Main events in Turkey in February 2018
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 28
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
February can be called the most event-rich month of the recent period in Turkey. Most of all, the development of Turkey’s national defense industry can be highlighted in the context of Olive Branch Operation.
It is noteworthy that Turkey tested new models of military equipment during the anti-terror operation in Syria.
Below is the list of the most notable events that happened in Turkey in February 2018.
Turkey strengthens defense industry
Turkey's National Defense Minister Nurettin Janikli announced successful testing of HISAR anti-air missile system in early February 2018. The mid-range anti-air missile system was tested in Aksaray province of Turkey.
Turkey's Nurol Makina, the manufacturer company of the armored combat vehicles, also announced that it was developing a new technology for Ejder Yalcin 4x4 armored combat vehicles that will make their operation possible without a driver and crew.
Turkey’s defense company Aselsan announced development of a new tank armor system, which will be called Pulat. It will be possible to integrate the new system into the Leopard 2 and M 60 tanks.
Turkey also developed an engine for the home-produced ANKA drones, a new anti-tank remotely controlled turret (ARCT) that can be installed on any type of armored vehicle and military car and also launched construction of its third submarine – Murat Reis.
Construction of three more submarines – Aydin Reis, Seydiali Reis and Selman Reis – will begin after Murat Reis is built.
But the most remarkable event was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's announcement concerning plans to manufacture next generation unmanned tanks.
Turkey's population grows
In 2017, Turkey’s population reached 80.81 million people, which is 995,654 people more than in 2016, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) said in a message in early February 2018.
In 2017, 40.535 million people in Turkey accounted for males, and 40.275 million people - for females.
“According to statistics, males account for 50.2 percent, and females - for 49.8 percent of Turkey’s population,” the message noted.
Some 18.6 percent of Turkish citizens live in Istanbul. The city’s population amounts to 15.029 million people.
According to TUIK's forecast, Turkey’s population may grow to 100 million people during the next 22 years.
Historic visit of Erdogan to Vatican
Erdogan visited Vatican at the invitation of Pope Francis. This was the first visit of senior Turkish official to Vatican over the past 59 years at the level of the country’s president.
As part of the visit, the sides discussed the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the so-called "Armenian genocide".
Turkey expressed its displeasure to the Vatican over the claims of Armenians in connection with the events of 1915.
Erdogan said that Pope Francis listened to his statements.
"Pope Francis is in solidarity with Turkey on the occasion of the so-called Armenian genocide," Erdogan said.
Growing political tension between the Netherlands and Turkey
The recent tensions between Netherlands and Turkey go back to March of 2017, when the Netherlands’ government withdrew the permission for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to fly to Rotterdam to participate in the Turkish community’s rally on the eve of the referendum in Turkey.
Growing further from there, the Netherlands recalled its ambassador to Turkey, and reportedly doesn't plan to allow Turkey to appoint its ambassador to Amsterdam, according to reports.
Later in Feb. 2018, the Dutch Parliament decided to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide. In this regard, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey deems Dutch Parliament’s decision on the 1915 events unacceptable.
He noted that there are no historical facts confirming a "genocide" of Armenians.
Cavusoglu added that negative attitude has been observed in the relations between the Netherlands and Turkey over the past year.
Turkish CKK consortium out of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project
The companies of the CKK consortium couldn't reach an agreement on some commercial points of the Akkuyu project.
In June 2017, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation signed an agreement on the main conditions for the Turkish energy companies Cengiz Holding, Kolin Insaat and Kalyon Insaat to join the shareholders of the Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, which is implementing the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project.
The Turkish consortium claimed 49 percent in Akkuyu Nuclear company. The amount of the possible transaction has not been disclosed.
The construction project of the Akkuyu NPP in Turkey is being implemented based on the Intergovernmental Agreement signed between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey in Ankara in May 2010. The project, estimated at $20 bln, stipulates the construction of four power units with VVER-1200 reactors with total capacity of 4,800 MW
Tillerson's visit to Ankara: Turkey demands US to stop supporting terrorists in Syria
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ankara. During the meeting, the Turkish side put forward a number of demands.
Reportedly, first of all, Turkey demanded the US to immediately stop to support terrorists from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The sides discussed the situation in Syria and Iraq, as well as the fight against terrorism.
Turkey creates national aerospace agency
A total of $6 billion will be allocated for the formation of Turkey’s national space agency, which is planned to be created by 2023.
The territory of the national space agency will be 500 hectares, and 100 hectares of the territory are planned to be allocated for the construction of a special center for the development of space technologies.
In February 2017, a draft law on establishment of the national space agency was submitted to the Turkish parliament for consideration, the source noted.
The project is being developed as part of the government plan titled 2023 Vision.
Turkish army takes control over all settlements along borders of Syria’s Afrin
Operation Olive Branch reached the next stage: Turkish Armed Forces took control over the whole border with Syrian Afrin district.
Turkish army prevented the so-called Syrian National Defense Forces from entering Afrin.
According to Erdogan, about 10 cars with allegedly pro-government forces wanted to enter Afrin. Turkish army opened a preventive fire, forcing intruders to retreat.
Turkish oppositional, ruling parties agree on joint actions in presidential election
Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party and ruling Justice and Development Party agreed on joint actions during the presidential election in 2019.
Reportedly, the decision was made as part of an agreement between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli.
In January, Bahceli refused to nominate a candidate from the party in the presidential election in favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
He said the party will support the country’s incumbent President Erdogan if he puts forward his candidacy in the elections.
Turkey will hold presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections in 2019.
Turkey announces 2018 the Year Against Child Labor
According to Turkish media, all state organizations of Turkey will fight against the child labor beginning this year.
Corresponding events are to be held in the country.
About two million children are currently subjected to the child labor in Turkey, Turkish media said.
Turkey is discontent over Prague's decision over ex-PYD leader
On Feb. 27, the Czech court released terrorist Salih Muslim, who had been detained two days ago. The Czech side said that they are ready to hold talks with Turkey on extradition of ex-leader of PYD earlier.
The Turkish Interior Ministry included Muslim into the list of especially dangerous criminals. He is accused in infringement attempt against the integrity and unity of Turkey and in a number of other serious offenses. The Ministry announced a $1 million bounty for cooperation in his capture.
Turkey’s Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag said that Salih Muslim’s release from the Czech court will negatively affect the Turkey-Czech relations.
Bozdag added that Turkey condemns the decision of the Czech court, however it has been expected.
Erdogan visits African states
Late February is remembered by Turkish President Erdogan's visit to African states. Visiting tour started on Feb. 26 and will last until March 2, 2018.
Erdogan has already visited Algeria and plans to visit Mauritania, Senegal and Mali.