Russia has urged Syrian Kurds to abide by an agreement signed between Turkey and Russia on Oct. 22 that stipulated their withdrawal from Ankara's planned safe zone. "I would advise our Kurdish colleagues to be consistent and refrain from taking questionable actions as the situation changes," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Human Rights Watch has called on Turkey to investigate what it said were human rights abuses in territory which Turkish forces currently control in northeast Syria. The group also said a proposed safe zone that Turkey aims to establish in the region "will not be safe" for civilians.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again urged change in the international system, saying that the fate of all mankind is left to the mercy of five members of the United Nations Security Council. "This unjust system, established by the victors of the Second World War, cannot continue forever. It is no longer an option but an obligation to restructure the international security architecture in accordance with today’s conditions," he said.
A Turkish diplomatic source has said that Turkey will resist efforts by its NATO allies to persuade it to back an alliance defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until its demands are met over a plan for Turkey's defense. Ankara wants NATO to formally recognize the YPG, the main component of the U.S.-backed SDF, as terrorists due to its links with the PKK and is infuriated that its allies have given the militants support.
Turkey carrying out tests with its new Russian S-400 missile system was "concerning," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Nov. 26. Pompeo said the United States has made it clear to Turkey that Washington wants to see Ankara move away from full operation of the S400 air defense system.
Turkish authorities' blocking websites in the country is not democratic and not compatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects freedom of expression, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said. Mijatović made the comments in a report submitted to the European Court of Human Rights concerning Wikipedia's case against Turkey.
President Erdoğan said Turkish and U.S. officials would conduct efforts until April to resolve a dispute between the two countries over Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, which led to Ankara being suspended from the F-35 stealth fighter jet programme, in which it was a producer and buyer. "Our defense and foreign ministers will carry out these efforts. We need to see where we get with these efforts," he told reporters.
Russia hopes to sign a new contract on S-400 missile defense systems with Turkey in the first half of next year - a move that's expected to add to the tensions between NATO allies Ankara and Washington. "I want to stress that military technical cooperation with Turkey is not limited to the supply of the S-400s. We have big plans ahead," a Russian official said.
A month into Senator Ron Wyden’s investigation of Halkbank, U.S. Treasury officials informed lawmakers that Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently attended a White House lunch with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “The Treasury Department does not deny that President [Donald] Trump tasked Secretary Mnuchin with intervening in the criminal investigation of Halkbank, and the department’s response to my letter raises more questions than it answers,” Wyden said in an email.
The Turkey-Qatar Combined Joint Force Command, which has been active since October 2015 in Doha, serves stability and peace of not only Qatar, but also the Gulf region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov. 25. Erdoğan also said that the construction of the new Turkish military post in Qatar has been completed.
Senior White House staff asked Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to block a resolution that would have formally recognized the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as "genocide." Explaining the reason behind his decision to object to the resolution, Graham said, "The only reason I did it is because he [Erdoğan] was still in town. That would've been poor timing. I'm trying to salvage the relationship if possible."
Turkey began testing the S-400 missile defense systems in the capital Ankara, with the Governor's Office releasing a statement, saying that F-16s and other aircraft will conduct low- and high-altitude flights on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26. Ankara's purchase of the S-400s has been a major factor souring relations with the United States, which says the system is not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter jets.
Faced with a crippled economy hit hard by U.S. sanctions and an Islamist regime, Iran’s wealthy are increasingly seeking refuge in Turkey, one of the few countries they can travel to without a visa, the Times said. “It’s much easier here,” Maryam Seda, who moved to Turkey three years ago told the Times. “All of them are looking for a plan B,” Ali Güden, a Turkish lawyer whose clientele includes ever more wealthy Iranians, said.
Political fundraiser Imaad Zuberi is accused of acting as an unregistered agent for Turkey. The allegation comes about a month after investigators probing his activities questioned a prolific Democratic Party donor who has ties to the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to law enforcement records.
"All should be aware that Turkey will have to look for alternatives if F-35s cannot be acquired for any reason," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said, adding that S-400 missile defense systems purchased from Russia will not be integrated into Turkey's defense system. "It will definitely be a 'stand-alone' system. We are not going to integrate this with the NATO systems in any way. It will operate independently," he said.