INFOGRAPHIC – Turkey’s S-400 decision in 10 questions

            By Zuhal Demirci<br>

ANKARA (AA) – Following a negative response from the U.S. regarding the sale of its Patriot missile defense system, Turkey evaluated Russia’s offer and decided to purchase the S-400 air defense system.

Turkey began diversifying its air defense systems to protect its airspace from threats, especially after the spillover effects of the Syrian war, which has been taking place on Turkey's borders since 2011.

Turkey expects delivery of the Russian system by July 2019.

The following 10 questions summarize Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 air defense system:

1- Why is Turkey purchasing an air defense system?

In order to reinforce its air and missile defense systems against ballistic missile threats, Turkey requested cooperation from NATO.

Since 2013, NATO ally countries have deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey’s southern city of Adana and the SAMP-T air defense system in the southern province of Kahramanmaras.

But such a temporary solution would be inefficient to meet Turkey’s air defense requirements, so it began creating its own air defense systems to protect its airspace from threats.

The Syrian war unfolding on Turkey's borders since 2011 has increased Turkey’s national security needs.

2- Why does Turkey want to purchase the S-400 system?

Prioritizing airspace security, Turkey responded positively to Russia’s offer and purchased the S-400 air defense system.

By adding the S-400s to its military inventory, Turkey aims to protect its airspace from potential threats and heighten border security by modernizing its defense infrastructure.

3- What are the technical specifications of the S-400 system?

The S-400 air defense system was designed to destroy warplanes, command and control planes, scout planes, strategic and tactical aircraft, operational-tactical and mid-range ballistic missiles, hypersonic targets and other advanced airstrike vehicles.

The system, which is capable of engaging short-, medium- and long-range missiles simultaneously, can identify targets at a distance of up to 600 kilometers (373 miles) and intercept targets with velocities of up to 4.8 kilometers per second.

The system responds to the target in less than 10 seconds.

4- Why is Turkey purchasing the S-400 system instead of the Patriot system?

The U.S. administration is offering the Patriot system as an alternative to the S-400 air defense system.

Turkey negotiated the purchase of the Patriot system but backed down due to its high price and also especially after the U.S. refused to share the technical specifications of the system.

As Russia met Turkey’s expectations in terms of price, delivery, co-production and technology transfer, Ankara decided to purchase the S-400 air defense system.

5- Which other countries are interested in the S-400 system?

Russia sold the S-300 system to 20 countries, including NATO member countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia and Slovenia.

The first customers of the S-400 system were Belarus (2016) and China (2018). Besides Turkey, Russia has also agreed to sell the S-400 system to India and Saudi Arabia.

6- Where is Turkey in the process of purchasing the S-400 system?

According to an agreement signed in September 2017 with Russia, Turkey agreed to purchase two S-400 systems with a total of four batteries for $2.5 billion.

According to statements by Turkish authorities, the first delivery of the S-400 system is scheduled for July 2019.

7- Will there be preparations for the S-500 system after the S-400?

Russia continues to develop S-400-like systems. In this context, it is known that the S-400s will be followed by the mass production of the S-500, which is considered more advanced.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the green light on the S-500 and said "maybe after the S-400, we will look into the S-500 issue."

8- What do leaders think about the purchase of the S-400 system?

President Erdogan has underlined that there will be no turning back on the purchase of the S-400 system from Russia and called it a "done deal".

"We have made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it is out of question to take a step back. We will start joint production. Maybe after the S-400, we will continue with the S-500," he said.

Erdogan slammed those in the West who opposed Turkey's decision to purchase the S-400 system.

"Those who pressure us to cancel the S-400 deal: Why didn't you put the same pressure on other NATO countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia, which all have the S-300?" he said.

During his visit to Turkey last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated they decided to shorten the due date for the delivery of the S-400 system to Turkey.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a statement regarding Turkey's purchase of the S-400 system, said it is the national decisions of countries to develop their military capabilities and added that for NATO, the most important thing is that "the different systems can work together".

9- What is the U.S. reaction?

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Turkey will face consequences in the form of various sanctions if it goes ahead with the purchase of the S-400 system.

Deputy Spokesman Robert Palladino said the U.S. had not changed its position and voiced concern over Turkey's initiative to purchase the system from Russia.

Palladino added they have clearly informed Turkey about the difficulties it will face in purchasing U.S. weapons in the future, including F-35 fighter jets.

He also stated that all public or private companies involved in the purchase of the S-400 system could be subject to potential sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

10- What is CAATSA?

Signed into law on Aug. 2, 2017, CAATSA, among other things, imposed new sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea.

Turkey beats Slovenia in 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers

By Fatih Erel and Satuk Bugra Kutlugun

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey defeated Slovenia 77-58 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers match on Friday in the Turkish capital Ankara.

After a slow start in the first quarter (11-17) at Ankara Arena, Turkey managed to pick up their pace and got the lead after the first half with 34-26 score.

In the third quarter, the gap increased even more as Turkey easily cruised to victory, their nineth in Group I.

Bugrahan Tuncer scored 22 points, while Sinan Guler chipped in with 12 points in the win.

Turkey guaranteed to compete in the 2019 World Cup in China before the last two matches against Slovenia and Spain in FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

On Feb. 25, Turkey will face Spain in their last match in the group.

Turkey is at second place in Group I with 8 wins and 3 losses.

Slovenia has no chance to qualify as they are at the bottom of the group with 2 wins and 8 losses.

The top three teams from the groups will qualify for the FIBA Basketball 2019 World Cup to be held on Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.

Turkey to face Slovenia in FIBA World Cup qualifiers

By Fatih Erel

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey will play against Slovenia in FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers match on Friday.

The match will take place in Turkish capital Ankara on Friday at 7 p.m. local time (1600GMT).

Turkey guaranteed to qualify for 2019 World Cup in China before the last two matches against Slovenia and Spain in FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

On Feb. 25, Turkey will face Spain in their last match in the group.

Turkey guaranteed to finish the qualifying Group I in the third place at worse.

Turkey is at second place in Group I with 7 wins and 3 losses after Spain that recorded 8 wins and 2 losses.

Slovenia has no chance to qualify as they are at the bottom of the group with 2 wins and 8 losses.

The top three teams from the group will qualify for the FIBA Basketball 2019 World Cup to be held on Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.

Quarter of EU population has long-term disability

             By Gokhan Ergocun</p>    <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - Some 25 percent of all EU population has suffered long-term disabilities as of end of 2017, EU’s statistical office said on Monday</p>    <p>This population felt some or severe limitations in performing everyday activities for a period of six months or longer, according to Eurostat.</p>    <p>It said: &quot;Across the EU Member States in 2017, the lowest proportions of self-perceived long-standing disabilities were reported in Malta (12 percent) and Sweden (13), and the highest in Latvia (41), Slovenia (36) and Estonia (35).

Women with long-term disability represented 27 percent while 22 percent was for men in the year, according to Eurostat data.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been contributing to raise awareness of the disability since 1992.

The World Bank said that 1 billion people — 15 percent of the world's population — had disabilities in the world.

Poor nutrition, education and health care deficiency, unsafe working conditions, the environment pollution, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation are important causes of the disability, according to the World Bank.

"Disability may increase the risk of poverty, through lack of employment and education opportunities, lower wages, and increased cost of living with a disability," the bank said.

Slovenia appoints first female army chief

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Slovenia Tuesday appointed its first-ever female army chief, also the only woman in charge of a NATO country's military.

Maj. Gen. Alenka Ermenc, 55, will officially take the reins of the Slovenian Armed Forces from her predecessor Alan Geder in a ceremony on Wednesday.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor expressed his belief that Ermenc will help strengthen the nation’s military capabilities.

Ermenc last week was promoted to general, also the first Slovenian woman to reach that rank.

Ermenc has served in the army since 1991, the year Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia. She studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies and King’s College University, both in London.

EU: House prices up 4.3 pct in Q2

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – House prices in the European Union rose at an annual clip of 4.3 percent this April-June, the EU's statistical office said on Friday.

Eurostat said the House Price Index (HPI) value in the second quarter of this year was the same for both the euro area and the EU28.

The eurozone/euro area or EA19 represents member states that use the single currency — the euro — while the EU28 includes all member countries of the bloc.

Among all member countries, the highest annual increase in house prices was seen in Slovenia, up 13.4 percent, followed by Ireland, Portugal, and Hungary.

Eurostat noted that over the same period house prices fell in Sweden and Italy by 1.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

On a quarterly basis, house prices surged 1.4 percent in both the eurozone and the EU28 in the second quarter of 2018, the statistical office noted.

The HPI covers the price changes of all residential properties purchased by households — newly built and existing flats, detached houses, terraced houses, etc.

CORRECTS – Basketball: Turkey beat Slovenia in European qualifiers

CORRECTS 3RD PAR. TO MONTENEGRO DEFEATS UKRAINE 90-84

By Fatih Erel

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey defeated Slovenia 86-77 Monday in the second round of the 2019 FIBA European qualifier in Ljubljana.

Furkan Korkmaz was Turkey’s top scorer with 24 points, followed by Scottie Wilbekin with 22 points. Cedi Osman added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

In other matches in Group I, Spain beat Latvia 85-82 and Montenegro defeated Ukraine 90-84.

The top three teams from the group will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be held Aug. 31 – Sept. 15 in China.

Trump in-laws sworn in as US citizens

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – President Donald Trump's in-laws became American citizens Thursday, raising questions about whether they used an immigration program the president is seeking to scuttle to achieve American citizenship.

Immigration attorney Michael Wildes confirmed Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump's parents, were sworn in during a brief private naturalization ceremony in Manhattan.

“We just thank everybody for their attention to this very important dialogue that we’re having on immigration,” Wildes said. "This is a very important example of it going right.”

Wildes confirmed in February that the couple were permanent U.S. residents.

Asked after Thursday's ceremony if the Knavs', who are from Slovenia, used so-called "chain migration," or immigration to the U.S. based on a familial relation, to receive their citizenship, Wildes said "I suppose. It’s a dirty — a dirtier word,” according to the New York Times.

“It stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification,” Wildes said.

That "bedrock" has been a focus of the president's ire.

Trump has repeatedly called for the program to be ended on national security grounds, saying it is a "disaster" and seeking to limit individuals who can become citizens based on a familial relation to spouses and minor children.

"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives," Trump said during his State of the Union address in January.

First lady Melania Trump's office did not immediately respond to Anadolu Agency's request for comment.

More congratulations from abroad for Turkey's Erdogan

By Hatice Senses Kurukiz and

ISTANBUL (AA) – Over a week since Turkey’s landmark June 24 elections, congratulatory messages for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continue to pour in from abroad.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor congratulated Erdogan in a telephone call, according to presidential sources.

Additionally, Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of Iraq's Sairoon coalition and prominent Shia cleric, congratulated the Turkish president for his victory in the elections on the phone.

Al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition dominated Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll, winning 54 parliamentary seats, according to official results.

Since the announcement of Erdogan's win in the June 24 polls, many world leaders and prominent figures have sent messages or letters to congratulate Erdogan, or telephoned him.

According to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK), Erdogan won an absolute majority in the presidential election with 52.5 percent of the vote.

In the parliamentary polls, the People's Alliance of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won 53.6 percent of the vote.