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"Politicians from Turkey and the U.S. comment two countries relationship and current problems, foresight future relations... Presidents, Prime  Ministers, Ministers and Members of Parlement  all speak to TURKOFAMERICA, share their experiences and views with our readers. All exclusive interview from Ankara and Washington, D.C...  

 

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Erdogan: Mr Trump, Turkey's Democracy Is Not for Sale

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the international community to teach the United States "a good lesson" in an upcoming UN General Assembly vote on Washington's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Erdogan’s comments come after the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, warned on Wednesday that she would be "taking names" of the states voting against the decision and pass them to President Donald Trump, who has threatened to cut off aid to the countries in question. The vote on Thursday is non-binding, but it is expected to pass easily in the 193-member UN body.

"Mr Trump, you cannot buy Turkey's democratic will with your dollars. Our decision is clear," Erdogan said at a cultural awards ceremony in Ankara on Thursday.

"I call on the whole world: Don't you dare sell your democratic struggle and your will for petty dollars.

"I hope and expect the US won't get the result it expects from there (the UN) and the world will give a very good lesson to the US," Erdogan added.
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UN Security Council to weigh resolution on Jerusalem

Trump, on December 6, announced the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, deviating from decades-old policy and the international consensus that the city's status should be resolved through peace talks.

On Tuesday, the US vetoed an Egyptian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that asked countries not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The US, one of the five permanent members of the UN body with veto power, was outnumbered 14 to 1 when it vetoed that resolution.
Ankara tough on US move

Turkey has been highly vocal in criticising the US administration over its Jerusalem decision, leading calls at last week's summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in Istanbul last week to officially recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Taha Ozhan, a ruling party MP and chair of the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs commission, told Al Jazeera earlier in the week that Ankara's efforts against Trump's move put pressure on regional countries to speak up.

"Turkey has triggered this, and regional actors are reacting," he said.
WATCH: Turkey plays major role against US Jerusalem move (2:28)

"A possible vote in the General Assembly will remind us of the scenes we saw a few years ago in the vote there for Palestine to be a non-member observer state, in which only the US, Israel and few more countries voted against the move, dominated by the rest of the members."

In the 2012 vote at the General Assembly, Palestine was given non-member observer status with 138 votes cast for the resolution and nine votes against it.

Thousands of Turkish protesters marched in various parts of the country through the weekend, carrying anti-US and anti-Israel signs and shouting slogans against the two countries.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

Turkey Denounces UAE Over Divisive 'Propaganda' Retweet

Turkey has accused the United Arab Emirates of spreading divisive propaganda after its foreign minister retweeted a post denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "ancestors" for their treatment of Arabs during the Ottoman Empire. Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE foreign minister, had shared on Twitter a post that accused Fahreddin Pasha - an Ottoman governor of Medina from 1916-1919 - of committing crimes against the local population, including stealing their property. "These are Erdogan's ancestors and their past with the Arabs," it said.

US Trial of Turkish Banker Not Legal, Should Be Ended: Justice Minister

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül has said he will tell his U.S. counterpart Jeff Sessions that the New York trial of former Halkbank deputy general manager Hakan Atilla, charged with helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, is “not legal and should be ended.” Gül told private broadcaster 24 TV on the morning of Dec. 19 that it would be “impossible to accept a verdict contrary to Turkey’s interests” in the case, which has strained ties between the NATO allies. Atilla, 47, was arrested earlier this year in the United States for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. He is now the sole man on the dock accused of violating sanctions on Iran, bribery and money laundering, after Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges and is now a state’s witness.

January 2019 Is Earliest Visa Appointment Date for Turkish Citizens: US Embassy

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Dec. 19 announced that the earliest date for visa appointments regarding non-immigrant applicants in its diplomatic missions in the country is January 2019, following a diplomatic spat that prompted the two NATO allies to mutually suspend granting visas. “In spite of long wait times, the U.S. Mission to Turkey continues to process non-immigrant visas. Appointments are available for January 2019, and applicants can as always choose to apply outside of Turkey,” the embassy stated on its Twitter account. “#USVisa appointments are still limited, but we are prioritizing F, J, M, and petition-based work categories as well as applicants with medical and business travel,” it added.

Jailhouse Transcript Reveals Zarrab’s Bargain with US Judiciary

"Ahad, it is not like that. I am telling you. Here, when you come around and say 'OK, yes, I did this s***,' look, this leaves you in peace. Once you confessed, they do not mess up with you." This was the exact sentence and an apparent confession of a plea bargain between the U.S. judiciary and Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is now a witness in a trial held in New York on now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran. Just like Turkey has charged from the beginning, it was revealed late Monday with the transcript of Zarrab's jailhouse call with his uncle, who goes by the name "Ahad," that the businessman has been involved in a clear bargain with U.S. authorities.

McMaster Deepens America’s Isolation

On Tuesday evening, U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster spoke at Policy Exchange in Washington, recalled that "radical Islamist ideology is a grave threat to all civilized people" and singled out Turkey and Qatar as its main supporters today. The allegation sparked an outrage on Turkish Twitter and among senior officials in the Turkish capital of Ankara. To be clear, Mr. McMaster's remarks had nothing to do with "radical Islamist ideology" at all. Here's what makes the United States unhappy right now: First, the Astana process, which Turkey launched in cooperation with Russia and Iran, has rendered the U.S.-backed Geneva talks obsolete. At the same time, Turkey decided to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia instead of buying Patriot missiles from the United States. Finally, the Turks have been critical of Washington's plans to form a united front against Iran in the Middle East – featuring Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others.

Turkish Security HQ Summons FBI Representative

By Sibel Ugurlu, ANKARA - AA-  Turkey-based FBI agent was summoned to General Directorate of Security in Ankara, a security official said on Wednesday. The FBI agent was summoned after Huseyin Korkmaz, a fugitive and former Turkish police supervisor, testified in a U.S. case against Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla. Korkmaz was arrested for his links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and released in February 2016. He fled to the U.S. in August with the documents related to FETO's judicial coup attempt of Dec. 17-25, 2013 in his possession.

US ‘Committed to Its Strategic Partnership with Turkey’

By Michael Hernandez - WASHINGTON -AA -  The U.S. said Wednesday it is "committed to its strategic partnership with Turkey to bring stability to the region and defeat terrorism in all its forms" amid a row sparked by comments from a senior Trump administration official. "We appreciate Turkey’s efforts to increase its border security, stem the flow of foreign fighters through its territory and fight on the ground to clear ISIS from key towns in Syria," a National Security Council spokesman told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Daesh.

What Is Atilla Case In the US About?

The US case against the Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab turned against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey's Halkbank, after Zarrab pleaded guilty and made an agreement with the New York prosecutor’s office. A US prosecutor ordered the arrest of an Iranian-Turkish businessman in March 2016 for breaching US sanctions on Iran. After two months, those sanctions were lifted. Preet Bharara announced in a social media post, “Reza Zarrab to soon face American justice in a Manhattan courtroom.” Zarrab has been under arrest for more than 22 months, and has been accused of money laundering, and fraud against the US and its banking system. However, before the first day of his trial, his role was changed from a defendant to a witness.  

Zarrab Spoke of the Need 'To Lie to Get Out of Prison' - Defence Lawyers

Reza Zarrab's has proclaimed his willingness to lie in exchange for leniency, according to a letter submitted in court by the lawyers for Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is charged with scheming to violate US sanctions against Iran. In a September 2016 recording, Zarrab is quoted as saying that there was a perceived need when incarcerated in the US to lie "in order to get out or to get a reduced sentence" and that "you need to admit to crimes you haven't committed" to get out of prison, the lawyers said.

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