A senior Iranian lawmaker's claim that the No. 2 figure in a terrorist group had been captured by Iranian security forces put Ankara on alert Sunday due to ambiguity over the identity of the captured terrorist.
The state news agency claimed the figure was Murat Karayılan, the second in command of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, while leader Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stepped in to clarify the confusion through a phone call to his Iranian counterpart, but received only a denial that Iran had captured Karayılan. No more information on who was arrested was given.
The development added fuel to Turkish officials' contention that there is a lack of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the PKK and the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK, a banned group with alleged ties to the PKK.
The two-day-long confusion over the fate of Karayılan began Saturday, when a Turkish state broadcast, reported by TRT, announced the capture of one of Ankara's most wanted terrorists. On Sunday, Alaaddin Bourujerdi, head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, confirmed the capture of the PKK's No. 2, but did not name Karayılan.
"The news is true. Iranian intelligence forces have arrested the terrorist group's No. 2," the senior Iranian MP told reporters in a press conference Sunday.
Bourujerdi's statement sparked a flood of diplomatic traffic between Ankara and Tehran, which began at noon Sunday, to try and confirm the account. Amid growing speculation about the reports coming from Tehran, Davutoglu phoned his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, while the Turkish ambassador to Tehran visited Bourujerdi in person to verify the news stories.
Bourujerdi reportedly told Ambassador Ümit Yardım that he "did not say 'Karayılan was captured' but said 'Karayılan should be captured.'"
Two media outlets with alleged links to the PKK, the Fırat News Agency and Roj TV, denied reports of Karayılan's arrest while promising to broadcast an interview with the PKK No. 2 late Sunday.
With all relevant parties having denied the capture of Karayılan, questions remained about who was taken into custody by Iranian forces. There was no report identifying the captured senior terrorist, but some sources said he could be the PJAK's No. 2 responsible for operations in Iran's Mako region.
The unconfirmed accounts of Karayılan's capture drew attention once again to the fight against the PKK, especially in Iraq and Iran. Iranian forces have escalated operations to crack down on the PJAK in its territories and within Iraq since mid-July.
Turkish officials have complained about the lack of information provided by Iran on the technical details of its offensive against the PKK. The confusion over Karayılan's purported capture was further deepened Sunday afternoon when the Anatolia news agency misreported Bourujerdi's statement.
The agency corrected its story two hours later and omitted Karayılan's name from Bourujerdi's quote.
Three Turkish Soldiers Killed in Clash with PKK, Source Says
Three Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash between the army and Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey, a military source said Saturday.
A group of Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, members ambushed a military unit patrolling on a road in southeast Sirnak province's Beytussebab district, after turning back from an operation against the armed group, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The incident happened 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away of Beyttussebab town, the source said.
On June 16, 13 soldiers were killed in a clash with PKK rebels in Diyarbakir province, the worst loss of life for the army since October 2008.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.
Turkey Out of Patience with PKK, Erdogan Says
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has run out of patience with the PKK after the latest attack on Turkish security forces took the lives of three soldiers in the southeastern province of Sirnak Saturday.
"Those who talk about freedoms and spill blood at the same time should not expect us to accept what they do," Erdogan said at a fast-breaking dinner to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of this Justice and Development Party, or AKP. "This is not bearable anymore. Consequences will be huge."
Prime Minister Says Those Close to Terrorist Groups Share in Bloodshed
Speaking at a fast-breaking dinner, which was organized on the occasion of the 10th foundation anniversary of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said those who did not put a distance between themselves and the terrorist organizations were collaborators of the crime and the bloodshed.
Turkey Should Not Intervene in Neighbor's Affairs, Kilicdaroglu Says
The main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that Turkey should not intervene in internal affairs of its neighbors, stating that it should not make threatening and blackmailing statements.
"Turkey should not assume such attitudes," Kilicdaroglu said. He also said that he would pay a visit to Somalia during the Feast of Ramadan.
CHP Leader to Travel to Somalia
The leader of Turkey's main opposition party has said that he was planning to travel to Somalia on the first day of the Ramadan feast.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, told reporters after visiting children with leukemia at the Istanbul University Hospital.
"We had a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week to travel to Somalia. We also held talks with Turkish relief agency Red Crescent's Director-General Tekin Kucukali," he said. "The Ministry informed us that Somalia was not a secure place, but some aid materials can be handed over to officials at the airport. I am planning to travel to Somalia on the first day of the Ramadan feast."
Asked about recent developments in Syria, Kilicdaroglu said: "No one has the right to kill another one. Human life is the most precious thing in the world. We all are obliged to protect and support human life."
CHP Chairman To Visit Somalia Without PM
When asked whether he would travel to Somalia with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said: "I don't think so. The relief campaign to Somalia has turned into a donation campaign of the Justice and Development Party. This concerns us."
CHP, Cicek to Discuss Jailed MPs
The issue of jailed deputies will be revisited this week as the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, chief meets with the Parliament speaker to discuss ways to release two CHP deputies behind bars.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek will meet on Tuesday at Parliament as part of Çiçek's round of visits with political party leaders.
"I will discuss this issue with Mr. Çiçek," Kılıçdaroğlu told the Daily Milliyet over the weekend. The visit comes after the CHP chief called on Çiçek last week to do his duty as Parliament speaker and address the issue of jailed deputies.
AK Party Inspires Political Parties in Egypt
The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, inspired the political parties in Egypt. Khalid al-Zafarani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that he would form a political party with the same name and program of Turkey's AK Party.
Turkey Favoring Muslim Brotherhood for Syria Helm, Analyst Says
Iranian analyst Hasan Beheshtipour said that Turkey's favoring of the Syrian government was led by the Muslim Brotherhood, instead of Alevi, the ruling elite.
"The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is investing in, and supporting, the Muslim Brotherhood. What follows is an extremely tense situation with relations between Ankara and Damascus if the Assad regime remains in place," Beheshtipour said.
Israel to Apologize, Pay Redress for Turks on Mavi Marmara, Analyst Says
The Chief Turkish foreign policy analyst with the Turkish Foreign Ministry Strategic Studies Center has said Israel would eventually apologize and pay redress for nine Turks it had killed aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, last year in May.
Prof. Bulent Aras, head of the center, said Israel was ready for a formal apology, but it was trying to prepare the Israeli public opinion about it before making a move.
Turkish President Returns From Meeting in Saudi Arabia
Turkish President Abdullah Gul returned from Saudi Arabia Monday after a meeting of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies with King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.
Gul and Abdallah discussed the relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as regional issues. Officials expressed pleasure as the political and economic relations between the two countries returned to the pre-crisis level.
Gul welcomed the prestige tenders which were awarded to Turkish businessmen in Saudi Arabia, while King Abdallah praised Turkish businessmen, saying they were very pleased with the operations of Turkish companies and businessmen.
Turkish and Saudi Arabian officials also discussed recent developments in Syria, as well as Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, expressing concern over the developments in Syria.
The officials also agreed to hold mutual consultations more frequently.
Following his meeting with Abdallah, Gul received Prince Nayif, and they discussed the cooperation in security and counter-terrorism between the two countries.
Turkish Foreign Minister, U.S. Secretary of State Discuss Syria
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed Syria on the phone on Sunday.
Diplomatic sources said that Clinton called Davutoglu on the phone and they took up issues about the Middle East region, including Syria.
Turkey Cannot Remain Indifferent to Violence in Syria, EU Minister Says
Turkey's European Union Minister Egemen Bagis said the country could not turn a blind eye on the Syrian government's use of deadly force on its own citizens.
"What is happening in Syria is a humanitarian tragedy. We cannot just sit and watch the Syrian government's tanks rolling on its own citizens and pointing their guns at them," Bagis told an Istanbul meeting of the youth branches of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, on Sunday.
"If there is wrongdoing, then we are obliged to bring it up and question it. We cannot keep silent over the tragedies in Syria, in Gaza or in Somalia," he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last week paid a visit to the Syrian capital of Damascus, conveying Turkey's concerns over the Syrian government's handling of the country's pro-democracy demonstrations.
The Syrian army withdrew its tanks and heavy weapons from Hama, the scene of a bloody crackdown that killed scores, after Davutoglu's visit.
Caglayan Takes Business Trip to U.S.
Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan proceeded to the United States from South Korea where he held formal talks. Accompanied by representatives of informatics and the defense industry, as well as businessmen, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan traveled to the United States, visiting Seattle and San Francisco. He is expected to return August 19.
Caglayan is expected to hold talks on increasing Turkey's share in the U.S. market, improvement of economic and commercial relations between Turkey and the United States, investment opportunities in Turkey and initiatives between businessmen of the two countries. The Turkish economy minister will meet CEOs from companies in the U.S. information technology sector and visit the Silicon Valley.
ASELSAN Rises Among World's Largest Defense Industry Companies
Turkey's leading defense industry company, ASELSAN, keeps rising in the list of world's largest defense industry companies.
For the past five years, ASELSAN joined the list of 100 global giant defense corporations as prepared by the U.S. based Defense News magazine.
In 2011, Defense News magazine rated ASELSAN as the world's 80th biggest defense corporation. It was ranked the 86th in 2010, and 93rd in 2009. ASELSAN is the only Turkish company included in this list.
In Defense News' 2011 list, U.S. Lockheed Martin was ranked first; Britain's BAE Systems ranked second.
ASELSAN is a Turkish corporation that produces tactical military radios and defense electronic systems for the Turkish Army. It was founded by the Turkish Army Foundation at the end of 1975. ASELSAN started its production at Macunkoy facilities in Ankara. Since then, ASELSAN has expanded its product and customer portfolio, based mostly on indigenous research and development, locally trained personnel, and in cooperation with other Turkish research institutions and universities.
ASELSAN employs 4,150 people, including 2,250 engineers. ASELSAN allocates 7 percent of its annual revenues to research and development. The Turkish corporation exports equipment to 36 countries worldwide.
Turkey Completes Arrangements for Nuclear Power Plant
Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority, EPDK, has completed the necessary arrangements for the establishment of a nuclear power plant.
At its meeting this week, EPDK set rules for the letter of bank guarantee to be given by the Russian company, which will build the power plant in southern Turkey.
Accordingly, a company will be established with a minimum capital of 1.44 billion Turkish lira for the 4,800 megawatt-nuclear power plant in Akyazi, which is expected to cost about $20 billion.
The company will give a letter of bank guarantee of 157.2 million TL while applying EPDK for license in the coming months.
In May 2010, Turkey and Russia signed a deal for construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, a small town on the Mediterranean coast. Russian state-owned atomic power company ROSATOM is likely to start building the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2013 and the first reactor is planned to generate electricity in 2018.