The European Union should spend more than the 6 billion euros already allotted to fund Syrian refugees in Turkey, and speed up the flow of that money, said Faruk Kaymakcı, the Turkish deputy minister for foreign affairs. “As long as the crisis is there we have to work together. The 6 billion euros will not solve the problem when it is finally all spent,” Kaymakcı told reporters in Istanbul on Dec. 14.
Turkey has repatriated four more foreign national militants to the U.K., the Interior Ministry said. The ministry did not specify which group the fighters belonged to, but in recent months the ministry has been stressing the return of ISIS militants.
Turkey's foreign ministry has summoned the U.S. ambassador in Ankara over a resolution passed by U.S. lawmakers recognizing the mass killings of Armenians a century ago as a genocide. The ministry has voiced Turkey's strong criticism of the resolution to David Satterfield.
The U.S. Senate has approved a resolution recognizing early 20th century killings of Armenians as “genocide.” Turkey condemned the measure, with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu saying that the U.S. Senate's move “is not legally binding and has no validity.”
The installation process of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems is expected be completed by the spring of 2020, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said. Akar also said Turkey is in dialogue with its NATO allies, particularly the U.S., to work a solution to the matter.
A U.S. Senate committee voted on Dec. 11 to advance a sanctions bill against Turkey for its offensive in northeastern Syria and purchase of a Russian missile defense system. The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted by 18-4 to send the "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019" for a vote in the full Senate.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued to slam the Nobel academy for the second day, calling it a "vampire community" for awarding Peter Handke. "The fact that the Nobel gave the award to this representative of the vampire intelligentsia group shows that a vampire community was formed," Erdoğan said, while also praising Aziz Sancar and Orhan Pamuk in his speech.
A Turkish court ruled on Dec. 11 to keep U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz in jail as his trial on espionage charges continues. Topuz is accused of having links to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Russia, Turkey and Iran are concerned about the increased presence of terrorist groups in Syria's Idlib province, the trio said in a joint statement after talks in Kazakhstan, pledging to coordinate actions aimed at eliminating the militants. Moscow, Ankara and Tehran "highlighted the necessity to establish calm on the ground," the trio said in a joint statement after the talks, also attended by representatives of the Damascus government and the Syrian armed opposition.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu has said that Ankara may reconsider İncirlik's status if the U.S. Congress imposes sanctions on the country amid the rift between two NATO allies over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 systems. The minister also said that Turkey had a constructive approach towards the U.S. on the issue, adding that the Congress needs to understand that they can't achieve anything through imposition.
The United States has barred a former Saudi diplomat from entering the country over his alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Mohammed al Otaibi was serving as the Saudi consul general in Istanbul when Khashoggi was killed there.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said during an interview that he would agree to meet with Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdoğan only if such a meeting would serve the “interests of Syria.” Assad also said that he was expecting Turkey to leave the Syrian lands in the long-term.
Turkey and Greece are at odds over a host of issues but Turkey's recent maritime territory deal with Libya has raised the stakes further in an escalating battle for resources in the Mediterranean Sea. But, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' national security adviser Alexandros Diakopoulos believes that there is no risk of armed conflict between Ankara and Athens.
President Erdoğan has slammed the Nobel academy over awarding Peter Handke, as he went on to criticize it for handing the award to a Turkish "terrorist" in the past. While the only Nobel laureate from Turkey is novelist Orhan Pamuk, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that Erdoğan didn't mean Pamuk in his speech, adding that he meant the names known with their anti-Turkey stance and terrorist acts nominated or awarded by Nobel or other international institutions.
U.S. lawmakers announced an agreement on Dec. 9 on a $738-billion bill setting policy for the Department of Defense, calling for sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the S-400s. The NDAA prohibits the transfer of F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Lockheed Martin Corp is developing, to Turkey. It expresses a Sense of Congress that Turkey's acquisition of Russia's S-400s constitutes a significant transaction under U.S. sanctions law.