The designation for the World War I-era killings would further fray U.S. relations with Turkey, but it is a risk the president appears willing to take to further human rights, officials said.
As part of a push to carve a canal alongside the waterway, Turkey’s president signaled that he could scrap a treaty that has kept peace in the region for decades.
A bench trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan concerns an ancient idol held by Christie’s.
The families of trainee pilots sentenced to life in prison broke their silence to protest the men’s innocence. The pilots are among more than 600 trainees and conscripts swept up in prosecutions.
As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
The move is likely to please President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative followers. He also removed the head of the central bank.
He was called the father of underwater archaeology, finding treasures in shipwrecks around the world that illuminated ancient history.
Hunted nearly to extinction worldwide, a wild mountain gazelle finds a helping hand on the Turkish-Syrian border.
The case against Melek Ipek, who is being supported by women’s rights groups, has become a touchstone issue in Turkish politics.
A feud between a top Turkish soccer team and the league’s broadcaster is rooted in taped chants, time stamps and club rivalry. But the fight’s cost could be enormous.
Altin Gun’s fans say the band does more for Turkey’s image than the government. No one seems to mind that it’s actually Dutch.
Earlybird Digital East Fund — a fund associated with Germany’s Earlybird VC, but operating separately — has launched a €200m ($242m) successor fund. The fund’s focus will remain the same as before: a Seed and Series-A fund focusing on what’s known as ‘Emerging Europe’, in other words, countries stretching from the Baltics to Central and Eastern Europe, and Turkey. The firm has also promoted Mehmet Atici, who’s been with the firm for eight years, to Partner. The new fund has made four investments so far: FintechOS, Payhawk, Picus, and Binalyze.
The back-story to DEF is a fascinating tale of what happened to Europe in the last 15 years, as tech took off and Europeans returned from Silicon Valley.
Following his exit from SelectMinds (where he was the Founder & CEO) in 2005, Cem Sertoglu moved back to Turkey. Although he says he “accidentally became the first angel investor” there, he was clearly the right man, in the right place, at the right time. He told me: “I was very lucky and ended up writing the first checks in some of the first large outcomes in Turkey.”
In 2013, Sertoglu partnered with Evren Ucok (the first angel in Peak Games and Trendyol), and Roland Manger (Earlybird). Dan Lupu, a Romanian investor who had covered the region for Intel Capital, joined them, and together they raised the ‘Earlybird Digital East Fund I’ set at $150m fund in 2014, focusing on CEE and Turkey. This was and is an area where there can be high-quality ventures to be found, but very little in the way of VC.
Thereafter, between 2014 and 2019, the fund invested in UiPath, Hazelcast, and Obilet. UiPath has become a global leader in the area known as ‘Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Hazelcast is a low latency data processing platform startup with Turkish roots. Obilet is a marketplace focused for the massive Turkish intercity bus travel market. DEF has also exited Vivense, Dolap, and EMbonds and in more recent times the fund has exited Vivense, the “Wayfair of Turkey” to Actera, the top local PE fund.
The team had spectacular early success. Peak Games, Trendyol, YemekSepeti and GittiGidiyor are the four largest Turkish tech exits to date. Digital East Fund was an investor in all of them. Peak games exited for $1.8 billion in cash to Zynga only last year.
As of Q4 2020, the fund’s metrics are:
Investment Multiple: 24.9x
Gross IRR: 104.4%
Net IRR: 84.1%
So in VC terms, they have done pretty well.
I interviewed Sertoglu to unpack the story of Earlybird Digital East Fund.
He told me DEF has achieved a 17 times investment multiple on a $150 million fund. He thinks “this might be the biggest European VC fund performance in history, and it’s not coming from Berlin, it’s not coming from London, but it’s coming from Eastern Europe. We have been told by some of our LPs that they think we’re the top 2014 vintage VC fund in the world, nobody’s seen stronger numbers than this.”
“Peak Games turned out to be a phenomenal story. When you look at how tough it’s been for Turkey, macroeconomically. The fact that a single company with 100 people essentially sold for $1.8 billion in cash, was just… it was staggering for the local market here.”
DEF’s emergence from Turkey, together with its relationship with a fund in Berlin, was not the most obvious path for the VC fund.
“One thing we realized early one was that we could invest with our own capital and syndicating to our friends, but for follow-on funding, we’d always have to go global. And that made us feel vulnerable. It made us feel we were always dependent on others’ comprehension of the opportunity that we were facing. So that’s when the first fund idea came out this was,” said Sertoglu.
“We felt that there was this unusual dislocation between opportunity and capital in Eastern Europe. Our first fund was $150 million funds – I mean, a very quaint size compared to Western markets. But we became the largest fund in the region, and decided to focus on this series A gap where we felt that there was this big opportunity, because of the way we think series A is still very much a local play.”
“Being a local player that understands the region would be an advantage, so this was proven to be true. We could essentially see pretty much everything in Eastern Europe for the last eight years. And we caught the biggest one, fortunately, which was UiPath. I think very few funds around the world can say that they see the majority if not all of the opportunities that fall into their mandate,” he said.
“We have this dual strategy of backing local champions as well as contenders for global markets as well. 20 years ago you had to be in Silicon Valley. Now, Transferwise comes out of Estonia, UiPath comes out of Romania. And that was even before the pandemic.”
Sertoglu concluded: “So we now have fresh capital, coming on the heels of a very successful first fund, which we’re keen to deploy. We’re calling all the opportunities, seeing very ambitious, strong teams coming out of the region. And we have 200 million euros to focus on these types of opportunities in the region.”
An interim government promises peace, unity and democratic elections. Skeptical Libyans say they’ve heard this promise before.
Three years ago, Turkey’s intervention in Syria was widely criticized. But today Turkish forces are all that protect five million vulnerable people.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the United States and opposition Kurdish politicians in an effort to deflect responsibility for a failed rescue operation.
The popular uprisings of 2011 mostly failed, but they gave the region a taste for democracy that continues to whet an appetite for change.
The inscription on the monolith read “Look at the sky, see the moon.” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the same slogan in announcing Turkey’s new space program this week.
The latest unexplained metal slab was found in Turkey. It was surrounded by armed guards until it disappeared.
An abduction and a murder have scared dissidents seeking shelter in Turkey into looking further afield for safety.
Digital services taxes adopted by India, Italy, and Turkey in the past years discriminate against U.S. companies, the U.S. Trade Representative said on Wednesday.
USTR, which began investigations into the three nation’s digital services taxes in June last year, said it found them to be inconsistent with international tax principles, unreasonable, and burdening or restricting U.S. commerce.
In its detailed reports, which the office has made public, USTR studied how these digital taxes affected companies including Amazon, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and Twitter. USTR said it conducted these investigations on the ground of Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974.
India, which has become the largest market for Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook, introduced digital taxes in 2016 to target foreign firms. Last year, the world’s second largest internet market expanded the scope of its levy to cover a range of additional categories.
USTR investigation found (PDF) that New Delhi was taxing “numerous categories of digital services that are not leviable under other digital services taxes adopted around the world” and that the aggregate tax bill for U.S. companies could exceed $30 million per year. It also took issue with India not levying similar taxes on local companies.
Despite the strong findings on three nations’ digital services taxes, USTR said it is not taking any specific actions “at this time” but will “continue to evaluate all available options.”
U.S. tech companies have in the past supported terms brokered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. But OECD, which is currently in the middle of working out technical details for agreements for over a 100 nations, doesn’t expect to finish the work until mid-2021. In the absence of OECD agreements, various countries are moving forward with their own versions of the taxes.
Since June last year, USTR has initiated investigations into digital services tax instituted — or proposed to be put in place – by a number of countries including Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, Indonesia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and France, which resumed collecting digital services tax from US companies late last year.
In retaliation, USTR had set a January 6 deadline for levying a 25% tariff on a range of French imported goods including cosmetics and handbags.
USTR did not say whether the tariff had been enforced, but in a statement said it expects to announce the progress or completion of additional investigations in the near future.
Turkey’s veteran leader played an aggressive hand abroad, but as the country’s economy plummets, he is feeling ire at home as many Turks struggle to buy food.
The clinical trial in Turkey was much smaller than those of other major vaccine candidates, making the researchers’ claims for it less certain.
Coffeehouses, mainstays of Turkish neighborhoods for centuries, are suffering under pandemic restrictions — particularly a ban on games. Regulars fear losing “our jokes, our laughter.”
When it comes to immigration, nothing in Germany is simple.
The cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh may offer new hope for the preservation of threatened monuments everywhere.
Those accused of being ringleaders were among the many sentenced in one of the most important mass trials relating to the plot.
How to feel better about this horrible year.
The beekeeping traditions of the Hemshin people, an ethnic minority originating from Armenia, are both evolving and at risk of vanishing.
President Bashar al-Assad said the millions of citizens who fled during the war have been blocked from coming back. But he left out the main reason they are staying away: Mr. al-Assad himself.
Russia and Turkey brokered an end to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. But they don’t have the region’s best interests at heart.
The German company BioNTech, founded by two scientists, has teamed up with Pfizer on a vaccine that was found to be more than 90 percent effective.
In an agreement brokered by Russia, Azerbaijan won many of the concessions it has sought for decades in negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist region.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, who is known for his ties to the Trump White House, said he was quitting as Turkey’s lira tumbles and its economy worsens.
Elif Perincek, 3, clung to the hand of one of her rescuers as she was lifted from her collapsed home in Izmir.
The magnitude-7.0 quake that struck in the Aegean Sea also killed at least two people in Greece. Hundreds were injured in Turkey and many thousands displaced.
The quake was centered off the coast of Samos, a Greek island, and caused major damage in the western Turkish city of Izmir.
At a shipyard in Turkey, the boats, including some from Carnival’s Fantasy fleet, are being turned into scrap, even as the industry hopes to find a way to start sailing.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes Hindus more equal than religious minorities, Muslims seek equality from the secular Constitution, not Shariah.
New details of the Justice Department’s handling of the accusations against Halkbank reveal how Turkey’s leader pressured the president, prompting concern from top White House aides.
SpaceX staff and members of the media have been inundated this morning with emails ostensibly from concerned Armenians around the world, asking the company to cancel a launch contract with the Turkish government. The concerns are valid — and the mass-email method surprisingly effective.
In the form email, received by TechCrunch staff hundreds of times in duplicate and with minor variations, the senders explain that they represent or stand in solidarity with Armenians worldwide, an ethnic and national group that has suffered under the authoritarian rule and regional influence of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan.
SpaceX is slated to launch the Turkish satellite Turksat-5A in the next month or two, a geostationary communications satellite built by Airbus that will serve a large area of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The deal has been on the books for a long time, and SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk even traveled to Turkey to meet with Erdogan regarding the satellite in 2017.
To enter into the complexities of the long conflict in which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and nearby countries and powers have figured is beyond the scope of this article, but it is hardly controversial to say that there have been serious human rights abuses under Erdogan’s regime and others. The word “genocide” is frequently used.
As the email plea points out, many countries and governments have opted to condemn Turkey’s behavior, and some companies have stopped doing business with the government. Will SpaceX join them?
At this stage — a month before launch, when the payload is likely already locked in — it seems unlikely that SpaceX will return the millions of dollars Turkey has no doubt already paid it, in order to appear more ethical by deplatforming, as it were, the government there.
But the campaign raises a legitimate question that is increasingly faced by new tech-focused companies growing to encompass a global community that is diverse and at times difficult to navigate. Where do companies like SpaceX — or Apple, or Google, or Facebook, or for that matter Airbus — draw the line? Should SpaceX be disinterested and mercenary, simply providing services to anyone who pays? Or are there some governments or people whose money it will not take?
So far SpaceX hasn’t had to walk too narrow a path on that front; the launch industry is heavily weighted toward military and government contracts, so the deal is already made with that particular devil. But as it becomes more established and can be a bit more choosy with its customers, it may consider acting as a gatekeeper in the industry where 10 years ago it was a gatecrasher.
As for the email campaign, TechCrunch staff were surprised at its effectiveness in eluding Google’s spam filters. I contacted Artsakh Strong, listed in the email as the originator of the campaign, for more information and to be removed from future emails (which I was).
Strong said that the emails were sent by individuals, not from a central location, which despite their duplicative content may account for their all making it to our inboxes. “These are people who are coming together to make their unified voice heard,” she wrote. ” We are not affiliated with any groups but our message is one shared by every Armenian American. I apologize for the inconvenience of you having to delete excessive emails but our people are being murdered on a daily basis and we need to bring attention to our cause.”
She suggested that as an American company, SpaceX should embody the country’s (supposed) values and refuse to do business with regime’s like Erdogan’s. Furthermore, she noted that SpaceX receives a great deal of funding and business from the U.S. government, which amounts to a secondhand blessing of its deals as being in the public interest.
“There are calls for sanctions of Turkey by the US and other NATO countries,” she wrote. “SpaceX is strongly urged to take all these factors into consideration and decide for itself whether or not it wants to continue to aid Turkey in the face of such overwhelming and clear evidence of criminal actions. At the very least, Elon Musk and SpaceX can halt the launch to see what these investigations lead to. While this may be a loss of profit for SpaceX it would be a huge leap for world progress.”
Strong raises legitimate points that many companies providing services internationally must address or have their intentions inferred from their actions. This cannot be the first, nor will it be the last, that SpaceX or any of the new generation of space companies will have to make a difficult choice. At the very least they might explain why they choose how they do.
Analysts say the assault, which violated a seven-month truce, could be seen as a warning to Ankara.
The fiancée of the slain Washington Post journalist sued Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an attempt to learn more about the 2018 killing.
A humanitarian asks if America will step in to prevent an atrocity.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis coexisted in Soviet days. But conflict over the disputed territory exploded in the late 1980s, leaving festering wounds that have erupted anew.
The testimony by the man, who claimed to be an intelligence agent, offers insight into President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pursuit of foes and undermines the conviction of a U.S. Consulate employee in Istanbul.
The oil giant’s takeover of Noble Energy gives it a foothold in an emerging energy hot spot: the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Hundreds of people have already died in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Bigger neighbors can help stop the bloodshed.
Without engagement from the United States, the region may be engulfed in war.
The delay in punishing Belarus for the crackdown that followed its flawed elections had been a huge embarrassment for the bloc.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and Iraq this year. His aggressive policies put him increasingly at odds with Russia.