A source from the Pentagon said that the United States is trying to maintain constructive dialogue with Turkey, amid a fresh row over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on shutting down two U.S. strategic compounds. "We see our troops in Turkey as a symbol of our decades-long responsibility to help protect our NATO ally and strategic partner," Sputnik cited the source as saying in response to Erdoğan's threat to shut down the military base in İncirlik and the Kürecik Radar Station in protest of the Armenian Genocide bill that was passed in the U.S. Congress.
Some 63 bar associations have jointly released a statement saying that the recent deliberations on a bill seeking to pardon men sentenced for child sexual abuse -- on the condition that they are married to their victims -- are "worrisome." The bar associations fear that such measures will normalize rape and forced marriages.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the United States is selling to Turkey oil seized from Syrian oil wells and accused Ankara of being Washington's “accomplice” regarding this business. "The Turkish regime plays a direct part in selling the oil, previously with al-Nusra, later with ISIS and today with the Americans," he said during an interview with the Chinese television channel Phoenix.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to close down an American air force base and a radar station in Turkey in the event that Washington imposes sanctions against Ankara due to its recent military incursion into northeastern Syria. “If necessary, we'll close İncirlik and Kürecik,” Erdoğan said, referring to the İncirlik Air Force Base in the southern province of Adana and the Kürecik Radar Station in the southeastern province of Malatya.
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.