The arrest of a lawyer working for the German Embassy in Turkey continues to be the source of a rift between Ankara and Berlin, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas protesting the move during a G20 meeting in Japan. Berlin regards the arrest as incomprehensible and has "no understanding for it," Maas told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Several hundreds of ISIS militants have escaped from captivity following the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said on Nov. 22. "These ISIS militants could facilitate the recreation of the organization’s armed potential," he said.
German MP Omid Nouripour has said that the arrest of a lawyer hired by the German Embassy in Ankara is a "provocation," calling on the German government to show its reaction to this incident "explicitly." German media reported on Nov. 20 that the lawyer named Yılmaz S. was arrested by Turkish authorities in mid-September.
A senior U.S. State Department official said on Nov. 21 that Turkey needs to "get rid of" the Russian S-400 missile defense system it purchased to overcome a standoff with Washington. Earlier on the same day, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkey will activate the S-400s as planned.
Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin has penned an article analyzing alleged ISIS infiltration into Turkey. "Did ISIS bombers really flee to Turkey as claimed by Iraqi intelligence?" he asked.
Two employees of the U.S. consulate in Adana have been briefly detained for "insulting religious values" in a video recorded during a Halloween party. After being questioned by the police, the two U.S. consulate employees were released. A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said they "deeply regret any action by any members of our staff that would imply disrespect for any religion."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Nov. 20 met in Brussels and discussed bilateral security and defense issues. "Productive conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu today in Brussels. We’re committed to overcoming challenges and strengthening our bilateral relations," Pompeo said following his meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli released a statement on Nov. 20 listing the issues that he said he had discussed with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during their meeting in Brussels. Çavuşoğlu however reacted against Sassoli's statement, accusing him of sharing the content of their meeting in a "distorted" way.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Nov. 20 that Ankara had assured Moscow that it did not plan to launch a new military operation in Syria despite earlier comments, the TASS news agency reported. Lavrov added that the withdrawal of YPG militants in northern Syria was almost complete.
ISIS has exploited Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria and the drawdown of U.S. troops from the region, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Pentagon’s Inspector General, adding that the militant group will likely have the “time and space” to target the West.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he conveyed to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey would not be abandoning the Russian S-400 missile defense system. "We repeated our request for the Patriot system from the U.S.," he added.
Russian Defense Ministry said on Nov. 19 it was "bewildered" by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's remarks criticizing Moscow for "not fulfilling the agreement" signed with Ankara on northern Syria. Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 18 that Turkey would launch a new offensive in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of the YPG militia.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it has imposed sanctions on three Turkey-based companies and two Turkish individuals for supporting ISIS. According to the Treasury, Turkey-based Sahloul Money Exchange Company, Al-Sultan Money Transfer Company and ACL İthalat İhracat were targeted for providing financial and logistical support to ISIS, as were Turkish nationals İsmail Bayaltun and his brother Ahmet Bayaltun.
Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Director Dmitry Shugaev has said that the S-400 missile defense system will be on combat duty by spring, adding that Moscow will provide technical assistance to Turkey in developing a 5th generation fighter jet.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Ankara in the first half of January, İbrahim Kalın, a senior aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said. Kalın said Putin and Erdoğan will discuss energy issues including the TurkStream natural gas pipeline.