US training of terrorists ‘not acceptable’ to Turkey

                By Nazli Yuzbasioglu</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - The U.S. training of YPG/PKK terrorists is not acceptable to Ankara, Turkey’s defense minister said on Wednesday.</p>    <p>Speaking at an event in the capital Ankara marking Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Armed Forces Day, Hulusi Akar said Turkey is determined to protect its rights in land, seas and air.</p>    <p>Turkey has long criticized U.S. cooperation with its “reliable” allies the PKK/YPG against Daesh, pointing out that the YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK, a group recognized as terrorist by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.</p>    <p>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 deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.</p>    <p>&quot;Turkey will not let any terror corridor in country's south and Syria's north, including east of Euphrates river. So far Turkey has performed major fights against all terror organizations, PKK, YPG, Daesh, especially FETO, for peace in Turkey and the region and we will go on with our fight and operations with the same determination until the last terrorist is neutralized,&quot; Akar said.</p>  <p>FETO and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, is accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.</p>    <p>The defense minister also criticized the West for not extending necessary contributions to cope up with the human tragedies in Syria and Iraq.</p>    <p>&quot;Now we see that the world public opinion, which was deaf to the tragedy in Srebrenica, is now deaf to several similar tragic cases in Syria,&quot; he said, and added that Turkey respects all its neighbors' territorial integrities, especially that of Syria and Iraq.</p>    <p>Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces after they attacked the UN &quot;safe area&quot; of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers. </p>    <p>Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to capture territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats in an attempt to create their own state.</p>    <p>Hundreds of Bosnian families are still searching for missing loved ones, as a large number of victims were thrown into mass graves throughout the country during the Bosnian War, which spanned from 1992-1995.</p>    <p>Speaking about Turkey’s defense ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Akar said his country will continue to support the Bosnian army.

US waives sanctions on Pakistan over religious freedom

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – The United States has waived off sanctions on Pakistan that are expected to hit countries that violate religious freedom of citizens, a U.S. embassy official said Wednesday.

“The U.S Secretary of State has given a waiver to Pakistan in connection with the list of countries that violate religious freedom. That means, there will be no sanctions on Pakistan," said Richard Snelsire, spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

However, Islamabad has not been removed from the list, he told Anadolu Agency.

Washington demoted Islamabad's religious freedom ranking on Tuesday along with Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan were placed on the special watch list for violations of religious freedom.

The country of particular concern (CPC) list was created from the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, enacted by Congress as a foreign policy tool to raise awareness about religious freedom violations around the globe.

Pakistan early on Wednesday rejected the U.S. move calling it “unilateral” and “politically motivated”.

Around 4 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million-plus population is made up of minority Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs.

The country’s parliament has special seats reserved for minorities to ensure their adequate representation and voice in the legislative process.

Turkish VP: US should act within spirit of alliance

            By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay called on the U.S. Monday to act in accordance with the spirit of its alliance and partnership with Turkey.</p>  <p>&quot;As Turkey, our expectation from the U.S. is for it to act according to the spirit of the alliance in every single area,&quot; Oktay said during his budget speech.</p>  <p>&quot;We also want to see an America that respects Turkey's fight against terrorist organizations,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>Turkey has long sought the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), from the U.S.</p>  <p>FETO orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.</p>  <p>Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

China summons US ambassador over Huawei exec warrant

             By Fuat Kabakci</p>  <p>BEIJING (AA) - China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the U.S. envoy in Beijing demanding the cancellation of an arrest warrant for the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei. </p>  <p>Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng lodged a &quot;strong protest&quot; with Ambassador Terry Branstad over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, according to a ministry statement.</p>  <p>On Dec. 1, Canada arrested Meng at Washington’s request over alleged violations of Iran sanctions. In addition to serving on Huawei's board, Meng is also the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.</p>  <p>Le also called on Washington to &quot;immediately correct its wrong actions,&quot; saying: &quot;China will respond further depending on U.S. actions.&quot;</p>  <p>China on Saturday also summoned John McCallum, Canada's ambassador in Beijing, to call for Meng's release.</p>  <p>Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, and the U.S. has alleged that the company spies for the Chinese military.</p>  <p>In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill banning U.S. government use of Huawei technology.

Turkey-US to make 'concrete' progress on Manbij roadmap

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey and the U.S. said Friday that the two countries hope to make concrete progress on the Manbij roadmap by end of the year.

The Turkish-U.S. high level working group on Syria met for the third time in Ankara. The group included senior officials of Turkey’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense and the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.

A joint statement after the meeting said: "They committed to accelerated and concrete progress on the Manbij Roadmap by the end of the year.

"They agreed to continue to work on joint planning with regard to other areas as mentioned in the Manbij Roadmap.

"Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations originating from within Syria and beyond."

They also affirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity and underscored the importance of sustained and irreversible progress on a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

"They reiterated their shared commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to Syrians in need and acknowledged substantial efforts by both governments in this regard."

Both sides decided to meet frequently to effectively address security concerns in Syria.

"For this purpose, both sides agreed to increase the frequency of Working Group meetings on Syria. They decided to convene the next High-Level Working Group on Syria meeting in Washington D.C. no later than February 2019," the statement added.

Turkish and U.S. troops began joint patrols in Syria's northwestern Manbij on Nov. 1 as part of an agreement that focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region.

Canada hosts anti-Daesh coalition meeting

             By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Thirteen countries from an international coalition to defeat Daesh met Thursday to declare they have taken back more than 99 percent of the territory once held by the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.</p>  <p>Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his Canadian counterpart, Harjit Sajjan, who co-hosted the meeting in Ottawa, issued a joint statement after the meeting.</p>  <p>&quot;We will continue to adapt and strengthen our global network to counter ISIS's own network of foreign terrorist fighters, financing and propaganda,&quot; the statement said, referring to Daesh by an alternative name.</p>  <p>The coalition was created in 2014 when the U.S. announced a group to defeat the Daesh terrorist organization. It has grown to include 79 countries.</p>  <p>The two officials said they reaffirmed their focus on defeating the group, and said they will leverage military, intelligence, diplomacy and economics to ensure their success.</p>  <p>Last year, officials from Iraq, which is a part of the coalition, declared Daesh's military presence in the country had been neutralized following a three-year conflict.</p>  <p>Nevertheless, Iraqi forces continue to carry out frequent operations to decisively end the group’s lingering presence.</p>  <p>&quot;We are confident that we will prevail,&quot; the statement added. &quot;We stand with people across the world who seek a better and safer future.&quot;