The Turkish President Mr. Abdullah approved the bill on restricting the judicial powers. The bill will give more control to the Justice ministry in comparison to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. It is an independent body that deals with the appointment of the judiciary.
- Objective: To curb the independence of the judicial powers.
The Turkish parliament also cleared the bill putting restrictions on internet. The law would permit the telecommunication authority to close the websites for violation of privacy. Though, the authority would still need court’s approval within 24 hours. The authority would also have to obtain a court order to access records of user activity.
As stated by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, India is once again among a small list of countries that qualifies for an exemption from unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on countries importing oil from Iran.
Under Section 1245 of the U.S.’ 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), the exception granted to India, along with China, South Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan, was based on India’s additional significant reductions in the volume of their purchases of Iranian crude oil. It is the fourth time when India has qualified for a NDAA exception.
Though, a major breakthrough interim deal was struck during the recent talks between P5+1 and Iran on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme but the US has cautioned that this would not offer relief from sanctions with respect to any increases in Iranian crude oil purchases by existing customers or any purchases by new customers, and the sanctions will continue to be enforced over the next six months.
It is for the first time Turkey has joined its European and Asian sides by inaugurating a railway tunnel thereby also fulfilling a vision first proposed by Ottoman sultan Abdulmejid about 150 years ago to connect the two continents.
The Europe-Asia linking tunnel:
The tunnel is 13.6km long, with 1.4km running under the Bosphorus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is part of a larger “Marmaray” project that also includes an upgrade of existing suburban train lines to create a 76-kilometre (47-mile) line that links the two continents. Built at more than 55-metres underground, it will be the deepest submerged railway tunnel of its type in the world. Turkey hopes that with 1.5 million passengers a day, it will ease some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic jams, particularly over the two bridges that currently connect the two sides of the city.
The project work began in 2005 and was scheduled to be completed in four years. But it was delayed by important archaeological finds, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders started digging under the city.
The United States has exempted India and eight other nations from sanctions for importing oil from Iran, keeping in view that these countries have considerably cut their dependence on Iranian oil in the last six months.
Who have qualified for this exemption?
As per the US statement- India, China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan have qualified for an exception to sanctions under America’s Iran Sanctions Act, based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran or for reducing those purchases to zero and remaining there.
Why these sanctions on Iran?
These sanctions are one of the US measures aimed to step up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which Washington suspects is aimed at making weapons but Iran insists is for generating electricity and medical research. The US hopes the pressure will compel Iran to come clean on its nuclear activity so that the US and its allies can avoid any military intervention to prevent the Islamic republic from obtaining an atomic arsenal.