Turkey eyes key summit with France, Germany, Russia

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for Bashar Assad’s ouster in Syria and helped the opposition there. (AP)
Updated 29 July 2018
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Turkey eyes key summit with France, Germany, Russia

  • Erdogan aims to discuss during the summit pressing regional issues, including the Syrian war
  • While Moscow and Tehran support the Bashar Assad regime, Ankara has repeatedly called for his ouster

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is seeking to hold a summit in Istanbul with France, Germany and Russia on Sept. 7 to discuss regional issues including the Syrian conflict, in comments published on Sunday.

“We will discuss what we can do in the region together,” Erdogan said, quoted by Hurriyet daily.

He gave no further details on the issues on the agenda but said Turkey would continue dialogue with Russia, “outside of this foursome,” in the remarks made to Turkish journalists during his South Africa visit on July 25-27.

Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit on the sidelines of the Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa summit of leading emerging economies in Johannesburg.

“We will separately have a summit in Istanbul on Sept. 7 with Russia, Germany, France and Turkey,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow, Paris or Berlin.

While Moscow and Tehran support the Bashar Assad regime, Ankara has repeatedly called for his ouster and helped Syrian opposition.

In April, Erdogan held a summit with Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Ankara.

The three leaders are due to meet again in the near future in Tehran, Erdogan said without giving an exact date, while technical talks as part of the Astana process will take place on Monday and Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russia.

Separately on Sunday, Erdogan warned the US in comments that sanctions would not force Ankara to “step back” after US President Donald Trump threatened to punish Turkey if an American pastor was not freed.

“You cannot make Turkey take a step back with sanctions,” Erdogan said in his first comments since relations soured after Trump threatened the measures on Thursday if Pastor Andrew Brunson was not released.

“The US should not forget that it could lose a strong and sincere partner like Turkey if it does not change its attitude,” he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily.

“The change of attitude is Trump’s problem, not mine,” he told journalists during a visit to South Africa, calling the US threats “psychological warfare.”

Relations between the NATO allies have worsened over the jailing of Brunson, who ran a Protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir.

He was held in a Turkish jail for almost two years on terror charges but was placed under house arrest on Wednesday.

Trump on Thursday hit back at the move, calling for his immediate release and warning that the US would impose “large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment” of Brunson.


Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

  • Tatour posted a video of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.
  • The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July

An Arab Israeli woman jailed for five months for incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization in online poems and other social media posts was released from prison on Thursday.

Dareen Tatour posted a video clip of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in October 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks.

The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July.

She was released on Thursday due to time served before her conviction, she and a prison spokesman said.

“Freedom is something so sweet that I can’t even describe it,” Tatour said after her release.

She added that she planned to publish a collection of poems and a novel on her experience in prison.

International writers’ group PEN defended Tatour’s actions.

She was “convicted for doing what writers do every day — we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice,” the group said.

The offending verses were quoted in Hebrew in the charge sheet, but according to an English translation on the Arabic literature site ArabLit, they contained the following:

“For an Arab Palestine, I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land, Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

Prosecutors said that on Oct. 4, 2015 she also quoted a statement by Islamic Jihad calling for “continuation of the intifada in every part of the West Bank,” alleging it showed her support for the outlawed militant group.

Tatour, from the Arab village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested a week later.

Arab Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

They account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population and largely support the Palestinian cause.