Turkey summons US envoy over Armenian genocide vote

People demonstrate outside the US embassy, on December 13, 2019 in Ankara, one day after US congress formally recognized the 1915-1917 murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. (AFP)
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Updated 13 December 2019

Turkey summons US envoy over Armenian genocide vote

  • Armenia claims 1.5 million died in the killings
  • US is now in line with 30 other countries in recognizing Armenia’s claim of genocide

ISTANBUL: Turkey summoned the US ambassador on Friday after the US Senate voted to recognize the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide.

Deputy foreign minister Sedat Onal delivered the government’s reaction to envoy David Satterfield, said the foreign ministry, after Turkish officials warned that the vote endangered relations.

American senators followed the House of Representatives in voting to recognize the killings of Armenians during the First World War as genocide, for which the Ottoman Empire — the forerunner of modern-day Turkey — bore responsibility.

Armenia claims 1.5 million died in the killings. Turkey says the number of deaths was far lower and Turks also died, blaming the killings on the First World War.

The US is now in line with 30 other countries in recognizing Armenia’s claim of genocide.

A US embassy spokesman in Ankara however told AFP that the Senate vote had not changed the administration’s position, pointing out that US President Donald Trump had stopped short of calling the killings genocide earlier this year.

The Congress resolution had been blocked several times by allies of Trump, who has sought a close relationship with NATO ally Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During a meeting in Washington last month, Trump said he was a “big fan” of Erdogan despite opposition from many in the Congress to the red-carpet welcome.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 47 min 57 sec ago

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.