Turkey calls on Greece to let migrants into the EU

“Greece! I call on you. Open your doors too and free yourself from that burden,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech in Istanbul.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Greece on Sunday to “open its doors” to the thousands of migrants waiting on Turkish territory to enter the European Union (EU).

“Greece! I’m calling on you. Open your doors too and free yourself from that burden”, said Erdogan in a televised speech in Istanbul.

“Hey Greece, these people will not stay with you, they will stay in another country in Europe, after passing through you. Why do you bother?” he urged.

“Hey Greece, I’m calling you, open your doors too and let them go to other European countries. There are 1.5 million refugees on our doorstep,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.

Ergodan’s statement comes after Greece accused Turkey of breaking down the border fence to facilitate the passage of migrants and refugees.

The Greek government released a video on Sunday showing what appears to be a Turkish military vehicle anchoring a cable to the Greek border fence and then towing it down. The video was recorded on Friday night.

The incident is expected to increase tension between the two countries, after the Turkish authorities announced the opening of the border to facilitate the passage of migrants and refugees to Europe.

With tensions escalating in the Syrian province of Idlib, which borders Turkey, Ankara opened its borders to the EU last week for refugees, saying it could no longer contain the flow of migrants from Syria.

The EU rejected the measure, calling it “migratory pressure for political purposes”, and called on Turkey to return to the migration agreement signed in 2016.

This pact provides for the granting of financial assistance to Turkey for the reception of refugees, the return to Turkey of all migrants who entered Greece illegally from Turkish territory and the reception in the EU of Syrian legal migrants from Turkey.

Erdogan announced that he would meet with European Union representatives tomorrow (Monday) to discuss migration, reiterating his call for more aid to deal with the millions of refugees Turkey is hosting from Syria.

The Turkish President will travel tomorrow to Brussels where he will meet from 17.00 GMT with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

“We hoped to get much more support from the international community as far as refugees are concerned. Tomorrow I will meet members of the European Union in Belgium. We will discuss these issues,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.

Turkey is hosting some 3.6 million refugees from its southern neighbour, Syria, which has been in a civil war since 2011.

More than one million migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Asia, arrived in the European Union in 2015 and 2016 via Turkey and Greece, until an agreement between Brussels and Ankara stopped the flow in March 2016.

Eastern Libyan Parliament breaks off relations with Turkey

There is currently a duality of powers in Libya: the interim government, which controls the eastern part of the country along with the parliament, and the UN-backed National Accord Government in Tripoli (northwest).

The Parliament of Eastern Libya, as one of the powers controlling the eastern part of the African country, which has two divided governments, approved on Saturday the breaking of relations with Turkey, after Ankara voted on Thursday to send troops to that nation.

In addition, the embassies between the two countries were ordered to be closed and these decisions were taken unanimously by the Libyan MPs.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Libyan National Army, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who commands one of the powers in the African country, and supported by the Libyan parliament, announced the general mobilization to resist the foreign troops before.

“Today we declare Jihad (holy war) and general mobilization. Weapons will be given to both men and women, to the military and civilians,” the military chief said in a video address.

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday approved a plan to send troops in support of the UN-recognised Fayez al-Sarraj National Accord Government (NAG). Al Sarraj called for Turkish military cooperation to deal with the Libyan National Army offensive led by Haftar.

The approved plan gives a period of one year for the deployment of troops. The text does not define when it will be, nor how many troops will be deployed.

Haftar called the HLG a traitor for asking for Turkey’s help. “They signed an agreement of humiliation and disgrace with Turkey without any popular, constitutional or moral support,” he added.

Since the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been in the throes of a crisis generated by clashes between rival factions, the emergence of jihadist groups and mafias engaged in trafficking irregular migrants from Africa to Europe.

Turkey and Algeria strengthen relations during Erdogan’s official visit

Erdogan has said the situation in neighbouring Libya was the focus of the meeting with the Algerian president, where the Turkish head of state made it clear that his country faces the challenge of establishing peace and stability on Libyan territory.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Sunday with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune as part of his official visit to the African country.

“It was a fruitful meeting with Tebboune. We discussed the common steps that could be taken in areas such as economy, trade, investment, the defense industry and tourism, among others, and the cooperation between the two countries,” said the Turkish leader.

Erdogan pointed out that the situation in neighbouring Libya was the central theme of the meeting with the Algerian president, where the Turkish head of state made it clear that his country faces the challenge of establishing peace and stability on Libyan territory.

“It is impossible for us to turn a blind eye to the spilled blood of our brothers in Libya and the overthrow of the legitimate government. We fully support the Libyan-sponsored political process under the leadership of the UN and the achievement of a ceasefire,” Erdogan said.

After the bilateral signature for the creation of a High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, the Turkish president said that Ankara will stand by Tripoli to prevent Libya “from becoming a playground for terrorist groups and warlords.

Erdogan’s visit to Algeria will allow the strengthening of bilateral relations from an economic and investment point of view, while several Turkish companies work in Algerian territory, mainly in trade, construction and services.

Russia and Turkey advocate cessation of harassment in Libya

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on the parties in Libya to declare a ceasefire since Sunday, January 12.

“I would like to emphasize a call – which Presidents Putin and Erdogan have addressed to all Libyan parties – to cease hostilities and declare a ceasefire starting Sunday, January 22,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the meeting held by the leaders in Istanbul.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mavlut Cavusoglu ratified this position in favor of the cessation of hostilities in Libya, where the Government of National Agreement (GNA), based in Tripoli, and the House of Representatives (HoR), with headquarters in Tobruk, with support from the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar.

The fighting in Libya continues after the military aggression of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2011 and the assassination of leader Muammar Ghadafi.

Turkey recently intervened in favor of the GNA and sent ground troops to the nation of North Africa, while Russia has maintained communications with Haftar and rejects foreign intervention in the conflict.

Meanwhile, the GAN attacked on Wednesday positions occupied by its opposition in Sirte and caused 10 deaths.

Women march against femicide in Turkey

Before the increase in violence against women in Turkey, dozens of women protested this Saturday denouncing the seriousness of the situation and calling on the Government to take action to curb femicide.

“We will be on the streets to protect women’s rights until no more women are killed,” said one of the participants in the mobilization, Bircan Sahin.

“Stop the murders of women!”, “Stop the macho violence!” and “Don’t look at the violence, do something” were some of the slogans chanted by the protesters, who carried posters with names and numbers, representing the victims.

At the event, held in the Asian part of the city, they told shocking stories of women victims of femicides recently throughout the country. Among the cases he highlighted that of Emine Bulut, whose death at the hands of his ex-husband, last August, caused great commotion in Turkey.

“The murder of Emine Bulut caused frustration and resentment in society. Her last words continue to ring in the ears of all women: I do not want to die,” said one of the organizers, Gamze Ozturk, referring to the label (“#olmekistemiyorum”) that became a trend on Twitter.

In the first eight months of 2019, 294 women were killed in Turkey and, in August alone, at least 40 lost their lives. Last year, they were victims of 440 homicides, according to the women’s rights advocacy group We Will Stop Femicide, which recounts the gender-motivated killings.

The alarming figure was commemorated by the artist Vahit Tuna, who set up an installation on the facade of a building in Istanbul, where he exhibited 440 pairs of shoes with heels, demonstrating against the acts of domestic and sexual violence left by hundreds of female victims in Turkey.

The work of art covers an area of ​​260 square meters, takes up the Turkish tradition of placing the shoes of someone who died outside an entrance.

Although Turkey ratified the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe of 2011 to prevent sexist violence, activists say there is still much to be done to enforce the laws.