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Turkiye in December 2023

Table of Contents

December 1, 2023

  1. Escalation and Human Losses in the “Putin-Erdogan” Zone in November. Despite the Putin-Erdogan agreement for de-escalation, the region witnesses intense violence with daily shelling, causing significant human and material losses. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented 62 casualties, including civilians, militia members, and regime forces. The situation exacerbates amid international indifference, impacting citizens’ lives in the challenging humanitarian conditions.
  2. Erdogan Attends COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Dubai for the COP28 Global Climate Action Summit. He is expected to engage in bilateral meetings with world leaders. The summit, focusing on climate policies, encompasses discussions on energy, food, health, and environmental challenges, emphasizing climate change mitigation.

December 4, 2023

The US, Turkiye, and Hamas – A Diplomatic Tightrope Leading to No Good.

Despite no confirmations that Turkiye transferred any funds to Hamas since the October 7th attack, US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson visited Turkiye last week to express Washington’s “deep” concern about Ankara’s relations with Hamas. Turkiye’s engagement with Hamas has been a notable aspect of its foreign policy, especially since 2006 when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections, leading to tensions with Israel and concerns from the United States and other countries that label Hamas as a terrorist organization. Nelson pointed out that Ankara had previously helped Hamas receive funding, and called on Turkiye to take strict measures against possible future transfer of funds. President Erdogan’s response demonstrates the emergence of alarming strains in American-Turkish relations. He reiterated that Turkiye’s foreign policy is based on the interests and expectations of the people. Furthermore, he maintains that Turkiye does not view Hamas as a terrorist group, adding that it is not possible to exclude Hamas from any possible solution to the conflict in Gaza. The Turkish president continued to condemn Israeli approaches as “state terrorism,”  calling Benjamin Netanyahu, “the Butcher of Gaza,” and his calls for a two-state solution. On Monday, the Turkish president stated that Netanyahu should be tried like Milosevic. Hakan Fidan, minister of Turkiye’s foreign affairs, announced that his country is preparing an initiative with main provisions that will be presented to a wider audience. The initiative stipulates different countries in the region bear the responsibility of becoming the guarantors of Israel and a Palestinian state. Fidan explained that only in this way can a lasting peace be guaranteed.

Israel’s response to Erdogan was not long in coming, as its Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said – through his social media accounts – “Go ahead and host in your country the Hamas terrorists who were not eliminated and fled Gaza,” and Cohen added, “We will liberate Gaza from Hamas, for the sake of Israel’s security.” In order to create a better future for the residents of the region.”

In other news, important to Turkiye, Germany blocked the sale of the Eurofighter citing  natural gas drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Last week, Türkiye’s Defense Minister Yaşar Güler declared the nation’s intention to acquire Eurofighter jets, opting for them over the controversial F-35s from the United States. This decision follows Türkiye’s expulsion from the F-35 program in 2019, making the modernization of the country’s air force a top priority.

December 5, 2023

  1. Turkiye Warns Israel Against Targeting Hamas on Its Territory. Turkiye has issued a strong warning to Israel following the announcement by Israel’s security chief, Ronen Bar, about pursuing Hamas leaders globally, including in Turkiye. This stance by Turkiye underscores the escalating tensions and the serious consequences of any Israeli intelligence operations against Hamas on Turkish soil
  2. Equal Treatment Urged: Turkish Ambassador Calls for Enhanced EU-Turkiye Cooperation. Turkiye’s ambassador to the EU, Faruk Kaymakci, urges the European Union to treat Turkiye as an equal candidate country, emphasizing the need for trust-building measures. Kaymakci highlights concerns over the insufficient growth of Turkish-EU relations in key areas and calls for the removal of conditions hindering the update of the 1995 Customs Union deal. The ambassador also emphasizes the importance of facilitating visa issuance for Turkish nationals and advocates deeper cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
  3. Erdogan Accuses Netanyahu of Jeopardizing the Region for Political Gain. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemns Israel’s war on Gaza, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of endangering the region for political longevity. Erdogan emphasizes the urgent need for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the delivery of humanitarian aid during his participation in the Gulf-Turkiye Summit in Doha.
  4. Erdogan Highlights Global Impact of Expo 2023 Doha during Visit. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasizes Expo 2023 Doha’s significance on the global stage, discussing regional issues with Qatari leaders before the 44th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit. Erdogan applauds the Expo’s international participation and envisions increased global engagement in the future. The expo, themed “Green Desert, Better Environment,” focuses on sustainable innovations and combating desertification, running until March 28, 2024.

December 6, 2023

  1. Mossad’s Alleged Assassination Plans in Turkey: MIT’s Countermeasures. Reports have emerged suggesting that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, is planning assassinations against Hamas members residing in Turkey. Turkish security sources have issued stern warnings to the Israeli intelligence, asserting that such operations will not be tolerated. 
  2. Tech Over Summit: Transforming Entrepreneurial Dreams into Reality in Istanbul. Istanbul hosts the 6th edition of the “Tech Over” summit, an international gathering for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers. Organized in collaboration with 43 Turkish institutions, the summit aims to turn entrepreneurial aspirations into tangible achievements. The event features competitions, presentations, and opportunities for entrepreneurs to meet over 100 investors, fostering international networking and showcasing innovative products. Notable speakers include experts from various sectors, emphasizing forward-thinking trends and future-oriented developments.
  3. Turkey’s Active Role in the Global Coalition Against Daesh, Says US Envoy. Ian McCary, US Deputy Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, highlights Turkey’s significant involvement in the coalition’s efforts. McCary emphasizes Turkey’s role in co-chairing the foreign terrorist fighter working group and its proactive stance, including disrupting potential Daesh movements in Afghanistan and addressing counterterrorism efforts in Africa. Despite occasional disagreements, the US aims to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey.
  4. Nusret-2023: International Military Drill Demonstrates Naval Expertise in Canakkale, Turkey. The Nusret-2023 Invitation Military Drill, hosted by NATO in Canakkale, Turkey, showcases naval capabilities. The exercise involves Turkish military units performing mine-laying operations, aerial mine drops, and tactical operations. Observers from 10 countries, including NATO allies and international partners, witness the demonstration of maritime expertise and coordination.
  5. Putin Hails Robust Russian-Turkish Relations and Strategic Cooperation. Russian President Vladimir Putin has commended the heightened state of Russian-Turkish relations, emphasizing their strategic partnership, especially in the energy sector. Acknowledging the collaborative history between the two nations during a ceremony for new ambassadors, including Türkiye’s Tanju Bilgiç, Putin pointed to significant joint ventures like the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the Blue Stream and TurkStream gas pipelines. This cooperation is part of a broader initiative to establish a natural gas distribution center in Türkiye, reflecting Russia’s strategy to reroute energy exports amidst reduced European imports due to the Ukraine conflict. Additionally, the two countries are actively engaged in addressing various regional issues, notably in Syria, the Black Sea, and the South Caucasus.

December 7, 2023

  1. Erdogan in Greece: Aiming for Cooperation, Despite Tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Greece for the 5th Türkiye-Greece High Level Cooperation Council meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis focuses on enhancing bilateral relations and addressing long-standing issues. Despite the complex history between Turkey and Greece, Erdogan, in a pre-visit interview with a Greek newspaper, insists Turkey doesn’t see Greece as an adversary. He advocates for a new era of cooperation and dialogue, accusing external forces, particularly the United States, of exacerbating tensions. Erdogan’s approach seeks a mutually beneficial resolution to the disputes, underscoring the importance of direct communication between the two nations.
  2. Erdogan Links Sweden’s NATO Bid to U.S. F-16 Sale Approval. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly states that Turkey’s support for Sweden’s NATO membership hinges on the U.S. facilitating the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. He anticipates action from the U.S. Congress on this matter, following Turkey’s parliamentary motion to endorse Sweden’s entry into NATO. Erdogan stresses the importance of reciprocal steps from the United States for the agreement to advance, making it clear that the approval of F-16 sales is a key condition for Turkey’s backing of Sweden’s NATO aspirations.
  3. Türkiye Explores Defense Industry Collaboration with Egypt and Africa. Turkish officials express eagerness to transfer defense industry capabilities to Egypt and other African nations, fostering collaboration at the Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX) in Cairo. Positive developments in Türkiye-Egypt relations pave the way for strategic partnerships in naval platforms, ammunition, land vehicles, and more. Türkiye aims to leverage the event to strengthen ties with Egypt, echoing mutual interests in defense industry advancement.
  4. Erdogan’s Ambition: Mirroring Israeli Tactics for Syrian Offensive. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a resolute stance against what he labels as terror groups along Türkiye’s southern border with Syria and northern Iraq. Emphasizing Ankara’s commitment to combating terrorism, Erdogan specifically targets the northern Syrian city of Tal Rifaat, vowing to secure areas near the border from these groups. This announcement follows Türkiye’s Operation Claw Lock in northern Iraq, aimed at the PKK, a group recognized as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S., and the EU, and responsible for over 40,000 deaths. Erdogan’s approach, mirroring Israeli rhetoric against Hamas, has sparked controversy and raised questions about his intentions in Syria’s northeast.
  5. Turkey Condemns Israel’s Plan for 1800 Settlements in East Jerusalem. Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemns Israel’s plan to build 1800 settlements in East Jerusalem, denouncing the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories while expressing concerns over ongoing attacks on Gaza.
  6. Turkish-Israeli Tensions Rise Over Espionage and Hamas Threats. Turkish intelligence has submitted a detailed report on Sılaç Kojokaya, accused of Mossad collaboration, revealing espionage and efforts to undermine Turkey’s data protection perception. Kojokaya’s confession, under allegations of torture, is disputed. This development coincides with escalating tensions between Israel and Türkiye, particularly over Hamas. Turkish President Erdoğan has sternly warned Israel against targeting Hamas members in Türkiye, responding to the Shin Bet chief‘s remarks about eliminating Hamas. This confrontation underscores Türkiye’s strong stance on the Palestinian cause and its opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

December 8, 2023

  1. Turkish Diplomacy in Gaza Contrasts with Military Actions in Syria. While Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan leads a diplomatic mission advocating for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, Turkiye simultaneously conducts military operations in northeast Syria. These operations have led to at least 32 civilian deaths since early 2023, including a recent drone strike on a family car. The contrast between Turkiye’s diplomatic efforts for peace in Gaza and its aggressive military stance in Syria is stark, as the country plays differing roles in these regional conflicts.
  2. Turkiye Welcomes Confidence-Building Steps Between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Turkiye expresses support for tangible steps taken by Azerbaijan and Armenia to build trust, emphasizing its desire for a swift signing of a peace agreement between the two nations. The statement follows Baku and Yerevan’s announcement of significant measures to enhance confidence, fostering hope for lasting peace in the South Caucasus.
  3. Erdogan’s Greece Visit Marks Positive Turn in Turkish-Greek Relations Amid Economic Optimism. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Greece, proposing a nuclear energy collaboration with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, signals a strengthening of bilateral relations. The U.S. has expressed satisfaction with these discussions, seeing them as crucial for regional peace and stability. This development coincides with the World Bank’s positive outlook on Turkiye’s economy, as noted by Director Humberto Lopez, who highlights the country’s improved credit ratings and vibrant bond market prospects, despite inflation challenges. The World Bank’s focus on renewable energy financing aligns with Turkiye’s goals for capacity growth, adding an economic dimension to the Erdogan-Mitsotakis dialogue.
  4. Turkish F-16s Join NATO Air Policing Mission in Romania. Four Turkish F-16 fighter jets and 71 personnel have been deployed to Romania’s Borcea Airbase for NATO’s enhanced air policing mission, ensuring aerial security along NATO’s eastern borders. The mission, part of assurance measures post-Crimea annexation, will continue until March 31, 2024.

December 11, 2023

Global Input for Gaza 

Historic Diplomatic Alliance: Middle Eastern Ministers Unite for Peace in North America

For the first time, state officials from regions known for their contrasting and adversarial positions have come together, united in spearheading intense global diplomatic activities. The foreign affair ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey concluded their visit to North America this weekend. Originating from a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, these diplomatic efforts are aimed at halting the conflict and advocating for a UN-backed solution. The delegation stresses the need for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Turkey’s Diplomatic Strides: From Gaza Tensions to Global Trade Talks.

Turkey’s strong stance against further Israeli operations in Palestinian territories was highlighted, with specific criticism directed at the U.S. for its isolated support of Israel, evidenced by its veto of a UN ceasefire resolution in Gaza.Concurrently, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engaged in discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Their dialogue encompassed peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, signifying Turkey’s commitment to regional stability and normalization. In a separate development, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Turkish Minister of Trade Omer Polat conversed over the phone, focusing on enhancing trade relations between the two countries, particularly in sectors like aviation, digital economy, and green technology. They planned to continue these discussions at the “Trade Winds” conference in Istanbul, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues related to Turkish exports and market access.

Istanbul’s Voice for Gaza: Protests and Forums Call for Global Justice.

Back in Istanbul, World Human Rights Day witnessed a large-scale protest against Israel’s military operations in Gaza. Organized by human rights groups, the demonstration condemned Israel for human rights violations and the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, urging a boycott of U.S. products due to its support of Israel. This sentiment was echoed at the TRT Channel Forum in Istanbul, which also emphasized the need for a more equitable international system, reform of the Security Council, and adherence to universal human values in global politics.

Erdogan’s Stance on Gaza: Challenging International Silence and Injustice. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly criticized the United Nations Security Council for its perceived bias towards Israel, particularly after the U.S. vetoed a Gaza ceasefire proposal. He accused the council of violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Gaza and labeled Israeli authorities as the “butchers of Gaza,” signaling his skepticism about the possibility of justice under the current international framework. Turkish First Lady Emine Erdoğan also spoke out, criticizing the global silence on Israeli threats to Gaza and questioning the credibility of universal human rights in this context.

Erdogan’s Gaza Critique Meets Challenge: Calls to Take in Gazan Refugees. 

Amid these developments, Israeli media speculated on the possibility of Turkey accepting Gaza refugees. This potential move is seen as aligning with President Erdoğan’s Sunni Islamic identity and his strategy to balance the growing Kurdish population in Turkey. Historically, Turkey has accepted Syrian refugees, and a similar approach towards Gazans could help maintain the country’s Sunni Muslim and Turkish cultural dominance.

Countering Iranian Threats: Mossad and Cyprus Thwart Planned Attacks.

Lastly, the Israeli Mossad announced its collaboration with Cypriot authorities in preventing an Iran-orchestrated attack targeting Israelis and Jews in Turkish-controlled Cyprus. This development highlights growing concerns about Iran’s potential use of the region for terrorism and logistical activities, especially in the wake of the Gaza conflict.

December 12, 2023

  1. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Denies Israeli Allegations, Expresses Concerns Over UK Bases. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) vehemently denies Israel’s unfounded accusation of Iranian terrorism on its soil. TRNC President Ersin Tatar raises concerns over the UK’s alleged use of bases in the Greek Cypriot side for weapons transfers to Israel. Tatar condemns Israel’s actions and calls for the UK to fulfill its guarantor responsibilities.
  2. UK Threatens Scotland Over Erdogan Meeting. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron threatens to withdraw support for Scottish Cabinet ministers after Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf meets with Turkish President Erdogan. Yousaf, critical of UK’s full support for Israel, faces backlash for discussing Gaza at the COP28 summit.
  3. Türkiye Criticizes Germany Over Eurofighter Disapproval. Türkiye criticizes Germany for denying Ankara’s request to acquire Eurofighter Typhoon jets, seeking alternatives amid F-16 negotiations with the U.S. President Erdoğan emphasizes Türkiye’s options, while the defense minister expresses hope for ally intervention. Additionally, Türkiye anticipates the maiden flight of its domestically-developed fifth-generation fighter jet, Kaan, aiming to replace aging F-16s.
  4. Turkish Forces Eliminate Terror Targets in Northern Iraq. Turkish security forces launch air operations, eliminating 13 terror targets and neutralizing PKK leaders in northern Iraq. Operations aim to prevent cross-border attacks and ensure border security. Targets include caves and bunkers.
  5. Turkey Advances Towards Energy Independence with Approval for Akkuyu NGS. Akkuyu Nuclear JSC announced that it has received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Authority for the operation of the first reactor of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NGS). This milestone allows the project to enter the crucial phase of commissioning, adjustment, and operation, marking a significant step toward Turkey’s energy self-reliance.
  6. Turkish Defense Minister: Troops to Leave Syria Upon Regime-Opposition Agreement. Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, asserts Turkey’s commitment to withdraw military presence from Syria once security is restored and the Syrian regime and opposition agree on a new constitution and elections for stability.

December 13, 2023

  1. Turkey Invests in Iraqi Agriculture Amid Water Dispute. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Sudani invites Turkish companies to invest in Iraq, praising the partnership with Turkish firm, Tiryaki Agro, for the first-of-its-kind agricultural processing complex. The Turkish delegation expresses interest in further agricultural projects, modern irrigation technologies, and clean energy.
  2. Turkish MP’s Collapse: Critique of Erdogan’s Israel Stance. Turkish MP Hassan Betmez collapses after denouncing President Erdogan’s policies on Israel in Parliament. The incident underscores dissent over Turkey’s stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict, emphasizing ongoing tensions. Betmez’s critical condition reflects the broader discord within Turkey.
  3. Turkey’s Multi-Directional Quest for Resources and Investments. Turkey, amid economic challenges, intensifies efforts to attract foreign investments and secure financial resources. Despite diplomatic tours, including visits to the U.S., UK, and Gulf states, tangible results remain elusive. President Erdogan’s economic diplomacy extends to Europe, with a focus on enhancing economic ties.

December 14, 2023

  1. Turkish Politics in Turmoil: Confronting U.S. Policy and Internal Divisions on Israel-Palestine. The Turkish Parliament Speaker’s condemnation of the U.S. for vetoing a Gaza ceasefire resolution, labeling America as complicit in “Israeli massacres,” mirrors Turkey’s strong opposition to Israeli actions in Gaza and perceived U.S. support. This reflects Turkey’s increasingly firm stance on Palestine and growing foreign policy rifts, particularly with the U.S. and Israel. The death of a Turkish lawmaker from the Happiness Party, after a speech criticizing the government’s Israel ties, further underscores the intense and polarized nature of Turkey’s internal political debates. These incidents highlight how the Israel-Hamas War has significantly heightened political discourse in Turkey, impacting both its foreign policy orientation and domestic political environment.
  2. Is Russia Using Turkey’s Gaza Stance to Boost Its Middle East Clout? Russia’s alignment with Turkey in addressing the Gaza crisis may be part of a broader strategy to expand its influence in the Middle East. By supporting Erdogan’s efforts towards peace in Gaza and aligning with Turkey’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Russia appears to be leveraging Turkey’s regional position to bolster its own strategic ambitions in the Middle East. This partnership not only highlights Russia’s support for Erdogan’s initiatives but also suggests a tactical approach by Russia, using Turkey’s involvement to strengthen its foothold in the region. The planned meeting between Putin and Erdogan further cements this alliance, underlining Russia’s intent to utilize Turkey’s influence in shaping Middle Eastern dynamics.
  3. Turkey’s Balancing Act Between Azerbaijan and Russia. Turkey is skillfully navigating its foreign relations by strengthening ties with Azerbaijan while maintaining a strategic relationship with Russia. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov’s recent declaration of a ‘historic peak’ in relations with Turkey, particularly after the 2021 Shusha Declaration, underscores the deepening political, economic, and military cooperation between Ankara and Baku. This burgeoning partnership, however, is balanced by Turkey’s ongoing engagement with Russia, a key regional player. 
  4. Turkey’s Dual Defense Strategy: Domestic Innovation and Foreign Procurement. Turkey is showcasing its military prowess through domestic innovations like the Boran howitzer, while simultaneously seeking advanced technology like U.S. F-16 jets. The Boran’s success exemplifies Turkey’s commitment to self-reliance and technological advancement in defense. However, the pursuit of F-16s reflects a desire to incorporate established military technology and maintain strong NATO alliances. This strategy underscores Turkey’s aim to be a robust military force, balancing homegrown developments with strategic international partnerships.

December 15, 2023

  1. Turkey’s Groundbreaking Move in Energy: Major Oil and Natural Gas Initiative. Turkey, making significant strides in energy resources, announces a pioneering step in oil and natural gas exploration and production. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Alparslan Bayraktar highlighted the achievements, emphasizing the importance of mining and energy sectors in the economy. The country aims to strengthen energy security with increased domestic and international oil and gas exploration. Bayraktar also highlighted Turkey’s accomplishments in natural gas accessibility, reaching 83% of the population.

December 19, 2023

  1. Turkey-Hungary Joint Venture “Gidran” Strengthens Defense Ties. Turkey and Hungary enhance their strong relations in the defense industry through a joint venture, officially signing the agreement for the production of the tactical armored vehicle known as “Gidran“.
  2. Mapping the Future of Hydrogen: Turkey Urged to Join European Initiative. The President of the Green Hydrogen Producers Association, Yusuf Günay, emphasizes the importance of Turkey’s inclusion in the European Hydrogen Backbone Initiative, which aims to map the pipelines of the future “hydrogen economy.” Günay stresses Turkey’s potential as a valuable green hydrogen supplier to the EU, calling for active participation to reduce dependency on natural gas and contribute to clean energy transformation.
  3. Turkey Achieves First-Ever Export of Indigenous Aircraft Engines. Turkey’s defense industry marks a historic milestone by exporting indigenous aviation engines, securing orders from five countries. TEI engineers are actively engaged in fulfilling orders and negotiating new agreements with multiple nations. This groundbreaking move establishes Turkey as an exporter of high-tech aviation engines for the first time in its history. Additionally, Turkey’s inaugural combat aircraft, KAAN, successfully completes a critical test ahead of its scheduled first flight on December 27th.
  4. Turkish Exports to Spain Reach Record High. Turkish exports to Spain have set a new record, totaling $8.55 billion from January to November. Spain’s share of Turkey’s total exports reached an all-time high, increasing by 2.5% annually to $8.55 billion. Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom secured the top positions in Turkey’s export destinations.

December 20, 2023

  1. Erdogan: Positive Signals from the U.S. and Canada May Lead to Sweden’s NATO Membership. Turkish President Erdogan suggests that positive developments, including the potential sale of U.S. F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and Canada’s commitment to lift arms restrictions, could pave the way for Turkey’s parliament to approve Sweden’s NATO membership.
  2. Turkey and Iraq Discuss Accelerating Türkiye-Iraq Development Road Project. Turkish and Iraqi foreign ministers, Hakan Fidan and Fuad Hussein, strategize on enhancing cooperation and swiftly implementing the Türkiye-Iraq Development Road Project. The joint initiative aims to connect Türkiye and Iraq through a comprehensive 745-mile railway and road network, fostering economic development and regional connectivity.
  3. Turkey Arrests ISIS Administrative and Financial Official in Syria. Turkish intelligence captures Haitha Al-Mouri, responsible for administrative and financial affairs in ISIS’s Levant branch, in Mersin. The operation also leads to the arrest of six individuals involved in funding activities in Istanbul. The crackdown reveals digital tools used for ISIS financial transactions.

December 21, 2023

  1. Turkiye’s Double Standards: Preaching Democracy, Silencing Journalists. In a striking display of hypocrisy, Turkiye has sentenced Syrian journalists Alaa Farhat and Ahmed Al-Rihawi to six years in prison for allegedly “insulting the Republic of Turkiye.” This verdict follows their contentious arrest in March 2023 after a debate on the “Details” program, where Turkish political analyst Oktay Yilmaz made offensive remarks against Syrians. The incident, which stemmed from a discussion on Turkish forces’ misconduct along the Syria-Turkiye border, led to Yilmaz’s complaint against the journalists. Despite Orient Channel’s commitment to journalistic standards, the Turkish judiciary’s decision starkly contrasts with its professed democratic ideals, sparking international condemnation and calls for the protection of press freedom and journalists’ rights by the Syrian Journalists Association.
  2. Turkish “Bayraktar TB3” Drone Successfully Completes 13th Test Flight. Turkish defense company Baykar announced the successful completion of the 13th test flight for the “Bayraktar TB3” armed drone. The drone flew for 32 hours at medium altitudes, demonstrating system performance and endurance. Baykar developed the TB3 with national capabilities, allowing it to take off and land on short-runway ships, conduct reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and carry smart munitions. It is suitable for use on both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
  3. Turkiye and Iran Discuss Palestinian Issue. Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Yildiz met with his Iranian counterpart Ali Baqeri and discussed bilateral relations and the Palestinian issue during his visit to Tehran. Both countries emphasized the need for regional and international cooperation in resolving the Palestinian conflict and expressed hopes for a ceasefire and a path towards a solution.
  4. Turkish Minister Explores Collaboration Opportunities with China. Turkish Minister of Industry and Technology, Mehmet Fatih Kacır, discussed potential cooperation in various fields with Chinese officials during his visit to China. Topics of discussion ranged from electric cars and renewable energy to battery production and nuclear power stations. Turkiye aims to become a production hub for electric cars and batteries, and it ranks highly in solar and wind energy production in Europe.

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