Turkey ordered a re-run of mayoral elections in Istanbul, overturning a rare defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and sending the lira plummeting as concerns grew over what critics say is the latest assault on the rule of law. Erdogan’s party had lost the initial election in Turkey’s largest city and commercial center by a narrow margin to Turkey’s main opposition group, in perhaps his worst ballot-box setback during 16 years in power. European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Turkey’s government to invite international observers to monitor the revote.
US Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey on Wednesday that it could risk its membership in NATO if it goes ahead with plans to buy a Russian air defence system despite widespread international opposition. Pence’s escalating rhetoric came after Turkey insisted on Wednesday that the Russian deal was done, signalling an apparent impasse between the two NATO allies. Turkey’s Vice President Fuad Oktay replied on Twitter saying that “The United States must choose” about whether to remain allied with Ankara. He raised the contentious relationship of US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, accusing Washington of “joining forces with terrorists”.
Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan suffered stunning setbacks in local elections as his ruling AK Party lost control of the capital Ankara for the first time since the party’s founding in 2001, and was on course to lose the biggest prize of all, Istanbul. Turkish broadcasters said opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Mansur Yavas had won a clear victory in Ankara. In Istanbul, the CHP was nearly 28,000 votes ahead as the last votes were being counted.
President Trump has warned Turkey of economic devastation if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the US troop pullout from Syria, while also urging the Kurds not to “provoke” Ankara. “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted, while pushing for the creation of a 20-mile ‘safe zone’. He then added: “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”
Despite a high-profile visit by U.S. officials to Turkey this week, the two nations remain at odds over the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, specifically the implications for America’s Kurdish allies in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rebuffed National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday, refusing a meeting and expressing frustration in the messaging from Bolton and others that Erdogan says differs from what he said was a deal with Trump, signaling he’d prefer to communicate with the president instead.
American Pastor Andrew Brunson met with President Trump and thanked him for his work after being freed from his two-year detainment in a Turkish prison. Trump thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for facilitating Brunson’s release. At least 22 people were killed when a lorry carrying migrants headed to Greece’s Samos Island crashed in Turkey.
President Trump announced the imposition of ‘large sanctions’ on Turkey on Thursday following the detainment of an American pastor accused of aiding a failed coup attempt in 2016. Trump officially spoke about Andrew Brunson’s release with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June. A Turkish court ordered Brunson to house arrest while his trial continues.
The primary challenger to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Muharrem Ince, conceded defeat on Monday, but warned of a ‘one-man regime.’ International election observers said Turkey’s election gave the opposition ‘no equal opportunities’ but did not find evidence of widespread rigging. Britain and other Western governments accepted Erdogan’s win and vowed continued cooperation with Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for presidential and parliamentary elections to occur in June on Wednesday, over a year ahead of schedule, saying they will make Turkey ‘stronger and more effective.’ Erdogan and allies claim political changes in Turkey will prevent instability, while critics claim the new system leads Turkey to one-man rule.
Turkish ground forces entered Afrin, Syria, Sunday, a day after their jets targeted the area aiming to drive out the United States-backed Kurdish militia group, YPG. Despite the US urging to show ‘restraint,’ in order to protect civilians, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to defeat the YPG ‘very quickly.’ The YPG deny any terrorist links.