EU sanction on Turkey over Cyprus drilling may disrupt talks: Erdogan

A Turkish Navy warship patrols next to Turkey’s drilling ship Fatih while on its way towards the eastern Mediterranean near Cyprus in this Turkish Defense Ministry photo released on July 9,2019. (Turkish Defense Ministry/AFP)
Updated 12 November 2019

EU sanction on Turkey over Cyprus drilling may disrupt talks: Erdogan

  • EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed economic sanctions on Ankara for violating Cyprus’ maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island
  • The island of Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup

ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the European Union’s decision to sanction Turkey over drilling off the coast of Cyprus could disrupt talks with the bloc, and he warned that Turkey could send captured Daesh fighters to Europe.
EU foreign ministers on Monday agreed economic sanctions on Ankara for violating Cyprus’ maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island.
Turkey, a formal candidate to join the EU despite worsening ties, criticized the decision and said it would not cease drilling in the eastern Mediterranean because it is operating on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.
Speaking in Ankara ahead of a visit to Washington, Erdogan slammed the EU’s decision and said Turkey was acting in line with its rights based on international law.
“Hey EU, know this: Turkey is not one of those countries you have come to know until now. We are a country that sits at the negotiating table with you ...” Erdogan told reporters. “These negotiations may suddenly end.”
The EU relies on Ankara, which hosts more than 3.5 million refugees, to curb the arrival of migrants into Europe following a 2016 agreement to seal off the Aegean Sea route. Erdogan has repeatedly warned that Turkey will allow refugees to travel to Europe unless it receives aid from European countries.
“You may take this lightly, but these doors (to Europe) will open and these Daesh (Islamic State) members will be sent to you. Do not try to threaten Turkey over developments in Cyprus,” Erdogan said on Monday.
The island of Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Since then, several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources has complicated the negotiations.
EU ties with NATO-ally Turkey have meanwhile worsened after years of stalemate on Ankara’s accession bid. With a worsening record on human rights in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016, many EU states say Turkey does not meet democratic criteria to join the bloc.
The decision to impose economic sanctions on Ankara follows a separate move last month to stop arms sales to Turkey over its offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northeast Syria. Turkey’s western allies have said the offensive could hinder the fight against Daesh, but Turkey has rejected the claims.
On Monday, Turkey said it had begun deporting Islamic State members it has captured, starting a program to repatriate the detainees that has further strained ties with its European NATO allies.
“Whether they accept them or not, we will continue to send them back,” Erdogan said on Monday, referring to Daesh detainees.


Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

  • The internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A military committee led by Saudi officers in Yemen has transported heavy weapons from bases in the southern port city of Aden, a committee member told Arab News on Friday. 

“We’ve moved tanks, cannons and ammunition from Aden military bases to a military outpost in Ras Abbas, on the outskirts of Aden,” said the member on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee, which is tasked with collecting them at a location outside Aden before dispatching them to battlefields. 

The committee is also charged with making other security and military arrangements, including the withdrawal of forces from the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan. 

The Riyadh Agreement, signed in the Saudi capital in November, was designed to defuse tensions between both sides following bloody clashes last year in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. 

Residents in Aden reported seeing columns of lorries carrying tanks leaving military bases and heading to the city’s outskirts.

Despite failing to meet some deadlines included in the Riyadh Agreement, many of its terms have been implemented.

These include the return of the prime minister, the partial withdrawal of forces, an exchange of prisoners and the process of disarmament.

Following the relocation of military units, Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is expected to appoint a new governor for Aden before forming a new government.

FASTFACT

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee.

On the battlefield, heavy fighting continued on Friday in the Nehim district just outside Houthi-held Sanaa as government forces, backed by Saudi-led warplanes, pushed forward to pave the way for the liberation of the capital. Dozens have been killed since Wednesday as both sides claimed gains on the ground.

In Marib, senior army commanders on Friday said the army would keep pressing its offensive until the Houthis are expelled from Sanaa. 

At a meeting attended by the Saudi-led coalition commander in Marib, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamed Al-Muzaini, Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi said the Yemeni Army is determined to push the Houthis out of Sanaa and other areas under their control, and to work on restoring state institutions. 

The commanders discussed military plans and the recent escalation of fighting in Nehim, Jouf and Marib.

The conflict in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and began expanding across the country.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has helped government forces advance on all fronts, pushing the Houthis to mountainous provinces in northern Yemen.