Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah commented on the situation in Syria saying that "three influential countries are financing the rebels in Syria and arming them – Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia."Source: YnetNews
Thursday, 3 January 2013
Monday, 31 December 2012
Turkey accused the European Union of bias and bigoted attitudes towards the EU candidate country on Monday and blamed it for undermining the Turkish public's trust in the bloc.Source: Reuters
Turkey criticized the European Commission's latest report on its progress towards EU membership as it presented for the first time its own report highlighting its reforms over the last year.
Turkey began accession talks in 2005 but the process has ground to a halt due to an intractable dispute over Cyprus, the divided island state which Turkey does not recognize, and opposition from core EU members France and Germany.
Despite waning domestic support for joining the EU, Ankara has continued to push for full membership of the union and has said it wants to join before 2023, the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.
"We observed that this year's Turkey Progress Report was overshadowed by more subjective, biased, unwarranted and bigoted attitudes," Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis said in a statement accompanying Turkey's own 270-page report.
Bagis said it was unacceptable that the European Commission report released in October had ignored Turkey's "courageous" reforms over the last year and that this undermined the EU's trustworthiness in the eyes of the Turkish public.
The minister previously voiced his disappointment with the report in October, saying it failed to be objective, ignored the expansion of rights for religious minorities and had criticized the judiciary too sweepingly.
A recent survey by the German Marshall Fund think-tank found a majority of Turks view the EU negatively, illustrating the declining enthusiasm for EU membership.
Ankara has completed only one of the 35 policy "chapters" every candidate must conclude to join the EU. All but 13 of those chapters are blocked by France, Cyprus and the European Commission.
Talks have also been blocked by the Commission which says Turkey does not yet meet required standards on human rights, freedom of speech and religion.
"Today there is no government in Europe which is more reformist than our government," Bagis said.
"While EU countries are struggling in crisis, our country is experiencing the most democratic, prosperous, modern and transparent period in its history," he said.
"The 'sick man' of yesterday has got up and summoned the strength to prescribe medication for today's Europe ... and to share the EU's burden rather than being a burden to it," he said.
The progress report prepared by Turkey, released on the website of its EU Affairs Ministry, cited the passage of reforms in the areas of the judiciary, education and workers rights as examples of progress over the year.
Bagis told Reuters in Dublin earlier this month Turkey was hopeful France will unblock talks over EU membership on at least two policy chapters in the coming months ahead of a visit by President Francois Hollande.
While Hollande has stopped short of endorsing Turkey's EU candidacy, he has said it should be judged on political and economic criteria - a contrast to his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's position that Turkey did not form part of Europe.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on December 21 the current standstill in negotiations over Turkey's membership bid was unsatisfactory and the new year offered an opportunity to tackle outstanding issues with renewed vigor.
Sunday, 30 December 2012
It's notable that this disgraceful measure was announced on Christmas Eve, when no one would be paying attention.
Apparently the EU is also considering abolishing visa requirements for Turks completely.
The European Union Commission announced it would life visa requirements for Turkish citizens who provide service to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, asking that the booklets handed out to border officials in those countries be changed accordingly, Anatolia news agency has reported.Source
The new change allows for Turkish citizens providing service to stay for 2 months in Germany, and 3 months in Netherlands and Denmark without holding a visa.
The EU Commission recalled the European Court of Justice’s 2009 resolution ordering Turkish citizens residing and exercising their activities in Turkey and wishing to enter the territory of a member state to provide services there, would be exempted from visa in a written statement on the upgrading of the Schengen booklet to Germany, Netherlands and Denmark.
The commission detailed the guidelines on the movement of Turkish nationals crossing the external borders of EU member states in order to provide services within the EU. According to that statement, the visa exemption for Turkish citizens applies only to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark among the 26 Schengen countries.
Turkish architects, builders, lawyers, computer scientists, commercial agents, scientists and lecturers, artists, fitters and instructors installing or repairing machinery or informing of the use thereof, professional athletes and trainers, truck drivers and others established in Turkey are considered to be employed in jobs that provide services. They must prove their status with written statements at the borders.
Apparently the EU is also considering abolishing visa requirements for Turks completely.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
One in three German Turks send money back to Turkey - on average around €1,300 per person per year, a new study revealed on Tuesday.Source: The Local
The majority of Germans with a Turkish background - 57 percent - have their own income, revealed the study, carried out by Berlin-based research institute Info and published in the Handelsblatt newspaper. Seventeen percent receive social support.
Info director Holger Liljeberg attributed the transactions to Turks' "very strong" connection to their homeland. The study also found that some 18 percent of German Turks send goods and food to their friends and relatives - at an average value of €250 a year.
Altogether that amounts to around €90 million in goods and a billion euros in money.
Around half of the 1,000 German Turks asked in the survey said they owned property either in Germany or Turkey, while a third had property in Turkey.
"These figures also underscore the desire of many Turks to make provisions should they move back to Turkey one day," said Liljeberg.
The study also found that the strong connection to Turkey led many to travel there on a regular basis. "On average the Turks in Germany travel to Turkey 1.9 times a year," said Liljeberg, adding that one in four Turks travel to Turkey three or four times a year.
"The strong family connections guarantee lively traffic between the two countries, and ensure that contacts don't break," he said.
Monday, 17 September 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that Turkey recognizes anti-semitism as a crime, while not a single Western country recognizes Islamophobia as such.Source: Today's Zaman
Speaking to journalists in Sarajevo after a series of visits to Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erdoğan commented on the 14-minute trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," an obscure film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad, which sparked violent riots across various Muslim nations.
Erdoğan said he will talk about the movie that has angered Muslims on Sept. 25 at the UN General Assembly. He noted that the reaction against the movie in Turkey has been restrained. “In the last past 10 years, extremes [in Turkey] have been curbed. In a way, we acted like a lightning rod.”
He said the Turkish government has made its statement on the movie, giving messages in Yalta, and later during his visit. He said reactions against the movie continued and increased, noting statements from Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, who defined the movie as an “aggression on Islam,” has played a role in this.
Erdoğan said he will continue to give messages at the next UN General Assembly meeting about adopting international legislation against insulting religion. “I am the prime minister of a nation, of which most are Muslims and that has declared anti-semitism a crime against humanity. But the West hasn’t recognized Islamophobia as a crime against humanity -- it has encouraged it. [The film director] is saying he did this to provoke the fundamentalists among Muslims. When it is in the form of a provocation, there should be international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion. As much as it is possible to adopt international regulations, it should be possible to do something in terms of domestic law.”
He further noted, “Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others start. You can say anything about your thoughts and beliefs, but you will have to stop when you are at the border of others’ freedoms. I was able to include Islamophobia as a hate crime in the final statement of an international meeting in Warsaw.”
Erdoğan said the government will immediately start working on legislation against blasphemous and offensive remarks. “Turkey could be a leading example for the rest of the world on this.”
The prime minister also shared his opinion about the difference between the Turkish reaction and Arab reactions at the film. He said his government has acted like a lightning rod and extremes in Turkey have been curbed. “If this hadn’t happened, it would be like the pre-1980 times here. We have girls here [Bosnia] who come to us and say, crying, ‘You opened the door of universities [for headscarved women], and the imam-hatip schools.’ The percentage of female students [from Turkey] studying here has fallen to 35-40 percent from 60 to 75 percent.”
In response to a question on whether relations with Israel seem to be normalizing, Erdoğan said, “Israel has not found itself a good position in the eyes of the Islamic world. They are also not making any effort to start a normalization process.” He said Israel only has ties with Turkey and should make an effort to maintain good relations. Erdoğan said the Israeli government had sent him a businessman who will act as a go-between, but did not name this person. He said he’d told this person -- who he said is the richest Jewish businessman in the world -- that Turkey has three conditions for normalization, which are an official apology to Turkey for a May 2010 attack on a Turkish passenger ship bringing aid to Gaza, paying compensation for the attack that left nine Turkish citizens dead and ending the blockade of Gaza.
Erdoğan said he was hopeful about a recent initiative launched by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, whereby the foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will be meeting this week.
Saturday, 15 September 2012
So much for the Turks being so civilised and European. It seems they're just a bunch of savages like all the rest. Who'd have thunk?
Some 300 people gather outside one of Istanbul's main mosques on Friday protesting a film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad. They chanted anti-US slogans and waved placards reading "God damn America" and "The United States is responsible for what happened" outside Beyazit Mosque.Source: Reuters