Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue
Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar gives a press conference at the ministry in Ankara on Jan. 13, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue

Turkey says turning back on S-400s ‘problematic’, seeks US dialogue
  • Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defense systems
  • Biden has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past

ANKARA: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it would be “very problematic” for Ankara to turn back on its purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems but expressed hope that a dispute with the United States on the issue could be resolved through dialogue.
Akar also reiterated that Turkey was in talks with Russia on obtaining a second consignment of the S400 defense systems.
Washington slapped sanctions on NATO ally Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate (SSB), its chief Ismail Demir and three other employees last month following its acquisition of the S-400s.
“It is a very problematic situation to turn back from the point we have come to. We invite (the United States) to distance themselves from threatening language such as sanctions,” Akar told journalists in Ankara.
“We want the solution of problems through dialogue. If the US side wants a solution, a solution could be found with work on the technical level,” he said.
The sanctions were imposed at a challenging time in the fraught relationship between Ankara and Washington. President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20, replacing Donald Trump. Biden has been critical of President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies in the past.
Turkey has defended its acquisition of the S-400s as a necessity because it was unable to procure air defense systems from any NATO ally on satisfactory terms.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this and says S-400s will not be integrated into NATO.


Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
Updated 4 min 43 sec ago

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
  • Malka Leifer had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014
  • She faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a woman wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia, following a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments.
Malka Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne, had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintains her innocence and the protracted court case and repeated delays over her extradition drew criticism from Australian officials as well as the country’s Jewish leaders.
Israeli media photographed Leifer boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport early Monday, her ankles and wrists shackled. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed the extradition.
The Hebrew-language news site Ynet reported that she boarded a flight to Frankfurt, where she would transfer to another flight bound for Australia.
Her departure was timed so that she left the country before Israel’s shutdown of the airport at midnight due to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
In December, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against her extradition, and Israel’s justice minister signed the order to send her to Australia.
Leifer faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne.
As accusations against her began surfacing in 2008, Israeli-born Leifer left the school and returned to Israel, where she has lived since.
Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, had accused Israeli authorities of dragging out the case for far too long, while Leifer claimed she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Last year, an Israeli psychiatric panel determined Leifer was lying about her mental condition, setting in motion the extradition.
Avi Nissenkorn, Israel’s former justice minister who had signed the extradition order, wrote on Twitter: “I promised that I would not hinder the extradition order, and that’s what I have done. Malka Leifer’s victims will finally earn an act of justice.”
Manny Waks, head of Voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organization representing Leifer’s victims, said in a statement that “this is an incredible day for justice!”
“We can now truly look forward to Leifer facing justice in Australia on the 74 charges she is facing,” he said.