Fri, 24 Mar 2023

Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Feb. 1

02 Feb 2023, 07:44 GMT+10

ISTANBUL -- Germany and Italy have joined the growing list of Western countries having their consulates in Istanbul temporarily closed over security concerns, as Türkiye is on high alert against possible retaliation for Quran burning incidents in several European countries.

The German Embassy in the capital Ankara announced on social media that the consulate in Istanbul was closed on Wednesday for security concerns. Meanwhile, the Italian Consulate General in Istanbul issued a statement on its website saying the consulate would be closed on Thursday. (Turkey-Closing Consulates-Security Concerns)

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ANKARA -- Türkiye will not approve Sweden's bid to join NATO as long as it continues to allow Quran-burning protests, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, adding his country looks positively on Finland's application for membership of the military bloc.

"Sweden! Don't even bother to try. We cannot say 'yes' to your joining NATO as long as you continue to allow burning and tearing of my sacred book, the Quran," Erdogan told the parliament. (Türkiye-Sweden-NATO Bid)

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JERUSALEM -- Israel intercepted a rocket from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken left the region in a visit that aimed at calming escalating violence.

The rocket triggered sirens in the southern city of Sderot and in communities near the besieged Palestinian enclave, an Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement. (Israel-Gaza-Rocket Launch)

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TEHRAN -- Iranian parliament speaker on Wednesday submitted the law for Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to the country's president for final approval and implementation.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf handed over the law to Ebrahim Raisi in a letter for final approval and implementation, according to semi-official Tasnim news agency. (Iran-SCO Membership-Law)

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