Missile defense activated in Turkey
January 16th, 2012
08:37 PM ET

Missile defense activated in Turkey

With reporting from Ivan Watson in Istanbul

An early warning radar station that is part of NATO's controversial missile defense system in Europe is now operational in Turkey, a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.

The station is located in the city of Malatya, about 400 miles southeast of the capital Ankara, and is manned by both Turkish and U.S. personnel, the spokesman said.

Turkey is one of five countries that have agreed to deploy parts of the U.S.-designed defense system. Portugal, Poland, Romania and Spain have also agreed to participate.

NATO asked Russia to participate in the system but negotiations have been deadlocked over Russia's demand for a legally binding treaty guaranteeing the shield would not be used as a deterrent to Moscow's own systems. The United States and its European allies have insisted the system is directed toward countering ballistic missile threats from such Middle East countries as Iran.

Iran - Turkey's eastern neighbor - has publicly objected to the NATO system. Ali Larijani, Iran's speaker of parliament, repeated his opposition to it during a visit to Turkey last week.

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Filed under: Iran • NATO • Turkey
Strained and tense talks between Afghans and Pakistanis
Turkish president Abdullah Gul Pakistani (C) with Hamid Karzai (L) and Ali Atif Zerdari (R)
November 1st, 2011
03:02 PM ET

Strained and tense talks between Afghans and Pakistanis

By CNN's Ivan Watson reporting from Istanbul, Turkey

With the help of Turkish mediation, Pakistani and Afghan leaders signed a series of agreements Tuesday aimed at mending relations which almost collapsed after last September's assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul.

At a joint press conference where he sat flanked by his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Turkish president Abdullah Gul announced that both Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to open a "cooperation mechanism" between their intelligence agencies to investigate the murder, which Afghan officials initially blamed on Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

"There was almost an end of negotiations between us," Afghan President Hamid Karzai said, in reference to the suicide bombing that killed Rabbani. "So on that what happened today in Turkey has been a significant move. I hope the mechanism for pursuing the death of Rabbani will lead us to more fruitful and intense talks."

In public, the three presidents appeared relaxed and friendly when Gul led them down the marble stairs of an Ottoman palace to a waiting Mercedes.

But behind closed doors, the opening to some of the discussions were strained and tense, said one Turkish diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Diplomacy • ISI • Karzai • Pakistan • Turkey
Turkish prime minister to visit Egypt as regional tension widens
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is embarking on a three nation tour. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
September 12th, 2011
11:55 AM ET

Turkish prime minister to visit Egypt as regional tension widens

By CNN's Ivan Watson

Turkey's prime minister is poised to visit Egypt, as twin diplomatic crises are shaking the foundations of several critical Middle Eastern alliances.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives here Monday night, part of a three nation tour that will include Tunisia and Libya as Turkey expands its diplomatic efforts.

Israeli ambassadors have been forced to abandon their posts in both Turkey and Egypt over the past week, albeit for sharply different reasons.

On Friday, Israel's ambassador to Egypt fled the country along with other Israeli diplomats, after an angry crowd broke down a protective wall around the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and stormed the bottom floor of the diplomatic mission.

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Filed under: Diplomacy • Egypt
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