Erdogan's upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to visit Saudi Arabia in February, at the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. The announcement came in Erdogan's answer to a Turkish businesswoman's question about the undeclared Saudi ban on Turkish goods and her demand that this problem be solved. The president will also visit the UAE capital next month, as he announced after the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Ankara in December. It is expected that Erdogan's visit to Saudi Arabia will come immediately after his visit to the UAE and before his return to Turkey. The rapid restoration of relations between the UAE and Turkey following the visit of the Emirati National […]

Palestinian prisoners enter 40th year in Israel detention

The two longest-serving Palestinian freedom fighters incarcerated in Israel have entered their 40th and last year behind bars, Palestinian Wafa news agency reported citing the Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) yesterday. According to PPS, Karim Younis, 63, and his cousin, Maher Younis, 64, both from the Arab-Israeli town of Ara in northern Israel, were detained on 6 January 1983 for their resistance of the Israeli occupation and sentenced to life in prison, which was later commuted to 40 years. PPC said the Younis cousins were supposed to have been freed in 2014 in a deal brokered by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry in which Israel was supposed to free all Palestinian prisoners detained before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords that launched the […]

Iran ready to restore ties with Saudi Arabia at any time

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Tehran is ready to restore relations with Saudi Arabia at any time. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Abdollahian described dialogue with Saudi Arabia as “positive and constructive”, adding that within days Iranian representatives to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will return to Jeddah, which is a “positive step”. He stressed that Tehran believes in the importance of having a broad regional dialogue that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey to solve the region's problems, explaining that Saudi Arabia wants a dialogue with Tehran, which only focuses on bilateral relations. On 3 January, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said in a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in the capital, Amman, […]

Morocco groups reiterate rejection of normalisation deal with Israel

The Moroccan Front in Support of Palestine and Against Normalisation has reiterated its rejection of all forms of normalisation with Israel, calling to immediately revoke the agreements signed with the Israeli government, despite the passage of a year since their announcement. The group, which includes a number of civil society organisations, noted the great response by Moroccans to the protest movements called for to mark the one-year anniversary of this “ominous deal”. It warned that normalisation encourages the Zionists to continue their crimes against Palestinians, and constitutes a violation of the constitution, the law and Morocco's obligations, stressing that it will continue to fight all forms of normalisation. Morocco announced the normalisation of ties with Israel last year in return […]

DM: Turkish weapons proved their effectiveness in the field

Weapons manufactured by Turkey have proven their effectiveness in the field, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said yesterday. Speaking during the inauguration ceremony of a new facility for a national fighter development project in Ankara, Akar said these projects will enhance the continuous localisation plan in the technological, defence and security fields, and will raise Turkey's position in the technologies field. Akar pointed out that Turkey is designing, manufacturing and exporting its rifles, smart ammunition, naval cannon, rocket launchers, land artillery, drones, helicopters, frigates and warships. “The local weapon systems contributed to the successful completion of the Turkish Armed Forces' tasks inside the country and in many geographical areas,” he said, adding that the weapon systems have been manufactured to NATO […]

Istanbul's Orthodox community marks Epiphany with icy dives

Plunging into the icy waters of Istanbul's Golden Horn, Orthodox Christians, on Thursday, marked the anniversary of the birth and baptism of Jesus of Nazareth, the man they know as the Messiah, Anadolu News Agency reports. The marking of the Epiphany began with a ceremony held by the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Turkish metropolis, followed by swimmers diving in the water to retrieve a symbolic cross. Patriarch Bartholomew himself led the morning ceremony held at St. George's Cathedral, also known as Aya Yorgi Church, as participants chanted prayers and lit candles for the ritual. The Epiphany day marks the beginning of Orthodox Christmas celebrations, later than 25 December – the date for many other Christians – due to […]

Iran says US sanctions cannot justify Seoul's freezing of assets

Iran says South Korea is “obliged” to release its frozen assets, and that US sanctions cannot justify debt non-payment, Anadolu News Agency reports. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri, made these remarks on Thursday during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Choi Jong-kun, on the sidelines of the ongoing nuclear deal talks in Vienna, according to state-run media citing the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. Bagheri, who is heading Iran's 40-member delegation in the Vienna talks, told the senior South Korean diplomat that they are obliged to release the blocked money,, “irrespective of the outcome” of ongoing nuclear deal talks. Relations between the two countries have frayed in recent years, with Tehran accusing Seoul of freezing more than $7 billion […]

Anti-military protests in Sudan continue, three protesters killed

Three people were killed Thursday in Sudan in protests against military rule in various parts of the country, said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) and reported by Anadolu News Agency. In a statement, the group said the three people were killed in protests held in the cities of Omdurman and Bahri, both near the capital, Khartoum, after security forces opened fire at protesters there. This brings the number of protesters killed since the eruption of anti-military protests last October to 60, it added. Nationwide protests again erupted in Khartoum and other cities, three days after the Sunday resignation of Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok. In Bashdar, central Khartoum, thousands of protesters assembled from various neighbourhoods chanted slogans against the […]

Turkey condemns Israel's approval of new settlements in East Jerusalem

Turkey, on Thursday, condemned Israel's approval of new plans to construct over 3,500 additional illegal settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports. “The settlements built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories contravene international law, including UN resolutions,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “These new illegitimate acts are aimed at rendering a contiguous State of Palestine physically impossible, while also seriously damages the vision of a two-state solution and the ground for lasting peace,” said the Ministry. The statement came after the approval of five settlement plans containing 3,557 new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem by a local Israeli planning committee. Israel has, in recent years, intensified its settlement activities in East Jerusalem. […]

Is the US guilty of putting alliance with Israel over justice in 36-year murder case?

Renewed interest in the murder of Palestinian-American civil rights activist, Alex Odeh, has fuelled speculations that the US-Israel alliance has blocked justice and hindered the criminal investigation into the killing. No one has been formally arrested for the murder of Odeh, despite strong leads indicating that his killers were three members of the terrorist group, the Jewish Defence League (JDL). Before his untimely death in October 1985, Odeh was on course to becoming a prominent figure within the Palestinian American community. Born to a Christian Palestinian family in 1944 in the West Bank village of Jifna, near Ramallah, Odeh immigrated to the US in 1972, where he served as West Coast regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The […]

Have Israeli airstrikes reduced Iran's influence in Syria?

Iran has, in recent decades, succeeded in building a network of allies and proxies among Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, that advance Iranian interests against those of other rivals particularly the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Despite being slapped with US and UN sanctions, the Shia-majority country has made milestone achievements in military industrialisation, developing its long-range missile capabilities and relying on allies within its traditional areas of influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. So Tehran has been gradually posing a threat towards the decades-old American strategy of protecting Israel and ensuring the latter's military edge over all countries in the region. Iran has become increasingly confident of its ability to confront and harm Israel, […]

OIC, UN leaders call for joint efforts to fight corruption

Representatives of the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday called for joint efforts to fight corruption for sustainable development in the world, Anadolu News Agency reports. Speaking at the 7th international seminar on corruption and human rights, the leaders stressed practical steps for combating corruption, especially illicit financial flows as well as promotion and protection of all human rights. “The United Nations High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) has calculated that a staggering 7 trillion dollars in stolen assets are parked in the financial 'safe havens' destinations,” Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said while addressing the opening session of the event. He urged the developed countries to return the recovered assets without […]

Abbas and his 'optimism' spell danger for Palestinians

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is arguably more partial to fairy tales than politics. His latest address to the Fatah Revolutionary Council sums up all that is wrong with his leadership: incompetence; collaborative complicity with Israel and any other political entity that offers the PA a shard of security; and, above all, complete dissociation from the realities which Palestinians are facing as a result of Israel's settler-colonialism and the PA's repression and exploitation of the people's legitimate anti-colonial resistance. “Despite the difficulty of the conditions we live in,” Abbas rambled on, “I am more optimistic today about the establishment of the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.” He gave no reason for his optimism, other than that Jerusalem […]

The Netherlands stops funding Palestinian NGO 

The Netherlands has stopped funding the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), one of the six Palestinian human rights organisations designated as “terrorists” by Israel last year. According to Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz at the time, the organisations take orders from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is also designated as a “terrorist” entity by the apartheid state due to its resistance against the occupation. The move by the Dutch government comes despite an external review showing no evidence of financial flows between the UAWC and the PFLP. In a joint letter by Foreign Minister Ben Knapen and Foreign Trade Minister Tom de Brujin they acknowledge that, “No proof has been found of organisation unity between […]

Israeli tanks fire warning shots across Syrian border in Golan Heights

Israeli tanks opened fire across the Syrian border yesterday, in an attempt to give a warning to several suspicious and identified figures spotted manning military posts on the Syrian side. The incident took place during a military operation in the occupied Golan Heights, when Israeli troops identified a number of figures who were guarding or conducting activity at “military posts” across the Syrian side of the border. According to the Israeli military, forces then fired flares and warning shots from tanks towards the posts, causing them to flee the area. Israeli helicopters and other aircraft then reportedly hovered overhead in the area. The Syrian radio station, Sham FM, also reported that the tank shots struck a number of sites in […]

The Abbas-Gantz meeting broke the deadlock without any major promises

A week after the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Benny Gantz at the Israeli Defence Minister's home, reactions are ongoing. Opinions vary: some approve, others oppose; some think that the meeting could help achieve a political breakthrough with the Palestinians; and yet others believe that the meeting held personal and partisan interests for Gantz, who seeks to improve his position in the government. It is true to say that most Israeli reactions were not enthusiastic about the meeting, given that Abbas is no longer relevant to political developments and that the US administration does not want to go down the political path due to its many other preoccupations. However, those who oppose the meeting in public do […]

Employer assaults migrant worker in Lebanon, igniting debate on kafala system

A video showing a Lebanese man assaulting a foreign worker in a town in Lebanon has gone viral on social media, raising concerns of the lack of foreign workers' rights within the country and prompting activists to double down on their opposition to the infamous kafala system. In the video clip, the man – who is the employer – can be seen dragging the woman by her hair onto the road and beating her while she screams. The incident took place in the town of Jouret el-Ballout, a predominantly Christian locality in central Lebanon. هيدا نظام الكفالة! هيدا الاستبعاد…الفيديو من جورة البلوط — Adham Hassanieh أدهم الحسنية (@AdhamMG) January 5, 2022 Following the circulation of the footage, the man was […]

Tunisia's Ennahda denounces 'politicised' charges against Bhiri

On Tuesday, Tunisia's Ennahda movement denounced the charges against its detained Vice-President Noureddine Bhiri, and said they are “politicised”. On Monday, Tunisian Interior Minister, Taoufik Charfeddine, announced that Ennahda's Vice-President, Noureddine Bhiri, had been placed under house arrest due to “illegal issuance of passports for some individuals and for a serious suspicion of terrorism”. This came after a statement by Bhiri's defence committee that it considers him in a status of “kidnapping”, so it filed a complaint against President Kais Saied and the Minister of Interior. Earlier on Tuesday, Abderrazak Kilani, a member of the defence committee of Vice-President Noureddine Bhiri, stated that placing the Vice-President under house arrest meant that “Tunisia has entered a phase of case fabrication.” Kilani […]

Egypt: 'dilapidated' homes to be demolished to build tower blocks

The Cairo Governorate in Egypt is planning to demolish the Sixth District in Nasr City and replace the homes there with residential tower blocks, the state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm has reported. The local government claims that many of the buildings set to be pulled down are already “dilapidated”. Property owners will be compensated in cash or will have apartments rented for them until the completion of the development project. They will then return to the area. The governorate is likely to set compensation for a 90 square metre unit at 135,000 Egyptian pounds, despite the market value being at least 350,000. State facilities are already being transferred elsewhere pending the development. The one-day surgery hospital affiliated with the Ministry of Health […]