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Erdogan Demands Biden Reverse Armenian Genocide Declaration

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday demanded that U.S. President Joe Biden reverse his declaration that the World War I-era massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide.In his first comments since Biden’s statement on Saturday, Erdogan said the U.S. leader “has made baseless, unjust and untrue remarks about the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago.”Erdogan said he hoped Biden “will turn back from this wrong step as soon as possible.”The Turkish leader also advised Biden to “look in the mirror” at the slaughter of Native Americans by European settlers as the United States developed the western half of its territory in the 19th century.”While all these truths are out there, you cannot pin the genocide accusation on the Turkish people,” he said.Riot police are stationed nearby as U.S. soldiers stand guard on the rooftop of the U.S. embassy during a protest against a statement made by U.S. President Joe Biden, in Ankara, Turkey, April 26, 2021.Erdogan said the Biden statement opened a “deep wound” in its relations with the United States, a NATO ally, at a time when U.S.-Turkey relations are already frayed. The U.S. imposed sanctions when Turkey purchased Russian air defense systems over the protests of U.S. and NATO allies.Nonetheless, the Turkish leader said he expects to “open the door for a new period” in ties with the U.S. and discuss all disputes with Biden at a NATO summit in June.”We now need to put aside our disagreements and look at what steps we can take from now on, otherwise we will have no choice but to do what is required by the level our ties have fallen to on April 24,” he said.Late Saturday, Turkey says it summoned David Satterfield, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, to condemn the declaration by Biden, the first U.S. president to declare that the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire — the predecessor to modern-day Turkey — between 1915 and 1923 constituted genocide.Armenians say they were purposely targeted for extermination through starvation, forced labor, deportation, death marches and outright massacres.Turkey denies a genocide or any deliberate plan to wipe out the Armenians. It says many of the victims were casualties of the war or murdered by Russians. Turkey also says the number of Armenians killed was far fewer than the usually accepted figure of 1.5 million.Moments after Biden made his statement Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted, “Words cannot change or rewrite history. We will not take lessons from anyone on our history.”Biden’s statement fulfilled a campaign promise and came on the same day that Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day was observed in Armenia and by the Armenian diaspora.“Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” Biden said in his statement. “The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.”Biden told Erdogan in a phone call Friday that he intended to make the genocide declaration.

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Чехія: прем’єр пояснив президентові, що версія вибухів 2014 року одна – напад агентів Росії

Земан, відомий своєю проросійською позицією, висловив сумнів у висновках розслідування про причетність спецслужб Росії до вибухів

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Posted by Ukrap on

Ердоган розкритикував Байдена за заяву про «геноцид вірмен»

Байден став першим президентом США, який в офіційній заяві з приводу масових убивств і депортацій вірмен в Османській імперії назвав це словом «геноцид»

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Макрон закликав Путіна зменшити напруженість на Донбасі й біля кордонів України

У Кремлі ж продовжують говорити про «внутрішньоукраїнський конфлікт»

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Questions Over Missing Billions Pose Challenge for Erdogan 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be finding himself cornered over opposition claims that his government $128 billion squandered in defending Turkey’s currency, the lira.Throughout Turkey, giant banners emblazoned with the words “where is the $128 billion?” hang from party offices of the main opposition, People’s Republican Party, CHP.  Advertising trucks and vans carry images asking the same question, along with posters on billboards across the country, some with just the words “$128 billion Where?”In Istanbul, the governor ordered the banners taken down, claiming they violated COVID restrictions. Video of the police taking down the huge posters in the middle of the night went viral on social media, only fueling more interest.The CHP has countered by simply using the number 128, which has become synonymous with demands for accounting of the lost billions of dollars.Meral Aksener, the firebrand leader of the opposition Good Party, iyi, joined in the assault on the government, “Turkey has become the land of disappearance under the great illusionist Erdoğan,” quipped Aksener in an address to her parliamentary party deputies this month.”Vaccines are missing,” and “128 Billion USD and the Minister of Powerpoint (referring to former Finance Minister Berat Albayrak) who lost the money is also missing,” she said, referring to opposition claims that more than one million imported COVID vaccines are unaccounted for – a claim the government denies. Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, has not been seen public since reports said he was forced to quit in November.Under the finance minister’s two-year stewardship, billions of Turkey’s foreign currency reserves were used to prop up the currency, as he confounded economic orthodoxy of keeping interest rates low, despite rising inflation.A man is reflected at a foreign currency board in a currency exchange shop, in Istanbul, Turkey, March 22, 2021.Albayrak followed Erdogan’s unorthodox view that low-interest rates reduce inflation rather than the widely held belief that high rates are needed to tame rising prices.Analysts warn the growing controversy over the opposition’s slogan, “What happened to $128 billion,” is threatening to engulf Erdogan.”The question drives Mr. Erdogan furious because it is essentially an assault on the integrity of his son-in-law Mr. Berat Albayrak,” said political consultant Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners. “It also implies AKP cronies might have absconded with part of Central Bank F/X sales.”Economic hardship caused by the COVID pandemic, with rising unemployment and inflation, mean that questions over missing billions of dollars are striking a chord in the country. In recent weeks, the question “What happened to 128 billion” has been among the top three search questions on Google in Turkey.  Erdogan on Wednesday accused the opposition of carrying out a campaign of “lies.””This money was not gifted to anyone or wasted,” Erdogan told members of his ruling parliamentary. “It simply changed hands and went to economic actors… and a large part of it has returned to the central bank,” he added.Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his ruling party’s congress in Ankara, March 24, 2021. (Credit: Turkish Presidency)But the president caused alarm in the financial markets when he said 165 rather than 128 billion had been used defending the currency and that he would support such a policy again if needed. The Turkish lira plummeted after the comments.”Erdogan is now saying $165 billion (were) used in two years to defend the lira. That is a huge sum spent on a failed FX intervention strategy,” tweeted Timothy Ash, a senior Emerging Market Analyst of Blue Ray Investments. “I cannot think of another country that wasted such huge sums on a failed defense of the lira. Disastrous,” he added.Falling approval ratingMany analysts see Turkey’s economic woes as the main factor behind Erdogan and his AKP Party’s slide in opinion polls. For the first time, the party’s support, according to polls, has fallen below 30%.Observers say Erdogan’s struggle to contain the 128 campaign indicates a far broader problem facing the president. Having dominated Turkish politics for nearly two decades, they say he now appears to be heading into enemy territory.”For the first time, the AK Party is obliged to a defensive strategy, and because it does not know how to play, it responds with kick and slap to every attack,” said veteran pollster Bekir Agirdir of the Konda polling company.The 128 campaign, using both traditional and modern means of communication and its slick presentation, is also a sign that Erdogan is facing a galvanized and effective opposition that appears to have a finger on the nation’s pulse.”The economic conditions in the country are getting harder, the government seems to be losing the grip of the pandemic, and to be honest, the opposition is playing tough,” wrote political columnist Murat Yetkin for the website Yetkin Report. 

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Government Documents Show Russia Considering Using Convicts to Build Railway

Russia is considering using convicts to expand a railway line in the far east, a government document showed, as Moscow faces migrant labor shortages due to COVID-19.Restrictions linked to the pandemic have prompted many migrant workers to leave Russia and authorities have warned construction projects could be slowed down.Russia has already brought in soldiers to build a segment of its Baikal-Amur Mainline railway (BAM) in the far east to transport more coal and metal to ports for export to Asia.It is now also considering convict laborers to work on the line which is being expanded as part of a more than 6 trillion rouble ($79 billion) plan to upgrade and construct infrastructure.A document drawn up by Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin’s office ordered the transport ministry, the Federal Penitentiary Service and Russian Railways, the state company that runs the vast national rail network, to assess the feasibility of using convicts to build railways.The document, first reported by Kommersant newspaper and reviewed by Reuters on Monday, ordered the three bodies to assess the possibility of using convicts to work on the construction of railway infrastructure on the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian railways by May 14.Russian Railways and the transport ministry declined to comment.A spokesman for Khusnullin did not immediately comment. The government and prison service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Prisoners from the Soviet Union’s vast GULAG labor camp system were used in the 1930s to build portions of BAM and develop large swathes of Siberia.

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Student Speech Case Escalated to Supreme Court

A dispute between a Pennsylvania high school student and her school district regarding off-campus profanity has been escalated to the U.S. Supreme Court.The Supreme Court said it would hear arguments in the case this week between a teenager who posted a Snapchat with obscenities while off campus and the school district that disciplined her for it.Brandi Levy, 18, is being supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has argued that schools do not have the right to regulate students’ behaviors and speech that occurs off campus.But the Mahonoy Area School District worries that a lack of regulation of off-campus behavior, especially when publicized on social media, could increase bullying and racism.Levy was 14 when she posted a Snapchat expressing frustration that she was not chosen for the varsity cheerleading team. Coaches on the junior varsity team heard of the Snap, which disappears after 24 hours, and suspended her from cheerleading for a year.Levy’s family challenged the decision in court, arguing that the punishment violated her First Amendment right to free speech. A lower Pennsylvania court ruled in favor of Levy, but the school district appealed the ruling.The case is being seen by some as a litmus test for free speech across the United States. The Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that schools may punish student speech that could “substantially disrupt” the school community, a precedent Levy’s school district cited when appealing the Pennsylvania ruling.But whether this can be applied to speech off campus is to be determined. Either way, Levy said she was not threatening or harassing anyone.”What I said, it wasn’t targeting. It wasn’t bullying, harassment or anything like that,” she told Reuters.The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of June.

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Oscar Wins by Chinese-born Director Censored in China

Taking home the Academy Awards, or Oscars, for Best Director and Best Picture would normally be a notable event, but apparently not in China for Chloé Zhao, who won the two prizes for her movie “Nomadland.”State media outlets were silent about the accolades for the Chinese-born Zhao, with no mention on either CCTV or Xinhua.Sunday’s awards ceremony was not aired live in China or in Hong Kong.News of her win was also censored on China’s highly controlled internet. According to the Associated Press, a post about Zhao’s win by a movie-related account on China’s Weibo microblogging site was censored a few hours after it was posted.Some users had to resort to using the code “zt,” Zhao’s initials using her Chinese name Zhao Ting, to talk about Zhao.A popular movie app, Douban, banned even searching for “Nomadland” and “Zhao Ting.”Zhao left China at the age of 14 to go to boarding school in London and later moved to Los Angeles.
Some social media users in China said she insulted the country in past comments when she was nominated for a Golden Globe in March, but in her acceptance speeches, she was apolitical and even recalled her childhood in China fondly.”Nomadland” had been scheduled for release in China on April 23, but that never happened, the Associated Press reported. No new release date has been set.Zhao is the first Asian woman and second woman to win the Best Director award.