Turkish, Russian foreign ministers discuss Syria

                 By Muhammed Ikbal Arslan</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish and Russian foreign ministers discussed Syria via telephone Wednesday, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

Mevlut Cavusoglu offered his condolences to Sergey Lavrov for a deadly plane crash Monday when a Superjet-100 plane with 78 people on-board, traveling from Moscow to Murmansk, caught fire soon after take-off and asked for an emergency landing.

At least 41 people were killed.

*Writing by Burak Bir

Turkey calls on France to review its stance on PYD/YPG

             By Sena Guler</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday called on France to “review its stance” on the PYD/YPG -- Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group.</p>    <p>“On the #Syria issue, France must review its stance regarding PYD/YPG, offshoot of the terrorist organization PKK in Syria,” Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter, following a meeting with Charles Fries, French ambassador in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.</p>    <p>Cavusoglu also said that Turkey attaches importance to relations with France. </p>    <p>“[We are] Pleased to see commercial&amp;economic relations expand,” he said.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The PYD/YPG is its Syrian branch.

Turkey slams West for double standard on Istanbul polls

             By Can Erozden</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey slammed the West on Tuesday over its double standards in response to a do-over decision on Istanbul mayoral election.</p>  <p>Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who addressed at a joint news conference alongside his Kyrgyz counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov, said there were some do-over elections in the world history, exampling the 2016 Austrian presidential election.</p>  <p>&quot;In 2016, the presidential election in Austria was cancelled and held again. Why was it cancelled? Once you look at its reason, it was quite similar to Istanbul polls [issues] as unauthorized persons counted the votes in ballot boxes,&quot; Cavusoglu said in  Ankara.

"Turkish law obviously says that people assigned at the balloting committee should be civil servants," said Cavusoglu, adding that unauthorized people were charged at ballot boxes and counted the Istanbul ballots in the March 31 local polls.

On Monday, Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced that a do-over election in Istanbul will be held on June 23.

His remarks came after an international outcry against the the top electoral body's decision as the EU criticized Turkey over the do-over of mayoral election.

"When the elections were held in Austria again with the same purposes, they would be democratic and transparent. Everyone respects the Austrian ruling about its do-over elections. But when the YSK in Turkey, a high judicial body, took a decision on the same grounds, it would be called unlawful and anti-democratic(?)," he said.

Turkey doesn't give credit to this kind of “double standards and impositions”, Cavusoglu added.

In addition, Cavusoglu said that Turkey cares about EU officials' remarks about Istanbul polls as they wish "free, fair and transparent election process".

He added that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party wants the same, and that is why it appealed against the the March 31 election results.

"Ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process is essential to any democracy and is at the heart of the European Union's relations with Turkey," EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The Turkish Supreme Election Council decided to re-run elections in Istanbul following extraordinary appeals which contested the initially certified outcome of these elections. The justification for this far-reaching decision, taken in a highly politicized context, should be made available for public scrutiny without delay," the joint statement read, adding that Istanbul election boards can do their works in independent, open and transparent ways.

The YSK accepted the AK Party's objection to the local election results in Istanbul with seven votes in favor and four against.

The mayoral certificate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party's (CHP) Ekrem Imamoglu was also cancelled by the YSK.

Imamoglu took oath as mayor of Istanbul last month, amid AK Party's agitation over voting irregularities.

The YSK said the decision was based on the fact that some ballot committee members presiding over ballot boxes in the province during at the elections were not civil servants as required by law.

Tarihçi yazar Kadir Mısıroğlu'nun vefatı

ANKARA (AA) – Adalet Bakanı Abdulhamit Gül, Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Hazine ve Maliye Bakanı Berat Albayrak ve Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sözcüsü İbrahim Kalın, tarihçi yazar Kadir Mısıroğlu'nun vefatı dolayısıyla sosyal medya hesaplarından taziye mesajı yayımladı.

Adalet Bakanı Abdulhamit Gül, Twitter hesabından yaptığı paylaşımda, "Tarihçi yazar Kadir Mısıroğlu'na Allah'tan rahmet, ailesine ve yakınlarına başsağlığı diliyorum. Mekanı cennet olsun." ifadelerini kullandı.

Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, "Değerli tarihçi ve yazar Kadir Mısıroğlu'na Allah'tan rahmet, ailesine ve bütün sevenlerine başsağlığı diliyorum." ifadelerine yer verdi.

Hazine ve Maliye Bakanı Berat Albayrak da "Ülkemizin yetiştirdiği önemli tarihçilerden, güzel insan, baba dostu Kadir Mısıroğlu Hakk'ın rahmetine kavuştu. Rabbim mekanını cennet, yakınlarına sabrı cemil ihsan eylesin. Tüm sevenlerinin başı sağ olsun." paylaşımında bulundu.

Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sözcüsü İbrahim Kalın ise "Dâr-ı bekâya irtihal eyleyen Kadir Mısıroğlu'na Allah'tan rahmet, yakınlarına başsağlığı diliyorum." ifadesini kullandı.

UPDATE 2 – Turkey condemns Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office

UPDATES WITH MORE CONDEMNATIONS

By Mustafa Deveci, Ayse Sumeyra Aydogdu and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

JERUSALEM (AA) – Turkish officials condemned Israeli warplanes hitting the building on Saturday where Anadolu Agency’s office is located.

<p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a phone call to Anadolu Agency’s Director General Senol Kazanci and wished for quick recovery.</p>    <p>“Targeting of @AnadoluAgency #Gaza office is new example of Israel’s unrestrained aggression,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter and added: “#Israeli violence against innocent people w/out distinction is a crime against humanity. Those who encourage Israel are also guilty. </p>    <p>“Will keep defending #Palestinian cause, even if alone.”</p>    <p>“We strongly condemn Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office in Gaza that intends to cover up its new crimes,” Turkey's Presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said on twitter.</p>    <p>“We condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms for targeting a building in the West Bank, in which the @anadoluagency office was located,” Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also said on Twitter.</p>    <p>“We urge all governments that claim to defend press freedom, including @USEmbassyTurkey, to join us in condemning the Israeli government,” Altun added.</p>    <p>“Israel's hitting Anadolu Agency's office [in Gaza] is an attempt to get rid of the witnesses, a preparation of massacres in Gaza,” Palestinian government said in a statement.

“The targeting of the Anadolu Agency office is the attempt to remove witnesses and prepare for the massacres of Israel against Gaza,” Ibrahim Melhem, spokesman for the Palestinian government told Anadolu Agency.

Turkish Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and ruling Justice Development (AK) Party's acting chairman Numan Kurtulmus also gave a phone call to Kazanci and wished for quick recovery.

AK Party spokesman Omer Celik also condemned the attack and said: ''Anadolu Agency has been the target of Netenyahu's brutal aggression because it has conveyed the biggest drama of humanity in the 21st century, the Israeli atrocities at every point in the Gaza / West Bank, and the cry of humanity that has been blockaded in Palestine.''

“The administration of Netanyahu once again showed that he was openly hostile to the freedom of the press and he was once again brutally buried to the memory of our nation with this last provocative initiative.”

International Media Information Association (UMED), a Turkey-based agency, also condemned the attack and said: “We expect the international community to adopt a common attitude towards Israel which does not hesitate to target even journalists who are under the rule of international law and do their duty.”

Israeli warplanes hit the building with at least 5 rockets after warning shots, Anadolu Agency’s correspondent in Jerusalem reported.

No injuries or death were reported.

The strikes occurred following reports that two Israeli soldiers had been injured by gunfire near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Friday.

At least two Palestinians were killed when Israeli warplanes struck Hamas positions in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

UPDATE – Turkey condemns Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office

CHANGES TITLE, SPOT, LEDE; UPDATES WITH MORE CONDEMNATIONS

By Mustafa Deveci, Ayse Sumeyra Aydogdu and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

JERUSALEM (AA) – Turkish officials condemned Israeli warplanes hitting the building on Saturday where Anadolu Agency’s office is located.

<p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a phone call to Anadolu Agency’s Director General Senol Kazanci and wished for quick recovery.</p>    <p>“Targeting of @AnadoluAgency #Gaza office is new example of Israel’s unrestrained aggression,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter and added: “#Israeli violence against innocent people w/out distinction is a crime against humanity. Those who encourage Israel are also guilty. </p>    <p>“Will keep defending #Palestinian cause, even if alone.”</p>    <p>“We strongly condemn Israeli attack on Anadolu Agency office in Gaza that intends to cover up its new crimes,” Turkey's Presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said on twitter.</p>    <p>“We condemn Israel in the strongest possible terms for targeting a building in the West Bank, in which the @anadoluagency office was located,” Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also said on Twitter.</p>    <p>“We urge all governments that claim to defend press freedom, including @USEmbassyTurkey, to join us in condemning the Israeli government,” Altun added.</p>    <p>“Israel's hitting Anadolu Agency's office [in Gaza] is an attempt to get rid of the witnesses, a preparation of massacres in Gaza,” Palestinian government said in a statement.</p>    <p>Turkish Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and AK Party's acting chairman Numan Kurtulmus also gave a phone call to Kazanci and wished for quick recovery.</p>    <p>International Media Information Association (UMED), a Turkey-based agency, also condemned the attack and said: “We expect the international community to adopt a common attitude towards Israel which does not hesitate to target even journalists who are under the rule of international law and do their duty.”</p>    <p>Israeli warplanes hit the building with at least 5 rockets after warning shots, Anadolu Agency’s correspondent in Jerusalem reported.</p>    <p>No injuries or death were reported.</p>    <p>The strikes occurred following reports that two Israeli soldiers had been injured by gunfire near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on Friday.</p>    <p>At least two Palestinians were killed when Israeli warplanes struck Hamas positions in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“AA'nın hedef alınması İsrail saldırganlığının yeni göstergesi”

ANKARA (AA) – Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, İsrail ordusunun Gazze'deki Anadolu Ajansı (AA) ofisinin de bulunduğu binayı vurmasının "İsrail saldırganlığının yeni göstergesi" olduğunu belirterek, "İsral'in uyguladığı şiddet, insanlığa karşı suçtur." ifadelerini kullandı.

Çavuşoğlu, Twitter hesabından yaptığı paylaşımda, İsrail ordusunun Gazze'deki Anadolu Ajansı ofisinin de bulunduğu binayı hedef almasına tepki gösterdi.

Bakan Çavuşoğlu, paylaşımında, "Gazze'deki Anadolu Ajansı binasının hedef alınması İsrail saldırganlığının yeni göstergesi. İsrail'in uyguladığı şiddet, insanlığa karşı suçtur. Bu saldırıdan İsrail kadar onu cesaretlendirenler de sorumludur. Dünyada tek kalsak bile Filistin davasını sonuna kadar savunacağız." değerlendirmesinde bulundu.

  • İsrail, AA ofisinin olduğu binayı vurdu

İsrail ordusu, bugün abluka altındaki Gazze Şeridi'ndeki Anadolu Ajansı ofisinin de bulunduğu binaya hava saldırısı düzenledi. İsrail savaş uçaklarının en az 5 roketle düzenlediği saldırı sonucu bina tamamen yıkıldı.

AA çalışanlarının durumunun iyi olduğu bildirilirken, saldırıda herhangi bir can kaybı olup olmadığına dair henüz kesin bilgiye ise ulaşılamadı.

​İsrail ordusu, Gazze'den atılan roketleri gerekçe göstererek bugün öğleden sonra bölgeye hava saldırıları başlatmıştı.

Turkey rejects EU statement on drilling in Eastern Med

             By Vakkas Dogantekin</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Saturday rejected an EU statement on its plan to do hydrocarbon drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean. </p>  <p>&quot;We reject the statement made today by Ms. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, regarding our hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean,&quot; said a Foreign Ministry statement.</p>  <p>As the country with the longest coastline in the region, Turkey is determined to protect its &quot;own rights and interests within our continental shelf&quot; as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots on the island of Cyprus, said the statement.</p>  <p>Turkey also said its hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are based on its legitimate rights under international law.  </p>  <p>&quot;To date Turkey has not refrained from taking necessary steps in this context, and will not do so in the future,&quot; the statement added.</p>  <p>It explained: &quot;In fact, it is the Greek Cypriot administration which has not abstained from irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, by disregarding the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the co-owners of the Cyprus Island, over the natural resources.&quot;<br>  

The ministry accused the Greek Cypriot administration of "refusing every proposal of cooperation and insisting on its unilateral activities in the region despite all our warnings."

On Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement: "We express grave concern over Turkey's announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus.”

Turkey’s statement also urged that all actors outside the region "acknowledge the fact that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus cannot be excluded from the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and they should stop providing unconditional support to the Greek Cypriot administration."

"Furthermore, those who have not taken any steps towards the resolution of this issue for years do not have the right to give advice to us," the statement concluded.

Turkey blames Greek Cypriot intransigence for the failure of peace talks, also faulting the European Union for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004 after Greek Cypriot voters rejected a UN-brokered peace deal.

Turkish Cypriot leader, Turkish foreign minister meet

             By Muhammet Ikbal Arslan</p>  <p>LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci on Saturday received Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister. </p>  <p>&quot;As a guarantor country [for Cyprus], we are committed to protecting all the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots,&quot; Cavusoglu said on Twitter.</p>  <p>Delegations from both sides were also present at the closed-door meeting in the Turkish Cypriot capital Lefkosa, which lasted about 45 minutes.</p>  <p>In 1974, after a coup was launched aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.</p>  <p>The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all of which ended in failure. The latest attempt, in which guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. took part, ended in 2017 in Switzerland.</p>  <p>In 2004, a plan by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in dual referendums held on both sides of the island.</p>  <p>Talks have focused on a federal model based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots’ rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.</p>  <p>In a recent report, current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said &quot;new ideas&quot; may be needed for a settlement on the island.</p>  <p>* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur 

Kyrgyz foreign minister due in Turkey on Sunday

By Sena Guler

ANKARA (AA) – Kyrgyzstan’s top diplomat will pay a four-day visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

Chingiz Aidarbekov is due in Turkey on Sunday.

Cavusoglu and Aidarbekov will hold the third meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Group, the ministry said in a statement.

"During the meetings, bilateral relations between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan and regional developments will be discussed," it added.