. 22 and Jan. 24. 22.01.14 More

Turkey has no plans to enrich uranium

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey has made no plans to enrich uranium in a speech he delivered at the sixth annual Ambassadors Conference on Wednesday.

“Suddenly the issue of uranium enrichment in Turkey has emerged. We [Turkey] have not made such a target,” Yıldız noted.

Explaining Turkey's nuclear power agreements, the energy minister underlined that such agreements are made with all countries under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 17.01.14 More

Turkish police capture senior al-Qaeda figures in major operation

Two senior al-Qaeda members have been captured during yesterday’s simultaneous operations in six provinces, daily Hürriyet has reported. Al-Qaeda’s senior member in Turkey, Halis B., along with the second-in-command in the Middle East, İbrahim Ş., were among the 28 people who were detained.

Some three high-ranking names from al-Qaeda have reportedly escaped to Syria before the operation.
Anti-terror and intelligence teams reportedly launched an investigation 15 months ago when they detected al-Qaeda was reorganizing in the eastern province of Van. 

The detained suspects are facing charges such as sending people to fight in Syria, helping to transfer of al-Qaeda members to come from Afghanistan and Pakistan, collecting money to help al-Qaeda, providing and distributing aid and weapons to be used in attacks in Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and organizing illegal actions. 15.01.14 More

Turkey turns into police state - Interview

Press TV has conducted an interview with Stephen Lendman, author and radio host, Chicago about the top Turkish officials arrested over graft allegations and the Turkish police clashing with protesters.

- Do you agree with the government’s version of this story saying that this is a smear campaign against the AK party saying that there are elements to basically destroy the credibility of this government?

- I honestly don’t believe anything that comes out of the Erdogan government.

It’s been a while, but I wrote about a street protest that went on for over two weeks last summer and has been intermittent since then.

I’m certain there is a lot of corruption in Turkey. There is a lot of corruption in many countries. No country is more corrupt than my own America – that’s another issue altogether. 24.12.13 More

Israeli airlines to resume flights to Turkey after six-year hiatus

Israel will renew regular flights to Turkey following a hiatus of more than 5 years Transportation Minister Israel Katz has announced. 

Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Giora Romm and his Turkish counterpart Bilal Ekşi signed an agreement in Ankara Tuesday allowing for the renewal of flights by Israeli carriers to Turkey. This announcement follows months of discussion between the two countries’ aviation authorities.

The Israeli airlines halted scheduled and charter flights to Turkey more than 5 years ago, due to disputes over security arrangements at the airports in which the Israeli carriers landed.

“This is important news for the Israeli airlines that, until now, have been unable to land in Turkey due to security problems, and can now compete on equal terms with the Turkish airlines,” Katz said. 19.12.13 More

Military helicopters crash in Ankara and Mardin

A Turkish military helicopter crashed at the edge of the capital on Tuesday, killing four soldiers on board while several hours later, another helicopter crashed in southeastern province of Mardin.

The helicopter in Ankara was on a training flight when it hit high tension cables and crashed into a field about 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of the city center, media reports said. 17.12.13 More

Turkish defense firm to seek another consortium after Merrill Lynch stepping aside

Goldman Sachs is set to step into the breach after Merrill Lynch refused Turkish defense firm Aselsan’s request for it to advise and underwrite its public offering because of a missile deal inked by Turkey with a Chinese company under U.S. sanctions, according to Aselsan General Manager Cengiz Ergeneman. 

“If they are not in, there are other companies. There won’t be any delay in schedule. The company at the second rank is the Garanti Yatırım-Goldman Sachs consortium,” Ergeneman told daily Hürriyet in an interview in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

“If it is possible that you will work with the Chinese company, China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC), we would not work with you,” said Merrill Lynch in a letter sent to Aselsan. 13.12.13 More

Libyan soldiers arrive in Turkey for training

A group of Libyan soldiers arrived in the city of Isparta on Saturday to be trained by the Turkish military.

Wires reported on Sunday that 185 Libyan soldiers started their training soon after their plane touched down at the airport in the western city of Isparta. The Turkish military will train groups of Libyan soldiers, a total of some 3,000 in all, in a 14-week-long course before sending them back to Libya to join the professional national army.

The training covers basic military skills and is governed by the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in military training signed between Turkey and Libya in April 2012. Incoming soldiers shared their first impressions and thoughts with local reporters. Sulaiman Said Youssef, one of the Libyan soldiers, said he feels at home in Isparta and was very happy to be in Turkey. 09.12.13 More

Cyber technologies, anti-riot equipment emerge as niche market in Turkish defense industry

Turkey’s local defense companies and their foreign partners may see a near-boom in smaller but specialist industries in the coming years, including cyber technologies, anti-riot equipment and a variety of gear for the country’s special forces, industry sources agree.

“These will probably become niche markets with a growing number of players in the years ahead,” a senior defense industry official said.

Only this year, Turkey hosted about a dozen conferences on cyber security and new technologies. The most recent one was on Nov. 19-20, bringing together 450 military officers, cyber experts, cyber defense officials and industry representatives from Turkey, the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Albania, Azerbaijan and South Korea. 05.12.13 More

Davutoğlu denies Turkey has security forces in Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has denied claims that Turkey has security forces in war-torn Syria in his response to a question submitted to Parliament by an opposition deputy.

Responding to the question from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kahramanmaraş deputy Durdu Özbolat whether Turkey has security forces in Syria, Davutoğlu replied that such an allegation does not reflect reality.

Davutoğlu noted that Turkey's support for the Syrian people and its legitimate opposition was based on the will to establish a new Syria in which there is peace and democracy, adding that Turkey's support for the opposition was based on this fact. 03.12.13 More

Russian military inspectors to conduct monitoring flight over Turkey

Russian military inspectors will conduct a monitoring flight over Turkey under the international Open Skies Treaty on Monday, Nov 25, a Russian Defense Ministry official said, according to RIA Novosti.

“A group of Russian inspectors is scheduled to conduct a surveillance flight over the Republic of Turkey on board an An-30B aircraft in the period November 25 to 29 as part of the implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty,” said Sergei Ryzhkov, head of the ministry's National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. 25.11.13 More

Turkey, Iraq agree to open two new border gates

Ankara and Baghdad have agreed to move forward with a 2009 plan to open two new border gates and are preparing to commence construction soon, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı told the press in Ankara on Thursday.

The issue of opening new border gates with Iraq has been on the agenda for more than a decade now. Neither side, however, has made any progress on the issue due to ups and downs in relations between the two neighboring countries. Ankara and Baghdad signed a deal to open two new border gates in Ovaköy and Aktepe in 2009. Yazıcı's comments confirm the location of the two border gates as agreed in 2009. 22.11.13 More

Turkish FM comments on Armenia invitation

Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu has said Armenia’s invitation to Turkey to attend the Yerevan meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) member states is an ordinary process.

“This invitation should not be viewed as something special. All members have been invited to the meeting,” Davutoglu said at a joint press conference with his British counterpart William Hague, Milliyet reports.

“We want the relations between Turkey and Armenia to normalize, the problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia to be solved and sustainable peace to be established in the South Caucasus as soon as possible,” he stressed. 21.11.13 More

Patriots in Turkey to be switched for maintenance

A Patriot missile battery stationed in the southeastern province of Gaziantep will be replaced as part of maintenance procedures, the Turkish General Staff said today.

A U.S. ship carrying a new battery arrived at İskenderun Port on Nov. 10, while the new equipment and materials were dispatched to Gaziantep on Nov. 13, the announcement posted on the official website of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said, noting that the old Patriot missile battery would be sent back to the United States on Dec. 8 for maintenance. 18.11.13 More

Turkish foreign minister to visit Iran in late November

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is scheduled to pay an official visit to Iran later this month to discuss further expansion of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Davutoglu will travel to Tehran on November 26 at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. During his two-day visit, the Turkish foreign minister will exchange views on regional and international issues with Iranian officials. 15.11.13 More

Raytheon, Lockheed consider fresh bid for Turkey missile defense

U.S. arms makers Raytheon Co and Lockheed Martin Corp are considering ways to sweeten their offer to build a Patriot missile defense system for Turkey after Ankara said it could still back away from a provisional $3.4 billion deal with China, sources familiar with the issue said November 12.

"There are internal discussions going on about improving the Patriot offer," said one source, who is familiar with the talks but not authorized to speak publicly.

A second source confirmed that preliminary discussions were under way within industry and the U.S. government about how the offer could be adjusted to be more competitive with bids submitted by the Chinese firm, and a European group. Both sources said no decisions had been made and it was important to allow Turkey - a member of NATO - time to make up its mind. Turkey announced in September it had chosen China's FD-2000 long-range air and missile defense system against rival offers from Franco/Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and Raytheon. 13.11.13 More

Turkish MFA denies possibility to open border with Armenia

The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied media reports suggesting that Ankara is trying to obtain Azeri consent for opening the border with Armenia.

According to Trend News, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu refuted the reports. As Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan noted, the Armenian-Turkish talks are held parallel to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement negotiation, with Ankara repeatedly stating the above.

"Turkey closely follows the OSCE Minsk Group’s activities and is ready to take any steps for rapid resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict," the embassy stressed. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hinted at a possibility of opening the Armenian-Turkish border during a meeting of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations. 08.11.13 More

US gets Turkey’s ‘message’ over Chinese missile choice

It was on Oct. 24 that United States Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone explicitly stated Washington’s concerns over Turkey’s decision to launch negotiations with a Chinese company for the purchase of a $3.4 billion missile defense systems. 

After echoing U.S. and NATO officials’ statements that the Chinese system would not be operable under NATO’s comprehensive anti-ballistic missile defense system, the ambassador announced the start of expert-level talks between Turkey and the U.S. “In order to make sure that the full facts are taken into due consideration, we really have just begun expert discussions with the Government of Turkey. We will keep them very respectful. This will be done in official channels between friends and allies,” he had said. 06.11.13 More

Turkey and Iran share high level of cooperation in intelligence

The intelligence cooperation between Turkey and Iran is in a “very, very good state,” according to the Iranian Ambassador Alireza Bigdeli.

Speaking to the daily Hürriyet, Bigdeli said the intelligence cooperation between the two countries were at a level that should be between strong neighbors and brothers, which bothered Western powers, as well as Israeli authorities. 

“Why do they not like it when Turkish and Iranian intelligence agencies cooperate? They expect Turkey to have good cooperation with MOSSAD or CIA. There is that side to it. Turkish and Iranian agencies always have cooperation, and they should have so, and they will have so. It is normal between neighbors to have that, but they treat it with doubt,” Bigdeli said. 04.11.13 More

US Undersecretary of Defense Miller visits Turkey to assess Chinese missile deal

US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller has concluded his visit to Turkey to assess the impact of its plans to co-produce a long-range air and missile defense system with a Chinese firm under US sanctions.

A US Embassy official in Ankara declined to give the details of Miller's visit. "The details of Miller's schedule are not available," he told Today's Zaman.

"Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Miller visited Turkey for bilateral consultations on regional security issues, including Syria, the US-Turkish bilateral defense relationship and our partnership in NATO," added the US official. 01.11.13 More

Turkish Armed Forces to recruit civilian political advisers

Within the scope of a new reform in press and public relations within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the General Staff will soon recruit civilian political advisers and press secretaries, the chief of General Staff has said.

The Vatan daily reported on Thursday that the chief of General Staff, Gen. Necdet Özel, stated that the TSK will no longer conduct public relations through members of the armed forces but will instead employ professional civilian personnel.

Commenting on recruiting political advisers, Özel said: “We are working to keep the army away from all sorts of political movements. We will recruit political advisers. Our prime minister has given us permission to recruit civilian personnel for these positions. “ 31.10.13  More

Rule of law being replaced by intelligence state

A controversial bill on Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) that is currently being discussed in Parliament continues to draw harsh criticism from opposition parties and civil society organizations that fear that the bill, if passed as is, will turn Turkey into an intelligence state.

“Rule of law is being replaced by an intelligence state,” Ali Rıza Öztürk, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has told Today's Zaman.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) submitted the MİT bill to Parliament to push through wide-ranging changes that give new powers to the intelligence organization, with critics saying that the bill would ensure legal cover for embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has found himself struggling with a corruption investigation that became public on Dec. 17, 2013. 28.02.14 More

Turkish Parliament adopts controversial Internet bill

Turkey's Parliament adopted late Feb. 5 a new Internet bill that has been harshly criticized for implementing measures that could potentially further restrict access to the web.

The measures were adopted by the General Assembly after a tense session during which opposition MPs blasted the bill as "censorship."

The bill includes controversial arrangements such as granting the president of the Directorate of Telecommunication (TİB) the authority to block access to sites and pages on his own initiative, in the event of appeals concerning violation of the right to private life. Such a decision would not require approval from a court. 06.02.14 More

Turkey may double natural gas imports from Iran

Turkey may double natural gas imports from Iran if the two countries can agree on a price, says the Turkish energy minister.

Taner Yildiz said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that natural gas purchases from Iran was a key topic in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Iran, but added that the two sides have yet to agree on the price.

"We have discussed how we could increase our imports to 20 billion cubic meters and the price mechanism needed for that," Yildiz said, adding that Turkey has insisted that Iran reduce the gas price. 31.01.14 More

PKK militants attack military vehicle in Turkey

Militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkish province of Diyarbakir have attacked a military vehicle, which was delivering goods to one of the units, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on Jan. 23.

The military vehicle was burned by the PKK militants, according to the newspaper. Turkey's conflict with the PKK, which demands the creation of an independent Kurdish state, has continued for over 25 years and has claimed more than 40,000 lives. 23.01.14 More

Turkish army destroys oil smuggling pipeline at Syria border

In a statement released by the General Staff on Tuesday, it was stated that the army has discovered a 500-meter-long pipeline used for smuggling oil into the southeastern province of Hatay, which borders war-torn Syria, and that the pipeline was immediately destroyed.

According to the statement, a patrol unit noticed an unusual section of road in a military zone near the border. Several other units later arrived at the scene and investigated the road and found a pipeline being used to smuggle oil from the Syria side of the border.

“The pipeline was destroyed at the order of the Altınözü Prosecutor's Office,” the statement added. 21.01.14 More

Turkish military establishes contact with EU military body

The Turkish General Staff established formal contact with the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) for the first time on Wednesday when Turkish generals met with Brig. Gen. Dionigi Loria, head of the Logistics Directorate, EU Military Staff/Action Service, to discuss EU security strategies and to exchange information on other related topics.

Gen. Loria's visit with his Turkish colleagues took place upon an invitation from the General Staff, indicating a significant change in the Turkish military's former reluctance to meet with the European bloc's military staff. The EU is very interested in establishing a dialogue with the Turkish military. Turkey is a candidate member country to the bloc, though accession negotiations remain at a standstill despite efforts to revitalize them. 16.01.14 More

US further presses Turkey over Chinese missile bid

Washington has increased the intensity of its warnings against Turkish companies intent on working with a Chinese firm that was selected to construct a missile defense system, noting that the companies could risk business with their U.S. counterparts due to sanctions against the Chinese outfit.

The message was recently conveyed to Murad Bayar, the head of the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries (SSM), by a senior U.S. military official who paid an announced visit to the Turkish capital, the Hürriyet Daily News learned from well-placed sources. 

As a defense industry expert, the U.S. official discussed a wide range of issues regarding the Turkish-U.S. defense industry cooperation and sales, in the latest chain of frequent conversations between the two allies since Turkey announced Sept. 26 its decision to negotiate with China’s Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp. (CPMIEC) to co-produce anti-ballistic missile system. 20.12.13 More

Turkish PM’s phone tapped during investigation of corruption case

During the investigation of a corruption scandal in Turkey, phone conversations made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were tapped, Milliyet newspaper reported on Dec.18.

According to the newspaper, in the previous year, Istanbul police received information about serious corruption violations and during this year phone conversations of a number of the country's officials including the prime minister were tapped.

Turkish officials have not commented on the newspaper report yet. Turkish police have recently conducted special operations in Istanbul and Ankara, resulting in the arrest of 52 people that includes businessmen and sons of some ministers. 18.12.13 More

Turkey to boost border security for visa deal with EU

A long-awaited agreement that would allow Turkish citizens to access visa-free travel to European countries in around three years will be signed today. 

In return for the launching of visa exemption talks, Turkey will sign the Readmission Agreement, which will oblige it to accept illegal migrants crossing into EU territory via Turkey. Further details of the deal are set to be announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Speaking at a panel in Istanbul on Dec. 14, Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış denied that Turkey would become a “heaven of illegal migrants.” “The Readmission Agreement will first have to be ratified by Parliament. Its implementation will begin three years after its ratification. In the meantime, we will also increase our border security and establish a civilian border protection body. We will have to take substantial steps before we can fully implement the Readmission Agreement, and this will take time,” Bağış said. 16.12.13 More

Turkey encourages Europe to cooperate more in defense sector

Turkey’s defense procurement officials tend to encourage their European counterparts for joint programs like a potential European UAV program. 

“Unless we find large-scale joint programs in aviation Europe may tend to lose its attraction as a center of defense industry excellence,” Turkey’s top defense procurement official, Murad Bayar, told Hurriyet Daily News. “We must develop ideas for multinational solutions in aerospace.”

“Europe needs a UAV and we think we are a good candidate with individual countries,” Bulent Batmaca, Anka’s maker TAI’s Market Development Chief, told the Wall Street Journal recently. Batmaca said TAI is also in early stage talks with NATO about possible drone programs. 10.12.13 More

Davutoğlu to visit Armenia next week

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on Dec. 5 that he would be visiting Armenia next week, marking a first diplomatic push since the protocols between the two countries signed in 2009 which foresaw the development of relations, including a decision on opening the borders, was shelved.

Davutoğlu said he accepted Armenia’s invitation to attend a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Yerevan on Dec. 12.

“Turkey is one of the founding members of the organization. Its headquarters are located in Istanbul, where Armenia, which is a member of the organization, also has a representative. I received the invitation and decided to accept it after consulting the president,” Davutoğlu told reporters during a press conference in Ankara. 06.12.13 More

Turkey losing positive perception in Middle East

Positive perceptions about Turkey in the Middle East have decreased of late, with the sharpest drops registered in Egypt and Syria, according to a poll released yesterday by the Turkey Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). Despite this loss of popularity, Turkey is still seen as an important power in the region, with 60 percent of those polled supporting a greater regional role for Turkey, according to the study.

Conducted for the fifth time, the TESEV poll shows a considerable drop in Turkey’s popularity over the course of the last three years. While 78 percent of respondents had a positive view of Turkey in 2011, this ratio dropped to 69 percent in 2012, and to 59 percent in 2013. 04.12.13 More

Turkey seeks to develop local engines for UAVs and tank

Scores of Turkish defense programs in recent years have either stalled or delayed due to one component: engine. Wary of engine troubles, Turkey’s defense procurement planners are pondering to give pace to local solutions.

A local armored vehicles maker, Otokar, has developed a prototype for what will become Turkey’s first indigenous new generation battle tank, the Altay. It will be an “entirely Turkish tank.” So will be the Anka, an “entirely Turkish” unmanned aerial vehicle developed by TAI. And so will be the TF-X, a future fighter aircraft Turkey intends to develop. The trouble is, Turks do not have an engine to power any of these Turkish platforms. 26.11.13 More

Turkey launches new bid for light trainer aircraft

Turkey’s defense procurement authorities have pushed the button to launch an international competition for the acquisition of a batch of 52 basic trainer aircrafts, otherwise known as “screeners.”

The Under secretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) has issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) for the contract that foresees the off-the-shelf purchase of a small fleet of screeners. The screeners will replace a fleet of ageing SF 260s used in the Turkish Air Force for preliminary training. 

Turkey still operates with nearly 40 SF 260s assembled by TAI in the early 1990s. In addition, for preliminary training purposes the Air Force operates Cessna 172s. Defense industry sources said the screener contract could go up to approximately $75 million. 21.11.13 More 

Turkey keen on attack helicopter program despite snags

Turkey remains fully committed to a co-production program with Italian-British AgustaWestland for scores of T-129 attack helicopters despite “minor” technical snags that have delayed acceptance tests for an initial batch of nine choppers. 

“It is perfectly normal to have problems during acceptance tests. We remain committed to this program. It is a matter of days or weeks before we find a solution,” a senior defense official said. “We want to have these helicopters in our inventory in perfect condition.”

The official said acceptance tests had been carried out on a double-check basis, both by the end-user, the Land Forces, and the quality check department of the defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM). 14.11.13 More

Turkish captain of ship intercepted by Greek coastguard denies carrying 20,000 Kalashnikovs

The captain of a ship halted by the Greek coastguards and allegedly carrying 20,000 Kalashnikovs has categorically denied claims of having weapons on board while maintaining that the cargo was destined to the Libyan Defense Ministry.

“There are no explosives or weapons on board. I and my crew are going crazy. I learned the claims that the ship was carrying 20,000 Kalashnikovs and explosives from the press. I have sailed for 40 years, and this is the same time that such a thing has happened to me,” the Turkish captain of the Nour M, Hüseyin Yılmaz, told Doğan news agency today. 11.11.13 More

OSCE media freedom representative alarmed by life sentences against journalists in Turkey

Sentencing journalists to life imprisonment for their work will further deteriorate media freedom in Turkey, Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has warned, the OSCE official website said. 

“The severity of sentences handed down this morning to four journalists in Turkey is alarming,” Mijatović said. “I am in no way trying to challenge the legitimate right of governments to counter terrorism. Terrorism is a transnational threat and it must not be underestimated. However, the fight against terrorism should not be misused to silence provocative or opposing voices in society.” 07.11.13 More

Regional war scenario. NATO-US-Turkey launch Invitex-Eastern Mediterranean military exercise

According to Turkish press reports, Turkey’s High Command hosts NATO’S Invitex military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean in a clear act of provocation directed against Syria.

The Invitex-Eastern Mediterranean war games have been scheduled from November 4 to 14.

The official release by the TKS High Command suggests a war games scenario involving a regional war, under the assumption that the ongoing US-NATO-Israeli covert war on Syria could lead to military escalation. The countries considered to be a threat to Turkey and NATO are not mentioned. 05.11.13 More

Turkey opens world's first underwater rail link between two continents

Marking the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Turkey on Tuesday opened the world's first underwater rail link between two continents, the Marmaray, connecting Asia and Europe and allowing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to fulfill a project dreamt up by Ottoman sultans more than a century ago.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Turkish and foreign dignitaries including Turkish President Abdullah Gül; Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek; Erdoğan; Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta; İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu and İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who all delivered speeches to mark the occasion. A large crowd also attended the ceremony. 30.10.13  More

Turkish intelligence announce recruitment of specialists with knowledge of Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and Armenian

Turkey's National Intelligence Service (MIT) reported that, in response to the announcement of the recruitment specialists with knowledge of Arabic, Persian, Armenian and Hebrew, they received a response from a large number of citizens, according to the portal The same news circulated in a number of other Armenian Internet resources. 27.08.12  More

PKK simultaneously attacks two garrisons in southeastern Turkey

Suspected militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) launched coordinated attacks on two separate battalion headquarters in the eastern province of Hakkari today. 
Militants attacked the Omurlu 2nd border battalion near Omurlu village in Hakkari's Şemdinli province with rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), mortars and assault rifles at around 3 p.m.
The Derecik gendarmerie battalion headquarters, located 10 kilometers away from the Omurlu border battalion, came under fire from assault rifles at the same time. 23.08.12  More

Turkish government new rules on secrecy over spending

While the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) preaches transparency in public administration, a new regulation, which has been adopted in accordance with the Court of Accounts Law no. 6085, is far from achieving transparency. In fact it puts a new veil of secrecy over the properties at the disposal of the state's defense, security and intelligence institutions.

For properties acquired by the Ministry of National Defense, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, the Undersecretariat for Public Order and Security, the General Secretariat of the National Security Council, the Gendarmerie General Command, the Coast Guard Command and the General Directorate of Security, a nontransparent auditing process is prescribed in the regulation, which came into effect after being published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday. 17.08.12  More

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