’Turkish diaspora will not let racism poison relations with communities’

The Turkish diaspora will not allow racism to poison its relations with the communities where they live, the head of the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) said on Friday.

Abdullah Eren was speaking at an event held in the capital Ankara to commemorate the victims of the deadly 1993 arson attack on a Turkish family by far-right extremists in the German city of Solingen.

The YTB erected a replica at Ankara’s Ulus Square of the Genc family’s house that was set on fire by four far-right extremists on May 29, 1993.

Three girls and two women were killed and 14 others injured, including several children, in the harrowing attack.

Eren said the Turkish community in Germany embraces local culture while preserving their Turkish identity and makes significant contributions to both countries.

He said Solingen and other racist attacks have caused immense trauma to the Turkish community in Germany, adding that the number of people killed in racist attacks in Germany has reached 213.

The official, however, praised Germany for its awareness on the issue and the measures taken to prevent more such incidents in the country.

Eren also spoke about the forced expulsion of Turks from Bulgaria in 1989.

Emphasizing Turkey and Bulgaria’s cultural and historical ties and neighborly relations, he said it was essential to remember such events to ensure that they are not repeated.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Tunisia most capable of helping rebuild Libya: Official

Tunisia is the country most capable of helping Libya in its reconstruction process, a top Tunisian official said on Friday.

“Libya is in need of extensive rebuilding and Tunisians are the most qualified to assist in this process,” Rached Ghannouchi, speaker of Tunisia’s parliament, said at the Djerba International Business Forum.

“Tunisians and Libyans are one people in two countries. We are determined to remove all legislative, security, and administrative obstacles to boost cooperation between our two countries.”

More than 500 participants, including businessmen from Tunisia and Libya, are attending the event that started on the Tunisian island of Djerba on Thursday.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi also recently visited Libya and the two countries signed several agreements in the fields of air, ground and sea transport, as well as facilitation of movement of individuals and goods.

Source: Anadolu Agency

US stocks open higher despite rising dollar index

US stocks opened higher on Friday to kick off the last trading day of May in a positive note despite rising US dollar index.

The Dow Jones added 114 points, or 0.3%, to 34,578 at 9.43 a.m. EDT (1343GMT) with Microsoft adding 1.1%. The S&P 500 rose 11 points to 4,211 as Tesla gained 0.5%.

The Nasdaq increased 70 points, or 0.5%, to 13,806 with AMC Entertainment and Blackberry soaring 23% and 9.7%, respectively.

The VIX volatility index was down for a fifth consecutive day by 1.8% to 16.44. The yield on 10-year US Treasury also fell 0.9% to 1.596%.

The dollar index, which shows the strength of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, however, showed a significant increase of 0.3% to 90.27 level.

Bitcoin continued its volatile trading by shaving more than 7% to dive below $37,000. Ethereum lost over 8% to $2,590.

Gold has resumed its rally by adding 0.1% to $1,898, but silver still remained weak by losing 0.4% at 27.72.

Source: Anadolu Agency

UPDATE – US Senate Republicans block Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission

Senate Republicans blocked on Friday the creation of an independent bipartisan panel to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol carried out by former US President Donald Trump’s supporters.

The 54-35 procedural vote fell six votes short of the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill in the chamber after it cleared the House of Representatives earlier in May. Republicans Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse joined Democrats in voting for the bill.

In all, 10 Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.

Trump, who called the insurrectionists “great patriots” during the insurrection, warned his fellow Republicans that the panel was a “Democrat trap.” Friday’s vote signals his continuing hold over the party even after he lost November’s national election by over 7 million votes.

Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer assailed Republicans, saying “Donald Trump’s Big Lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party.”

It “is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln,” he added on Twitter.

The top Democrat was referring to Trump’s repeated unsubstantiated claims that he lost the election due to widespread voter fraud, a suggestion Republican election officials in key battleground states and his former attorney general said lacks evidence.

The claims motivated Trump’s supporters to overrun the Capitol on Jan. 6 when lawmakers were convening to carry out a constitutionally-mandated step ahead of US President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Four people died that day at the Capitol, and a law enforcement officer died the follow day after suffering two strokes. Two other officers present during the riot took their own lives in the aftermath.

Source: Anadolu Agency

OPINION – The real crimes of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi and the farce of her trial

This past Monday, the State Administration Council of Myanmar, the military regime, aired on state TV the still images of the detained National League for Democracy (NLD) leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, as she appeared in a closed-door courtroom, sitting alongside her two NLD deputies, in the dock.

There is absolutely no question about the farcical nature of this trial of the deposed Myanmar state counselor by the regime that has committed — and continues to commit — all the gravest crimes in international law, as the UN International Independent Fact-Finding Mission (2016-18) had emphatically noted. Among the charges against her are the illegal import and possession of walkie-talkies for her security details, breaking the COVID-19 regulations, corruption and most ominously, breaking the State Official Secrets Act.

Alas, the irony should not be lost that the State Official Secrets Act was the charge, Suu Kyi herself, used to defend the arrest and prosecution of Wa Lon and Kyaw Soe Oo, the two Burmese and Rakhine journalists with Reuters, who attempted to report on the summary execution of 10 Rohingya villagers in the midst of the genocidal purge of over 740,000 Rohingya. Suu Kyi told the world that her government was taking legal action against the duo, not because they were journalists doing their job, but because they revealed what was considered state secrets. The two went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting and were released by Suu Kyi’s government under worldwide pressure.

The images of Suu Kyi sitting in the dock had been imagined by others — but not on trumped-up charges or at a Kangaroo court, but on Myanmar’s international state crimes for which the Burmese leader does bear responsibility.

“I want to be a judge in your trial, Aung San Suu Kyi,” angrily declared Shirin Ebadi, the renowned UK-based human rights defender from Iran.

The occasion was the international conference on Myanmar genocide held at the French National Assembly, the parliament, in Paris. Ebadi’s anger at Suu Kyi’s indifference to the plight of the genocide victims in Bangladesh refugee camps was palpable for those of us in the hall, when she delivered the keynote address before the audience made up of Rohingya refugees, Speaker of the National Parliament of Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Chaudury, French parliamentarians, and international activists and scholars.

As the main founder of the Nobel Women’s Group, Ebadi knew and met, her “Sister Laureate” at the group’s meeting of which Suu Kyi was a very much welcome member. Ebadi and other laureates, such as Northern Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire and American political activist Jodi Williams actively campaigned for Suu Kyi’s freedom during the 15 years of on-and-off house arrests.

Of course, the Iranian had in mind Suu Kyi’s complicity in the atrocity crimes committed against Rohingya by the latter’s partners in power, the Burmese military generals. In their closed-door meeting with the Burmese sister that took place in New York City in 2013, the American laureate and anti-landmine campaigner, Williams, attempted to raise her concerns about the persecution of the Rohingya, and Suu Kyi’s stance — denial of the gravest crime of genocide and the defense of the perpetrating military.

Suu Kyi shot down the conversation instantly, in a callous tone, “What about them?” according to a friend of mine who was at the meeting and witnessed the exchange.

Several years later, Sir Geoffrey Nice, the prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, co-authored an op-ed in Foreign Policy, A Genocide in the Making, where he, and co-author, Francis Wade, wrote: “Suu Kyi [as the nation’s popularly mandated leader] should know that inactivity in the face of genocidal actions can carry moral, legal, and even criminal responsibility.”

Yanghee Lee, the former special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar (2014-2020), who looked to Suu Kyi as an inspirational Asian woman icon, told UK’s Channel Four News, emphatically, that the Myanmar state counsellor should face justice at the International Criminal Court, or any other ad hoc international UN tribunal, for the official role she played in the Myanmar genocide. Lee told me that the Nobel laureate pointedly unveiled a threat of entry visa refusal when they last met, face-to-face, in Suu Kyi’s office in Naypyidaw: “[Y]ou know, if you keep pushing this UN [Human Rights-Up-Front] line, you won’t be able to come here again.”

The Myanmar laureate’s culpability in the state’s international crimes by her countless genocide denials on numerous occasions, both in opposition and in office — and her hostilities toward UN human rights bodies and local human rights defenders and journalists, has been amply noted and roundly condemned worldwide, thanks to the frontpage coverage by the mass media, that turned on the very icon which it helped manufacture, over a few decades.

Against this backdrop, it is deeply troubling that the parallel government, named the National Unity Government (NUG), continues to keep Suu Kyi as its patron-saint, in absentia.

Myanmar’s anti-coup public wildly supports and holds unrealistic expectations of NUG as the sole legitimate body that will seek world recognition, material and financial support from states and non-state actors and communities. Besides Suu Kyi, NUG has lesser mortals whose deeds and words were documented to be a part and parcel of the military-led genocidal process of 2016 and 2017, who now play leading roles, either officially, as Cabinet members, or from behind-the-scenes.

Perhaps most troubling of all, some among the old NLD card-carrying rank and file members, have begun to undertake fanatical and violent acts against anyone who opposes both the murderous coup regime, and the old NLD leaders and anti-Rohingya officials and activists, sitting on the front bench of the NUG. On May 25, one anti-genocide and anti-NLD/NUG Myanmar activist named Bhone Pyi Zone Min became the first casualty of what looks like a hate crime: in his sleep, he was stabbed seven times to death by a fanatical NLD/NUG follower, according to his friends who posted the details of the motive and the kill.

The Myanmar Spring, or New Revolution, led on the streets by Generation Z, or the youth of Myanmar, is ultimately aimed not simply at restoring the tyranny of the racist majority with Suu Kyi as the Mother of the Nation, but to rebuild a new, inclusive society, where Rohingya too, will have their full and equal citizenship.

The deeds and words of the NUG and its supporters, who continue to act as if they are old wine in a new bottle, do not bode well for either the social revolution for an inclusive society, or the violent political revolution, with the objective of totally dismantling the dictatorship, including its instrument of terror — the armed forces.

Source: Anadolu Agency

UPDATE – Turkish stocks up at Friday close

Turkey’s benchmark stock index ended the week at 1,422.06 points, up 0.50% from the previous close.

After starting Friday at 1,413.12 points, Borsa Istanbul’s BIST 100 index gained seven points from Thursday’s close of 1,415.03 points.

During Friday’s trading, the BIST 100 hovered between 1,401.25 points and 1,417.98 points, with 24 stocks on the index rising, 69 down, and the remaining flat from the previous close.

Ending the week with a market value of around 995 billion Turkish liras ($118 billion), the benchmark index posted a daily trading volume of 15.2 billion liras ($1.8 billion).

The highest trading volumes were posted by private lender Garanti BBVA, flagship carrier Turkish Airlines, and iron-steel producer Eregli Demir Celik.

Shares of discount retailer BIM performed best, rising 6.29%, while energy company Esenboga Elektrik struggled the most, losing 3.35%.

One ounce of gold traded for $1,892.00 by market close, down from $1,898.50 at the previous close, according to data from Borsa Istanbul’s Precious Metals and Diamond Markets.

The price of Brent crude oil was around $69.48 per barrel as of 6.10 p.m. local time (1510GMT) on Friday.

Exchange Rates Thursday Friday

USD/TRY 8.4660 8.5650

EUR/TRY 10.3310 10.4340

GBP/TRY 12.0450 12.1730

Source: Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s emergency state body concludes 91% of appeals

Turkey’s presidential commission on the state of emergency concluded 91% of applications concerning measures taken in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup bid, according to its latest announcement on Friday.

The Inquiry Commission on the State of Emergency Measures received over 126,000 applications on measures adopted under the state of emergency decree laws, such as the dismissal of public officials, scholarship cancellations, annulment of the ranks of retired personnel, and the closure of some institutions.

Of these, it has concluded over 115,000 applications so far since beginning its ruling process on Dec. 22, 2017, the report said.

Since the defeated coup attempt, Turkish institutions, including the military, have been working to find and expel elements of FETO, the group behind the plot.

A two-year state of emergency was lifted on July 20, 2018.

A total of 251 people were killed and nearly 2,200 injured in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt orchestrated by FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The commission says it examines applications for links or contact with terrorist organizations or other entities listed by the country’s National Security Council as engaging in activities against national security.

– Over 14,000 applications accepted

In its announcement, the commission said the number of accepted applications stood at 14,072, while 101,058 were rejected and 11,544 more are pending.

It added that of the total applications it had accepted, 61 were for the reopening of organizations that were shut down after the coup attempt, including associations, foundations, and television channels.

“Accordingly, 91% of the total applications have been decided since the date of the beginning of the Commission’s decision-making process,” read its report.

To deal with these applications, data processing infrastructure was set up to electronically receive, archive, and examine them the commission said, adding that the system had recorded information from over 20 institutions and organizations.

For this, the commission employs some 240 professionals, including 75 rapporteurs — judges, experts and inspectors — in the application review process.

A total of more than 494,000 files, including personnel files transferred from their institutions, court files, and former applications, have been classified, registered and archived.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s inflation rate to rise in May: Survey

Turkey’s annual inflation rate is projected to rise to 17.17% in May, an Anadolu Agency survey found on Friday.

Turkey’s annual inflation rate in April was 17.14%, up 0.95 percentage point from the previous month.

The Turkish Statistical Institute will announce the May consumer prices index on June 3.

A group of 14 economists polled by Anadolu Agency forecast that monthly inflation averaged at 1.39%, varying between 1.18% and 1.73%, in May.

Turkey’s Central Bank increased the country’s year-end inflation forecast to 12.2% for this year, up from 9.4% in its previous report.

The government’s year-end inflation rate target is 8% for 2021, under the new economic program announced last September.

Since the beginning of this year, annual inflation rose steeply from 14.60% in December 2020. The figure was 14.97% in January and 15.61% in February.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Turkey urges financial actors take on ‘transformative role’

Turkey’s treasury and finance minister on Friday urged major financial actors in the country to adopt a “transformative role” in its limited resources more productively and preserving its financial strength.

Lutfi Elvan asked the actors to support high value-added and competitive projects that are innovative and raise employment, in addition to supporting small and middle-sized companies and their integration into global supply chains.

“The Turkish economy is built on strong foundations. It has shown resilience against global crises, geopolitical events and even the pandemic. Those are not coincidental,” he told in an event organized by the Banks Association of Turkey.

“Turkey will implement policies that will rapidly alleviate vulnerabilities,” he said, adding that the private sector would be able to manage opportunities and risks better with stronger predictability.

Noting that he saw the financial sector as a whole, Elvan urged other financial institutions, in addition to the banking industry, to take on a bigger role.

“With capital markets and the insurance sector supporting economic activity more, we will have a more productive ecosystem,” he said.

Elvan said Turkey was taking steps in the banking sector to boost competition, such as by creating mechanisms in digital banking licensing, protecting consumers and market integrity.

Source: Anadolu Agency