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KRG premier meets Erdogan in Istanbul.

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Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, three days after Turkish warplanes launched air raids in Sinjar that killed five Peshmerga. The 45-minute meeting was held at Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. Barzani held talks at Yildiz Palace in Istanbul at 4 p.m. on Friday (April 28), according to Anadolu Agency, yet the content of the meeting was not then revealed. Yeni Safak news reported the leaders discussed Turkish operations to eliminate the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Sinjar and that Turkey and the Kurdistan Region are against the PKK camps in the region. Barzani said new operations would be carried out against the PKK, Yeni Safak reported. Barzani and the KRG Minister of Natural Resources attended the two-day Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit 2017 April 28, which began on April 27. The Atlantic Council hosts world leaders for the eighth time in Turkey, focusing on regions from Syria to Africa and the Black Sea region to the eastern Mediterranean. Issues on the international agenda regarding the economy, national security, energy, trade and the Syrian refugee crisis are discussed. Erdogan said during the summit that Turkey would not allow any political party to be created in Rojava (Kurdish controlled areas in northern Syria). Turkish military jets launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in Sinjar and northern Syria on April 25, killing five members of Peshmerga forces, one fighter of Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) and 20 members of People’s Protection Units (YPG). The airstrikes have raised the concern of the United States, Russia and the Coalition forces as well as Iran and Egypt.

 

OIC holds meeting to discuss rise in Islamophobia.

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During a workshop held by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Research Center for Islamic Histrory in Istanbul they reviewed the OIC Islamophobia Observatory’s work about the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, the role of the diaspora in combating Islamophobia and intolerance and religious discrimination and the role of member states in combating Islamophobia. The participants, 26 OIC member states, 5 institutions, 6 panelists, 33 experts and 3 moderators, came up with rules and actions to be undertaken by the observatory.

FBI investigating ISIL cell in Turkey, five suspects

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been investigating an Islamic State Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cell known as the “Dokumacılar” since a suicide attack killed two U.S. citizens and two others on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue on March 19, 2016, according to revelations from a case file at the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office. Five suspects from the attack were put on trial by the Istanbul 23rd Court of Serious Crimes in connection with the attack.

Turkish family minister returns to Turkey from Germany after being deported from Netherlands

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Family Minister FatmaBetülSayan Kaya returned to Turkey on March 12 after Dutch police escorted her back to Germany, after she had been barred from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam amid an escalating row between the two countries. Thousands of protesters waving Turkish flags gathered outside the Rotterdam consulate, demanding to welcome the minister while protests also erupted in Istanbul and Ankara in front of the Dutch diplomatic missions which had been sealed off after the Dutch move. Dutch police later used water cannon and horses to break up the protests following the minister’s leave.

Yildirim: nowhere in the world is safe, terrorism does not recognize borders

Speaking at the opening of the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul, Yildirim said the threat from terrorism was global. “If we are talking about security, nowhere in the world is safe… terrorism does not recognize borders” he said. “There is no place safe from terrorism. The fear and threat of terrorism is only useful to terrorists. “I say it proudly and confidently – Turkey is as safe as the United States, Istanbul is as safe as Paris, Ankara is as safe as Sarajevo, Izmir is as safe as Baku. Therefore, please do not let terrorism sabotage tourism”. The prime minister hailed those working in the tourism sector as “volunteer peace ambassadors”. A string of terror attacks across Turkey have threatened the country’s vital tourism industry, with the number of foreign visitors dropping from 36.8 million in 2014 to 25.4 million last year, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry. However, Yildirim said Turkey aimed to attract 8 million more tourists in the first stage of a campaign to boost tourism earnings to $50 billion, unveiled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week. He also stressed the non-financial benefits of tourism. “It is insufficient to evaluate tourism only from an economic point of view” he said. “Tourism is beyond that. It is primarily the meeting of cultures, the meeting of civilizations

Security experts believe the Reina nightclub attacker received military training

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who staged an attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub in the early hours of Jan. 1 looks like a professional who received military training on how to use a weapon, according to security experts. Police have released the first footage of the Reina attacker, who killed 39 people and wounded 65 others, with initial police reports suggesting he may be from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. Officials are also investigating the possibility that the attacker may be from Xinjiang in eastern China and aged around 25, according to a report in daily Habertürk. It is still unclear how many minutes the attacker spent inside the club before fleeing. He went upstairs after entering Reina and started firing on revelers, before going downstairs to continue shooting.

Daesh terror group claimed responsibility for the Reina nightclub attack

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The Daesh terror group has claimed responsibility for the Reina nightclub attack that killed 39 people and wounded 65 others in Istanbul during New Year’s celebrations. The attack came at the same time that Ankara has intensified internal and cross-border operations against the terrorist organization. The launch of the cross-border operation was part of Turkey’s new aim to eliminate terror threats posed to the country’s national security before they are able to carry out the attacks. As such, through successful operations, Turkey has managed to push away the Daesh threat from its southern border to a range that is outside of that of the terror group’s missiles. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated that police detained eight suspects yesterday who may be affiliated with the deadly attack. Also, during security forces’ operations targeting Daesh conducted between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, some 25 of the 147 detained were later arrested for their links to the organization, the Ministry said in a statement.

Turkey and Russia have different vews on the regime in Syria

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Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan fuelled Russia’s reservations concerning Ankara’s goals in Syria. In a speech he gave at a conference in Istanbul the Turkish President stated that “the reason for the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria is to overthrow the tyrant Bashar Al Assad who exercises state terrorism. We did not intrude for any other reason.” This statement provoked an immediate reaction from Moscow which supports the Syria regime.

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