Turkey says will ‘not beg’ Germany to stay at NATO base

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Updated 18 May 2017
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Turkey says will ‘not beg’ Germany to stay at NATO base

ISTANBUL: Turkey on Thursday hit back at German threats to pull its troops out of a key NATO base on its soil, saying it would “not beg” them to stay.
Ankara and Berlin are locked in another spat over Turkey’s refusal to allow German lawmakers to visit the Incirlik base near Syria, which is used by the international coalition fighting Daesh.
Germany warned earlier this week that it could move its troops elsewhere, with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accusing Turkey of “blackmail.”
“It is up to them, we will not beg them,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV, saying Ankara was not blackmailing Germany.
Germany has about 250 military personnel stationed at the base in southern Turkey, flying Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuelling flights for partner nations battling Daesh militants.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday described Turkey’s position as “unfortunate,” saying that Germany, while continuing talks to resolve the issue, would also look for alternatives, including in Jordan.
Gabriel accused Ankara on Wednesday of “looking to blackmail” the German Parliament.
“If it is not possible to work normally at Incirlik — and this includes visits by German Parliament lawmakers — then we will have to look for alternatives,” he told German newspaper Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung.
“I can only hope that the Turkish government will change its mind in the coming days. Otherwise, the Parliament will no longer let our soldiers go to Turkey.”
Cavusoglu said if Gabriel made such remarks, it was “disrespectful,” as Turkish and German officials were working to improve relations.
He said Gabriel had made different remarks in private, suggesting the minister was using the dispute for political gain ahead of September elections in Germany.
Ties between the NATO allies have been strained since the failed coup in Turkey last year, but have worsened over multiple issues including the referendum campaign to expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.
Relations plunged further after Turkey imprisoned Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist with Die Welt, on terror charges earlier this year while Germany granted political asylum to some Turkish military officers accused of involvement in the attempted putsch.
Last year, another row over Incirlik saw Turkey deny German lawmakers the right to visit for many months after the German Parliament voted to recognize the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era massacre of Armenians as a genocide.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the row was a “bilateral issue” and had no effect on NATO activities.
“We had a similar situation (before)... then it was solved. I hope that this dispute will also be solved this time.”


Firefighters tackle blaze in high-rise tower in Dubai

Updated 22 April 2018
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Firefighters tackle blaze in high-rise tower in Dubai

DUBAI: A fire broke out Sunday at a prominent skyscraper in Dubai, sending smoke billowing from its roof and those inside fleeing into the streets.
Firefighters and police on the scene of the blaze at the Almas Tower in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers neighborhood.
The government’s Dubai Media Office described the blaze as a “minor fire.”
“All employees and visitors are being evacuated and no injuries have been reported so far,” the Dubai Media Office wrote on Twitter.


The Almas Tower, over 60 stories tall, is home to the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, which is also an economic free zone. The DMCC had hosted a conference earlier Sunday in partnership with Asia House called “The New Global Trade Order.”
The DMCC did not immediately answer a request for comment.

It was the tallest building in Dubai, until 2009, when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa. It is primarily an office building and remains the tallest building at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers cluster off Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road.
Dubai, a skyscraper-studded city in the United Arab Emirates, has suffered a spate of fires in its high-rises.
Dubai passed new fire safety rules last year requiring that quick-burning side paneling on buildings be replaced with more fire-resistant cladding. Authorities have previously acknowledged that at least 30,000 buildings across the UAE have cladding or paneling that safety experts have said accelerates the rapid spread of fires.