Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bah eli, speaking at the party’s weekly parliamentary group meeting yesterday, strongly criticized the U.S. over several matters including a recent decision to supply heavy weaponry to the PKK’s Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG.) Bah eli also touched on the incident near the Turkish ambassador’s residence last week and harshly refuted U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement saying, “‘Turkish violence’ is unacceptable. Tillerson’s remarks on ‘Turkish violence’ are nothing short of a rotten claim, which is completely devoid of compassion. It is neither within the boundaries nor in the scope of the duties of the U.S. secretary of state to mention the word ‘violence’ together with Turkey,” Bah eli said. During President Recep Tayyip Erdo an’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at around 12:30 p.m. (16:30GMT) on Tuesday last week, terrorist PKK supporters, as well as some protesters carrying Armenian flags, started shouting slogans against Turkey and Erdo an at Lafayette Square Park, just north of the White House. Foreign Minister Mevl t avu o lu’s close protection team was also involved in scuffles with pro-PKK and Armenia protesters in front of the Turkish Embassy, with footage prompting a defamation campaign against Turkey circulated widely in U.S. media, and several U.S. senators calling for the ousting of Serdar K l , Turkey’s ambassador to Washington. Commenting on the matter, MHP leader Bah eli yesterday stressed: “It is an extremely cowardly and shameful attempt at self-defense to cover up the provocations and violent agitations of Turkey’s enemies in front of the Washington embassy and blame Turkey. The PKK blood in the U.S. has re-emerged and gone wild with the Turkish delegation’s official visit. The PKK has received its supplies from the White House and revealed its war weapons.”Affirming that the diplomatic note issued by the Foreign Ministry to the U.S., due to the “aggressive and unprofessional” actions of U.S. security personnel against avu o lu’s protection team, was correct and well-decided, the MHP leader criticized the U.S. for supplying arms to the PKK-affiliated YPG. “Terror groups have no place in the future of our region. It is absolutely against the international agreement for any country to cooperate with terror groups; especially the YPG/PYD,” he reaffirmed, continuing by thanking the president for his comments on YPG during his official visit to the U.S.
Turkey’s US envoy slams anti-Erdo an protesters
Meanwhile, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington on Monday condemned last week’s demonstration outside of his residence, calling it an “expression of solidarity with terrorism.”
Speaking at the annual conference on U.S.-Turkey relations, Serdar K l told attendees it was “really disappointing to see the so-called flag of the PKK, which is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, on the streets of Washington, D.C.
“We do not take it as freedom of expression,” he said. “It’s an expression of solidarity with terrorism.”
Violent clashes erupted last Tuesday outside of K l ‘s residence as President Recep Tayyip Erdo an arrived for previously scheduled meetings. In response, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to Turkey on Monday in protest against the “aggressive and unprofessional actions” of American security personnel toward the foreign minister’s protection team. Foreign Minister Mevl t avu o lu was traveling with Erdo an at the time.
After the incident, the Turkish embassy released a statement saying, “Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador’s Residence, while the president of Turkey was visiting the Residence. The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the president. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured. The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration. We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur.”
Responding to the incident, U.S. State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon thanked K l for attempting to calm the situation at Sheridan Circle, but called the events that occurred “deplorable.””During that incident, Americans saw lawful protesters attacked at Sheridan Circle,” he said. “It is important to note that in the United States such protests are legal, protected and customary.”
According to police, out of the 11 people that were injured last Tuesday, including a police officer, nine of them were hospitalized.K l disputed Washington’s approach to combating Daesh in Syria, saying he “can hardly understand and accept the argument that the U.S had to conduct the operation on Raqqa by making use of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) since there is no alternative on the ground.
“There is Turkey and there is the Free Syrian Army,” he said pointing to their success in ousting Daesh from a swathe of northern Syria. “You cannot and you should not make use of a terrorist organization in your fight with another terrorist organization.”
Shannon stressed that the U.S. position on the PKK was unchanged and that Washington stands resolute with Turkey against the designated terror group.
“To the PKK we want to be perfectly clear: Violence against innocent civilians is never justified, and the United States has been and always will be unequivocal in our strong condemnation of the PKK,” he said.
‘Fight against FET must continue without hesitation’
Meanwhile, Bah eli drew attention to the necessity of maintaining the fight against the G lenist Terror Group (FET ) and said, “It is the honor and historic duty of the Turkish government to find each FET member and collar them. Showing mercy to traitors is a betrayal to the oppressed.” Bah eli further noted that counterterror efforts against FET must continue rigidly and without any hesitation.
A security guard at a Federal Way Walmart was stabbed Friday night by a shoplifting suspect. (Photo: South King Fire) (Photo: Javier, Liza)
South King Fire officials say a loss prevention officer at a Federal Way Walmart was stabbed in the stomach by a shoplifting suspect Friday night.
Here’s what we know as of 11:30 p.m. Friday:
- The incident happened at the Walmart on 16th Ave S in Federal Way.
- The security guard said he followed a female suspect out of the store; that’s when he was stabbed in the abdomen.
- The suspect was stopped by bystanders until Federal Way police arrived.
- The injured loss prevention officer was transported to Harborview Medical Center. He was listed in stable condition.
Iranians vote Friday for the next president of the Islamic Republic, but how does that elected leader fit into the country’s clerically managed government that approves candidates ultimately overseen by its supreme leader? THE SUPREME LEADER’S POWER
At the heart of Iran’s complex power-sharing government created after its 1979 Islamic Revolution is the supreme leader, a position now held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The supreme leader also serves as the country’s commander in chief over its military and the powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force involved in the war in Syria and the battle against the Islamic State group militants in Iraq that also has vast economic holdings across Iran. An 88-member elected clerical panel called the Assembly of Experts appoints the supreme leader and can remove one as well, though that’s never happened. THE PRESIDENT’S POWERS
Iranian presidents serve four-year terms. Iran’s president is subordinate to the supreme leader but still powerful with considerable influence over both domestic policy and foreign affairs. In Rouhani’s case, his administration negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. That accord was done with Khamenei’s blessing.
NARROWING THE FIELD OF CANDIDATES
An initial field of over 1,600 hopefuls registered to run in the election. Iran’s Guardian Council, a 12-member panel half selected by the supreme leader and half nominated by the judiciary and approved by parliament, vetted the candidates and narrowed the field to six, including Rouhani. The council has never allowed a woman to run for president and routinely rejects candidates calling for dramatic reform, stifling change while ensuring the continuation of Iran’s Shiite Islamic governance. Of the six candidates approved, two have since dropped out. ROUHANI’S CAMPAIGN
Rouhani, a cleric, says his moderate administration needs to continue its work to implement the nuclear deal. In campaign stops and debates, he’s struck an increasingly more-forceful line against the Revolutionary Guard and hard-liners for ballistic missile launches and arbitrary arrests, something he largely avoided doing so far in his time in office. Rouhani remains the favorite of analysts as every Iranian president since Khamenei himself took the presidency in 1981 has won re-election. However, Iran’s sluggish economy and poverty remain the top issues for average Iranians who have yet to see the benefits of the atomic accord. ROUHANI’S MAIN OPPONENT
Hard-line cleric and former judge Ebrahim Raisi appears to be Rouhani’s main challenger. Raisi is perceived to be close to Khamenei as the supreme leader put him in charge of Astan Quds Razavi, a vast charitable foundation encompassing businesses and endowments that oversees the holy Shiite shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. He also has received the endorsement of two major clerical organizations that declined to endorse Rouhani in his 2013 campaign. Raisi has said he won’t seek to tear up the nuclear deal. Raisi also has offered populist promises, including monthly cash payments to Iran’s poor. However, his candidacy has revived the controversy surrounding the 1988 mass execution of thousands in Iran. Raisi allegedly served on a panel involved in sentencing the prisoners to death.
WHAT SUBJECT LARGELY HASN’T BEEN DISCUSSED IN THE RACE? Surprisingly, Islam. “Candidates have seemingly concluded that Islamic ideology has lost its power as a driving factor among voters and is therefore not worth addressing,” wrote Mehdi Khalaji, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who is Shiite theologian by training. Those opposing Rouhani also all said they accepted the nuclear deal, once blasted by hard-liners, making the accord largely a non-issue. HOW IRANIANS VOTE
Any Iranian 18 or older can vote in Friday’s election. To cast a ballot, they must go to one of 63,500 polling centers set up around the country in mosques, schools and other public buildings. A voter must show their national ID card and fill out a form. They dip one of their index fingers in ink, making a print on the form, while officials stamp their ID so they can’t vote twice. The voter then writes down the name and the numerical code of the candidate they want to elect on the secret ballot and drop it into a ballot box. Voting lasts from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., though authorities routinely keep polls open at least several hours later.
A LOOK AT ELECTION OVERSIGHT
Iranian elections are run by the country’s Interior Ministry, which oversees the nation’s police forces. The Guardian Council must sign off any final election results. Iran bars domestic and international observers from the elections, bucking a widely accepted principle around the world that international watchdogs warn can allow for fraud. Allegations of voter fraud marred the country’s 2009 election, which saw hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad secure a second term amid widespread unrest. The Guardian Council rejected Ahmadinejad’s bid to run again in Friday’s election, likely to avoid any similar conflict. SO IS IRAN A DEMOCRACY? Iran describes itself as an Islamic Republic. It holds elections and has elected representatives passing laws and governing on behalf of its people. However, the supreme leader has the final say on all state matters and the Guardian Council must approve all laws passed by the parliament. Those who led Iran’s Green Movement after Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election remain under house arrest. Security forces answering only to the supreme leader also routinely arrest dual nationals and foreigners, using them as pawns in international negotiations.