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Turkey and the Levant

Stories under this heading cover Turkey as well as the Levant – a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia, consisting of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

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Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders from across Europe have gathered at Prague Castle for the launch of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom An unusual scene, even before the summit had started was of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan meeting informally before the opening of the summit. This story will be updated throughout the day.

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Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders from across Europe have gathered at Prague Castle for the launch of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom An unusual scene, even before the summit had started was of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan meeting informally before the opening of the summit. This story will be updated throughout the day.
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Erdogan says there is no problem between Turkey and the US that the two strategic partners cannot solve

Erdogan says there is no problem between Turkey and the US that the two strategic partners cannot solve

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey and the United States are be able to resolve bilateral problems and develop cooperation based on common interests. Erdogan is in New York to address this year's UN General Assembly. “There is no problem between Turkey and the U.S. that they, as two strategic partners and 70-year-long allies, cannot resolve. Although we have some differences of opinion over the issues concerning our national security, we share similar attitudes in many regional and global matters,” Erdogan said on Sunday (18 September) at a dinner event organized by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC). Stating that Turkey is one of the countries most affected by terrorism and at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, Erdogan said they would continue to resolutely fight against all terrorist organizations, including PKK-YPG, ISIL and FETO, without making any distinction. “We will definitely remove the bloody and dark shadow of terrorism from our region,” he said.
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Progress made in talks between Turkey and NATO candidate countries Finland and Sweden

Progress made in talks between Turkey and NATO candidate countries Finland and Sweden

Finland and Sweden reiterated on Friday that they will cooperate with Turkey in the fight against terrorism during their first trilateral meeting since the NATO Madrid summit when the mechanism for consultation was created as part of the process leading to membership in NATO for the two previously neutral Scandinavian countries. The meeting was held in Helsinki. According to a statement from the office of Turkey's Presidential Spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin's, Finland and Sweden reiterated their commitment to show full solidarity and cooperation with Turkey in the fight against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, pledging to fully support Turkey against all threats to its national security. “It was agreed to intensify cooperation at the technical level among the relevant institutions in order to achieve concrete progress on the issues addressed within the scope of the mechanism,” the statement added. During the meeting, the fundamentals of the permanent joint mechanism were determined while developments on the realization of the commitments in the trilateral deal were reviewed as well as concrete steps to be taken in the future.
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Turkish opposition parties agree to field a single candidate against Erdogan in next year's presidential election

Turkish opposition parties agree to field a single candidate against Erdogan in next year's presidential election

The leaders of six opposition parties in Turkey have agreed to run in the next presidential elections, scheduled for next June, with a joint candidate. At their sixth meeting, held over the weekend they did not say who that candidate will be. “Our people should be assured that our joint candidate will be the president of all and not only the 13th President of the Republic of Turkey and those who vote for the political parties coming together around this table,” read a joint statement released following the meeting of the leaders of the Nation Alliance on  Sunday (21 August). “We are aware of the disappointments that our people have been suffering from for years. We will come out with eligible cadres and efficient policies to relive the people’s disappointments,” it noted. The opposition parties are expected to hold their next meeting on 2 October.
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Historic Lviv hosts meeting between Zelensky, Erdogan and Gutteres

Historic Lviv hosts meeting between Zelensky, Erdogan and Gutteres

The visit of Turkish president Recip Tayip Erdogan and UN Secretary General, Antoniuo Gutteres, to Lviv on Thursday once more opened the possibility of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.  However a lot of the discussions were focused on the more immediate issue of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has agreed to the parameters of a potential mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, after repeated shelling of the complex raised fears of a nuclear catastrophe.. Speaking at a news conference in Lviv on Thursday following a trilateral meeting with the Turkish president and the UN secretary-general, Zelenskyy said “only absolute transparency and control of the situation” by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), among other bodies, could guarantee nuclear safety. It was not immediately clear if Russia would agree to the parameters. The Ukrainian leader also reiterated a call for Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from the nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine and stop all military activity in the area. Concerns about the plant mounted on Thursday when Russian and Ukrainian authorities accused each other of plotting to attack the site and then blame the other side. Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of multiple recent incidents of shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russian troops captured early in the war. 
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Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkey, Sweden and Finland to meet on 26 August

Turkish representatives will meet counterparts from Sweden and Finland on 26 August in an effort to remove the final stumbling blocks for the accession of the two Scandinavian countries into NATO. Turkey is one of seven out of thirty NATO countries still to ratify the decision taken at the last NATO summit to admit Sweden and Finland into the alliance. Speaking at a Conference for Turkish Ambassadors across the world, being held this week in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland are yet to deliver their commitments arising from the trilateral memorandum signed at the NATO summit in Madrid in June and they haven't taken any solid steps on Turkey's requests on extradition of terrorists yet. He described the remarks by Swedish and Finnish authorities on their promises as "well intentioned," and reiterated Turkey's desire to see concrete steps from the two countries.