Turkey to re-name US Embassy Street in Ankara

Turkey Renames US Embassy Street After Turkish Operation Olive Branch

Turkey to name street by US Embassy after its Syrian offensive

US Embassy-Ankara

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey

Beirut — ANKARA: The mayor of the Turkish capital of Ankara said Monday he had approved re-naming a street outside the U.S. Embassy as “Olive Branch,” the name Turkey uses for its ongoing military campaign in Syria.

Ankara has been infuriated by Washington’s alliance in Syria with forces led by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey is targeting in its offensive.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to sweep the militia from Turkey’s southern border, a move that could put Turkish troops in confrontation with U.S. forces on the ground in Syria.

“We have signed the necessary proposal to change the name of the Nevzat Tandogan Avenue in front of the U.S. Embassy to ‘Olive Branch’. May it go well, may the souls of our saintly martyrs rejoice,” Ankara Mayor Mustafa Tuna tweeted.

The proposal will be presented to the municipal parliament later Monday, he said. It will most likely be approved, just days before U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to visit Ankara Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Ankara mayor’s office were not immediately available for comment.

According to a poll published Monday by the Center for American Progress, 83 percent of Turks view the United States unfavorably, and 46 percent think their country should do more to confront it.

Tuna had ordered the re-naming of the street where the United Arab Emirates mission is located to that of the Ottoman former governor of Medina, following a row between the two countries about the state of the holy city under Ottoman rule.

Source: The Daily Star, February 12, 2018
© 2018. Web Middle East (Web Me) s.a.l

Turkey will ‘either restore or break ties’ with US, says minister

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on 12 February that Ankara would “either restore or completely break ties” with Washington ahead of his US counterpart Rex Tillerson’s visit to the country this week.

“[…] Because, our relationship is at a very critical point. We will either restore relations or those relations will completely be broken. There is no other option,” Cavusoglu told a press conference in Istanbul, reported secular opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper website.

He reiterated that Ankara wanted “concrete steps” from Washington rather than “promises” over the resolution of problems plaguing the two countries.

“There is a need for the reinstatement of the lost trust in order to talk certain issues with the US. The reason for the lost trust is the US,” Cavusoglu said.

He added that Turkey saw “very serious mistakes” from the US regarding the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the network of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara blames for the July 2016 failed coup attempt in the country.

“The US failed to keep promises made to us. How trustworthy can a country which does not keep its promise be? It is very natural for us to lose trust in the US,” Cavusoglu said. ‘Important visit’ from Tillerson

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson is scheduled visit Turkish capital on 15 February, in which the minister described as “important.”

It will be the first high-ranking visit from Washington to Ankara since the launch of Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian Kurdish YPG-held Afrin dubbed “Olive Branch”.

Relations between the two Nato allies have recently deteriorated over a number of issues, particularly the continued US support to the YPG forces.

Ankara sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

On 20 January, Turkey launched the “Olive Branch” operation, describing its targets as the YPG and Islamic State (IS).

The row has recently intensified following a top US commanders’ visit to the town of Manbij in northern Syria on 7 February.

However, Turkey has long been stressing that the “Olive Branch” operation would subsequently extend to Manbij. Trump advisor in Ankara

Ahead of Tillerson’s visit, the National Security Adviser to US President Donald Trump Lt. Gen. McMaster met with Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin in Istanbul on 11 February.

According to a statement issued on the Turkish Presidency website, McMaster and Kalin “reaffirmed the long-term strategic partnership” between the two countries and discussed their “priorities and sensitivities.”

It added that they exchanged views on Turkey-US relations, common strategic challenges and regional developments.

“In this framework, matters, which negatively affect bilateral relations, were discussed in detail, and ways of developing joint fight against terrorism in all its forms were investigated,” the statement read.

Source: BBC Monitoring in Turkish, 12 February 2018
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Turkey-UAE Street name diplomacy

For years the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Ankara was located on the corner of 613 Street and 609 Avenue in the Turkish capital. As of Tuesday the embassy has a different address that is unlikely to please the UAE’s foreign minister.

Ankara’s council on Monday evening ratified a motion to rename them Fahreddin Pasha Street and Defender of Medina Avenue.

It is the latest development in a row that erupted in December after the UAE’s foreign minister, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, retweeted a post denigrating Fahreddin Pasha, a World War One-era Ottoman commander tasked with the defence of the Muslim holy city of Medina.

The post alleged that Fahreddin Pasha, who was governor of Medina from 1916 to 1918 until he was forced to retreat under a British-backed Arab assault, stole the city’s treasures and had committed crimes against local Arabs.

The Twitter post also took aim at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“These are Erdogan’s ancestors and their past with the Arabs,” the tweet said.

The post and Abdullah’s retweet came after Erdogan’s attempt to portray himself as a leader of the Muslim world in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December.

Erdogan wasted little time in hitting back at the UAE.

“Where were your ancestors you sad ones that slander us today while Fahreddin Pasha was defending Medina?” he said in a speech on 20 December.

Turkish-UAE ties have been strained since Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi became the country’s first democratically elected president in 2012.

Ankara backed the Morsi government, saying the democratic wishes of Egyptians had to be respected. Abu Dhabi sought Morsi’s removal, citing his membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE considers as a threat to its rule and deems to be a “terrorist” entity.

Deep undercurrents have strained ties between the two countries ever since without erupting into open enmity.

Turkish media close to the ruling circle have on many occasions suggested UAE involvement in various anti-Turkish activities, including the $3bn funding of the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

Ankara and Abu Dhabi found themselves at odds again last June when Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar. The UAE was firmly aligned with the Saudis, whereas Turkey, along with Iran, opted to send food and other supplies to prevent Doha from being completely isolated.

The UAE ambassador to Ankara has not been in his post since 2014 despite there being no official recall or downgrading of ties.

Street name diplomacy

Officials in Ankara appear to have drawn inspiration from the playbook of Tehran when it comes to street name diplomatic niceties.

A street in Tehran was named in honour of Khalid Islambouli, the assassin of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981. It was only in 2004 that the Tehran municipality changed the name of the street after being urged to do so by the Iranian foreign ministry.

Tehran had cut off ties with Egypt following the 1979 installation of the theocracy in Iran in protest at Cairo’s part in the Camp David accord with Israel, and also for hosting the exiled shah of Iran.

In 1981, Iranian authorities also changed the name of a Tehran street where the British embassy is located from Winston Churchill Street to Bobby Sands Street, in homage to the IRA hunger striker.

The city of Medina houses the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad and is revered by Muslims. It was under Ottoman rule until Pasha’s surrender in 1919.

Items removed from Medina are housed in Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace Museum. In his speech on 20 December, Erdogan said Fahreddin Pasha had prevented the sacred relics from falling into the hands of the occupying forces.

The UAE consulate general in Istanbul remains at the same address.

Source: by Suraj Sharma, Middle East Eye, Tuesday, January 09, 2018

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