Second leg of Turkish/Armenian soccer diplomacy

euronews channel-Side-by-side the presidents of Turkey and Armenia have watched a World Cup football match in a show of unity.

But it had little effect on the home side’s fans – Armenia’s national anthem got the whistle treatment.


This is the second time the two have met – last year Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Yerevan for the initial leg of the world cup clash. That kicked off the so-called “soccer diplomacy”.

The long time enemies have recently agreed to reopen their borders and restore relations. The deal signed in Zurich last week could help stabilise the south Caucasus.

1.36 sot “ we need to live with each other and I think we, cooperation, mutual understanding., economic cooperation, questions from the past, mutual, some approach position which is good.”

The deepest dispute is over history and has yet to be resolved – Armenia alleges that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915, the Turks deny the charge.

But last night for once it was sport not politics – Turkey won 2:0.


Anti-IMF protests on the streets of Istanbul

Violence has gripped the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. The focus of the anger was the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

euronews channel– Riot police, armed with shields and firing tear gas, rushed to break up the protesters in Taksim Square only a few hundred metres from the convention centre where finance ministers, central bankers and economists had been meeting to discuss the global economy.

Delegates of the two organisations are holding their annual meetings in the city, with co-operation in international finance reportedly high on the agenda.

The demonstrations were organised by several Turkish unions with protesters chanting: “Long live freedom. IMF get out of our city.”

Police detained around 100 people while protesters huddled in hotel and shop entrances, caught by the effects of the tear gas. People fled the clashes as the front windows of several banks were smashed. The city’s main square and surrounding streets returned to calm by midday.

There is significant opposition among Turkish students to the IMF which helped bail Turkey out of a deep financial crisis eight years ago. Turkey and the IMF are negotiating a possible new loan agreement after the last one expired more than a year ago.

IMF expansion talks in deadlock after dispute over voting powers

The expansion of the International Monetary Fund’s role was left unclear this Sunday after finance chiefs failed to come to an agreement over how much power developing nations should have in the Washington-based financial institution.

REUTERS – Fierce disagreement over how much power rich nations should cede to developing countries clouded talks between global finance chiefs on expanding the role of the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF, which has lent more than $50 billion to countries around the world this year, says it needs more resources to oversee the recovery of the global economy and prevent future crises.

But this depends on giving emerging market economies a greater stake in the institution. Major developing nations are demanding an increase in voting power that would see the developed world shift at least 7 percentage points of its share to emerging countries.

“We can only hope that over-represented advanced countries will realise that they may do great harm to the Fund if they attempt to block or delay quota and voice reform,” Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Sunday.

He said the Fund needed to change the structure of its board so it could “cease to be regarded as mainly an American-European institution and become a truly multilateral institution”.

The Group of 20 major nations agreed at a summit of their leaders in Pittsburgh last month to a power shift of at least 5 percentage points to under-represented countries such as China.

But the demand for 7 percentage points is meeting resistance from the developed world, particularly European nations, which do not want to give up too much of their own power.

Finance Minister Anders Borg of Sweden, which is currently president of the European Union, warned that Europe could become less generous in its financial support of the Fund if it lost influence over it.

“Adequate participation in the decision-making process of the fund is a prerequisite for our taxpayers’ continued support of large financial contributions,” he said.


Just a year ago the IMF was fighting to persuade governments of its importance. But the crisis has greatly increased demand for its loans and advice to countries struggling with budget and current account deficits.

Allowing big developing countries to play a bigger role in the IMF could secure billions of dollars of fresh contributions to the organisation.

To ensure the global economy is stable enough for countries to stop accumulating huge foreign exchange reserves as a form of insurance, it is estimated that the IMF might need up to $1 trillion of fresh contributions, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Friday.

But China, Brazil, Russia and India have said any increase in their contributions must be tied to changes in voting power.

China believes contributions should automatically adjust to reflect the size of individual countries’ economies, Yi Gang, a Chinese central bank vice governor, said on Sunday.

In addition to the IMF’s role as a lender of last resort, the Group of 20 major nations, which is managing the global recovery, wants the IMF to ensure balanced growth by reporting back to it on countries’ policies and recommending changes.

China, which holds the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves and has seen its financial markets buffeted by volatile capital movements, wants the activities of a reformed IMF to extend even further.

Yi said the IMF should strengthen its supervision over international capital flows and promote the relative stability of major reserve currencies.

Turkish authorities under fire after floods

After this week’s deadly floods dubbed the “disaster of the century” in Turkey, a wave of anger has now hit the country.

Istanbul’s municipality stands accused of allowing shoddy construction and negligence in letting major roads, offices and flats be built on a river basin.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also under fire for blaming illegal construction. Critics say he was mayor of Istanbul when it was carried out.

Turkey’s biggest city was hit hard by the flash floods which killed more than 30 people.

Returning to what remains of their homes in the northwestern town of Kumbag, residents spoke about their ordeal.

“I asked my neighbour what was going on,” said elderly woman Muazzez Ozyurt. “And he told me a flood was coming. I ran into the house, then suddenly the water came in so quickly. We were so afraid.”

As flood victims pick up the pieces of their lives, fresh downpours have hit Turkey. It is the latest onslaught in what is described as the heaviest rain there in the last 80 years.

More victims in Turkish flash floods

At least 23 people are now known to have died as freak storms batter northwestern Turkey. Istanbul, the biggest city, was worst-hit: flash floods cut a major highway out to the airport, stranding hundreds of rush-hour drivers as a wall of water surged down the road. Amid the panic, people scrambled to escape the rising water; among the dead are seven women trapped in a minibus as they headed to work.

It had been raining for hours, but the sudden jump in water level caught many by surprise. The emergency services were almost powerless to help: even getting to stranded drivers proved all-but impossible. The drama started late on Monday as the storm unleashed torrential rain. Nine people were reported killed on Tuesday, eight others were simply swept away.

Western Turkey suffered most, but there are reports of similar scenes in neighbouring Bulgaria.

For the survivors, the shock is overwhelming. Some of the worst flooding came in low-lying working class parts of western Istanbul, where drainage is poor. The storm and its floods are the worst to hit the city for 80 years. The scars will take a long time to heal.

NATO chief calls for closer Greek/Turkish ties

NATO chief, Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has held talks with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

Rasmussen called on Greece to improve its relations with Turkey in order to smooth NATO missions in which both countries serve, particularly in Afghanistan.

Both men believe something must be done to tighten up NATO/EU missions on the ground.

“ We have not been able to conclude a security agreement between NATO and the EU. At the end of the day the lack of a security agreement might put our personnel on the ground at risk,” Rasmussen said.

The EU, along with Canada and New Zealand, contributes to a police force of 157 officers whose main role is training local Afghan security forces. The EU also provides billions of euros in aid for reconstruction.

From Greece Rasmussen travels to Turkey, which fought hard to keep him out of the NATO hot seat following the perceived Danish cartoon insult to Islam.

Fatal train crash in Turkey

As many as five people have been killed after a Turkish express train crashed into a construction vehicle en route from Ankara to Istanbul.

Several carriages were derailed on impact and a number of people suffered injuries close to the nortwestern town of Bilecik.

Ambulances and rescue teams are hard at work trying to release those trapped in the twisted metal.