ANKARA

Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

Mediterranean

Turkey warded off six Greek F-16 jets as they approached the Eastern Mediterranean region where Ankara issued a maritime Navtex alert, the country’s National Defense Ministry said Friday.

Turkey’s president spoke to the head of NATO via telephone about the latest developments in the region, according to Turkish authorities.

In the call with Jean Stoltenberg, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that Turkey supports a fair solution in the Eastern Mediterranean with win-win for all countries.

Turkey’s vice president also met the head of the European Union’s delegation to Turkey. Fuat Oktay and Christian Berger discussed matters related to the Eastern Mediterranean, Customs Union and the refugee crisis. In regards to problems in institutional relations with the EU, Oktay stressed that Turkey remains committed to its agenda and will not compromise on its stance.

In addition, Turkey slammed a press release issued after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers regarding Ankara’s hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The cause of the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean is Greece and Greek Cypriot administration, with their maximalist actions and demands contrary to international law. The unconditional support of the EU to these two who are trying to ignore the legitimate rights and interests of our country and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean increases the tension even more,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her call for dialogue between Turkey and Greece on the offshore energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“I made an effort to reduce tension. Sometimes this is only possible with both parties speaking over and over again,” said Merkel during her traditional annual summer news conference.

Coronavirus

Turkey confirmed 1,517 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the nationwide tally to 265,515.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the number of recoveries reached 241,809. Citing health ministry data, Koca said 1,017 patients recovered from COVID-19 in the past day. Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 6,245 as 36 more people lost their lives to the virus.

Health care professionals conducted 107,814 more tests to diagnose the disease in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 6.8 million. Of those infected, 7.4% suffer from pneumonia. The number of patients in critical condition rose to 896, according to the health officials.

Meanwhile, a group of Turkish researchers identified the most mutated genes of the novel coronavirus, according to a Turkish university.

Dr. Asli Suner Karakulah from the Medical School at Ege University in Izmir, along with a group of experts from Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center (IBG), carried out studies on the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), which included 30,000 coronavirus genome data collected from patients in different countries.

Karakulah said research showed determined changes in the virus were not distributed on the virus genes at the same rate, as some genes of the virus changed more than others.

Coronavirus infections and fatalities continued to rise across Eurasian and Central Asian countries Friday. Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan reported more cases and fatalities

Spain registered its highest single-day tally of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, with 9,779 more cases reported.

The figure was slightly higher than Thursday’s record tally. Spain’s previous peak came in late March, though testing at that time was mainly limited to very sick patients.

Conflict regions and other developments

Turkey’s Ibrahim Kalin met visiting US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey and his delegation in Istanbul.

The Syria crisis, especially Idlib, political process in the war-torn country, works of Syrian Constitutional Committee, anti-terrorism efforts, asylum seekers and bilateral and regional issues were items on the meeting’s agenda.

During talks, Kalin stressed that any political, economic, military support to terrorist groups in Syria is unacceptable and there should be a collaborative effort in the fight against Daesh/ISIS, PKK/YPG and all terrorist groups in Syria.

Meanwhile, the opposition co-chair of the Syrian peace talks on a new Constitution said the second day of restarted negotiations was generally positive, but he was not happy the Syrian regime would not admit it was discussing the Constitution while sovereignty was discussed.

The British ambassador to Libya said the UK supports a political solution in Libya. Nicholas Hopton and Libyan premier Fayez al-Sarraj spoke via telephone, according to a statement by the Libyan government.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the latest developments in Libya, bilateral relations, improving coordination and communication between the two countries and a number of areas for joint cooperation.

UN’s special envoy for Middle East peace said under current circumstances no mediation efforts to prevent escalation between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel in Gaza Strip can succeed.

The US intercepted three groups of Russian aircraft off the Alaskan coast, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced.

By the way, a UN human rights office spokesman said the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man in the US exposes how African Americans continue to be exposed to differentiated and heightened risks in engaging with law enforcement bodies.

“I think this is a painful reminder of how African Americans continue to be exposed to differentiated and heightened risk when engaging with law enforcement bodies in the United States,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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