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US Secretary of Defense targets ISIL, calls for Turkey to do more

India Blooms News Service | | 23 Jan 2016, 02:46 pm
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan 22 (IBNS): The defeat of ISIL 'needs to occur, it will occur … first and foremost in Syria and Iraq,' said US Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter.
Carter has shared the ambition of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to defeat the terrorists by the end of this year and hailed the “great performance by the Iraqi security forces” in driving ISIL out of Ramadi.
 
Carter pointed out that Turkey’s long border with Iraq and Syria is “porous to foreign fighters” and called on Turkey to use its pivotal position in the region to take the fight to the terrorists.
 
“I think the Turks can do more to fight ISIL”, he said. The plan is to take back the terrorists’ two remaining strongholds, Mosul and Raqqa, using a combination of US military power and capable local forces.
 
Turning to Eastern Europe, Carter announced new investments in the defence of Europe “as a consequence of Russia’s aggressive behaviour which we’ve seen in Ukraine.” 
 
Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Brussels, characterized the Ukraine situation as “hybrid warfare”, both overt and covert, and called for NATO to strengthen its capacities in intelligence, situational awareness and surveillance – “we have to understand when we are under attack,” he said. 
 
NATO has tripled the size of its response force and established a new spearhead joint task force to ensure more rapid reaction to external threats.
 
The probability of war in the South China Sea is low, but the consequences would be huge, warned Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of Singapore. Every time there are unilateral assertions of power, said Shanmugaratnam, “we have to shine a light on it and insist on these matters being taken to international courts.” Carter called China’s actions in the region “self-isolating,” but added: “China’s not the only one that’s making claims that we do not agree with … Everybody, not just China … should stop and not militarize.” 
 
He said the vital role that the US military plays in maintaining peace in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to be “fully resourced”.
 
In Afghanistan, all states in the region need to realize that “terrorism is a common threat,” said Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. 
 
“What cannot be permitted is for states to behave like non-state actors or to sponsor malign non-state actors,” he added. 
 
Ghani pledged that “Afghanistan will be the burial ground of Da’esh.” But he cautioned that stability will only come through focusing on the needs of his citizens for education, jobs and equal rights. 
 
“The greatest missing element in the strategy of counter-terrorism is the role of the market,” he said, adding: “As long as we have exclusion of women, we are not going to get stability.”
 
Over 2,500 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts are participating in the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on 20-23 January.
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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm