Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkey sent $3.4 billion in aid to 121 countries in 2012 for development
projects, according to an official report.
“Turkey is no longer the hand
that receives, but the hand that gives, due to political and economic success
under the AKP party’s [Justice and Development Party] rule,” Deputy Prime
Minister Bekir Bozdag said, according to a report in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily
News on Monday.
“After the 98 percent increase, aid figures exceeded 2
billion dollars for the first time,” stated the report. The Middle East
accounted for around 47% of the aid, Africa 31%, Asia 18% and Eastern Europe and
the Balkans 3%.
Turkey’s neo-Ottoman foreign policy, which seeks to
reposition the country as the leading power in the region, may be behind its
increased efforts at gaining influence abroad. The country has developed a much
more aggressive foreign policy with an Islamist flavor, rooted in Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party.
One of the factors behind the increase
in aid was the approximately $1 b. spent on Syrian refugees fleeing the war in
The countries that received the most aid were Syria, Egypt,
Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories,
Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Turkish
Meanwhile, Turkish police fired water cannon and tear gas on Monday
to break up a protest by around 2,000 people outside an Ankara court over the
handling of the trial of a policeman accused of killing a demonstrator earlier
A group of protesters wielding sticks descended on the court
entrance after a ruling that the accused officer could take part in court
hearings via video link, prompting police to intervene, a Reuters witness
Several protesters were wounded and 18 detained, according to local
media reports. Ankara police declined to confirm the arrests and the crowd was
Officer Ahmet Sahbaz is accused of killing Ethem
Sarisuluk, shot dead in June during a wave of nationwide anti-government
demonstrations set off by a tough police response to a protest over the
redevelopment of a park in Istanbul.
Six people, including a police
officer, died during the weeks of unrest, which presented one of the biggest
challenges to Erdogan’s decade-old rule.
Separately, a 35-year-old man
was killed in the southeastern Turkish town of Ceylanpinar early on Monday when
a stray mortar shell fired across the border from Syria struck a house near the
frontier, security sources said.
The shell was fired during clashes
between Kurdish and Islamist fighters in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, the
sources said. Five people have now been killed in Turkey in similar incidents
since clashes began in the area in July.