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Europe & Russia

Turkey’s new satellite goes into orbit



American Aerospace Manufacturer SpaceX yesterday launched a Turkish communication satellite called as TURKSAT 5A, state agency Anadolu reports.

According to the news site, the technology company’s Falcon 9 Rocket blasted off Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US state of Florida, carrying the TURKSAT 5A satellite.

The brief delay was due to a downrange tracking issue, SpaceX said during its live launch broadcast.

The Falcon 9 deposited the TURKSAT 5A satellite into orbit about 33 minutes after liftoff.

The spacecraft is designed to operate for approximately 15 years, providing broadband coverage to Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and portions of Africa, according to the company.

Turksat 5B is expected to be launched later this year.

READ: Oman to launch its first satellite in 2024

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Europe & Russia

Diplomat: Qatar’s strategic choice has always been ‘Gulf reconciliation’



Qatar has always considered “Gulf reconciliation” as a strategic choice, stressing that the Gulf crisis does not benefit anyone, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said in an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lulwa Al- Khater said Qatar has never had a choice in the Gulf crisis, adding that Doha has dealt with the blockade as a reality and achieved a number of gains.

“Our strategic decision is not to spoil the course of reconciliation and to consider what is being circulated in the media as marginal issues,” she added.

The end of the Gulf dispute - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The end of the Gulf dispute – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Qatari diplomat described her country’s relations with Turkey and Iran as “excellent” and said “we appreciate those who stood by our side during the Gulf crisis and Qatar blockade,” referring to Turkey and Iran.

Following the signing of the Gulf reconciliation agreement on 5 January, Arab and Western media outlets speculated that the move could affect Qatar’s relations with Turkey and Iran, but the Turkish Foreign Ministry was among the first countries to welcome the Gulf settlement and confirmed Ankara’s readiness to strengthen institutional cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

OPINION: Gulf reconciliation can help solve many regional issues

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EU delays imposing sanctions on Turkey



The European Union has decided to put off possible sanctions on Turkey due to positive developments which are unfolding in Ankara, news agencies reported yesterday.

“We discussed all aspects of our relation with Turkey, as identified in the December Council Conclusions, including regarding sanctions,” EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, said in press remarks. “We took note of important messages sent to the European Union Council by Turkish authorities.”

He added: “We reaffirmed the importance of engaging with Turkey in order to advance in and consolidate our dialogue and cooperation.”

Following the EU meeting, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said: “We did not decide to sanction Turkey today because we see that there are positive developments.”

“There are no Turkish ships in the contested areas in the Eastern Mediterranean anymore; exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece have begun this evening in Istanbul.”

He added: “Those are all positive signals that we had waited for a long time, which should now not be strained by sanctions.”

READ: Turkey to open new page of dialogue with EU, US in 2021

Recently, Turkey and Greece agreed to hold exploratory talks on their maritime dispute in Istanbul, as well as resuming consultations suspended in 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted he wants to “turn a new page” in Ankara’s relations with Brussels in a phone call with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“What is very important for us, the European Union and its member states, is to see the implementation of these intentions and declarations in practice,” Euractiv quoted EU spokesman Peter Stano saying.

Moves to impose sanctions on Turkey last month had caused a rift among EU member states, with some rejecting the proposals.

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Asia & Americas

Russia FM: Relations with Iran will not depend on US’ ‘whims’



Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that relations between his country and Iran will not depend on the “whims” of the United States, which is trying to harm the partnership between the two countries by imposing illegal sanctions.

“Our relations are developing based on the interests of the two countries and two peoples, and we build our plans without looking back to any third party,” Lavrov said during a joint conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Lavrov said some international players are trying to limit mutual cooperation between Moscow and Tehran through illegal means, “taking advantage” of the unilateral restrictions that contradict international law, stressing that Russia will not allow Iran to be provoked and pushed into a confrontation.

He added that Russia is seeking ways to urge all parties to the Iranian nuclear deal to return to their obligations.

READ: We have the ability to sink US warships, claims senior Iranian officer

For his part, the Iranian foreign minister affirmed that his country is looking forward to cooperating closely with Russia.

Zarif said the new US administration’s statements are words that need to be translated into actions, stressing that Tehran would return to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, if Washington lifted its sanctions.

The officials discussed building new units at Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and signed a bilateral agreement on information security.

US vs Iran, who's going to win the war of influence - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US vs Iran, who’s going to win the war of influence – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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