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Turkey President Erdoğan back down in NATO spat over Sweden and Finland NATO membership

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will drop his objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO once an enormous amount of pressure is put on him, said Henri J. Barkey, an adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.


“It is possible that the Europeans and the Americans would find some facesaving concessions that may not mean much but will satisfy him,” said Barkey, who is also the Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University.


Erdoğan, who has lost significant political support at home ahead of elections scheduled for next June, is in defensive mode and therefore will try to make the most of everything, Barkey said in an interview with journalist Nervana Mahmoud for Ahval’s Turkish Trends podcast series on Wednesday.


“The thing about the Turks is that they always ask for the maximalist conditions so they make it sound like they want heaven on earth, and hope that eventually they would get a little bit and they would turn around and call it a big victory,” he said.


Turkey blocked the start of NATO membership talks with Finland and Sweden on Wednesday citing their alleged failure to combat terrorism, saying the two Nordic countries provide shelter to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for Kurdish autonomy on Turkish soil, and the religious Gülen Movement, which Turkey blames for a coup attempt in 2016.


Turkish officials say that Sweden and Finland have failed to agree to extradite dozens of the so-called terrorists over the past five years. The two countries should also drop an arms embargo on Turkey, Erdoğan says.


Sweden is a country of rule of law and there is absolutely no way that it would extradite a person to a country where anyone can be found guilty by a court on completely invented accusations, Barkey said.


Barkey pointed to an Istanbul court’s decision last month to jail philanthropist Osman Kavala for life for seeking to overthrow the government by financing the Gezi Park protests of 2013. The case was based completely on fictituous accusations, he said.


“So there’s no way on earth that Sweden will give up anybody,” Barkey said.


Erdoğan is in a very difficult situation at home and it is certainly not clear that his party is going to win the polls next year and he may even be defeated himself, Barkey said.


So “He’s using everything to show how tough he is against the West,” he said.


“I think at the end of the day the Turkish public will not vote for Erdoğan or against him on this issue. It’s mostly the economy. Economic conditions are what matters,” Barkey said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) walks with officials including Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) as he arrives for an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2022. (Photo by Evan Vucci / POOL / AFP)


Don't Hold Crusade In Aba Because Of Rampaging Gunmen — IPOB Advises Deeper Life Church Overseer Kumuyi

 The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Thursday, urged Pastor Williams Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church to cancel his scheduled crusade in Abia State.


IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, warned Kumuyi to stop the planned crusade due to the security in the Southeast.


Stressing that IPOB would not allow anyone to die, Powerful noted that any death incurred during the crusade would be blamed on the group.


Powerful said: “We the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wishes to advise Pastor Kumuyi of Deeper life Ministry to take note of the security situation in the South East as he comes to Aba for his gospel crusade.


”Let him and the organisers of the crusade make sure that nothing happens. The security of this region is not good because of political and criminal activities; therefore we advise him to stop this crusade for security reasons.


“IPOB will not allow anyone to die because of this crusade scheduled to hold in Aba. The operation of criminals operating as unknown gunmen infiltrating the events is high and they will blame it on IPOB.


“We ask him to pray for an end to the insecurity in Biafra land if he can. We charge Christians and men of God in Biafra land to engage God in fervent prayers to expose all those behind the insecurity in our land.


“Kumuyi should also pray against wicked Leaders and saboteurs in Biafra land and Nigeria. They are the real problems of the people. Let him use the opportunity to pray against the powers holding people captive in Nigeria in his church in Lagos.”





Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Announces Retirement From International Football

 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has retired from international football after 13 years representing Gabon, Newspremises reports.


Barcelona striker, has decided to focus on his club career.


Aubameyang, former Arsenal captain who announced his retirement from international football, on Wednesday, represented his nation for 13 years and also wore the captain’s armband.


The 32-year-old had appeared 72 times for Gabon, scoring 30 goals.


In a letter to the Gabonese FA, Aubameyang wrote, according to Mundo Deportivo: “After 13 [thirteen] years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I’m ending my international career.


“I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in the good and the bad times.


“Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment. I thank our President, his Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country.


“I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.


“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have made him proud by wearing our colours.”




Amaechi Resigns As Nigeria Transportation Minister

 Frontline Presidential aspirant on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday, officially resigned his position in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of Transportation to focus on his aspiration to contest for the 2023 presidency.


In a press statement issued by the Amaechi Presidential Media Committee (APMC) signed by Kingsley Wali, in Abuja, Amaechi in his resignation letter expressed profound gratitude to the President for considering him fit to serve in his administration.


He equally thanked Buhari for the enormous support given him, which he said, was responsible for the tremendous record of achievements he made in the Ministry of Transportation over the last seven years.


The statement quoted Amaechi as saying in his resignation letter: “It is with mixed feelings that I tender my resignation as the Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to contest for the Presidential ticket of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.


“Your Excellency, it has been a great honour and privilege serving as a member of your cabinet following your historic victory at the polls in 2015. Under your administration, the Ministry of Transportation has recorded significant achievements, made possible by your visionary support and commitment to ensuring that we deliver on our mandate.


“As I embark on the next phase of our mission to work towards a better Nigeria for ALL NIGERIANS, I humbly seek Your Excellency’s prayers, blessings and look towards your continuous support and guidance.

“Your Excellency, whilst humbly seeking your kind consideration of my request please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.”


Amaechi, the 56-year-old quintessential politician believed to be the most qualified among those aspiring to secure the ticket of the APC for the 2023 presidential election, is widely reckoned as the best performing minister in the Buhari’s cabinet. The kind of zeal and energy with which he carried on in his revolutionization of the transport sector was never seen in any previous Minister of Transportation in the country.


All the agencies under his direct supervision – Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc – have been remarkably transformed and repositioned for better performance and greater efficiency in their operations.






Arsenal's Champion League hopes in tatters after Newcastle defeat

Arsenal arrived in Newcastle needing a win to keep Champions League qualification in their own hands. The left like a team heading back into the Europa League with a manager who could not seem to know how or why the capitulation had occurred.


Mikel Arteta looked like a man who had just seen a car crash. Ashen faced, hollow eyed, a mixture of stress, anger and disappointment. 


He had the stare of a man who could not quite comprehend what he had just seen. Arsenal had not just been beaten in a game they had to win to move back above their bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur. They were outplayed, roughed up, out-passed and outclassed. 


They completely and utterly, no excuses, no mitigating circumstances, deserved to lose a game where their ability, but also their mental strength, fell short.


They walked into a wall of noise when they emerged from the tunnel at St James’ Park, were rocked back onto their heels and could not get on to the front foot all evening. In the first half they just about hung on, somehow repelling wave after wave of Newcastle attacks, but in the second they were blown apart after Ben White’s own goal.

Mikel Arteta

The home side should have scored another three or four, they were that dominant. Instead, they had to make do with a second from their new star, Bruno Guimares. The Brazil international, who chose to sign for Newcastle instead of Arsenal, in January, was the best player on the pitch.


It all helps to create a picture of a club in black and white that is the rising power in English football and one in red and white stuck where it has been for most of the last 15 years. 


Good, but not good enough. Impressive when at their best, soft and too easy to play against when they are either poor or mediocre.


When the crunch came, Arsenal came up short again. They have been doing a variation of this self-implosion for years. Whatever the process is under Arteta, it was not supposed to lead here. Arteta did not try to defend it. Not that he could.


“Normally I sit here, I can defend, but today Newcastle were 100 times better than us in every department. From the beginning to the end and it is very hard to accept it


“We knew [what to expect in terms of the atmosphere] but we didn’t cope with it, we didn’t compete. We never got into the game. We put ourselves in trouble. 


“We lost every duel. Newcastle deserved to win the game, probably by a bigger margin. We need to win and we need a defeat for them [Spurs]. In football anything can happen. We have to put our head down and swallow every poison possible.”


They certainly have to take their medicine. This was never going to be an easy game against a Newcastle side which could well be pushing for a European place themselves next season given the remarkable progress they have made under Eddie Howe.


Yet, you cannot escape from the brutal verdict Arsenal tossed away fourth place through their own carelessness and weakness. They buckled under pressure.


Arsenal's Ben White scores an own goal


Tottenham now have to lose at the worst team in the league, Norwich City, on Sunday to let Arsenal leapfrog above them. It is very, very hard to see that happening.


Arsenal’s first-half performance was summed up by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who kept falling over kicking the ball out and almost gifted Miguel Almiron a goal when his kick was charged down.


 

But the visitors did at least hang in there, they did not concede before half-time despite rarely getting out of their half, Ramsdale making two good saves from Sean Longstaff and Allan Saint-Maximin.


This was Saint-Maximin at his very best but why did Arteta leave him one on one against right back Takehiro Tomiyasu? The Japan international could not cope and was removed from the match six minutes before half-time for his own wellbeing.


Newcastle played like a team possessed, not one winding down for the summer and this was a fully deserved first victory over a top-six side this season.


There was more bite in Arsenal play at the start of the season,  but it was a player who had a tooth knocked out in the first half, Callum Wilson who gave them the lead they deserved - or at least he would have done had White not done it for him, sliding in to cut out Joelinton’s cross.


Wilson was close to a second on the volley as Arsenal were forced to chase the game. He was denied again after that by a deflection from an Emil Krafth pull back.


Arsenal had to gamble. Only a win would do but all they could do was concede a second and it should have been three of four by the end.


“Brilliant way for us to sign off here,” said Howe. "I was very, very pleased with the performance, I think it is our best by some distance since I have been at the club. 


“It feels a step forward, definitely. That was a challenge we posed, can we get a result against one of the top six? I think you saw tonight a progression and evolution to how we played. I think we are seeing an improvement in all areas.”


Telegraph

Plans To Join NATO Grave Mistake – Russia Warns Finland, Sweden

 Russia has reacted angrily to the plans by Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


The intergovernmental military alliance already has 30 member states – 28 in Europe, the United States, and Canada.


On Monday, Moscow warned that the admission of the two countries would be a grave mistake.


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there will be far-reaching consequences.


Ryabkov added that military tensions with the two Scandinavian nations would increase.


“They should have no illusions that we will simply resign ourselves to this”, Interfax news agency quoted him saying.


In a chat with Finnish Head of State Sauli Niinistö, President Vladimir Putin said his country would be making an error.


More European countries are seeking NATO membership due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine




Sweden Ends Neutrality, Joins Finland In Seeking NATO Membership

 Sweden has decided to follow neighboring Finland and apply for NATO membership, ending more than 200 years of military nonalignment because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, officials said Monday.


Sweden’s Prime Minister announced Monday that Sweden will join Finland in seeking NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


The historic shift, which comes after more than 200 years of military nonalignment in the Nordic country, is likely to upset Russian President Vladimir Putin.


“We will inform NATO that we want to become a member of the alliance,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said.


The announcement came after a debate in Riksdagen, or Parliament, earlier Monday showed that there is a huge support for joining NATO. Out of Sweden’s eight parties, only two smaller left-leaning parties opposed it.


On Sunday, the Swedish Social Democrats broke with the party’s long-standing position that Sweden must remain nonaligned, paving the way for a clear majority for NATO membership in the parliament.


The move in Sweden came after neighboring Finland announced Sunday that it too would seek to join the 30-country alliance.


Public opinion in both countries was firmly against joining NATO before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, but support for NATO membership surged quickly after that.


What is NATO and what Countries are members?


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military and political alliance into safeguarding the security and defense of its 30 members in Europe and North America.


NATO was formed in Washington DC in April 1949 to strengthen ties between States in the face of a perceived Soviet threat. It was originally a 12-member alliance (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States); then later, Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).


The group's Civilian Headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium. Its general Staff is structured into the Allied Command Operation in Mons, Belgium and the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.


NATO carried out ground, air and naval operations across the globe. Forces are operating in Kosovo and the Mediterranean. The group carries out Training in Iraq and it's also co-operating with the African Union.


NATO also fulfills activating machines for its members. The Principles of collective defense is at the heart of NATO's founding treaty. According to Article V, an attack against one member is considered an attack against all. The article was first invoked in 2001 as a sign of members solidarity as a response to the 9/11 attacks in the US.





Turkey President Erdoğan back down in NATO spat over Sweden and Finland NATO membership

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will drop his objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO once an enormous amount of pressure is p...

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