At least 75 detained in anti-narcotics raids in Turkey's Istanbul

ISTANBUL, July 13 (Xinhua) -- At least 75 suspects were detained for selling drugs in a massive anti-narcotics operation in Turkey's largest city Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu agency reported Monday.

The Istanbul Police Department Anti-Narcotics Department launched a simultaneous operation to capture the suspects in 62 locations across the city, Anadolu said.

Various guns and several types of drugs were seized in the raids backed by at least 400 police officers, it added.

Turkish president: Hagia Sophia to be open for all

11 July 2020; MEMO: After completing all preparations, Turkey will open Hagia Sophia for worship on July 24 at Friday prayer, the Turkish president said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

In an address to the nation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered his remarks on the new status of Hagia Sophia — which was used as a museum for the past decades but will serve as a mosque following a recently adopted decree on Friday.

Ankara: We do not pursue a ‘Brotherhood’ or ‘Neo-Ottoman’ policy

11 July 2020; MEMO: Turkish presidency Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin denied the fact that his country is following a “[Muslim] Brotherhood” or “Neo- Ottoman” approach in its policies, denouncing the “black propaganda” launched by Gulf countries against Ankara.

Turkey confirms Hagia Sophia to open for worship: court ruling

11 July 2020; MEMO: Hours after a landmark court ruling Friday, the Turkish government confirmed that Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia will be reopened for worship after an 85-year hiatus.

The nearly 1,500-year-old architectural gem will be transferred to the state Religious Affairs Directorate under a presidential decree, according to a Friday announcement in the Official Gazette.

Turkish parliament passes disputed bar associations law

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s parliament passed a law on Saturday on changing the structure of bar associations, a move that lawyers argue will further undermine judicial independence in a country where they say the judiciary is already in disarray.

Thousands of lawyers have protested in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities against the plan, saying it aims to silence some of the few institutions still speaking out against the government’s record on rule of law and human rights.

Turkey’s president formally makes Hagia Sophia a mosque

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The president of Turkey on Friday formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum.

The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.

Turkey rescues 57 asylum seekers in Aegean

BALIKESIR, 10 July 2020; MEMO: Turkey on Thursday rescued 57 asylum seekers, including women and children, who were pushed back by Greek forces into Turkish territorial waters, according to security sources.

In a rescue operation, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued the asylum seekers, who set off for the Greek island of Lesbos, in the Aegean off the coast of Ayvalik in the Balikesir province.

Turkey announces naval drills off Libya coast

09 July 2020; MEMO: The Turkish Ministry of National Defence has announced that large-scale naval exercises off the Libyan coast will take place soon.

According to the official statement, the expected manoeuvres will be called “Naftex”, adding that the maritime exercises will take place off the Libyan coast in three different regions: Barbaros, Turgutreis and Chaka Bey.

Mustafa Sentop re-elected as Turkish parliament speaker

ANKARA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Turkish lawmakers on Tuesday re-elected Mustafa Sentop as the country's parliament speaker.

Out of the 600 parliament members, 328 voted for Sentop in the third round of voting, according to semi-official Anadolu Agency.

Haluk Koc, candidate from the main opposition Republican People's Party, got 134 votes, while Erol Katircioglu, from opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, gained 51 votes.

Sentop, 51 years old, has served as the parliament speaker since 2019. 

Macron, Sisi suffer ‘strategic blindness’: Former Turkish PM

07 July 2020; MEMO: Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emanuel Macron suffer from “strategic blindness”.

In a televised speech posted on Twitter, Davutoglu said that Turkey has the right to help its neighbours, in reference to Libya.

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