Russia names new ambassador to Turkey

Russia today appointed Alexei Yerkhov to be Moscow’s new ambassador to Turkey, under a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin. Yerkhov, previously the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Management Centre, replaces Andrey Karlov, who was assassinated at an art exhibition in the Turkish capital Ankara on 19 December. Karlov was delivering a speech at the opening of an art gallery when an armed assailant shot him several times. Read: Russia, Turkey discuss joint warplanes production Putin declared the shooting a “provocation” designed to undermine bilateral ties. “We regard this as a terrorist act,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively.”

Qatar: Arab rift is a ‘publicity stunt’

The actions Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are taking against Qatar are a “publicity stunt” aimed solely at attacking its image and reputation, a senior Qatari official said in a statement today. As the boycott of the Gulf state enters its third week, Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, director of Qatar’s Government Communications Office, said: “The blockade has been ongoing for two weeks and the blockading nations have offered no formula for resolving the crisis.” It is unfortunate that our neighbours have chosen to invest their time and resources in a baseless propaganda campaign… The blockading nations are using terrorism as a publicity stunt. The four countries accuse Qatar of fomenting instability in the Middle East, funding terrorism […]

Sudan’s Al-Mahdi calls for a government able to work on ICC ‘genocide’ ruling

The president of Sudan’s National Umma Party, the most prominent opposition group in the country, called on Saturday for the formation of “a national government of technocrats” that is not dominated by one party. Sadiq Al-Mahdi made his suggestion at his party’s annual Iftar (fast-breaking) gathering. “No party should be excluded,” he insisted, “and different political groups should be represented, even symbolically.” Such a government, explained Al-Mahdi, would be able to work on reaching a settlement with the International Criminal Court that the UN Security Council can accept. This was a direct reference to the decision by the ICC, based in The Hague, to accuse Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir of “crimes against humanity and genocide” in Darfur. Bashir refuses to […]

Israel detains 2 B’Tselem field researchers in Hebron

Israeli forces detained two field workers for Israeli human rights group B’Tselem in the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank yesterday, the group reported, adding that one of them had since been released while the other remained in Israeli custody. According to the statement, Manal Al-Ja’bri and Musa Abu Hashhashwere detained at a military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City while filming “severe restrictions on Palestinian movement” in the area, the NGO said. Al-Ja’bri was initially detained by Israeli border police and taken to an Israeli police station in the nearby illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, B’Tselem said, adding that she was interrogated over suspicions of “disturbing a police officer carrying out their duties”. […]

Israel places hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner in solitary

Prominent hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan was transferred to solitary confinement on Saturday, Palestinian prisoners solidarity network Samidoun reported. Samidoun quoted prisoners’ rights group, Muhjat Al-Quds, as saying that Allan, who was detained by Israeli forces on 8 June and began his hunger strike that same day, was transferred from the Jalama detention centre on Saturday to Megiddo prison, where he was reportedly placed in solitary confinement. Israel Prison Service (IPS) spokesperson Hana Herbst said hunger striking constituted “a disciplinary violation in prison and is treated respectively,” adding that IPS “transfers prisoners regularly according to management and operational decisions.” Read: Israel vs. the United Nations: the Nikki Haley doctrine Allan, a lawyer from the Nablus-area village of Einabus in the northern […]

Al Jazeera: Turkey troops arrive in Qatar

Turkish troops have arrived in Qatar for long-planned joint military exercises, Al Jazeera reported today. The channel posted a video on its website of a column of armoured personnel carriers moving through streets. It said the troops had arrived yesterday. On 7 June, Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar, two days after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Qatar vehemently denies the accusations. Read: Almost 400 Turkish soldiers hospitalised in western Turkey Turkey has a military base in Qatar that currently houses about 90 Turkish soldiers. The Turkish forces conducted […]