Erdogan says Turkey values Iranian stability, praises Rouhani

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are seen during a joint news conference in Tehran, Iran, October 4, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Erdogan says Turkey values Iranian stability, praises Rouhani

ANKARA:Turkey said on Wednesday President Hassan Rouhani’s response to days of protests across Iran was appropriate and that Ankara valued Iranian stability, in one of the first regional expressions of support for Tehran.
A source in Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said he discussed the week-long unrest in Iran during a telephone call with Rouhani. The Iranian president told Erdogan he hoped the protests would be over “in a few days,” the source said.
Erdogan’s sympathetic comments follow an improvement in relations between Ankara and Tehran, which have worked together in recent months to reduce violence in Syria, despite backing opposing sides in the conflict for several years.
Rouhani said on Sunday Iranians had the right to protest and criticize the authorities but their actions should not lead to violence or damage public property.
Erdogan told Rouhani “that he found his comments about not violating the law while exercising their right to peaceful protests was appropriate,” the source said.
On Wednesday pro-government rallies in several Iranian cities drew thousands of marchers waving Iranian flags and pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Turkey’s ties with Iran expanded last year as Ankara’s relations with the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia — Tehran’s main international opponents — all frayed.
Secular but overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Turkey shares a border with mainly Shiite Muslim Iran. They are the two biggest non-Arab powers in the Middle East region.
In August Iran’s military chief of staff visited Turkey, which is a member of the NATO military alliance, for talks on cooperation in the Syrian conflict and counter-terrorism.
“Iran’s stability is important for us. We are against foreign interventions in Iran,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, in remarks quoted by television channel NTV.
“If the leadership is to change in Iran, the Iranian people will do this,” he said.
Broadcaster CNN Turk said Cavusoglu also echoed Rouhani’s suggestion that the United States and Israel had provoked unrest.
“There are two people supporting the demonstrations in Iran: (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and (US President Donald) Trump,” it quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
Netanyahu has praised Iranian anti-government protesters, while denying as “laughable” accusations that Israel was behind the demonstrations. Trump has tweeted that Iranians are “finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime.”


Turkey set for new ‘anti-terror’ law after emergency

Updated 16 July 2018
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Turkey set for new ‘anti-terror’ law after emergency

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s ruling party on Monday submitted to parliament a new “anti-terror” bill that would bolster the powers of the authorities in detaining suspects and imposing public order even after the current two-year state of emergency ends.
The state of emergency, imposed in the wake of the July 2016 failed coup aimed at unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been extended seven times and seen tens of thousands arrested.
With the government indicating that no new extension will be sought after Erdogan won a new mandate in June 24 presidential elections, the emergency is due to end overnight Wednesday to Thursday.
But state-run Anadolu news agency said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had submitted amendments to existing laws to parliament to deal with the “fight against terror after the state of emergency.”
Turkey considers itself to be simultaneously fighting several groups deemed by Ankara to be terror outfits, including Islamic State (IS) jihadists, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the group of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 putsch bid.
Under the proposed new legislation, authorities will be able to prohibit individuals exiting and entering a defined area for 15 days on security grounds, Anadolu said.
It says a suspect can be held without charge for 48 hours or up to four days in the case of multiple offenses.
But this period can be extended up to twice if there is difficulty in collecting evidence or if the case is deemed to be particularly voluminous.
The head of the AKP’s parliamentary group Bulent Turan said that the 28-article bill had been sent to opposition parties and expressed hope that it would be put to a vote next week.
The AKP fell short of a majority in the 600-seat parliament in the polls but is able to push through legislation with the support of its hard right allies, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“The state of emergency is going to end in the next days. But the end of the state of emergency does not mean our fight against terror is going to come to an end,” said Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.