The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the deadly truck bomb attack of Dec. 28 in Mogadishu and said that the target was a Turkish convoy and the militias guarding them. The group has accused Turkey of training Somali forces and for "taking over economic resources" in Somalia. "The Mujahedeen hit the convoy and inflicted heavy losses on the Turks and the apostate militias who were protecting them," it said.
Killer of Turkey's then-Los Angeles Consulate General Kemal Arıkan was released on parole, prompting criticism from Ankara. "Hampig Sassounian has regrettably been approved for release on parole on Dec. 27, 2019 in a trial in California," a statement released by the Foreign Ministry read. Sassounian gunned down Arıkan at a red light in Los Angeles in 1982 - an act that was deemed as terrorism by President Reagan.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said that if Athens and Ankara cannot solve their dispute about maritime zones in the Mediterranean they should turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to settle the disagreement. Mitsotakis' remarks came after Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based government signed a maritime agreement last month, which gives Ankara access to a contested economic zone across the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will not back a motion on sending troops to Libya as part of a deal reached between Ankara and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). "What business do we have in Libya?" CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu asked, adding that the ruling Justice and Government Party (AKP) wants to go to Libya to support the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that any attack on the observation posts in Syria's Idlib will be responded to. "In no way will we evacuate 12 observation points heroically carrying out their mission of ensuring the ceasefire; we are not going to leave," Akar said. The minister also commented on the possibility of Turkey sending troops to Libya under a new security pact if the country’s GNA requests it.
A day after a devastating truck bombing that killed 90 people, including two Turkish nationals, in the Somalian capital Mogadishu, a Turkish military cargo plane landed in the city to evacuate people badly wounded. The plane also brought emergency medical staff and supplies, which had been transferred to a Turkish-run hospital in Mogadishu. Ten injured Somalis and the bodies of two dead Turks were loaded on the plane on Dec. 29.
Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte has said that he talked to President Erdoğan recently to urge him to refrain from military intervention in Libya, arguing that this would lead to civilians casualties and neither side was likely to win. "We must be united, we cannot allow actors even much more distant from Libya, to position themselves, settle their role in the Libyan scenario and claim the primacy for any solutions," Conte said.
Ankara-backed Syrian rebels will be joining troops and naval forces that Turkey will deploy to Libya to support the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to defeat strongman Khalifa Haftar, Bloomberg reported on Dec. 27. In a deepening proxy war, Turkey aims to send its navy to protect Tripoli, while its troops train and coordinate forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, according to a senior Turkish official.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s Kanal Istanbul project to build an artificial artery connecting the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea, parallel to the Bosporus, would not change the Montreux Convention establishing the legal status of the Black Sea, Aleksei Erkhov, the Russian Ambassador to Ankara, said on Thursday. Talking to Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin, Erkhov suggested that such a channel would not change the traffic situation much.
Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Bashar al-Assad who often speaks on his behalf, said “our lands should be totally and completely liberated from foreign occupiers, whether they are terrorists, or the Turks or the Americans.” She also warned of "operations" against American troops guarding Syrian oil fields, saying the U.S. has "absolutely no right" to Syria's oil.
As Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their bombardment of targets in Idlib, Trump on Dec. 26 warned Moscow, Damascus and Tehran against killing civilians, while also praising Turkey for its efforts to stop the "carnage." "Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands if innocent civilians in Idlib Province. Don’t do it! Turkey is working hard to stop this carnage," Trump said in a tweet.
Libya’s internationally recognized government has formally requested Turkey's military support, the Turkish presidency's communication director said on Dec. 27. A day earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said Turkey would send troops to Libya at the request of Tripoli as soon as next month. "We will put the bill on sending troops to Libya on the agenda as soon as parliament opens," Erdoğan had said on Dec. 26.
Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz has urged the international community to act against the death sentences given in the case into the journalist's murder to prevent the truth from being covered up by Riyadh. Branding the ruling as "unjust and invalid," Cengiz noted that the motive of the murder remains unclear since closed hearings were held during the trial.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Tunis on Dec. 25 in an unannounced visit for talks with Tunisian President Kais Saied, the Turkish presidency said. In a statement, Erdoğan's office said he was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, as well as National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan. It provided no further details on the content or purpose of the talks.
Trump administration opposed a bill that would sanction Turkey for its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, arguing that the legislation would “effectively terminate U.S.-Turkey defense trade," a seven-page memo obtained by The Daily Beast showed. The bill would “treat Turkey as a pariah in NATO, feeding a narrative that the Russian Federation would likely seek to amplify and exploit," the administration said.