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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘ankara’

Turkey’s PM Ahmet Davutoglu Resigns

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned from his post on Thursday afternoon.

Davutoglu told journalists at a news conference that followed the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s central executive committee meeting, “I have worked with my heart and soul. There was no fallout from the AK Party structure during my chairmanship.

Davutoglu explained that his decision to resign was made “out of necessity,” saying, “I think that it is right to step down for the continuity of AK Party’s unity and solidarity,” according to Turkey’s Daily Sabah news site.

Erdogan has long been pressuring the party – and the country – for a Constitutional change that would create a presidential leadership government, one without a prime minister.

“Strong AK Party governments will continue in the next four years. Determined operations against terror groups are successfully continuing,” he said. “No investments were left unfinished and there were no setbacks during my tenure as prime minister,” he added.

Davutoglu said he would not run as a candidate for party leadership in the May 22 party congress. However, he said, “I will not tolerate any speculations about my relationship with President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. My loyalty to the president will last to the end.”

It is not yet clear how Davutoglu’s resignation will affect Turkey’s diplomatic talks with Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel to Open Permanent Office at NATO Headquarters in Brussels

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced Israel will accept an invitation from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to open a permanent office at its Brussels headquarters in Belgium.

The invitation allegedly came after Turkey lifted a veto that blocked the upgrade five years ago. If true, it is another move that signals a warming of the ‘big chill’ between Ankara and Jerusalem since 2010.

“This is something we worked on for many years,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“I think this is important to Israel’s standing in the world. The countries of the world want to cooperate with us because of our determined struggle against terrorism, because of our technological knowledge, our intelligence deployment and other reasons.”

Israel is currently a participant in the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue, together with Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey, Israel Deal to Close ‘Very Soon,’ Says Turkey’s Foreign Ministry

Friday, April 8th, 2016

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced Friday that a deal is to be finalized “very soon” with Israel.

In fact, the deal may close the next time the two teams meet, according to a statement by Turkey’s foreign ministry, quoted by Turkish media.

“The teams made progress toward finalizing the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal would be finalized in the next meeting which will be convened very soon,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Talks in London lasted well into the night Thursday between Israeli and Turkish delegations, ending just before midnight.

Israeli National Security Council Acting Chairman General Jacob Nagel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Joseph Ciechanover both were present at the talks. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu represented Turkey’s government, according to the Daily Sabah.

Sinirlioglu had previously met in Rome with Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold in June 2015.

The current round of negotiations started in December 2015, with both sides reaching a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, the Daily Sabah reported.

During that first meeting the two teams agreed on “the return of ambassadors to both countries, after Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid.” Talks resumed in February of this year. During that meeting, “Turkish and Israeli officials discussed easing, rather than lifting Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which Ankara aims to begin rebuilding,” the newspaper reported.

During his visit to the United States a week ago, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Jewish American leaders. He underlined the need for “cooperation against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the West” during the gathering, Turkish media reported.

American Jewish leaders also expressed their appreciation to the Turkish president for his nation’s assistance after the Da’esh (ISIS) suicide bombing on Istanbul last month. Three Israelis died and 11 others were wounded in the attack, which also killed an Iranian national and wounded 28 other people.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin spoke with his Turkish counterpart almost immediately following the attack, thanking him for his country’s supportive stance and vowing to work together against terrorism.

Israel and Turkey were once close allies. Israel’s war with Gaza in 2006 stretched the diplomatic ties to the breaking point, but the bonds were torn in 2010 over the deaths of nine Turkish activists on an illegal flotilla that tried to breach Israel’s defensive maritime blockade of Gaza. The activists attacked Israeli naval commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port; during the clashes, nine of the Turks died and a number of Israelis were badly wounded.

Turkey demanded compensation to the families of the deceased, an apology for the incident and the removal of the blockade. Outraged, many Israelis opposed any movement toward such demands. But time and discussions between old friends can accomplish much.

The first two conditions have long since been met. The last is impossible given that it is a national security issue; it since has been discussed and a compromise appears to have been reached.

“Israel allows commercial goods into Gaza daily,” Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News noted in its coverage of the talks on Friday, “but limits the transfer of certain items such as cement and building materials as it fears militants could use them to build fortifications. Officials describe the blockade on Gaza, which is supported by neighboring Egypt, as a necessary means of preventing arms smuggling by Palestinian militants.”

The talks have come a long way indeed.

Oddly, business people in both countries never faltered even for a moment: if anything, trade between the two nations has increased over the past five years. Anyone looking for concrete evidence need only step into the new Machsanei Mazon supermarket that opened this past week in the northern Negev city of Arad.

Nearly 15 percent of the kosher-certified items in the store are from Turkey, including rarely-seen six-pack bottles of ginger ale and the “Dime” brand bottles of cherry-flavored juice drink that are found in every store in Turkey. You can’t find them with a hechsher (kosher supervision symbol) anywhere in the country.

You have to come to Israel to find Turkish products with (Turkish) kosher certification.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Warns Citizens to Leave Turkey ASAP

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau (NSCCTB) upgraded its travel warning for Turkey on Monday to that of a “high concrete threat.”

But the threat is not just terrorism, although that is where the current danger lies. Ultimately, there is a greater existential threat beneath.

The counter-terrorism bureau warned Israelis not to travel to the country, and told those who are already there to leave as soon as possible.

“The deadly 19 March 2016 attack in Istanbul, in which a group of Israeli tourists was hit, underscores the threat by Da’esh (ISIS) against tourist targets throughout Turkey and proves high capabilities of carrying out further attacks.

“Terrorist infrastructures in Turkey continue to advance additional attacks against tourist targets – including Israeli tourists – throughout the country,” the warning continued.

Although Da’esh has carried out most of the attacks and the outlawed PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party terror group has carried out the rest, for Israelis, the Hamas terrorist organization presents an equal threat. The international Hamas headquarters is located in Istanbul, and yet no mention has been made of its existence despite its ongoing pledge to annihilate Israel and her Jewish citizens. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party welcomed Hamas to the country; Erdogan is a passionate supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood which gave birth to Hamas.

This fact stands in stark contrast to Erdogan’s recent vows to “fight terrorist together with Israel,” leaving one to wonder where he really stands.

“In the wake of an NSCCTB assessment of the situation, it has been decided to upgrade the existing travel warning vis-à-vis Turkey from a basic concrete threat to a high concrete threat, and to reiterate our recommendation to the public to avoid visiting the country and – for Israelis currently in Turkey – to leave as soon as possible.”

There are many Israelis who live in Turkey. A large number are intermarried with Turkish citizens. Some are there because they simply love the beauty of the country, its music and its art. Others are there for reasons relating to their business or artistic concerns.

While it is possible to find a few imported kosher items here and there in Istanbul, one has to hunt very hard to track them down. There are no local kosher supervising agencies. The only exception is the hechsher provided by the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey on a few tourist-related items such as “Turkish Delight” candies.

For the kosher traveler, one can order La Casa packaged meals that are used by Turkish Airlines and under the hechsher of the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey. As it happens, La Casa is also a catering service and actually creates one of the best-quality meals in the industry. Jewish travelers rely on it when visiting Turkey — with the exception of one restaurant and a kosher butcher who stocks frozen foods, there are no other options.

JewishPress.com spoke exclusively with some Jews who live in the country during a recent visit to learn how Jews are faring in Turkey and to give them a voice, if possible.

Not one of the Turkish Jews with whom this news outlet spoke was willing to be identified and most were unwilling to meet in person. Of those who did agree to meet, the tension – nay, fear – was palpable. Even after assurances this reporter would not record the conversation, it took repeated promises that no names would be used before sources could relax enough to speak.

The following narrative is a mashup of the comments of several sources with whom this reporter spoke while in Turkey, in order to fulfill that promise of protecting their identities.

Hana Levi Julian

US Embassy Warned Personnel, Citizens About Impending Attack

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a security warning two days before a bomb-laden car exploded in central Ankara at around 6:35 pm Sunday night, sending flames shooting so high the smoke could be seen from 2.5 kilometers away.

The American Embassy had warned about a potential plot to attack Turkish government buildings and housing in an Ankara neighborhood, according to international media.

The embassy warned U.S. citizens to avoid those areas, according to the report.

At least 27 people were killed and 75 others were wounded after a car packed with explosives detonated between two passenger buses in Ankara’s Kizilay Square, a central transportation, commercial and entertainment center. Numerous vehicles were ignited and burst into flames at the scene. Several buses also were partly burned or completely incinerated.

The area was quickly evacuated as a precaution against a second attack, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News site. Wounded victims were rushed to 10 different hospitals across the city, according to CNN Türk.

No organization has publicly taken responsibility for the attack.

However, Turkish officials said initial findings suggest the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization (PKK) or a PKK-affiliated terrorist organization carried out the attack.

Hana Levi Julian

27 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Ankara Terrorist Bombing

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

At least 27 people are dead and 75 are wounded after an explosion rocked the Turkish capital of Ankara shortly before 7 pm Sunday evening near the Justice Ministry.

The blast was caused by a bomb-laden car that reportedly exploded between two passenger buses in Ankara’s Kizilay Square, the Ankara Governorate announced in a statement Sunday evening.

Numerous vehicles were ignited and burst into flames at the scene. Several buses also were partly burned or completely incinerated.

The area was quickly evacuated as a precaution against a second attack, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News site.

Wounded victims were rushed to 10 different hospitals across the city, according to CNN Türk.

Smoke could be seen rising above the city from a distance as far as 2.5 kilometers away, according to witnesses quoted by the Daily Sabah news site.

Kizilay Square serves as the city’s main square and main transportation terminus, where approximately 10 bus stops converge in one site.

It is known as the heart of the city’s commercial and entertainment center. The site is only one kilometer from the site of last month’s attack by PKK terrorists.

The government-controlled Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) declared a broadcasting ban on images of the scene and victims.

This is the third major explosion to hit Ankara since last October.

Last month on February 17, a suicide car bomber targeted a military shuttle bus carrying recruits to a facility in central Ankara near the parliament building. At least 29 people lost their lives and 81 others were wounded.

On October 10, 2015, at least 103 were killed in an attack by alleged Da’esh operatives from the ISIS terrorist group who bombed a peace rally near the Ankara Railway Station.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan Govt Seizes Turkey’s Biggest-Selling Newspaper

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

The White House has called on the Turkish government to “ensure full respect for due process and equal treatment under law” after riot police seized the offices of one of the largest newspapers in Turkey on Friday.

The violent crackdown is the latest in a series of moves over the past few years in the AKP government’s effort to control the media in Turkey. Although a member of NATO, Turkey has often behaved more like a member of the Arab League in its dealings with journalists and freedom of the press.

Police forced reporters out of their offices, beating some of them, while firing tear gas and water cannon on protesting readers as they forced open the gates to the building where Zaman and Today’s Zaman newspapers are headquartered.

“This is the latest in a series of troubling judicial and law enforcement actions taken by the Turkish government targeting media outlets and others critical of it,” White House said in a statement on Friday.

The paper’s Saturday edition defiantly warned “Yesterday marked one of the darkest days in the history of Turkish press” in its Saturday edition. Later in the day police used rubber bullets along with the tear gas this time to disperse a new protest. Demonstrators shouted in response, “Free press cannot be silenced!” An AFP photographer at the scene reported to Yahoo! the chaos involved some 500 protesters.

Sevgi Akarcesme, editor-in-chief of the paper’s English language ‘Today’s Zaman,’ tweeted on Saturday that all the Internet connections to the newspaper office were cut. “We are not able to work anymore,” she wrote.

The new administrators on Saturday fired Zaman’s editor-in-chief Abdulhamit Bilici, media reports said.

The Istanbul Sixth Criminal Court of Peace ordered the confiscation of the newspaper’s offices after a petition by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The court had appointed trustees to seize control of the Feza Media Group, which includes the Zaman daily, as well as Today’s Zaman daily and the Cihan news agency.

All are alleged to belong to the U.S.-based preacher Fettulah Gulen, a former friend who became a rival-in-exile, bitterly opposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party.

Two days before parliamentary elections last November, Turkish courts also appointed trustees to Koza Ipek Media Holding, effectively seizing two newspapers, two TV channels and a radio channel. This week the trustees bankrupted the papers and shut them down.

The moves came just two days in advance of a visit to Brussels by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for a pivotal meeting with European Union leaders. Turkey has for years been trying to secure membership in the European body.

Davutoglu dismissed questions over the seizure while on an official visit to Iran, denying any government connection. “They are certainly not political but [rather] legal processes,” he said in a statement carried by Turkish television. “Turkey is a state governed by rule of law… It is out of the question for either me or any of my colleagues to interfere in this process.”

But he then warned in a clear reference to the Gulen movement, “We should not shut our eyes to … a parallel structure within the state using the press and other tools [to promote its agenda.]” Ankara has accused Gulen of seeking to overthrow the government via what it refers to as the Fethullahci Terror Organisation/Parallel State Structure (FeTO/PDY).

In response, Davutoglu received his own polite caution in a statement by the European Union, with whom he is expected to meet in Brussels on Monday.

“The EU has repeatedly stressed that Turkey, as (an EU) candidate country, needs to respect and promote high democratic standards and practices, including freedom of the media,” the EU’s diplomatic service said in a statement.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/erdogan-govt-seizes-turkeys-biggest-selling-newspaper/2016/03/05/

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