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

Coronavirus and other developments in Turkey

Turkey has administered more than 131.13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with over 56.89 million people receiving their first jab and more than 51.56 million fully vaccinated.

Turkey sent a letter to the US on the establishment and functioning of a mechanism on bilateral relations and issues agreed on by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden, said Turkey’s presidential spokesman.

The first meeting between Turkish and Armenian special envoys to discuss steps for normalizing ties between the two countries is expected to be held next month, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu and his Somali counterpart Mohamed Abdirizak discussed bilateral ties and the latest developments in Somalia in a phone call.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic dominating the globe, 2021 marked yet another busy year for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made 14 trips abroad in the second half of the year.

Turkey began administering the homegrown COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac in larger hospitals across the country. The landmark vaccine was developed in collaboration with Erciyes University and the Health Ministry’s Health Institutes of Turkey.

Turkey recovered some 3,480 of its cultural assets this year thanks to the efforts of the country’s anti-smuggling authorities.

Other developments worldwide

In a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, US President Joe Biden urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”

The same day, Putin sent a New Year’s message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where he said both countries did much in recent times to develop bilateral ties, primarily in the trade, economic, energy and military-technical areas.

Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator has noted “good progress” in the eighth round of talks with world powers in Vienna, focusing primarily on the removal of sanctions.

The EU is ready to impose new sanctions, including an arms embargo, against the military regime in Myanmar.

China demanded that US soldiers involved in a drone attack on Kabul that killed Afghan civilians in August must be held accountable and punished.

Ashraf Ghani, the former president of Afghanistan, defended his decision to flee the country as the Taliban took over the capital Kabul in mid-August.

Bird flu has been killing nearly 1,000 migratory cranes each day in Israel’s northern Hula Valley.

Tribal clashes claimed 18 lives in Papua New Guinea as two tribes fight over ownership of land in the northern Tsak valley, destroying 20 homes besides launching fatal attacks.

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