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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Bülent Arınç’

Erdogan to Visit US in May

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

One of Turkey’s leading media outlets, Hurriyet Daily News, announced that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will come to the United States to meet with President Barack Obama on May 16.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry received the official invitation on Tuesday, April 2.

While the meeting could not have taken place without repair to relations between Turkey and Israel, the primary focus of the visit is expected to be the ongoing civil war in Syria, which has enormous spillover effect on and dangers for both Turkey and Israel.  A diplomatic source revealed to Hurriyet that Erdoğan’s visit to Washington “was fixed in a phone conversation on the day Israel apologized to Turkey.”

Most international commentators agree that Turkey is hoping the U.S. will take a lead role in enforcing an end to the violence in Syria. The U.S. administration, however, is reluctant to become directly involved by providing lethal support to opposition forces, fearing weapons falling into the hands of extremists.  The U.S. instead prefers a diplomatic approach to ending the current crisis.

In addition to the visit by the Turkish prime minister to the U.S., it was also announced that a series of diplomatic meetings are now scheduled to enable Turkey and Israel to normalize relations. An Israeli diplomatic delegation will travel to Ankara on April 11 to meet with Turkish delegates.  Discussions will focus on ensuring that an exchange of ambassadors will take place towards the end of June.

Another diplomacy track for the negotiating teams deals with compensation to be paid by Israel to families of those Turks killed during the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla which was attempting to breach Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza in late May, 2010.  Eight Turks died after Israelis opened fire when fellow soldiers who had boarded the ship were attacked with iron bars and knives.

The Turkish government’s goal is apparently to get the families of those who died during the blockade flotilla fiasco to agree to accept compensation from Israel in exchange for dropping their lawsuits against Israeli officials. Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç were scheduled to meet with the families late Tuesday.

Although the Turkish Prime Minister has stated that he will soon visit Gaza, no details on that visit have yet been announced.

Turkish Muslim Leader Calls Erdogan on his Zionism Slur

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

As known to all, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration that “just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity”—have infuriated Jews around the world.

In his live broadcast on the A9 TV Channel, prominent Turkish Muslim leader Adnan Oktar called on Erdogan to clarify that he did not intend to question the right of Jews to live in the land of their forefathers, nor their existence as a sovereign state with his statement in Vienna.

Here are the comments made by Oktar, who for several years now has been hosting meetings between Israeli and Turkish political and religious leaders:

“They [the Jews] also interpret Zionism in a number of different ways. If our Prime Minister explains what he means when he refers to Zionism, then they would be at ease.

“The Zionism that Mr. Prime Minister is referring to is born by the mentality of some anti-religious Jews. But genuine and devout Jews are strongly opposed to such a belief, they do not accept it. They regard Muslims as Noahide; as people of Prophet Noah. They don’t see Muslims as infidels, but as people of faith.

“The devout Jewish Zionists are talking about is their right to live on the lands of Israel; the right to establish a state and to live in Israel in peace. This is the Zionism they are talking about.

“Prime Minister Erdogan would by no means oppose their Zionism in that sense, and if he personally clarifies some matters, that would prevent him from being misunderstood. So we kindly request Prime Minister Erdogan to explain as soon as possible what he meant when he referred to ‘Zionism.’

“If explicitly stating that one respects Israel’s right to exist in the region is ‘Zionist thinking,’ then that would surely not bother the Prime Minister.”

A SWIFT REPLY

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç answered Oktar’s call during a conference titled: “Muslims, Jews and Christians: Peace is Possible” which was sponsored by the International and Inter-cultural Dialogue Institute and held in the German Federal Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee Conference Hall in Berlin.

Arınç said the following:

“I address my Jewish friends; we cannot harbor any thoughts that will go against your beliefs. We would not say anything that will offend you. That is to say, we would definitely not oppose your beliefs or question the idea that Israel is allowed to exist. You may ask me, ‘You are saying this, but that person stood up and made such a statement, and this offended us greatly.’

“My response to this is the following: We have a government and so does Israel. We have relations with many countries in the world.

“Right now, Turkey surely doesn’t purport to be a global actor, but in world politics and in pursuit of the solution to global crises concerning world peace, Turkey is a stronger country than she used to be in the past.

“She is a country whose words are heeded and honored. Every government is free to criticize another about some certain issues. Just as the Israeli government can readily criticize the government in Turkey today and in the past, we might have also criticized the Israeli government and the administration there. I believe that we have done this.”
Arınç said that governments are criticized or appreciated by looking at their programs and activities, and added, “Be assured that our Prime Minister and ministers have not uttered any words that would go against your holy values. I personally guarantee this to you.”

Arınç added:

“However, we have made the severest criticism of some practices of the current and the former Israeli governments and we may also do so later. This may come from the fact that they go on establishing new settlements when we ask them not to establish them. We can ask them, ‘Why do you bomb Gaza?’ or ‘Why don’t you allow the existence of Palestine within secure borders?’ We can say this when she bombs Lebanon. We can express anything we consider to be an error the Israeli government responsible for. Please don’t reproach us for this. “But we can never question the foundation for Israel’s existence. We will definitely never defame the holy values of Israel, of the Jewish people. From now on, there will be no words, no acts that will sadden you.”

Arınç asked his audience to have faith in his words. He said that Israel is an important country, but so are Turkey, Germany and France. He added that Turkey aims to keep the gates of dialogue open and wants to establish peace by diplomatic means and solve the problems besetting the region.

Turkish Ministers to US Amb: ‘MYOB or Get Out!’

Friday, February 8th, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama has described Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the world leader in the Middle East with whom he has the closest relationship.  But you wouldn’t know it, given the recent insults and reprimands various ministers in the Turkish government have hurled at the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, in addition to the very public backhanded attempt by Turkey to incite Syrian violence towards U.S. ally Israel.

Just a few days after a suicide attack on the U.S. Embassy in Turkey on February 1, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis J. Ricciardone, gave a lengthy press briefing which included a few mild rebukes.  Ricciardone mentioned Turkey’s jailing of non-violent protesters and a lack of transparency regarding charges against a large number of imprisoned former military personnel and academics, as well as a limitation in Turkey’s international terrorism law.

The response to those remarks created a hailstorm of very public and very blunt attacks by many high level Turkish officials, all of which amounted to “get your nose out of our domestic business or get out.”

Ricciardone, a Fulbright Scholar who is fluent in Turkish, Arabic, French and Italian, was appointed to his current post by President Obama in 2011.  The Ambassador has spent many years in various posts in the Middle East, and in 2001 was the Director of the State Department’s Coalition Against Terrorism.

In a reference to the dozens of Turkish nationals who were imprisoned after an alleged coup plot was uncovered, Ricciardone said, “You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country behind bars as if they were terrorists.”

He also said, “You have non-violent student protesters protesting tuition hikes behind bars. When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up.”

Ricciardone’s remarks ran more than a dozen pages long, most of which were complimentary about the host country.  The points about which the Turks took greatest umbrage addressed the jailing of hundreds of members of the military in an alleged military coup.

That plot, known as “Sledgehammer,” was an alleged secularist military plan dating back to 2003.  The suspects, all members of the Turkish military, allegedly planned to create havoc through coordinated acts of violence that included bombings throughout Turkey.  The chaos would destabilize the government, thereby paving the way for a coup d’état. The Turkish military has successfully pulled out three coups since 1960.

In response to a journalist’s questions at the press event, Ricciardone said:

My point about the justice system though is that you are striving to improve it, your leaders, your ministers, have recognized the flaws in the justice system, among them being lengthy pre-trial detentions, lack of clarity in presenting charges, lack of transparency.  Those are things your leaders – not your opposition, not foreign leaders – have spoken about.

But the response has been toxic.

AKP spokesman Huseyin Çelik vehemently censured the U.S. Ambassador for his remarks.  Çelik was quoted in Turkish papers as saying on the private broadcasting channel Kanal A, “We are inviting Ricciardone to remain within his boundaries and limits.  We are not pleased with [his remarks]; we condemn and denounce them. He should know his place.”

Çelik said of Ricciardone, “You are a diplomat; how can you make a judgment on those issues when you don’t even know the whole nature of the events and how the system works?  Who gives you the right to question [the political and legal system]?”

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said Ricciardone should avoid making statements which could be considered an intervention into Turkey’s domestic laws.  In what sounds very much like a warning, the Deputy Prime Minister said it will be better for both Turkey and the U.S. if the ambassador minds his own business.

“It would be better if Ricciardone minded his own business,” Bozdağ said. “Those are statements that do not bode well for his assignment in Turkey.”

Another Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, said it was “inappropriate” for Ricciardone to have made his comments, explaining on a private broadcasting network SKY Turk, “there is a problem arising from the personality of the esteemed ambassador,” but, Arınç claimed, the ambassador has issued an apology letter which means “he is conscious that what he has done is not correct.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/turkish-ministers-to-us-amb-myob-or-get-out/2013/02/08/

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