Italy’s Salvini makes pro-Israel pledge in election bid

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini [Stefano Rellandini/Reuters]
One of Europe’s most prominent far-right politicians has pledged to make radical changes in support for Israel if he is elected as the next Prime Minister of Italy. In an interview with Israel Hayom, the frontrunner for Italy’s top job, Matteo Salvini, pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; criminalise the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; adopt the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism; and make the EU more pro-Israel. Asked if Italy would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital once he became Prime Minister, Salvini replied: “Yes. Absolutely.” He was equally empathic on whether the EU should ban BDS as “anti-Semitic”. The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been weaponised by pro-Israel Lobby groups, the original drafter […]

EU outlines need for Libya-owned political process at Berlin Conference

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu attend the Berlin Conference on Libyan peace in Berlin, Germany on January 19, 2020. [Turkish Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency]
The European Union (EU) has stressed the need for a political process, led and owned by Libya itself, at the Berlin conference yesterday. In a joint statement, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced: “As the European Union, we reaffirm that the only sustainable solution to the crisis in Libya is through UN-led mediation efforts that put the needs of all Libyan people at the forefront. Only a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process can end the conflict and bring lasting peace.” The conference on resolving the Libyan conflict, held in the German capital of Berlin yesterday, “brought together the most influential regional and international partners at this critical moment in […]

Turkey and Pakistan collaborate on historical film

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) as they pose for a photo following their joint press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on 4 January 2019. [Halil Sağırkaya - Anadolu Agency]
Actors from Pakistan and Turkey have starred in a film highlighting historical relations between Pakistan and Turkey. The movie, entitled Bear Witness (Sahit Ol), represents the era of the 1920s, when the region of India and Pakistan was under British rule. It revolves around the historic Khilafat Movement, launched by Muslims of the region to save Turkey from imperial powers. The film, inspired by real events, was originally shot in Urdu and will be dubbed in Turkish. Its lead cast includes award-winning television actors Emmad Irfani, Ghana Ali and Qavi Khan, as well as Turkish actor Mert Sismanlar. “This feature film depicts the era of 1920 when British rule was at its peak in the sub-continent and even at its […]

The Berlin conference benefited everyone except the Libyans

A general view is seen during the Berlin Conference on Libyan peace in Berlin, Germany on 19 January 2020. [Turkish Presidency / Murat Cetinmuhurdar - Anadolu Agency]
The international peace summit held in Berlin on Sunday to find a solution for the ongoing conflict between the UN-backed interim Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj and the renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, France, Italy and other countries, neglected the interests of the Libyans, while serving those of such foreign states and their proxies. Haftar has strong links with America’s CIA, and failed in 2014 to oust the elected Libyan parliament, the General National Congress (GNC). On 25 June of that year, a new parliament was elected with a turnout of only 18 per cent compared to 60 per cent for the GNC. For several reasons, […]

Turkish coastguard hits Syrian refugees

READ: 2020 sees Turkey set its sights on the Mediterranean 

UK: Legal group urges arrest warrant for Egypt’s Sisi

Image of a poster condemning the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [Alisdare Hickson/Flickr]
A legal chambers in the UK has called on judicial authorities to issue an arrest warrant for the incumbent Egyptian president for his role in the death of Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected president, Anadolu reports. The International Justice Chambers (Guernica 37) in a statement late on Sunday urged the London counter-terrorism units to launch a probe into “credible allegations of torture made against the Egyptian government and state organs.” The call came ahead of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s expected visit to the UK where he will participate in an investment summit seeking to strengthen ties between London and African nations. Morsi was ousted in a military coup by Sisi in 2013 and died during trial last June. READ: […]

Israel detains Finnish MP for trying to cross Gaza fence

Anna Kontula, Finnish Member of Parliament [Wikipedia]
Israeli police on Thursday detained five Finnish citizens, including a member of parliament, for allegedly attempting to cross the fence separating Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to local media, Anadolu reports. The police detained Anna Kontula, a member of the Finnish parliament, and four other humanitarian activists, allegedly for trying to cross the fence in protest over the humanitarian crisis in the enclave, said the daily Haaretz. “We expect those who visit Israel, and especially public servants, to respect Israeli law,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the daily. READ: Human rights groups urge Israel to halt aerial herbicide spraying along Gaza fence  Meanwhile, the Finnish Embassy in Israel refused to comment on the incident, saying that Kontula […]

Haftar militia violates truce following Berlin summit

National Covenant Government (UMH) members inspect the damages following bombings, as they patrol at checkpoints established by the conflict zones, after Libya's renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar accepted a joint call by Turkey and Russia for a cease-fire and truce in the battle for Tripoli, at Salah al-Din town of Tripoli in Libya on 12 January 2020. [Enes Canlı - Anadolu Agency]
Militias loyal to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar launched a mortar attack Sunday, violating a cease-fire following a conference on Libya in Berlin, Anadolu reports. Sounds of explosions were heard in the capital Tripoli after the Berlin summit, which was held with the aim of establishing a lasting cease-fire and initiating a political process in Libya. Abdul-Malik Al-Madani, spokesman for the Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation by Libya’s UN-recognized government, told Anadolu Agency that the militias violated the cease-fire by launching a random mortar attack on the Salah al-Din region south of Tripoli. READ: Turkey slams Greece for hosting Libya’s Haftar  While warring parties in Libya and the international community gathered in Berlin, Haftar’s forces also launched mortar attacks on […]

Denying previous report, Iran to examine downed plane’s black boxes itself

An engine lies on the ground after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020, killing everyone on board [AFP via Getty Images]
Iran said on Sunday it was trying to analyse the black boxes of a Ukrainian airliner that its military shot down this month, denying a report that a decision had been taken to send the voice and flight data recorders to Ukraine, reported Reuters. Canada, which had 57 citizens on the January 8 flight in which all 176 aboard were killed, said on Sunday there were still no firm plans for downloading the recorders. Ottawa and other capitals have called for the black boxes to be sent abroad. The plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long-running dispute with the United States over its nuclear programme and its influence in the region that briefly erupted into open […]

Libya peace summit struggles to draw eastern commander Haftar back into diplomacy

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of France Emmanuel Macron, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Union Council President, Charles Michel , European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for a family photo within the Berlin Conference on Libyan peace in Berlin, Germany on January 19, 2020 [Abdulhamid Hosbas / Anadolu Agency]
Countries struggled at an international peace summit for Libya struggled on Sunday to draw eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar back into diplomacy, days after he quit talks and more than half of Libya’s oil output was shut in areas he controls, reported Reuters. Haftar, whose forces are bearing down on the capital Tripoli with the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops, was expected to attend the one-day summit despite having abandoned talks last week. Turkey has rushed troops to Tripoli to help an internationally recognised government resist Haftar’s assault. Up to 2,000 Turkish-backed fighters from Syria’s civil war have also joined the battle, a UN official said on Saturday. Haftar quit a Turkish-Russian summit […]
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Erdogan Should Think Twice Before Ditching US – OpEd

By Chris Doyle* For centuries, European and then American policy has been to keep Turkey and Russia separate and even

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