The Syrian government will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia that will operate as an Orthodox cathedral, in protest of the Turkish government's move to convert the iconic structure into a mosque, according to various media reports. A Russian lawmaker said that Moscow will provide funding for the project to show the importance of “peaceful dialogue” between faiths.
Turkish authorities have assured UNESCO leadership of their intention to work closely with the organization in carrying out the planned restoration works in Hagia Sophia after its transformation into a mosque, a Russian official said. "Now they have assured us that they will not do anything without consulting UNESCO specialists and promise to invite the organization's experts to Istanbul in the near future," he said.
Putin, Greek PM stress preserving Hagia Sophia as universal heritage in phone call requested by Athens
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed preserving Istanbul's Hagia Sophia as universal heritage in a phone call requested by Athens. "[They] emphasized the unmatched cultural, historic and religious significance of that unique World Heritage Site and noted the importance of preserving it as universal heritage and a symbol of peace and cohesion," the Kremlin said.
The U.S. Air Force is officially purchasing eight F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets that were initially intended for Turkey prior to its removal from the joint strike fighter program. The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in July 2019 over Ankara's decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.
An association that aims to introduce the Aegean province of İzmir to Russian speakers recently launched its website. The Russian Speakers Friendship and Solidarity Association (RUSDER) website will provide information about local cultural events and archaeological sites in Russian, also bringing together the local Russian diaspora.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
Turkey will be resuming flights to and from Russia as of July 15. The country is the latest addition to a list of 31 others that Ankara allows travels to.
Erdoğan pledged to Putin during a telephone conversation that everyone wishing to attend the iconic Hagia Sophia will be admitted there, and the Christian relics at the ancient structure will be preserved, the Kremlin said on July 13.
Patriarch Kirill, the leader of Russia's Orthodox Church, said on July 6 that calls to convert Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a mosque posed a threat to Christianity. "A threat against Hagia Sophia is a threat to all of Christian civilization, meaning [a threat to] our spirituality and history," Patriarch Kirill said in a statement.
NATO has put a defense plan for Poland and Baltic states into action after Turkey dropped its objections, officials from Lithuania, Poland and France have said. NATO declined to comment directly, saying that it "has plans in place to protect all allies. Those plans are regularly revised and updated."
Musa Özuğurlu writes: Russia, by any means, wishes to see al-Assad in power at least for another term. It is trying quite unattainable formulas to make it possible for Muslim Brotherhood to return to Damascus after so many years. Let us see whether or not these attempts will bring the political transition and thus relief to Syria?
Russia says Turkey cannot re-export S-400 air defense systems after US senator’s proposal to buy them
Russia has said that Turkey cannot re-export Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems without Moscow's permission. The statement came after U.S. Senator John Thune prepared a proposal to buy the S-400s from Turkey in a bid to overcome the impasse between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s participation in a program to produce F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter jets.
The Blue Homeland doctrine is a product of Kemalist maritime officers. The nationalists realized that allying with Erdoğan would bring crucial advantages, such as using the radical Islamists as a proxy back and forth in Syria and in Libya, and forging military ties with Qatar and Somalia.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov has said that Turkey has the right to vie for a new agreement on an additional supply of S-400 missile defense systems and Russia will subsequently be ready to deliver. "They [Turkey] have the right to do so, if they express a desire, we will seal [the deal]," Borisov said.
Even though Sisi always said they would not just watch Turkey increase its involvement, it was believed that he would avoid a military adventure. The major fear of Sisi is that in the event that Islamist forces win in Libya, there is a possibility that Muslim Brotherhood, which he toppled in a 2013 coup, may have the chance to take revenge.