President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described the European Union as "unpredictable," as he slammed the bloc's attitude regarding granting Turkish citizens visa-free travel. Speaking to reporters on the presidential plane, Erdoğan also slammed the United Arab Emirates for sending support to mercenaries in Libya. "They've been transferring serious amount of money. They also send weapons and ammunition," he said.
General Frank McKenzie, commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), met with General Mazloum Kobani, commander of the Kurdish-led SDF, at a military base in eastern Syria on Jan. 25. Kobani reportedly asked McKenzie for reassurance that the U.S. would continue their support of SDF militants, which McKenzie returned with the promise of continued anti-ISIS efforts and collaboration in protecting oil wells.
Turkish President Erdoğan has criticized Libya's Haftar for not signing a ceasefire deal during a peace summit in Berlin last week. Speaking in Istanbul after talks with German Chancellor Merkel, Erdoğan said: “The support putschist Haftar was given has spoiled him."
SDF commander Mazloum Kobani has said that they are ready for dialogue with Turkey. "We have tried our best to fix our problems with Turkey. As the SDF, as the YPG, we have had direct talks with Turkey in the past and are ready to do so again. We want peace," Kobani said. "Turkey should never mistake our goodwill for weakness and should be prepared to reciprocate our goodwill," he added.
Murat Yetkin writes: Merkel might present a list of German citizens who are either in prison or banned from leaving Turkey, probably knowing that a similar list could be presented by Erdoğan about the extradition of certain names in Germany who were granted shelter following the 2016 military coup attempt, indicted to be masterminded by the U.S.-resident Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece have intensified in recent days over decades-long disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Ankara has called on Athens to demilitarize 16 Greek islands near its coast, whereas Athens threatened to block Libya peace efforts unless Turkey-Libya accord was scrapped. Meanwhile, Greek Cyprus accused Turkey of being "a pirate state" over its drilling actions in the Mediterranean Sea.
German Chancellor Merkel will hold a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan in Istanbul on Jan. 24. Amnesty International wants Merkel to tell Erdoğan that jailed rights activist Osman Kavala needs to be immediately released and terrorism charges against Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kılıç should be dropped.
Turkey will screen passengers on all flights from China with thermal cameras upon arrival, the Health Ministry said on Jan. 23. The precautionary move comes amid the outbreak of a new deadly new virus in China. Meanwhile, Turkey's embassy in Beijing has warned citizens against travelling to the country.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Jan. 23 that Russia's S-400 missile defense system was compatible with NATO, amid an ongoing rift between the alliance and Ankara on the issue. "We believe the S-400 and F-35 are compatible. It does not pose any threats to the NATO system or to NATO allies," he said, as he suggested the formation of a working group to study the issue.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Halkbank should be fined an initial $1 million a day for contempt of court and which could double each week to counter the bank's "obstinacy" in refusing to defend itself in court. The proposed fine could total $7 million after the first week of non-compliance and $21 million after two weeks, and nearly $1.8 billion by the end of eight weeks.
The European Union is working on a list of names to enforce sanctions on Turkey for searching and drilling for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the bloc's foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell has said. Borrell noted that Greek Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides gave a briefing on the matter.
The staff of İncirlik military air base in Turkey’s southern Adana province is being reduced by 424 employees. The U.S. company handling maintenance services on the air base cited “the U.S.' reducing its presence in Syria” as the reason of the staff reduction, according to an official of the Turkish Defense Workers' Trade Union.
Currently, 59 German citizens are in Turkish prisons, and another 74 German citizens are barred from leaving Turkey pending investigation, German Foreign Ministry has announced. German Chancellor Merkel is expected to discuss this issue during her meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan in Istanbul on Jan. 24.
A military diplomatic source told TASS that the deal signed between Ankara and Moscow regarding the S-400 missile defense systems doesn't include technology transfers, even if it's partial. The source also said that more than 120 surface-to-air guided missile have been supplied by Russia to Turkey along with a regiment set of S-400 systems.
President Erdoğan has said that Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas and Ankara will take steps in line with the Somali invitation, without elaborating further. "There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: 'There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.' This is very important for us," Erdoğan said on Jan. 20.