Dozens safely rescued from stuck ski lift in NE Turkey
A ski lift malfunction left around 80 people temporarily stranded at a resort in northeastern Turkey on Sunday, said local officials.
All the people who got stuck were safely evacuated, said Oktay Aygan, provincial head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in the Kars province.
“People were stranded in the ski lift for about an hour, but were safely evacuated,” Oksuz said, adding that there were no health problems in the group.
The rescue operation was carried out by a search and rescue team of Turkish gendarmerie forces and an AFAD team.
People continued skiing at the resort, officials said.
Pakistani premier to pay official visit to Turkey
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan this week will pay a two-day official visit to Turkey, according to Pakistani officials.Khan’s first official visit to Turkey after taking office this August comes at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Accompanied by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, and adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, Khan will leave for Turkey on Wednesday, Mohammad Faisal, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman, confirmed to Anadolu Agency.Indian forces kill four in KashmirDuring the visit, Khan will meet Erdoğan and discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as exchange views on regional and international developments, said the premier’s spokesperson.Khan will also address a business forum and hold several meetings with Turkish businessmen and potential investors in Ankara.“Pakistan and Turkey enjoy historic and unparalleled ties based on a common religious and cultural legacy that dates back centuries. The two countries have excellent political, economic, defense, cultural and people-to-people relations that continue to grow from strength to strength each passing year,” said the spokesperson.Pakistanis laud ‘landmark’ verdict on FETÖ terror groupKhan’s visit will reinforce historic ties between the governments and peoples of “the two brotherly countries,” and also help explore new areas of bilateral cooperation and collaboration, particularly in the area of economic, trade and commercial relations, he added.Khan and Erdoğan are also expected to discuss the ongoing Afghan peace process.On Dec. 17, visiting Khan in Islamabad, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu invited the Pakistani premier to visit Turkey.Khan also extended an invitation to Erdoğan and his Cabinet to visit Pakistan.Alleged leader of Chinese consulate attack in Pakistan reported killedPrisoners stuck in midst of Pakistan-India tensions
Turkish firm pitches payment app for Mideast, N Africa
A new indigenous blockchain-based project by a Turkish venture firm aims to be a general payment system for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, said one of the officials behind the project.The landmark project has come to the launch phase, Ilker Cikrikcili, MenaPay’s chief marketing officer, told Anadolu Agency.The mobile app, supported by its main investment firm Bogazici Ventures and the payment infrastructure developed by the MenaPay team, has so far received 6.5 million investments, he noted.”Some 84 percent of the MENA region’s population (326 million people) do not use credit cards due to religious reasons,” he said.“MenaPay was designed consonant with Islamic financing rules.”He added that MenaPay was approved and licensed as a payment service provider by Dubai and Bahrain’s central banks, and also has applied for a Sharia law certificate.With the help of blockchain technology, money transactions will be made with literally thousands of witnesses, exceeding the two witnesses required by Sharia, he asserted.Ex-Turkish diplomat says Turkey never colonized Africa unlike other countriesOptimism, democratic change dominate Africa in 2018’Money transactions in seconds’The system will use a cryptocurrency developed privately for MenaPay called MenaCash, he added.”MenaPay’s distinctive features are the blockchain technology and money transaction between persons without using banks,” he said.Saying that MenaCash can be a shared currency in the MENA region, he said: “Money transactions will be made between persons in two seconds through MenaPay.”Money transactions will be controlled by a global third-party service provider, and people will able to buy MenaCash in regional branches, he said.Users will able to buy, transfer, and use MenaCash, which will be constant to the U.S. dollar’s value, in contractual places such as e-commerce websites, restaurants, or markets, he explained.”Our end of 2019 target is to reach $1 billion valuation and become a global payment provider,” he added.The MenaPay mobile app will go live on Jan. 15.Unidentified gunmen kill 10 gendarmes in Burkina FasoCongo opposition leader Fayulu takes clear lead ahead of Sunday’s electionS.Africa launches its most advanced nanosatellite
Turkish envoy says 2018 ‘bright year’ in relations with UK
2018 has been “a bright year” in Turkish-British relations, according to Turkey’s ambassador to London.Reviewing relations between the countries for Anadolu Agency, Ümit Yalçın said bilateral diplomatic contact was established over two centuries ago, in 1793, with the appointment of Yusuf Agah Efendi as Ottoman ambassador in London.“Turkish-U.K. relations have a very deep historical background,” he said, adding: “In accordance with this historical perspective, we have had very intense relations in 2018.”Telling how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Britain this May helped shape ongoing and future relations, Yalçın said Erdoğan held bilateral meetings with British officials and attended the seventh Tatli Dil Forum – a mechanism to facilitate and strengthen relations between Turkey and the U.K. – in Reading.Turkish Parliament Speaker named AK Party’s candidate for Istanbul mayorYalçın underlined that Erdoğan met with Prime Minister Theresa May three times this year: first during his visit to the U.K., then during the UN summit in New York, and finally in Argentina during the G20 summit.He said the two countries, situated on either end of Europe as NATO allies, have adopted a target of improving relations without any problems.Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited the U.K. twice in 2018, said Yalçın.“He explained our regional steps both toward our relations with the U.K. and toward Europe’s security, stability and welfare,” he added.Turkey, Russia have common aim to clear Syria of terror organisationsThis year Turkish finance, trade and culture ministers visited Britain, and British trade, security, and Europe ministers paid visits to Turkey, and those visits bore fruit in fields of trade, investment, tourism, politics, and security cooperation, said the diplomat.Yalçın said in 2018 the trade volume between the two countries reached almost $20 billion, and the number of British tourists visiting Turkey reached 2 million, a jump of 37 percent.Yalçın added that British investments in Turkey total some $300 million.“We can say that 2018 has been a positive and bright year in investments, tourism, exports, and trade,” Yalçın said.“All this gives us hope for next year too,” he added.Turkish intel returns wanted FETÖ terror group memberTerrorismYalçın said an improvement in bilateral security relations was also apparent, as the British judiciary banned the use of symbols of the terror group PKK in protests and rallies.He also said the Turkish Embassy has closely followed cases in Britain concerning FETÖ, the terrorist group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.“Although the decision in the most recent case [extradition request for fugitive alleged FETÖ member Akın İpek] caused disappointment for us, we have appealed the decision and we will continue to follow this process,” he said, referring to a ruling made this November.The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.Top Turkish officials in Moscow for talks on SyriaBrexitTurkey’s relations with the U.K., which is set to leave the EU after March 29, and its high-level dialogue and subcommittee meetings with the U.K., will continue next year, Yalçın said.He said those meetings will shape future trade relations and how Turkish citizens’ rights will be protected.Foreign policyThe Turkish ambassador underlined that Turkey’s political and military steps in Syria and its transparency in investigating the case of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were seen positively in the U.K.He said: “As well as bilateral relations, Turkey’s regional steps are followed closely here. Our foreign policy steps are evaluated as Turkey’s contribution to international relations and regional issues.”Turkey held at least 500 irregular migrants over weekSyrian opposition sends troops to ManbijFirst Turk named to head UN budget committee