It’s long been a Turkish ‘red line’ for which all the country’s recent modern leaders have reacted fiercely at the mere suggestion, and which only thirty countries in the world officially acknowledge. It’s being widely reported that President Joe Biden is preparing to declare the formal US recognition of the Armenian genocide, which was the mass systematic killing of over one million Armenians in Asia Minor from 1915-1917 at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Hundreds of thousands of Greek and Assyrian Christians were also slaughtered in the name of achieving ‘Turkification’.
According to CNN on Thursday, “Two people familiar with the decision said the President was expected to make the declaration as part of an official statement on Remembrance Day, which falls on Saturday. Both said it was possible he would change his mind before then, and issue a statement merely recognizing the event without describing it as genocide.”
Congressional leaders as well as Armenian-Americans have for decades lobbied for greater recognition of the event which was carried out by the Young Turk government during the World War I period. However, the term itself has for years been banned in Turkey’s parliament and results in swift crackdowns and legal measures for any journalist wishing to write about it within the country.
For years, Turkey would say one thing to Moscow and Tehran while telling Washington’s Iran hawks that Turkey was “against Russia and Iran.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was very content during a trip to Turkey on Friday. He said it was productive and smiled alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. He said it was a “wonderful” trip where he spoke with his “brother Cavusoglu.”
The trip signals the growing alliance that Turkey and Iran have in the region.
The Saudi news network al-Arabiya cited official Justice Ministry statistics Sunday to reveal nearly 1,000 children in Turkey between 2014 and 2020 have suffered prosecution on charges of “insulting the president,” a crime in Turkish law.
Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has regularly used “insulting the president” accusations to persecute dissidents and civilians overheard mocking or criticizing his rule, both filing criminal charges and civil charges meant to bankrupt defendants. Turkey’s penal code criminalizes several forms of speech — including insults towards the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who Erdogan has disparaged with impunity.
Al-Arabiya reported that 903 Turkish minors went to trial over allegations they had insulted Erdogan. The youngest to be prosecuted were 12 years old; 264 of those prosecuted were between the ages of 12 and 14.
Including adults, Turkish processed over 11,000 cases on charges of “insulting the president” in 2019.
Recently, the Turkish military deployed major reinforcements to Mount al-Zawiya. Turkish military convoys deployed to the area included battle tanks and BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles. Mount al-Zawiya is controlled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham together with its supposedly ‘moderate counterparts’ from the Turkish-created National Front for Liberation. Turkey has been reinforcing its troops in the Mount al-Zawiya region for the last two months. It has also established several permanent positions in the area.
New US President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has lashed out at Ankara over its purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system, saying Washington could consider additional sanctions against Turkey.
“The idea that a strategic – so-called strategic – partner of ours would actually be in line with one of our biggest strategic competitors in Russia is not acceptable,” Blinken told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing.
The man chosen by Biden as America’s next top diplomat said Washington would need to “take a look to see the impact that the existing sanctions have had” on Turkey to determine if any additional measures needed to be taken.
Water outages in Syria’s northeast are often leaving around half a million people without potable water. Is Turkey using the outages as a weapon to destabilize the region, as some claim?
Around 1 million people in the Kurdish-governed region of Al-Hasakah in Syria’s northeast have again had their water supply cut off — as they have around 20 times in the past 12 months.
“This is a humanitarian disaster,” Sara Kayyali, a Syria researcher at Human Rights Watch, told DW. As of this Sunday, some parts of the region are experiencing the eighth straight day without water.
Problems with the supply from the nearest water station, Alouk, have been growing since Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel proxies took charge in October 2019, after the so-called Operation Peace Spring that targeted the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the region. While the water station has been under Turkish control since then, it relies on the SDF-controlled Mabrouka Electricity Station for its power. Turkey’s objective behind Operation Peace Spring was to create a 30-kilometer (19-mile) wide “safe zone” under Turkish control inside Syria.