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

There is an urgent need for implementing “comprehensive and meaningful reforms” at the UN, starting with restructuring the UN Security Council, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

The Turkish and French presidents had a phone conversation Tuesday and discussed the Eastern Mediterranean, bilateral ties and relations between Ankara and the European Union.

Top leaders from Turkey, Germany and the European Union held a video meeting focusing on the recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, said Turkish officials. The trilateral meeting included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

US journalist Andre Vltchek was found dead in a rented car Tuesday, shortly after arriving in Turkey’s Istanbul province, according to Turkish security sources.

A total of 1,692 new coronavirus cases and 1,261 recoveries were reported in Turkey. The country’s overall case count now stands at 306,302, with 269,696 recoveries, according to Health Ministry data.

A visually impaired young man living in Turkey’s Aegean region recently fulfilled his dream of paragliding. Bayram Sonmez, 28, and 80% visually impaired, shared his dream of flying with instructors at Izmir Parachute School.   

Turkish Cyprus praised talks between Turkey and the European Union on recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey is ready for talks with Greece amid ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s ruling party said Tuesday.

It will be beneficial for Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and the whole region if the Greek president sincerely adopts the discourse of peace and reconciliation instead of war, said Turkey’s vice president.

A 1,800-year-old Lydian era atonement inscription was being prepared Tuesday for return to Turkey, where it was smuggled and later found in Italy.

Turkey neutralized four YPG/PKK terrorists who were attempting to infiltrate into its anti-terror operation zone in northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said. Separately, two suspected members of the PKK terrorist organization were arrested in northwestern Turkey as they attempted to cross into Greece, according to security sources.

Five suspected Daesh/ISIS terrorists have been arrested in southern Turkey, a police source said.

Turkey on Tuesday criticized a decision by the European Union to impose sanctions on a Turkish maritime company.

COVID-19 updates worldwide

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday proposed holding an online international conference for countries interested in cooperating in the development of coronavirus vaccines.

Any possible COVID-19 vaccine must be made available for all people without any discrimination, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the UN General Assembly.

Leaders of Latin America, the region worst-hit by the novel coronavirus, referred to their efforts to defeat the disease and its devastating economic consequences Tuesday during the UN’s first virtual meeting of heads of government as it marked its 75th anniversary.

The number of people in the US who have died from COVID-19 surpassed the grim 200,000 milestone Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Maryland-based school recorded 200,005 deaths and 6,861,211 cases, more than eight months after the US’s first known coronavirus death in February.

The novel coronavirus has set back Africa’s development aspirations as resources meant for development are channeled to fight the pandemic, the African Union chairperson and South African leader told the United Nations.

The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in South Africa breached the 16,000 mark after 126 new fatalities were reported, bringing the total to 16,118.

France reported 10,008 new cases of the novel coronavirus, reaching 468,069 in total. It registered 78 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 31,416.

Spain’s second coronavirus wave is becoming increasingly lethal, with the Health Ministry reporting 241 more deaths Tuesday — the highest daily jump since May. In the last week, fatalities surged by 900, bringing the death toll to 30,904.

Doctors who contracted COVID-19 while treating patients in eastern Turkey recalled their ordeal. Here is a doctor’s story you may be interested in.

Iraq confirmed 57 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing its death toll to 8,682. The Health Ministry said 4,724 additional COVID-19 cases raised the tally to 327,580, while the number of recoveries reached 261,757.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation Tuesday after announcing a raft of new coronavirus restrictions.

Other global developments

NASA said it plans to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024.

Europe is ready for dialogue with Turkey on the issue of the Eastern Mediterranean, said French President Emmanuel Macron.

The US cannot “impose negotiations or war” on Iran, the country’s President Hassan Rouhani told the UN General Assembly via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey and Greece are prepping for a resumption of exploratory talks amid disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, according to an EU spokesperson.

Recent events in the Mediterranean and Greece have shown that the current system for refugees and migrants in the European Union is unworkable and often carries devastating human consequences, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

Saudi Arabia will gradually lift a coronavirus-related travel ban for the Umrah pilgrimage starting early next month, its official news agency said Wednesday.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, nations must unite in solidarity and all global hot conflicts must come to a halt, the UN chief urged Tuesday.

Exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece will start soon, the Greek Foreign Ministry said. “Greece and Turkey agreed to hold the 61st round of exploratory talks in Istanbul soon,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Turkish diplomat chairing this year’s United Nations General Assembly said the international community should commit to multilateralism in the face of the “imminent and common” threat of the novel coronavirus.

An investigation by BBC Arabic found that the owner of the Chelsea football club in the English Premier League donated £74 million ($95 million) to an Israeli settler group accused of displacing Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, China rejected US President Donald Trump’s accusations on the UN stage that it had “unleashed” the coronavirus on the world. Rebuffing Trump’s call for China to be held accountable for the pandemic, Zhang Jun, Beijing’s ambassador to the UN, said: “China resolutely rejects the baseless accusations.”

Israel’s UN envoy who participated in the UN General Assembly in-person meetings walked out of the hall during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s address, which included harsh criticism of Israel.

Russia has been supportive of diplomatic efforts to end the nearly two-decade long conflict in Afghanistan, the US’s special envoy for the conflict there said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke via telephone with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa for the first time since a diplomatic deal was signed between the two nations, according to Israeli and Bahraini local media.

Despite an international consensus that the Palestinian cause is justified, the international community is helpless in the face of Israeli intransigence and persistence in occupying Palestinian and Arab lands, Qatar’s emir said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Tuesday that a two-state solution is the only way to end the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Tunisian President Kais Saied said the United Nations, since it was established, has failed to ensure the rights of Palestinians to recover their territories.

Egypt’s interest in upholding international peace and security includes protecting people from the scourge of armed conflict through launching comprehensive political processes based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged the United Nations General Assembly to increase representation of African countries on the Security Council.

Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged the UN to take “urgent” steps for democratization reforms as he blasted the US for taking unilateral moves globally.

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