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Azerbaijani mafia boss ‘Lotu Quli’ nabbed in Istanbul

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An Azerbaijani crime ring boss on Oct. 8 was detained in Istanbul by anti-organized crime police on charges of incitement to murder.

Nadir Salifov, alias Lotu Quli, was captured in an operation and taken to the Istanbul police headquarters on Vatan Avenue for interrogation.

He was released from prison in Azerbaijan a year ago after serving time for incitement to murder, arson, drug trafficking and robbery.

An arrest warrant was issued for Salifov with suspicion of his links to the killing of Russian-Azerbaijani mafia boss Rovshan Caniyev on Aug. 18, 2016 in Istanbul.

On Nov. 6, 2017, at a shopping mall in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler district, 10 members of a Turkish gang called Şirinler (The Smurfs) were busted during their meeting with Caniyev’s brother.

The gang members were allegedly offered five million Turkish Liras to hit Salifov.

Salifova’s possible connections with other murders of Azerbaijani nationals in Istanbul in recent years will also be investigated by police.

Sport

Barcelona’s Turkish midfielder Turan could be jailed for 12 years

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Turkish pop singer Berkay (L) with his wife, and footballer Arda Turan

Turkish prosecutors charged Barcelona footballer Arda Turan over a brawl with prominent singer Berkay Şahin, asking for a prison sentence of 12.5 years on Oct. 15.

The prosecutors charged Turan, who is currently on loan to Istanbul’s Başakşehir, with sexual harassment, unlicensed possession of weapons and causing intentional injury over the fight with Şahin, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The attacking midfielder testified to the police on Oct. 11 after he broke the pop singer’s nose at a night club in Istanbul the previous day.

On her social media accounts, Berkay’s wife Özlem Şahin said Turan had harassed her in the night club with sexually suggestive remarks and headbutted her husband during the ensuing fight.

Turan was also accused of going to the hospital where Berkay was being treated and firing his gun there.

The footballer was released after police interrogation but his gun was seized by the police.

The couple repeated their accusations to the police despite Turan’s claim that the dispute was settled.

Turan’s own wife, who has been pregnant for 8.5 months, said she stood by her husband despite allegations.

If he is convicted for a jail sentence longer than two years, the Turkish Football Federation can legally ban Turan from football for life.

This is not the first time the footballer, who is known for his spells of success at Galatasaray and Atletico Madrid, is under fire for erratic behavior amid his colorful night life.

In addition to widely-criticized red cards he has received in his career, Turan has also been slammed off the pitch several times.

He has been previously blasted for assaulting teammates and opponents, security personnel, a senior journalist, as well as threatening referees and fans and insulting trainers and club managers.

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Turkey

Street name of new US embassy building in Ankara changed to ‘Malcolm X’

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A bill suggesting to change the street name of the new United States Embassy to “Malcolm X” was unanimously approved by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Council on Oct. 13.

The embassy will move to its new address at 1478 Street in the Çukurambar neighborhood when construction is completed. According to the construction contractors BL Harbert, the new complex is due to be finished in 2020.

The street now has been named after the American human rights activist, who is known for his struggle for the black and Muslim people in the U.S. in the 1950s until his assassination in 1965.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had met the daughters of Malcolm X, Qubilah and Ilyasah Shabazz, during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

“He has invited me to Turkey. Mr. Erdoğan said they have planned to give my father’s name to a street in Ankara and he invited us to the opening ceremony. That will probably happen this year,” said Ilyasah Shabazz after the meeting on Sept. 24.

The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality had changed the street name of the current U.S. Embassy building to “Olive Branch” in February after the military operation against ISIL and YPG militants in northern Syria.

The YPG, deemed the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, is supported by the U.S. in fighting against the ISIL.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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Turkey

Turkey surprises Greek Minister with low flying jets

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The meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece was briefly interrupted on Sept. 4 when low flying Turkish acrobatic jets surprised the Greek minister, who was calmed down by his Turkish counterpart. During the press conference, noise from the low flying Solo Türk acrobatic jets filled the room at one moment. When the Greek minister anxiously pointed to the sky, Çavuşoğlu calmed him down with a smile, telling him there was nothing to worry about. Solo Türk jets were in a test flight ahead of their upcoming show for the 96th anniversary of İzmir’s liberation from the Greek invasion in the aftermath of World War I.

Turkey and Greece have pledged to develop bilateral ties through dialogue and cooperation despite disputes that need to be resolved, the foreign ministries of the two countries have said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias inaugurated the renovated Greek Consulate General in the western province of İzmir on Sept. 4.

The consulate in İzmir was closed in 2003 for restoration works, but the process never finished due to the Greek economic crisis in the last decade.

“Turkey and Greece represent two big civilizations rich in history and geography. We carry the richness and traces of these two big civilizations together. Both our countries are home to scores of cultural heritages,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Cooperation and dialogue are regarded as the fundamental constituent in Turkey’s relations with Greece, he stressed.

“As Nikos said, there are issues we disagree on. We have sometimes experienced stormy weather. But at the end of the day commonsense prevails as the two sides regard cooperation and dialogue as the fundamental constituent of our ties,” the Turkish minister said.

Citing growing economic and trade ties between the two neighbors, Çavuşoğlu offered his counterpart to accelerate works to launch a ferry line between İzmir and the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Referring to Greece’s decision to provide legal protection to eight Turkish troops who fled to Greece after taking part in the July 2016 coup attempt, Çavuşoğlu said: “Turkey never harbors traitors of Greece on its soil. It is home only to the friends of Greece.”

Consulate symbol of a new beginning

For his part, the Greek foreign minister described the inauguration of the new building of the consulate general as the symbol of a new beginning in ties despite some bilateral problems.

“We are working with Mr. Çavuşoğlu to better our relations. We are also working on Turkey’s EU orientation. Two big leaders are in power in our countries. They are capable of resolving current problems based on international law,” he said.

Greece stood against coup plotters

The Greek top diplomat recalled that Greece has always stood by Turkey against coup plotters, saying Greece never “harbored terrorists.”

“We do not host them. What is always the case in our country is the implementation of the legal processes and international legal process. I believe our relations, our friendship and European vocation are also based on it,” he said.

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