Turkey’s Erdogan says will bring safety and peace to Syria, Iraq

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during a ceremony in the eastern city of Mus, Turkey August 26, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Turkey’s Erdogan says will bring safety and peace to Syria, Iraq

  • Turkey, which has backed some rebel groups in Syria, has been working with Russia
  • It has so far carried out two cross-border operations along its border with Syria

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Sunday to bring peace and safety to Iraq and areas in Syria not under Turkish control and said terrorist organizations in those areas would be eliminated.
Turkey, which has backed some rebel groups in Syria, has been working with Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and Iran for a political resolution to the crisis.
It has so far carried out two cross-border operations along its border with Syria and set up a dozen military observations posts in the northern Syrian region of Idlib.
The rebel-held Idlib enclave is a refuge for civilians and rebels displaced from other areas of Syria as well as for powerful jihadist forces, but has been hit by a wave of air strikes and shelling this month.
The attacks posed a possible prelude to a full-scale Syrian government offensive, which Turkey has said would be disastrous.
Speaking in the southeastern province of Mus to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert of 1071, Erdogan vowed to bring peace and safety to Syria and Iraq.
“It is not for nothing that the only places in Syria where security and peace have been established are under Turkey’s control. God willing, we will establish the same peace in other parts of Syria too. God willing, we will bring the same peace to Iraq, where terrorist organizations are active,” he said.
Erdogan also linked regional conflicts and an ongoing currency crisis in Turkey, which he has cast as an “economic war,” to previous attempts to invade Anatolia, warning that the this would lead to the collapse of surrounding regions.
“Those who seek temporary reasons behind the troubles we have been facing recently are wrong, very wrong. The attacks we face today... are rooted in history,” he said.
“Don’t forget, Anatolia is a wall and if this wall collapses, there will no longer be a Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Balkans or Caucasus.”
Turkey’s lira has tumbled nearly 40 percent this year as investor concerns over Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and a growing dispute with the United States put pressure on the currency.
Ankara has accused Washington of targeting Turkey over the fate of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor being tried in Turkey on terrorism charges that he denies.
“Some careless people among us think this is about Tayyip Erdogan or the AK Party. No, this is about Turkey,” Erdogan said.


Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

Updated 24 September 2018
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Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

  • Al-Ghufran tribe hand a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA
  • The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force

ZURICH: Qatar was accused on Monday of building stadiums for the 2022 football World Cup on land stolen from a tribe it has persecuted for more than 20 years. 

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran tribe handed a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA, and demanded that Qatar be stripped of the right to hold the tournament unless the tribe receives justice. 

“The World Cup is a gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own citizens?” a spokesman for the tribe said. 

“The FIFA system states that the country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, but this is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights, and then talks about freedom and democracy.”

The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force, and that sports facilities were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were thrown off the land and stripped of their citizenship.

“The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with the Al-Ghufran tribe, from deprivation to expulsion from the country, withdrawal of their official documents and denial of education and health care,” the spokesman said.

The tribe’s ordeal began in 1996, when some of their members voiced support for Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the Qatari emir deposed the previous year by his son Hamad, father of the current emir, Sheikh Tamim.

About 800 Al-Ghufran families, more than 6,000 people, were stripped of their citizenship and had their property confiscated. Many remain stateless, both in Qatar and in neighboring Gulf countries.

A delegation from the tribe has been in Switzerland for the past week, presenting their case to UN human rights officials in Geneva. 

They have asked the UN to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous and systematic discrimination against them, to protect the tribe’s members and restore their lost rights, and to punish the Qatari regime for human-rights violations.

A delegation from the tribe organized a demonstration on Monday at the Broken Chair, a monumental wooden sculpture opposite the Palace of Nations in Geneva that symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs.

“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against the Al-Ghufran tribe by the Qatari regime,” said Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghafzani, a member of the delegation.

“We are talking to everyone who comes in and out of the United Nations building about our crisis and our stolen rights; after Qatar took our nationality away, there is nothing else we can lose.”