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Turkey deploys its latest air defense system to Al-Watiya airbase in Libya


Turkey has reportedly sent its latest self-propelled air-defense gun system, called the KORKUT, to Lybia.

Recent satellite imagery released by Twitter account who uses the nickname safsata14 showed that Korkut air defense systems were deployed to the Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya.

The airbase is now operated by both the Turkish Armed Forces and Forces of the Government of National Accord.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces. It is worth mentioning that, Turkey provides politicks and military support country’s government.

The KORKUT is newly designed and developed for effective ground based air defense against modern air threats. The system consists of a platoon of three 35 mm Gun Systems and one Command Post that can operate full autonomously.

The Command and Control Vehicle detects and tracks targets with its 3D search radar and while developing a local air picture, evaluates threats and assigns targets to the Weapon System Vehicles. Meanwhile, the Weapon System Vehicles trace the target with fire control radar and generates firepower with two 35 mm guns using fragmentation ammunition.

Command and Control Vehicle

Both the Weapon System Vehicles and the Command and Control Vehicles were built on the ACV-30 chassis, the tracked carrying platform specially developed by FNSS to carry the command and control, large scale mobile radar, gunfire support, self-propelled artillery and missile systems. The ACV-30 is also used in the Low Altitude Air Defence Missile System (HİSAR-A) project.

Weapon System Vehicle

The Turkish Armed Forces have ordered 40 weapons systems, deliveries are scheduled to complete in 2022.



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Greece-Egypt EEZ deal doesn’t sit easy with Turkey



Greece and Egypt signed a maritime border deal on August 6 with Turkey saying the deal falls in its continental shelf.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reportedly said the agreement allows his country and Greece to move forward in developing promising natural resources, including oil and gas reserves in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

“First, this is a positive development,” Charles Ellinas, a senior fellow at the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council, told New Europe on August 7. “The agreement is based on UNCLOS, recognising the right of islands, as it should. But it needs to evolve further to cover the eastern part of the two EEZs, delineation of which is affected by Cyprus and Kastellorizo. But it is an excellent start, reinforcing internationally accepted maritime principles,” Ellinas added.

But he argued that neither Greece nor Egypt will rush into drilling. He noted that both countries will need to complete EEZ delineation first – including Cyprus – and then divide their respective EEZs into exploration blocks. That would eventually enable the two countries to proceed with licensing rounds. Its only then that exploration and drilling can start, Ellinas said.

Greece hopes that the agreement between Athens and Cairo will effectively nullify an accord between Turkey and the internationally recognised government of Libya. Last year, Turkey and Libya agreed to maritime boundaries in a deal Cairo and Athens decried as illegal and a violation of international law. Greece maintains it infringed on its continental shelf and specifically that off the island of Crete.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the deal between Greece and Egypt falls in the area of Turkey’s continental shelf and violated Libya’s maritime rights.

Constantinos Filis, director of research at Institute of International Relations, told New Europe on August 7 Turkey and Greece were close in revitalising the exploratory talks on the demarkation of maritime zones. “Under the new circumstances, Ankara will freeze them, without providing a timeline. This entails that we should expect more tensions but I don’t think that we will reach a point of no return or that a ‘hot’ incident will emerge,” Filis said. Still, it seems possible that both the Turkish government and the government of Tripoli, which unfortunately acts as a puppet of the former, will rush to issue licenses to (Turkish state oil company) TPAO for blocks near Rhodes, Karpathos and Kassos as well as south of Crete. Then, Ankara might ask Athens to enter in the exploratory talks, in order to prevent seismic surveys in the aforementioned places,” he added.

Filis argued that the dire condition of the Turkish economy makes rapprochement with the European Union imperative. He noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite his rhetoric, has to improve ties with the Europeans, if he wants to restore credibility and attract foreign capital. “So, under the current circumstances, he should have no desire to enter into ‘adventures’ with Greece and the EU,” Filis said.

Tensions between Athens and Ankara flared up recently after Turkey said it would send a seismic research vessel into an area south of the Turkish coastal city of Antalya and the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Ellinas reminded that Ankara since said it will hold off on the survey as both countries planned to revitalise talks. “Following Germany’s intervention, last week Turkey ‘paused’ activities to carry out offshore surveys near the Greek islands, south of Kastellorizo, in order to enable dialogue with Greece to address the disputes between the two countries,” he said, adding that it is not now clear how Turkey intends to proceed. Reportedly, not only it denounced the EEZ delineation agreement between Egypt and Greece, but it also terminated preparatory discussions with Greece. “This could be an over-reaction, but it is perhaps in line with Turkey’s approach to these issues – to enforce its views through intimidation and aggression,” Ellinas said, adding, “The only sensible way forward is dialogue. Let’s hope that this will eventually prevail”.

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Turkey deploys T129 attack helicopters to Azerbaijan


The Turkish Armed Forces have deployed T129 attack helicopters to Azerbaijan, according to the Ministry Of Defence Of Azerbaijan.

According to a recent service news release, a group of servicemen and the aircraft of the Turkish Armed Forces participating in the Azerbaijani-Turkish Live-Fire Joint Large-Scale Tactical and Flight-Tactical Exercises arrived in Nakhchivan.

During the solemn welcoming ceremony for the servicemen participating in the exercises, which took place at the military airfield of the Combined Arms Army, the national anthems of the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan were performed.

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Military, attack and combat helicopters of the Turkish Armed Forces arrived on a military transport aircraft, are brought to a state of readiness for Live-Fire Flight-Tactical Exercises at the military airfield of the Combined Arms Army.

According to Army-technology.com, the T129 multirole attack helicopter is being developed jointly by AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) under the attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter (ATAK) programme. The helicopter is based on the AW129 and its predecessor the A129 Mangusta.

Nevertheless, Turkey deployed troops to Azerbaijan after an Armenian attack took place on Azerbaijan’s border on July 12.

The recent rise in tensions was triggered when the Armenian army attempted to attack Azerbaijani positions with artillery fire in the direction of the northwestern Tovuz border district, withdrawing after suffering losses following retaliation from the Azerbaijani military.

Twelve Azerbaijani soldiers, including a major general and a colonel, were killed and four others were injured in the recent border clashes.

Azerbaijan has blamed Armenia for the “provocative” actions, with Turkey throwing its weight behind Baku and warning Yerevan that it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on its eastern neighbor.

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Turkey warning as hotels ‘fail to follow coronavirus safety guidelines’ with social distancing and mask rules ignored


TURKEY hotels have been caught ignoring safety guidelines and social distancing despite promises of “safe tourism” certificates.

In a bid to encourage tourists to return, hotels and resorts have been signing up to the scheme backed by the government which proves they are following 132 safety measures set out.

Hotels in Turkey are failing to follow new safety guidelines, according to an investigation

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Hotels in Turkey are failing to follow new safety guidelines, according to an investigationCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Any hotel with more than 50 rooms must prove they have followed the guidelines to be able to open, with health inspections proving additional cleaning, social distancing and new safety procedures are in place.

However, an investigation by The Times has found many hotels are still failing to follow the new rules.

A five-star hotel which was certified to be following the safe tourism plans failed to enforce social distancing with a busy bar and restaurant despite still not being at full capacity.

Guests were also not wearing masks, with staff being forced to wear them while serving, while other hotels still had shared implements including food tongs at food service stations.

Masks were rarely spotted while in popular tourist areas such as the beach and resorts, or those that did wear them, having them on without covering the mouth or nose.

Beaches and resorts are yet to see British tourists welcomed back in the same number as last year

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Beaches and resorts are yet to see British tourists welcomed back in the same number as last yearCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Problems occurred at the airport too, with two-hour tests at Istanbul Airport taking six hours during an arduous process, with little English instruction.

Brits are yet to return in their hoards, however, with the majority of the clientele being Russian and domestic Turkish tourists.

Last year, approximately 2.5m Brits visited, with an average spend of £530 per holiday, as many tourists are known for spending high amounts on boozy trips.

Despite this, UK tourists have failed to return with many instead heading to Spain, a short plane ride away with cheap deals, or staying in the UK for a safer staycation holiday.

Even coronavirus tests at the airport which are meant to take two hours took as long as six hours

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Even coronavirus tests at the airport which are meant to take two hours took as long as six hoursCredit: Getty Images – Getty

A couple who went on holiday to Turkey following the lockdown said that while cafes and bars are empty, with additional cleaning taking place, the beaches are still packed with Turkish tourists.

Alex and Stuart Scaum, from Hull, explained: “The beaches were rammed with Turkish people, it was full, we would go but not sit on the beach as it was full.”

However, bargains could also be found, with dinner and beers costing just £12, and warned that local establishments were fearing what it could mean if Brits don’t return soon.

Brits heading to Turkey could find a more expensive holiday, however.

Some parts of the country, including Bodrum, Dalaman and Marmaris, are fining £100 for anyone caught without a face mask on.

Resorts have also raised their prices to try and recoup profits.

A hotel beach bar in Bodrum has been found charging 369 lira (£43) for a doner kebab and 550 lira (£65) to guests who want to swim in the sea.

What you can expect on holiday in Turkey as beaches ban smoking and enforce sunbathing ‘compartments’





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Turkey opens borders for refugees and migrants to travel to Europe – Channel 4 News


Hundreds of refugees and migrants are gathering on Turkey’s border with Greece after Turkey said it would no longer prevent them from crossing towards Europe.

Buses have been seen transporting people from Istanbul as Turkey attempts to put pressure on the EU to provide more support for refugees coming from Syria.

In Syria itself, tensions remain high after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed this week and fierce fighting continues as the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels try to halt the advance of Russian-backed government forces.



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Turkey sees tourist traffic increase from Iran


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Ankara threatens to close down U.S. Air Force base in Turkey – Defence Blog


A senior Turkish official said that Ankara threatening to close down the U.S. Air Force Incirlik Air Base.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a statement that Ankara may insist that the U.S. leave Incirlik air base if Washington goes ahead with the sanctions it has threatened in response to Turkey’s purchase of S-400 air defense systems.

“We will assess the worst-case scenario and make a decision. If the US imposes sanctions against Turkey, then the issue of the Incirlik and Kurecik bases may be on the agenda,” Cavusoglu said.

Deliveries of the latest Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, which caused a significant rift in relations between Turkey and the United States, began in July. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the S-400 will be fully operational in April 2020.

The vast Incirlik Air Base, located in southern Turkey close to Syria, has been a longstanding symbol of U.S.-Turkish cooperation. At the height of the Cold War, it underscored America’s commitment to its NATO partner against the Soviet Union.

Incirlik Air Base has a U.S. Air Force complement of about five thousand airmen, with several hundred airmen from the Royal Air Force and Turkish Air Force also present. The primary unit stationed at Incirlik Air Base is the 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) of the U.S. Air Force. Incirlik Air Base has one 3,048 m (10,000 ft)-long runway, located among about 57 hardened aircraft shelters.

It is worthwhile noting that estimated B61 nuclear gravity bombs stored at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart.

Of the five nuclear weapons storage locations in Europe, Incirlik Air Base in Turkey stores one-third of the weapons in Europe, although there are unconfirmed rumors that the weapons may have been withdrawn.

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EU ministers criticize recent memorandum between #Libya and #Turkey on the #EasternMediterranean


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya

Arriving at today’s (9 December) EU Foreign Affairs Council, Josep Borrell Fontelles, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission was asked about the recent memorandum between Turkey and Libya that would give access to a contested zone across the Mediterranean Sea.

The memorandum of understanding on maritime borders signed between Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord is thought to have no legal standing and contravenes the provisions of the International Law of the Sea. Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and France, along with the EU and the US State Department. US State Department. The US State Department spokesperson stated: “The announcement of a signed Turkish-GNA delimitation memorandum of understanding has raised tensions in the region and is unhelpful and provocative.”

The agreement was endorsed by the Turkish parliament last week and prompted Greece to expel the Libyan ambassador to Greece. The agreement aggravates tensions that already exist over exploratory drilling in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone and a long-running dispute of Turkey with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has expelled the Libyan ambassador in response to the deal. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that he sided with Greece on the respect for international law. The Austrian minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Schallenberg said he was “a little bit astounding how they (Turkey and Libya GNA) split up the Mediterranean between themselves.”

Josep Borrell said that “it’s not a matter of sanctions today,” adding that ministers would study the “memorandum of understanding” agreed upon between Turkey and Libya. The Turkish and Libyan GNA  MoU also includes a deal on expanded security and military cooperation. The agreement is considered to be illegal since it is contrary to the International Law of the Sea and has not been reached with the consideration of the legitimate rights of other states in the region.

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Tags: Blok, Borrell, EU High Representative, exclusive economic zone, Greece, Libya, Turkey

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Leaders of UK, France, Germany, Turkey discuss Syria



Ahead of the two-day NATO summit in London, four countries discussed their efforts to end the conflict in Syria.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the prime ministerial residence in London.

According to a statement from the British Prime Minister’s office, the leaders agreed that attacks against Syrian civilians, including in the rebel-held area of Idlib, must end.

The leaders vowed to work for creating conditions for safe return of refugees, and agreed the fight against terrorism in all its forms must continue. They also discussed Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring targeting the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria. Merkel described the meeting as “good and useful”.

Erdogan also described the meeting as good, and added that developments regarding the operation “will be evaluated”.

In October, Turkey launched Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria, in order to secure Turkey’s borders and aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees. Later, the operation was paused to allow the withdrawal of the terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone, but they, instead, continued attacking soldiers and civilians.



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Turkey, Libya delimitation deal raises geopolitical tensions



Turkey has signed an agreement with Libya’s internationally recognised government on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea that could affect oil and gas exploration of other countries and heighten geopolitical tensions in the volatile region.

Ankara reportedly announced the accord and a deal on expanded security and military cooperation on 28 November.

Cyprus Natural Hydrocarbons Company CEO Charles Ellinas told New Europe on 29 November that the immediate impact of the Libya-Turkey agreement is on the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Greece and Egypt.

Both Greece and Egypt, but also Cyprus, have already strongly condemned this as not being in agreement with international law, blatantly ignoring the rights of islands. Cairo dismissed the deal between Ankara and Tripoli as “illegal” and Athens said the accord is “completely unacceptable” because it ignored the presence of the Greek island of Crete between the coasts of Turkey and Libya and summoned Turkish Ambassador Burak Ozugergin to the Greek Foreign Ministry, Greece’s Kathimerini newspaper reported.

Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry on 29 November also condemned the deal. “Such a delimitation, if done, would constitute a serious violation of international law,” an announcement said, CyprusMail reported. “It would be contrary to the recognised principle of the convention on the law of the sea and the rights of islands’ EEZ,” it added. “With the distortion of the law of the sea and the counterfeiting of geography – Turkey will gain no footing in the Eastern Mediterranean,” it concluded.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed that with the memorandum of understanding on the “delimitation of maritime jurisdictions Turkey is protecting “rights deriving from international law.” Reuters quoted him as saying that such accords could be agreed with other countries if differences could be overcome and that Ankara was in favour of “fair sharing” of resources, including off Cyprus.

Constantinos Filis, director of research at Institute of International Relations, told New Europe on 29 November Turkey’s illegal acts do not have legal repercussions. “Ankara’s attempt to agree with an unstable regime, which represents only part of Libya and therefore any deal it signs is uncertain, is a result of its isolation particularly from energy developments. Given that Turkey cannot agree with any other regional actor not only in the delimitation of the continental shelve or EEZ but also on how to stabilize the region and make it prosperous, it is left with no option but to approach a semi-rogue regime in order to showcase its regional power,” he said, adding that the message it wants to send is that any agreement or plan, including energy projects, cannot be fulfilled without Ankara’s consent.

Ellinas said the Libya-Turkey agreement indirectly affects Cyprus as well, as Turkey uses the same justification to delineate its ‘EEZ’ in the Mediterranean. “In effect, this ignores the entitlement of islands, including Cyprus and Crete, to an EEZ. Turkey defines its ‘EEZ’ to be coextensive with its continental shelf, based the relative lengths of adjacent coastlines, which completely disadvantages islands. It is a ‘unique’ interpretation not shared by any other country and not in accordance to the United Nations UNCLOS treaty, ratified by 167 countries but not Turkey,” Ellinas said.

He argued that Ankara appears to be picking and choosing, as it has used UNLOS principles to delineate its ‘EEZ’ in the Black Sea but does not accept them in the Mediterranean. “That may be challengeable under customary international law,” the Cyprus Natural Hydrocarbons Company CEO said.

“In all likelihood Turkey is doing this, as well as through its aggressive actions in carrying out exploration and drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ, in order to establish a position of strength from which eventually to enter into negotiations. But also as a reaction to the growing cooperation among almost all the other countries bordering the East Med. Turkey’s claims have no internationally recognised legal basis,” Ellinas said.

According to Filis, it is not clear whether there is an agreement – rather, it seems to be a preliminary step of expressing their intention to sign an agreement in the future. “But the most dangerous repercussion might be Turkey’s attempt to use it as a basis for projecting its supposed sovereign right to proceed with seismic activities in the area between Rhodes and Crete, especially in the southeastern part of the matter, thus confirming its strategic interest for the triangle between Crete, Kastellorizo and Cyprus,” he said.

Asked what could be the US and EU reaction to this agreement and how does it affect geopolitics in the region, Ellinas said both Washington and Brussels, and all other neighbouring countries in the East Med, recognise Cyprus’ and other countries’ rights to their EEZs declared in accordance to UNCLOS. He explained that as UNCLOS is not legally enforceable against a state that declines to sign and ratify it, the way to resolve this may eventually be through negotiations or arbitration on the basis of internationally recognised law and not through aggressive actions as Turkey is now pursuing.



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