Turkey seeks nearly 150 arrests over Gulen ties

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Fetullah Gulen since the failed 2016 coup while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019
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Turkey seeks nearly 150 arrests over Gulen ties

  • Prosecutors in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people
  • Turkish officials stress that the operations are necessary to remove the ‘virus’ caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of key institutions

ANKARA: Turkish police on Friday launched nationwide raids to detain nearly 150 people, including military personnel, suspected of ties to the group blamed for the 2016 attempted coup, local media reported.
Prosecutors in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people as part of different investigations into followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, state news agency Anadolu and NTV broadcaster reported.
Turkey has claimed that Gulen ordered the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15, 2016 — a charge he vehemently denies.
The raids were spread across more than 30 provinces including Ankara where the public prosecutor issued detention warrants for 35 non-commissioned officers in the navy including 10 still in active duty.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016 while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Although Ankara has been criticized by human rights defenders and its Western allies over the scale of the crackdown, the nationwide raids have continued in recent weeks.
Turkish officials stress that the operations are necessary to remove the “virus” caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of key Turkish institutions.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.