Ankara hails anti-racist protests in US
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Turkey's ruling party spokesman on June 3 hailed demands for equality as anti-racist protests continue in the country after the killing of African-American man George Floyd.
Turkey is against all groups trying to turn legitimate protests in the US violent and bring public order under their destructive influence, said Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the AKP, after a party board meeting.
The U.S. has been facing protests since last week when a video went viral showing Floyd being pinned down by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as he was being arrested.
Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Shortly after, Floyd appeared to lose consciousness, but Chauvin maintained his position on the victim.
He died shortly after being taken to a hospital.
His last words were "I can't breathe," which became the slogan of the nationwide protests.
Conquest Feast at Hagia Sophia
Rejecting criticism by the Greek Foreign Ministry’s on the event that Turkey organized to mark the 567th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of the former Byzantine capital, Çelik said such a celebration was held by respecting a world heritage without insulting anyone.
Çelik said having an enmity on the basis of religion is not even a matter of discussion in Turkey, adding: "But the only state in Europe that prohibits the call to prayer (adhan) from their minarets is Greece."
”The only European Union member without a mosque in its capital is Greece,” he said.
On May 29, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism organized Conquest Feast at Hagia Sophia in coordination with the Turkish Presidency’s Directorate of Communications as part of celebrations throughout the day of the conquest of Istanbul.
The program was followed with the recitation of the 48th chapter of the Quran, Surah Al-Fath, meaning Victory or Triumph, which Erdoğan viewed via video.
Turkey on May 30 shot back at an objection from Greece on the reading of passages from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, at the Hagia Sophia, a landmark mosque-converted museum in Istanbul.
Turkey held these ceremonies not to challenge anyone, but to remember its history, memory, and to commemorate a day, Çelik stressed.
Israel's annexation plan
Commenting on Israel's plan to annex the occupied West Bank, Çelik said: "We rejects Israel's West Bank annexation plan and warned the whole world once again."
The plan is part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century that was announced on Jan. 28. It refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank
The plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected by bridges and tunnels.
Palestinian officials say that under the US plan, Israel will annex 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem.
Citing NATO’s statement that it was ready to support the internationally recognized government in Libya, Çelik said it was confirmed by NATO that Turkey's position on Libya is in compliance with the U.N.
Open Skies Treaty
Touching upon the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies (TOS), Ömer Çelik said it is “not a positive attitude” for Turkey.
It will adversely affect the security of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and Europe, North Africa, Celik underlined.
The Open Skies Treaty was agreed in 1992 by the U.S. and NATO allies, as well as Russia and former members of the Soviet bloc as a major act ending the Cold War era aiming at preventing Washington and Moscow from entering a military showdown.
The treaty allows nations to fly above each other's territory on military reconnaissance flights as a measure to help bolster confidence neither country is imminently preparing for war.