Ahram Online

Erdogan to visit Saudi amid shift in Kingdom’s regional priorities

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the provincial governors of Turkey during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara February 27, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the provincial governors of Turkey during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara February 27, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for an official visit that aims to bridge gaps between the two countries, according to Ahram Arabic news website.

During the three day visit, King Salman and Erdogan are set to hold talks on ways to develop bilateral relations between the two countries, a statement issued by the Turkish presidency said on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s newly enthroned King Salman and Erdogan are to exchange views on the latest regional and international developments.

Turkish news website Today’s Zaman said that there are intersecting issues for Saudi Arabia and Turkey that need to be discussed.

The stemming of the rise of militant Islamist groups that threaten the stability of the Middle East is among the issues that both countries need to discuss, according to Zaman.

Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey support the US-led strikes on the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, despite differences in emphasis.

One point of contention between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is Ankara’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood which is banned by Riyadh.

Mass death sentence questions Egypt’s judicial independence, HRW says

Judge who presided over ‘conspicuously unfair’ trial of Al Jazeera journalists sentenced 188 people to death for killing police officers

Police officers stand in front of a damaged police station in the village of Kerdasa (Photo: Reuters)

Police officers stand in front of a damaged police station in the village of Kerdasa (Photo: Reuters)

Mass death sentences are costing Egypt’s judiciary “whatever reputation for independence it once had,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in statement on Wednesday.

“Instead of weighing the evidence against each person, judges are convicting defendants en masse without regard for fair trial standards,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s Middle East and North Africa director.

The statement comes a day after a criminal court sentenced 188 defendants to death for an attack on a police station that left 11 police personnel and two civilians dead.The defendants were found guilty of killing the officers after storming Kerdasa police station in Giza following the dispersal of pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August 2013, which left hundreds dead and sparked nationwide unrest.

Tunisia heads towards runoff between Essebsi and Marzouki

People wait in line outside a polling station to vote in Tunis November 23, 2014. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

People wait in line outside a polling station to vote in Tunis November 23, 2014. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

Tunisians voted Sunday in the first presidential election since 2011, the first democratic presidential elections in the country’s history.

Initial data confirms that voter turnout is less than in last month’s legislative elections, which gave secular party Nidaa Tounes the largest number of seats. The figures also highlighted a clear reluctance to vote among young Tunisians.

An hour before the polls closed Chafik Sarsar, the head of the Independent Election Commission, announced at a press conference that the total turnout of voters reached 53.7 percent, compared with the 70 percent in the parliamentary polls. Sarsar also stated that Tunis, the capital, saw the highest turnout at 61.1 percent.

UN chief sets up Gaza inquiry

A Palestinian woman reacts as the blood of wounded and dead people is seen on the ground following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians take refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

A Palestinian woman reacts as the blood of wounded and dead people is seen on the ground following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians take refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war and the discovery of Hamas weapons at UN sites.

Ban announced plans to set up a probe during his visit to Gaza last month after describing the three Israeli shellings of UN-run schools as a “moral outrage”.

Israel maintained that Palestinian Hamas fighters were using the schools to store weapons but denied that it had deliberately targeted the schools, which were being used as shelters by Palestinians during the 50-day Israeli offensive.

The inquiry led by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert will “review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

World stocks rally after Japanese stimulus

Specialist Anthony Rinaldi, right, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Specialist Anthony Rinaldi, right, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 (Photo: AP)

World stocks surged on Friday as the Bank of Japan’s surprise stimulus sent investors on a buying spree.

Markets from Asia to Europe ended the week on a positive note, as the BOJ’s decision countered the gloom earlier this week caused by the end of the Federal Reserve’s massive monetary easing programme.

“Just as the Fed takes away the punch bowl, the BoJ has turned up with a crate of sake,” said Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria, pointing to diverging trends in monetary policies.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 1.28 percent up at 6,546.47 points, while in Paris, the CAC jumped 2.22 percent to 4,233.09 points and Frankfurt’s Dax gained 2.33 percent to 9,326.87.

US markets were trading in record territory, with the Dow up 1.10 percent and Nasdaq rising 1.4 percent.

Cameron to abstain in UK parliamentary vote on Palestinian statehood

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in front of 10 Downing Street, about the killing of a British soldier, in London May 23, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks in front of 10 Downing Street, about the killing of a British soldier, in London May 23, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minster David Cameron will abstain in a parliamentary vote on recognising Palestine as a state, his office has announced.

The motion, put forward by Labour MP Grahame Morris, has the backing of the shadow cabinet.

It says: “This House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”

It is expected that MPs from the ruling Conservative party will have a free vote on the motion, supported by most Liberal Democrat MPs, the lesser party in the coalition government.

A British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told Ahram Online that the UK “will recognise a Palestinian state at a time most helpful to the peace process, because a negotiated end to the occupation is the most effective way for Palestinian aspirations of statehood to be met on the ground.”

Egypt condemns Erdogan’s ‘lies and exaggerations’ about El-Sisi

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s foreign ministry has condemned another round of attacks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the country’s democratic transition following last year’s political upheaval, calling the accusations a “series of lies and exaggerations.”

In a statement posted on the ministry’s Facebook page early Monday, Egypt said that Erdogan is not in a position that allows him to “give lessons to others” about democracy and respect of human rights.

“Followers of Turkey’s internal politics throughout the last 12 years will conclude that Erdogan – who claims to be defending democracy and the Arab Spring revolutions – has a record that is quite far from real democracy,” the statement said.

In his speech at a World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, Erdogan indirectly attacked Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi – the second time in a week that the Turkish president has taken aim at Egypt’s leader.

Egyptian activist Mahienour El-Masry to be released after sentence suspended

Recent release of prominent activists doesn’t mean protest law that jailed them will be amended – despite rumours last week of hopeful changes

Egyptian human rights lawyer and leftist activist Mahienour El-Massry (Photo: Courtesy of Free Mahienour El-Massry Facebook page)

Egyptian human rights lawyer and leftist activist Mahienour El-Massry (Photo: Courtesy of Free Mahienour El-Massry Facebook page)

Despite Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s release, Egypt’s hunger strike continues
A six-month jail sentence against prominent Egyptian activist Mahienour El-Masry was suspended on Sunday and she is expected to be released soon.

El-Masry, detained since May, was serving a six-month jail term after her two-year sentence from earlier this year was reduced by an Alexandria court in July.

She and eight other activists were convicted on charges of “illegal protesting” during the Khaled Said murder retrial in December 2013.

A law banning all non-sanctioned protests was passed by Egypt’s interim government that same month, imposing stiff jail terms and fines for violators.

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