Region

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.

More than 6,300 killed in Turkey and Syria after 6 February earthquake

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southern Turkey and Syria, killing and injuring thousands of people. The earthquake, which struck at 04.17 local time on Monday (6 February), was followed 11 minutes later by a magnitude 6.7 aftershock.

As of 18.30 CET on Tuesday (7 February), the number of confirmed dead across both countries has reached over 6,300, according to the BBC. 4,500 of those are in Turkey, with 1,800 being killed in neighbouring Syria.

patrickn97 Tue, 02/07/2023 - 18:31 Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality
Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance. Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
patrickn97 Fri, 02/03/2023 - 09:33

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More than 6,300 killed in Turkey and Syria after 6 February earthquake

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southern Turkey and Syria, killing and injuring thousands of people. The earthquake, which struck at 04.17 local time on Monday (6 February), was followed 11 minutes later by a magnitude 6.7 aftershock.

As of 18.30 CET on Tuesday (7 February), the number of confirmed dead across both countries has reached over 6,300, according to the BBC. 4,500 of those are in Turkey, with 1,800 being killed in neighbouring Syria.

patrickn97 Tue, 02/07/2023 - 18:31
Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality
Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance. Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
patrickn97 Fri, 02/03/2023 - 09:33
Georgian, Turkish and Azerbaijani defence ministers meet at close of military drills

Georgian Defence Minister Juansher Burchuladze and his Azerbaijani and Turkish colleagues, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov and General Hulusi Akar, met on Thursday (2 February) to discuss cooperation in regional development and defence at the closure of multinational military exercises in Kars, Turkiye.

patrickn97 Thu, 02/02/2023 - 12:24
Violence rocks the Holy Land
Violence in Jerusalem, in Israel and in the Palestinian territories over the last days  has shaken the fragile peace in the Holy Land once more, despite calls for restraint by the international community. On Saturday (28 January), an assailant shot and wounded two people in east Jerusalem, Israeli medics said, hours after a Palestinian gunman killed seven outside a synagogue in one of the deadliest such attacks in years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel's response to an attack by a Palestinian gunman attack that killed seven people on the outskirts of Jerusalem will be "strong, swift and precise" . The mass shooting unfolded as a 21-year-old resident of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem drove up to the synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood and opened fire during the Jewish Sabbath. The bloodshed, which unfolded on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked another dramatic escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nine people had been killed Thursday in what Israel described as a “counter-terrorism” operation in the Jenin refugee camp. It was one of the deadliest Israeli army raids in the occupied West Bank since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, of 2000 to 2005. Israel said Islamic Jihad operatives were the target. Islamic Jihad and Hamas both vowed to retaliate, later firing several rockets at Israeli territory. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defenses. The military responded with strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. There were no injuries reported on either side, but Gaza’s armed groups vowed further action. After the synagogue shooting, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack proved “the resistance knows how to find the appropriate response” to Israeli “crimes.” At least 26 Israelis and 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2022, the majority in the West Bank, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
dennis2020 Sun, 01/29/2023 - 05:53
Turkey rules out support for Sweden NATO bid after Stockholm protests
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that Sweden should not expect support from Ankara over its bid to join NATO following protests in Stockholm at the weekend. Surrounded by police for his protection, on Saturday (21 January) Danish-Swedish, far-right, anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan burned the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm while making disparaging remarks about immigrants and Islam. This incensed President Erdogan who criticised the Swedish authorities for letting the stunt happen. “It is clear that those who allowed such vileness to take place in front of our embassy can no longer expect any charity from us regarding their NATO membership application,” Erdogan said on Monday (23 January). Another bone of contention between Sweden and Turkey regarding the former's accession to NATO concerns the Kurdish question. Later on Saturday following Paludan's stunt, there was a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Stockholm where flags of various Kurdish groups were waved, including that of the Kurdish Workers' Party, or the PKK. The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey, and although it is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, its symbols are not banned in Sweden.
patrickn97 Mon, 01/23/2023 - 18:53
Shock after Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon
An Irish soldier was shot and killed on a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and a second was in a critical condition after a “hostile” crowd surrounded their armored vehicle, Ireland’s defense minister said on Thursday. Irish peacekeepers have been in Lebanon since 1978 and it is the first Irish fatality there in two decades. “We’re all very shocked and deeply saddened, it is a reminder to us of the extraordinary sacrifices that our peacekeepers make on a constant basis,” Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin told reporters in Brussels. The Irish soldiers, part of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), were on what Simon Coveney, who is also Ireland’s foreign minister, said was considered a standard run from UNIFIL’s area of operations in south Lebanon to Beirut when the incident happened in Al-Aqbieh late on Wednesday “The two armored vehicles effectively got separated. One of them got surrounded by a hostile mob, I think that’s the only way you could describe them, and shots were fired. Unfortunately, one of our peacekeepers was killed,” Coveney told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
dennis2020 Thu, 12/15/2022 - 12:14
Türkiye warned Greece to stop militarizing the Aegean islands
Türkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has warned Greece on Tuesday (6 December) to stop militarizing the Aegean islands, or Ankara “will take the necessary steps on the ground.” He said Türkiye had sent a letter to the United Nations in July 2021 laying out its arguments against Athens, which he said had violated the agreements of Lausanne and Paris. Greece denied these accusations, saying it has not provoked its neighbour nor amassed a large landing fleet on its shores.
Maximiliaan va… Tue, 12/06/2022 - 19:23
MPs again fail to elect next president of Lebanon
MPs in Lebanon failed again to elect a new president on Thursday for an eighth time, despite the deepening impact of the political deadlock on the country’s economic woes. Lebanon has been without a head of state for a month after president Michel Aoun left office at the end of October with no successor. Parliament is split between supporters of the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and its opponents, neither of whom have a clear majority. Lawmaker Michel Moawad, who is seen as close to the United States, won the support of 37 lawmakers Thursday — well short of the required majority — while 52 spoilt ballots were cast, mainly by pro-Hezbollah lawmakers. Only 111 of parliament’s 128 lawmakers showed up for the vote. By convention, Lebanon’s presidency goes to a Maronite Christian, the premiership is reserved for a Sunni Muslim and the post of parliament speaker goes to a Shiite Muslim. Parliament is expected to convene for a new attempt to elect a president on December 8.
dennis2020 Thu, 12/01/2022 - 14:05
Bomb attack in Jerusalem kills one and injures approximately 15

At least one person has been killed and approximately 15 have been wounded from explosions at a bus stop and a traffic junction in Jerusalem on Wednesday (23 November). Israeli officials have labelled the explosions as an attack with terroristic intent amidst high tensions between Israel and Palestine.

patrickn97 Wed, 11/23/2022 - 11:59