Alaturka Gazetesi

NATO should focus on Black Sea region: Ukrainian FM

By Dmitri Chirciu

LONDON (AA) – Ukraine’s foreign minister said Tuesday that NATO should focus on the Black Sea region.

The region is safe thanks to the presence of NATO and Turkey, Vadym Prystaiko said at a conference in London.

“The key to our neighbors in Turkey is the Black Sea region,” he added.

He said that while NATO is focused on northern Europe and the Baltic countries, Ukraine protects NATO’s eastern border.

Prystaiko added that Ukraine and Georgia were not invited to join NATO, which led Russia to first attack Georgia and then Ukraine.

NATO and Moscow remain divided over a number of issues, including separatists along Ukraine’s border with Russia, the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and Russian interference in Western elections.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar


Amid heavy rain, late goal gives Trabzonspor 2-1 win

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) – Trabzonspor edged out Caykur Rizespor 2-1 in a Turkish Super Lig week seven match as heavy rain hit Sunday's Black Sea derby.

A long-range missile from Dario Melnjak, home team Caykur Rizespor's Croatian defender, beat Trabzonspor goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir as Rizespor took the lead in the 23rd minute.

Trabzonspor came back near the end of the match as Norwegian forward Alexander Sorloth netted the equalizer by header in the 73rd minute and Nigerian forward Anthony Nwakaeme scored the match's winning goal in the 90th minute.

Amid heavy rain on the pitch in Rize, players from both sides struggled with the elements.

Sections of the pitch were riddled with puddles as players struggled to control the ball.

– Sunday's results:

DG Sivasspor – MKE Ankaragucu: 3-1

Besiktas – Aytemiz Alanyaspor: 2-0

Caykur Rizespor – Trabzonspor: 1-2

Gaziantep FK – Medipol Basaksehir: 1-2

– League table:

Teams P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1. AYTEMIZ ALANYASPOR 7 4 2 1 13 8 5 14
2. DEMIR GRUP SIVASSPOR 7 3 3 1 12 7 5 12
3. TRABZONSPOR 7 3 3 1 13 9 4 12
4. ITTIFAK HOLDING KONYASPOR 7 3 3 1 10 6 4 12
5. FENERBAHCE 7 3 2 2 11 7 4 11
6. MEDIPOL BASAKSEHIR 7 3 2 2 12 9 3 11
7. ANTALYASPOR 7 3 2 2 9 9 0 11
8. GAZIANTEP FUTBOL KULUBU 7 3 2 2 12 13 -1 11
9. BTCTURK YENI MALATYASPOR 7 3 1 3 16 10 6 10
10. GALATASARAY 7 2 4 1 6 6 0 10
11. GOZTEPE 7 2 3 2 6 5 1 9
12. BESIKTAS 7 2 2 3 10 12 -2 8
13. YUKATEL DENIZLISPOR 7 2 2 3 6 8 -2 8
14. CAYKUR RIZESPOR 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 8
15. MKE ANKARAGUCU 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 8
16. KASIMPASA 7 2 1 4 7 11 -4 7
17. GENCLERBİRLIGI 7 0 3 4 6 12 -6 3

Alaturka Gazetesi

Russia’s military build-up in Black Sea concerns NATO

By Davit Kachkachishvili

BATUMI, Georgia (AA) – NATO is concerned by Russia’s military build-up in the Black Sea region, said the deputy secretary general of the bloc on Thursday.

“We are concerned by Russia’s military build-up in the Black Sea region. That is why we are strengthening the cooperation between Georgia’s and NATO’s naval forces”, Rose Gottemoeller told a joint news conference alongside Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia in Batumi, Georgia.

Gottemoeller said that NATO deeply appreciates the contributions of Georgia to the Euro-Atlantic security.

She added that Georgia is “one of NATO’s closest operational partners.”

Referring to the two-day visit of North Atlantic Council to Georgia, Gottemoeller said this visit was “an occasion to celebrate five years of the Substantial NATO-Georgia package – the cornerstone of our support to the reform of Georgia’s security and defense sectors, and Georgia’s preparations for NATO membership.”

“Today, allies restated their full support for Georgia’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. We call on Russia to end its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And to withdraw its forces from these regions of Georgia,” said Gottemoeller.

Gakharia, on his part, said that a secured Euro-Atlantic space is less imaginable without the security of the Black Sea.

He also added that the integration of Georgia to NATO contributed to the regional and global security.

He stated that Georgia’s cooperation with NATO “is the foundation of Georgia’s foreign policy and its security.”

*With writing and contribution by Gozde Bayar in Ankara

Alaturka Gazetesi

Rare basalt columns become tourist hub in Turkey

By Selim Bostanci

BARTIN, Turkey (AA) – Millions of years old rare basalt columns in northern Turkey is among the most popular tourist destinations of the culturally-rich country since it opened to visitors last year.

Along the Guzelcehisar beach in Bartin province on the Black Sea coast, the columns were formed when lava flowed from volcanos and crystalized as it cooled, creating a stunning landscape with geometric shapes.

The 80-million-year-old site attracted some 200,000 visitors this year, mostly including Arabs, British and Germans as well as domestic tourists, according to Fuat Dursun, the provincial director of culture and tourism.

Guzelcehisar, which has a one-kilometer-long beach, is a unique place with its sea, green areas and sunset, Dursun told Anadolu Agency.

Mentioning their biggest aim as carrying Guzelcehisar basalt columns to the international platform, Dursun said that the columns differentiates from others in the world for the direction of the formation.

“Basalt columns in the world are horizontal but columns here are both horizontal and vertical,” Dursun highlighted.

“The cooling and crystallization of the lava flowing from the volcanoes formed of rectangular, pentagonal and hexagonal-shaped columns that are between 50 and 100 centimeters [reaching 40 inches] in diameter and 100 meters [328 feet] in height,” he said, adding that they wanted the world to see this beauty.

On the project realized last year for the promotion of the site, Dursun said the basalt columns were made more available for visiting.

“For a better view of the basalt columns, we have built a pier on the sea, walking platform on the island and a viewing terrace under a project carried out with Bartin University,” he said.

A 850-meter-long (2,788 feet) and 3-meter-wide (10 feet) wooden walking trail was also built, Dursun added.

He added that they aim for around 400,000 visitors after the other phases of the project are completed.

Alptekin Yilmaz, one of the visitors, said that he was excited to see basalt columns in Turkey which is a very rare natural phenomenon.

“Here is so good as nature. We come here to rest whenever we find a chance,” Yilmaz said.

He also noted that they host Latvian tourists as part of a project and they are fascinated by the scenery.

Basalt columns are seen in Northern Ireland, Scotland and California in the world, while they are only seen in Bartin in Turkey.

The area was designated as a natural monument by the Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Ministry in 2017.

*Writing by Sena Guler


Russia, Turkey hold joint naval drill in Black Sea

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Russian and Turkish naval forces held a joint maneuver in the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry reported Friday.

Russian patrol ship “Vasily Bykov ” and sea trawler “Valentin Pikul “, and Turkish navy corvette “Burgazada ” and minesweeper “Akcay ” took part in the drill conducted near the port of Novorossiysk, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement said the two countries' forces worked together to simulate safe navigation of vessels out of a naval minefield.

The drill was part of Turkey's national naval war games “Blue Motherland-2019 “.


Turkey seeks 'stability' in Black Sea, not tensions

By Tugcenur Yilmaz</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) – Turkey seeks &quot;peace and stability&quot; in the Black Sea region, not tensions, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Friday.</p> <p>&quot;We do not want the Black Sea to be a sea of tensions. On the contrary, we want a sea of peace and stability,&quot; Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in the Ukrainian city of Odessa.</p> <p>Cavusoglu was visiting Odessa to attend the seventh meeting of the joint strategic planning group functioning under the Turkey-Ukraine High Level Strategic Council.</p> <p>Touching on the security of the Black Sea region, Cavusoglu said Turkey is a NATO member which supports and contributes to the bloc’s decisions.</p> <p>On last year’s crisis between Ukraine and Russia around the Sea of Azov, next to Crimea, he said Turkey has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, so Ukraine and the rest of the world have expectations of Turkey.</p> <p>Last November, Russia seized two Ukrainian navy ships and a tugboat along with 24 crew members off Crimea, accusing the vessels of entering its waters and provoking conflict.

Ukraine accused Russian warships of opening fire on the ships, wounding their crew members.

Additionally, Cavusoglu repeated Turkey's support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its borders.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.

Ukraine has also blamed Russia for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.

– Crimean Tatars

Turkey and Ukraine will continue to defend the rights of Crimean Tatars, Cavusoglu said.

He underlined that Turkey will continue its efforts to bring detained Crimean Tatars from Russia back to Ukraine.

There are some 280,000 Tatars — a Turkic ethnic group — living in Crimea, or nearly 13 percent of the peninsula’s total population, according to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.


UPDATE – Turkey finds 2 bodies after ship sinks off Black Sea


By Ilyas Gun, Mustafa Cavus and Dilek Sezen

SAMSUN, Turkey (AA) – Coast guard units have found two more bodies of crew members after a Panama-flagged cargo vessel sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast, the local governorship said on Tuesday.

Samsun province's governor office said in a statement rescue boats will continue search operations for two other bodies.

The search operation was being aided by two boats and a helicopter, it added.

The bodies of Azerbaijani captain Ismyilov Turbat and Ukrainian third mate Bodnik Ruslan, 31, were recovered on Monday.

Samsun Governor Osman Kaymak on Monday told reporters that six sailors died and seven others were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard after the vessel went down some 80 nautical miles off the northern Samsun province.

Eleven crew members were Ukrainian nationals and two Azerbaijani, he added.

One rescued sailor said an unexpected wave had taken away the ship's bow, Kaymak said.

The vessel contained 3,300 tons of coal.

The ship built in 1978 is 11,387 meters long and 1,323 meters wide.


UPDATE 3 – 6 die as cargo ship sinks off Turkey’s Black Sea coast

UPDATES WITH DEATH TOLL BY OFFICIAL STATEMENT</p> <p>By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet and Muhammed Boztepe</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) – At least six seamen were killed when a Panama-flagged cargo vessel sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast on Monday, officials said.</p> <p>Samsun Governor Osman Kaymak told reporters that six sailors were killed and seven others were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard after the vessel went down some 77 nautical miles off northern Samsun province. </p> <p>A 13-strong crew was aboard the vessel that was reportedly carrying coal before it sent a distress call and eventually broke into two, according to the Samsun governor’s office. </p> <p>Search and rescue efforts were underway with four helicopters, one plane, two Coast Guard boats, one rescue ship, and one towing boat, the statement added.</p> <p>It wasn't immediately clear why the ship sank.

  • Ilyas Gun and Recep Bilek in Samsun contributed to this report

Turkey exports 118,335 tons of hazelnut in 4 months

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's hazelnut exports totaled 118,335 tons in September-December 2018, a trade group announced on Friday.

The Black Sea Hazelnut and Products Exporters' Union (KFMIB) reported that Turkey earned $657.6 million from hazelnut exports during the first four months of the season.

With 76.7 percent of total exports, the EU was the top market for Turkey's hazelnut exports.

The union figures showed that 41.7 percent of the country's hazelnut exports were processed products worth $278.8 million, while the rest were raw hazelnuts.

Turkey — the world's largest hazelnut exporter — earned $1.78 billion with nearly 287,000 tons of hazelnut exports last season, from September 2017 to the end of August 2018.


26,500+ irregular migrants held in Turkish seas in 2018

By Ramazan Ercan

IZMIR (AA) – Turkish security forces held 26,678 irregular migrants seeking safety in Europe in the seas surrounding the country in 2018, according to security sources.

Sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said the number of migrants held at sea increased 21.6 percent compared with 2017.

At least 96 migrants died of drowning or hypothermia in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black seas in 2018 — 65 of whom died on the Aegean sea. This is an increase from the total 56 migrants who died of drowning or hypothermia in 2017.

Additionally, 87 people were arrested for alleged human smuggling.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee from civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries with hopes of reaching Europe.

While some are able to make the perilous journey over land or sea via human smugglers, many are held by security forces before crossing the border to Europe.

There were 25,398 migrants rounded up in the Aegean Sea in 2018, which is 95 percent of the total migrants who came by sea last year.

Number of irregular migrants by month (2018)
January 1,640
February 1,363
March 1,849
April 2,534
May 3,398
June 1,925
July 2,433
August 1,523
September 3,019
October 3,227
November 1,187
December 2,580
Total 26,678