UPDATE – Turkey calls to stop 'Islamophobic fascist terrorism'

             UPDATES WITH CONDEMNATION BY TURKEY'S PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR</p>    <p>By Jeyhun Aliyev</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Friday urged the world to stop the &quot;Islamophobic fascist terrorism&quot; after the armed attack at two mosques in New Zealand.</p>    <p>&quot;Attack on two mosques in New Zealand shows the point where Islamopfobia, Muslim hostility reached,&quot; Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey’s presidential spokesman, said on Twitter.</p>    <p>His remarks came after twin mosque attacks in Christchurch which claimed at least 40 lives, according to New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.</p>    <p>Kalin strongly condemned &quot;the fascist terrorist attack&quot; and wished God's mercy on those killed.</p>    <p>&quot;This cowardly act shows how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred leads to murderous acts. The world must break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.</p>    <p>&quot;We have seen many times that Islamophobic rhetoric against Islam and Muslims have turned into a perverse and murderous ideology,&quot; Kalin said.</p>    <p>So far, four people have been taken into custody regarding the incident, according to New Zealand police.</p>    <p>Meanwhile, Fahrettin Altun, Turkey's presidential communications director, also condemned the armed attack on Twitter.</p>    <p>&quot;I condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s terror attack in #Christchurch,&quot; Altun said.</p>    <p>He also said that his thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones.</p>    <p>&quot;This is a reminder that a house divided cannot stand: it is time to unite against all forms of terrorism,&quot; Altun urged.

Turkey calls to stop 'Islamophobic fascist terrorism'

             By Jeyhun Aliyev</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Friday urged the world to stop the &quot;Islamophobic fascist terrorism&quot; after the armed attack at two mosques in New Zealand.</p>    <p>&quot;Attack on two mosques in New Zealand shows the point where Islamopfobia, Muslim hostility reached,&quot; Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey’s presidential spokesman, said on Twitter.</p>    <p>Kalin's remarks came after attacks in two mosques in Christchurch where at least nine people were reportedly killed. </p>  <p>He strongly condemned &quot;the fascist terrorist attack&quot; and wished God's mercy on those killed.

"This cowardly act shows how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred leads to murderous acts.
The world must break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.

"We have seen many times that Islamophobic rhetoric against Islam and Muslims have turned into a perverse and murderous ideology," Kalin said.

New Zealand police confirmed that there have been a number of fatalities.

"So far, four people, three men and a woman, have been taken into custody after being apprehended by Police,” police said on Twitter.

Turkey could buy US-made defense systems as well: Aide

By Ilkay Guder

ANKARA (AA) – In addition to the Russian S-400 system it has committed to buy, Turkey could also buy U.S. Patriot missiles if it got a good offer, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said Thursday.

"Turkey could buy Patriot missiles. Turkey doesn't have to fulfill its needs from a single source, as Turkey is a big country," Ibrahim Kalin said at a forum on Turkish-Russian relations in the capital Ankara.

"If there was a good offer, Turkey would seriously evaluate buying [Patriots] as well as a possible joint production and technology transfer," he added.

Earlier this month Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey will benefit from Russian-made S-400 air defense systems set to be delivered next year.

On the S-400 purchase, Akar previously said the system was being bought “to meet our urgent air defense system needs as soon as possible."

– First S-400 systems set for delivery late 2019

Kalin stated that Turkey’s EU accession negotiations and being a strategic partner of the U.S. does not mean it cannot also have good relations with Russia.

He said that Turkey has long been talking with the U.S. about buying Patriot missiles.

"A bid was held for defense missile systems and Russia made the best offer, so an agreement was reached on the S-400s," Kalin said, adding that the first delivery is expected in October or November 2019.

"In the second phase, Turkey and Russia will start doing joint production of the S-400 systems," he said.

Kalin also said the Russians are closely cooperating with Turkey on the S-400 systems but that the U.S. has not offered this for the Patriots.

The U.S. has expressed opposition to the S-400 purchase, and in June the U.S. Senate passed a bill prohibiting sales to Turkey of U.S. F-35 jets, despite a signed contract between the two countries.

UPDATE – Turkey: US disregard of legal process ‘unacceptable’

ADDS MORE QUOTES FROM KALIN

By Nilay Kar Onum and Faruk Zorlu

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey's presidential spokesman has blasted Washington for disregarding the legal process in the case of an American pastor facing terrorism-related charges.

In a written statement to Reuters late Wednesday, Ibrahim Kalin said: “There is the rule of law in Turkey, and the Andrew Brunson case is a legal issue. There is an ongoing legal process related to this individual.

“It goes without saying that we find unacceptable the disregard of the legal process by the United States, which has been making certain demands.”

Someone being a priest or a clergyman is not enough to make a person innocent, Kalin said.

"The judiciary is the decision-maker, and everybody, including the U.S., has to respect the decision of the Turkish judiciary. Just as it has so far, this rule will continue to hold."

His remarks came after U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier told Reuters that Turkey made a “big mistake” in not releasing Brunson.

Turkey and the U.S. are facing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on two Cabinet ministers for not releasing pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

On Aug. 10, U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

In retaliation, Turkey raised tariffs on several U.S.-origin products, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars.

– Halkbank case result of 'FETO plot'

Moving to another thorn in Turkish-U.S. ties, Kalin said that everybody knows that Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a former executive at Turkish state-owned lender Halkbank, was unjustly imprisoned by the U.S. as the result of a “plot” by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

Atilla was sentenced this May to 32 months in prison for violating the sanctions on Iran.

“It is unacceptable that certain baseless and false allegations are made against Halkbank to weaken this public bank,” Kalin said.

“It seems that the purpose of those steps is to discredit respectable institutions and persons and to punish them unjustly rather than discover the truth," he said, adding that Turkey is "extremely disturbed by this process.”

– Bolton’s ‘desperate’ remarks

Bolton had said that he was skeptical of Qatar’s pledge last week of $15 billion in investment support for Turkey, claiming this is “utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy.”

His remarks on Turkey’s economic condition and Qatar’s investment plans point to a “more desperate situation,” Kalin said.

“His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war.”

Kalin also mentioned that the current U.S. administration has similar disputes with Mexico, Canada, Cuba, China, Russia, Iran, the EU, and Germany.

“The Trump administration has … established that it intends to use trade, tariffs, and sanctions to start a global trade war,” he said.

“So, there is a global problem. The problem between Turkey and the U.S. have appeared as part of the problems that the Trump administration has with the world,” Kalin added.

“Such political, judicial and economic attitudes are at odds with the soul of the alliance. These are also against NATO’s fundamental rules.”

– 'Turkey will not be silent'

“Turkey has no intention of starting an economic war with any party. It cannot, however, be expected to keep silent in the face of attacks on its economy and judiciary,” he said.

Ankara will work with the rest of the world against “restrictive and punitive” approaches and protect the nation's interests in all areas, he added.

Kalin welcomed recent statements supporting Turkey, saying that they show Turkey is on the right path.

“Qatar’s pledge of $15 billions in investment in Turkey relieved the markets. We appreciate Qatar’s attitude. From now on Turkish-Qatari relations will continue to strengthen at all levels,” he said.

Stressing the importance of statements by Germany, France, Italy, Russia, China, and Iran in support of Turkey, Kalin praised the steps fighting back the attacks on the Turkish currency as effective.

The Treasury and Finance Ministry and related institutions will continue to take measures to help the economy, he added.

Turkish economic structure solid: Presidential aide

By Jeyhun Aliyev

ANKARA (AA) – Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Monday said the government is taking necessary steps for stability in the country urging people not to pay heed to speculations about Turkish economy.

"Turkish economy's structure is solid, nobody should trust speculative news and actions," he wrote on his official Twitter account.

Kalin added that Turkey's Treasury and Finance Ministry, the Central Bank, the Banking Regulatory and Supervision Agency, the Capital Markets Board and other institutions are taking steps for financial stability.

"Turkey will come out stronger from this process," Kalin added.

His remarks came after Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by raising U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

US runs risk of losing Turkey as a whole: Erdogan aide

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Threats and sanctions against Turkey will not work, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Saturday.

"The U.S. runs the risk of losing Turkey as a whole. The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands.

"Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work. It will only increase Turkey's resolve. But it will also further isolate the U.S. in both Turkey and on the international scene," Kalin wrote in his weekly column in the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper.

Kalin's remarks came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Kalin said the Trump administration was involved in disputes with Canada, Mexico, Cuba, China, Russia, NATO, Germany and other countries mostly for domestic reasons.

"This has only damaged the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable partner and ally. The perception is not any different in Turkey," he added.

Kalin went on saying that the crisis with the Trump administration over a pastor and the fluctuations in the currency market will not diminish Turkey's resolve.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

"It is also a fact that the Turkish lira losing value against the U.S. dollar is a challenge. But it is a challenge Turkey is ready to confront. The issue, however, is larger than just a currency war," Kalin said.

He added that Turkey's efforts to solve the Brunson issue through diplomatic channels have been rejected by the U.S. side.

"Turkey's good intentions and result-oriented approaches have been sidelined by the ideological attitudes and the 'my way or the high way' approach of the Trump White House," he said.

The spokesman also said Turkey's security concerns, with regards to U.S. engagement with the PKK's Syria branch — the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) — and the presence of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) network in the U.S., were not taken seriously by its NATO ally.

"Neither the fight against Daesh nor the U.S. system can be an excuse to justify policies and attitudes that hurt Turkey's national security interests and harm Turkish-U.S. relations," Kalin added.

He added Turkey will not give in to threats, pressures, sanctions or financial operations against its currency and financial markets and will not put others' demands over its own security demands.

Kalin said Turkey has stood by its NATO allies against all forms of terrorism and cooperated with them to eliminate terrorist threats against their countries.

"Having seen military coups, terrorist attacks, and financial operations, Turkey has only strengthened its resolve and resilience. No threats or attacks will change that," he added.

Turkey is not without alternatives: Presidential aide

By Kubra Chohan

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey is not a country that can be easily dispensed with, said the Turkish presidential spokesman on Tuesday.

“Everyone should know. It may be the [F-35 fighter jets] or other issues. Turkey is not without alternatives,” said Ibrahim Kalin, responding to U.S. threats to impose sanctions or halt weapons sales to Turkey.

“The U.S. using threatening language, using an ongoing legal issue as an excuse is unacceptable,” Kalin told reporters at the presidential complex.

Turkish-U.S. relations soured after President Donald Trump threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey over American Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, who was arrested in December 2016 on terrorism-related charges.



His charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.



The U.S. Congress has also tried to halt the sales of F-35 jets, citing the arrests of U.S. citizens in Turkey and Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

Pointing out that both sides signed contracts for the sale, Ankara has responded that even if the F-35 sale were cancelled, Turkey has other alternatives.

Kalin also said that Turkey is not expecting the recent tensions to have a negative effect on the roadmap between the two countries for the northern Syrian city of Manbij, and that they have not.

“The Manbij plan continues to be implemented as designed. It has a certain calendar and elements. These are being carried out step by step,” he added.

UPDATE 2 – Malaysia: Former deputy PM freed

ADDS US REACTION

By Muhammad Latief

JAKARTA (AA) – Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison early Wednesday after receiving a full pardon, according to a palace statement.

A jubilant Anwar walked out of Cheras Detention Center in Kuala Lumpur after the Malaysian king extended a royal pardon and cleared him of all allegations that initially landed him in jail, said his lawyer, Sivarasa Rasiah.

"The pardon also allows Anwar to return to politics," Rasiah added.

Anwar, 70, who was once current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's former deputy, was found guilty of sodomy in February 2015 and sentenced to five years behind bars.

His release marks the first major success of the newly elected Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Mahathir, 92, has promised to hand over the premiership to Anwar within a year or two.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman welcomed Anwar’s release.

In a post on Twitter, Ibrahim Kalin said: “Justice at last! Welcome brother @anwaribrahim What a wonderful comeback. We look forward to working with you and @chedetofficial [Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad] to further strengthen relations between Turkey and Malaysia.”

The U.S. State Department also welcomed Ibrahim's release, saying in a statement that his conviction and imprisonment "raised serious concerns about the rule of law in Malaysia".

"We are glad that he has been reunited with his family," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the new government in Malaysia to further strengthen the U.S.-Malaysia Comprehensive Partnership."

*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington

UPDATE – Malaysia: Former deputy PM freed

ADDS TURKEY'S REACTION

By Muhammad Latief

JAKARTA (AA) – Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has just been released from prison on Wednesday after receiving a full pardon, according to a palace statement.

Anwar, who was once current Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad's former deputy, was jailed for sodomy four years ago.

A jubilant Anwar walked out of Cheras Detention Center in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

His lawyer, Sivarasa Rasiah, said the Malaysian king had extended a royal pardon to Anwar and cleared him of all allegations that initially put him in jail.

"The pardon also allows Anwar to return to politics," added Rasiah.

In February 2015, Anwar, 70, was found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to five years behind bars.

His release marks the first big success of the newly elected Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Mahathir, 92, has promised to hand over the premiership to Anwar within a year or two.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman welcomed the release of Anwar, saying “Justice at last!”.

In a tweet, Ibrahim Kalin said, “Welcome brother @anwaribrahim What a wonderful comeback. We look forward to working with you and @chedetofficial [Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad] to further strengthen relations between Turkey and Malaysia.”