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

Developments in Turkey

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would continue to defend Syria’s territorial integrity, protect civilians in the war-torn country and fight against terror groups.

Cavusoglu also said that Turkish procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defense system could not be criticized by anyone, adding some NATO allies cited various reasons and did not sell equipment to Ankara.

Italy’s ambassador to Turkey commented on the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying there could be no sustainable solution in the region without the fair participation of Turkey.

As a US court decided to release on parole an Armenian national who assassinated a Turkish diplomat in Los Angeles in 1982. The Turkish Foreign Ministry blasted the ruling, saying: “We strongly condemn this approach that deeply hurts the conscience of the Turkish nation.”

With over 14,000 new COVID-19 cases, Turkey’s overall tally of infections topped 2.83 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 29,290 with 63 fatalities reported Thursday.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that human trials for five more local vaccine candidates would start soon and his country would be using its own vaccine in the near future.

A total of 62 asylum seekers, 35 of whom were illegally pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard, were rescued by Turkish authorities in the Aegean Sea.

Security authorities arrested two individuals linked to the Daesh/ISIS terror group near the border with Syria, according to a statement by the Ministry of National Defense.

Other developments

Arab states and the Arab League joined a host of countries and international organizations in welcoming the Libyan parliament’s vote of confidence in the new government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

Questions are being raised about the willingness of the EU’s border patrol agency Frontex to hold itself liable for numerous violations and pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at Greece’s borders with Turkey, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Some European countries banned the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University amid reports of severe or fatal blood clots in vaccinated people.

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