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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Erdogan’

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

One of the senior military officials mentioned in the flurry of accusations in Turkey over who exactly was responsible for the failed coup attempt Friday night was former air force commander Akin Ozturk, who was the Turkish Military attaché to Israel between 1996 and 1998. Ozturk, who commanded the Turkish Air Force between 2013 and 2015, is suspected of being the leader of the coup attempt, according to a Hurriyet report.

Ozturk has been a member of the Turkish Supreme Military Council since August 2015, and government media reports have claimed that he may have decided to launch the uprising before an upcoming meeting where his possible links with Turkish opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen were to be raised.

Akın Öztürk / aksam.com.tr

Akın Öztürk / aksam.com.tr

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged President Obama on Saturday to extradite Gulen, a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and politician, founder of the Hizmet (service) movement, who is living in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

“They [Gulen supporters] were like a tumor within the military, and now this tumor is being removed,” Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul less than 24 hours after the end of the coup. “I told you [the US] to deport or give this person back to Turkey. I told you that this person was in a preparation for a coup against Turkey, but I could not make you listen to me,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan Reiterated his demand, “I repeat my call on the US and president Obama, give this person back to Turkey.”

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as an imam “who promotes a tolerant Islam which emphasizes altruism, hard work and education.” He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nation and to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct dialogue with not just the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), and people of other religions, but also with agnostics and atheists.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed during the attempt to overthrow the government. An estimated 194 Turks were killed overnight in the coup attempt.

On Friday just before 11:00 PM local time military jets flew over Ankara, and both main bridges from Asian to European Istanbul were closed. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said military action was being “taken outside the chain of command,” calling it an “illegal attempt” to seize power by “part of the military.” Tanks were posted in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Internet users within Turkey were blocked from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The Turkish Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar was taken hostage. The coup took place while President Erdogan was vacationing in south-western Turkey.

Between 11 PM and midnight, helicopters bombed the police special forces headquarters and police air force headquarters outside of Ankara, leaving 42 dead and 43 injured. Satellite telecommunication Türksat headquarters near Ankara was also attacked, and two security personnel were killed.

Just before midnight, soldiers occupied Taksim Square in central Istanbul. At about the same time Turkish soldiers entered the buildings of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), in Ankara. Soldiers forced anchor Tijen Karaş to read out a statement saying that “the democratic and secular rule of law has been eroded by the current government” and Turkey was now being governed by a “peace council” that would “ensure the safety of the population.” The statement also read that “Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged. […] All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.” This was “done to preserve democratic order, and that the rule of law must remain a priority.” The statement ended with a declaration of temporary martial law, promising a new constitution “as soon as possible.” Eventually TRT was taken off air.

Pro-coup soldiers surrender in Ankara / Anadolu Agency

Pro-coup soldiers surrender in Ankara / Anadolu Agency

Bombs struck near the Turkish Grand Assembly, injuring 12, two of whom were in critical condition. There were reports of shelling from the air of several locations in the capital Ankara, including the ruling AK Party headquarters, the presidential complex, and the General Staff.

MPs from all parties converged on the Assembly and inscribed on the wall of the main session hall a declaration that “Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the Nation.” They then moved into a bomb shelter to hide from the airstrikes.

A Turkish army F-16 reportedly shot down a Sikorsky helicopter, and aircraft belonging to the army continued to fly over the capital to repel any attacks on key buildings.

Reuters reported that in early Saturday the coup had “crumbled” as crowds defied the rebelling military units and gathered in major squares of Istanbul and Ankara to oppose the coup. Pro-coup soldiers eventually surrendered to police in Taksim Square, Istanbul. At 5:18 AM Atatürk airport had been completely cleared of pro-coup forces and police later surrounded the coup forces inside the Turkish army headquarters, calling on them to surrender. There was a skirmish there between 6 and 8 AM, after which the coup was by and large over. Ümit Dündar, head of the First Army, was appointed as the Army’s Acting Chief of Staff.

JNi.Media

Erdogan Rebukes Gaza Flotilla Organizers for Undermining Israel Deal

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday criticized the Turkish charity group IHH for sabotaging his reconciliation with Israel. The Turkish president insisted the deal is good for the Palestinians, for Turkey, and for Israel.

Erdoğan spoke during an iftar dinner (the meal at the end of the daily Ramadan fast) at the presidential complex in Ankara. He said that the flotilla organizers never asked his permission to sail to Gaza in 2010, when he was a prime minister, causing a needless diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and Israel.

Erdoğan’s frontal attack came after the Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH on Monday criticized the deal saying it amounted to acceptance of the Israeli blockade.

“We were already delivering the same amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza, but without making a show of it. Now we have Israel’s promise, all aid supplies to Gaza will be permitted from now on,” Erdoğan said. He announced that a Turkish ship with 11,000 tons of humanitarian aid is ready to leave for Gaza this Friday, noting that this will become a routine from now on, no need for showboating, so to speak.

Last Monday, after months of talks between the two countries, Turkey and Israel announced that a deal normalizing their relations would be signed. Under the deal, Turkey would be allowed to send humanitarian shipments to Gaza which would be delivered to the Asdod harbor in Israel, examined for contraband and trucked to Gaza; and Israel will pay $20 million in reparations to the families of the Mavi Marmara casualties.

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries. Established in 1992 and officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, İHH provides humanitarian relief in areas of war, earthquake, hunger, and conflict. The İHH holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004.

Two IHH employees were detained for alleged links to al-Qaida, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on January 13, 2014. An IHH spokesman said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after police raided his home.

The current president of the İHH, Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım, has been under investigation by specially authorized prosecutors in Istanbul and Diyarbakır for allegedly financing al-Qaeda through his organization. Yildirim also led a memorial service for Chechen leader Shamil Basayev in 2006.

Erdoğan also said that the normalization of relations with Russia and Israel is based on a “win-win” principle. “In other words, both Turkey and Russia must win, both Turkey and Israel must win,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdoğan had a phone conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin, on the way to normalizing relations between the two countries, some seven months after Turkey had downed a Russian jet that it claimed crossed from Syrian into Turkish airspace despite repeated warnings.

JNi.Media

Erdogan Apologizes for Downing Russian Plane in Condolence Letter

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

On the same week Israel and Turkey have reached the beginning of a rapprochement, following a formal apology by Prime Minister Netanyahu a few years ago for the IDF’s killing of 10 Turkish Citizens who brutally attacked Israeli soldiers, now Turkish President Erdogan appears to have taken a page out of Bibi’s playbook: he sent a letter to Russian President Putin urging the restoration of “traditional friendly ties” between their two countries, and spelled out how sorry he was for downing a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft and killing its pilot.

Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim said late Monday that “the content of the letter is very clear. We express our regret. We say that we are sharing the pain felt by those who lost loved ones. We say that we will pay compensation, if needed.”

Now, was that so difficult?

“I suppose our president will have a phone call with Putin today, tomorrow, maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday,” Yildirim said.

After the downing of the Russian plane last November, the Kremlin ordered sanctions on food products, an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Russian tourists taking package holidays in Turkey. Natural gas deliveries were in jeopardy as well. Suddenly Turkey was facing a raging enemy where none had stood before.

For its part, Russia’s Foreign Ministry viewed the letter with the apologies as a step in a right direction to normalizing ties, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told TASS on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he was sorry for shooting down the Su-24 jet and stressing “readiness to make every effort to restore traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey.”

Then, on Tuesday, Peskov said Putin and Erdogan would speak on the phone on Wednesday—at Russia’s initiative. “Tomorrow at the initiative of the Russian side a telephone conversation will take place between President Putin and President Erdogan,” Peskov stressed. The conversation will be held at approximately the middle of the day, he added.

Erdogan said late Monday that more than 10,000 tons of supplies will sail to Gaza from Turkey before the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday in early July, prompting Hamas to thank Erdogan for his efforts to ease the blockade.

And all it cost to get this swirl of good will going was for Israel to pay $21 million to the folks who attacked its soldiers with knives, axes, metal rods and whatever else they had on hand. A small price to pay, presumably, in exchange for this much peace.

JNi.Media

Russia Sees No Chance of Repairing Relations with Erdoğan

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Relations between Russia and Turkey cannot be restored, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news conference on Tuesday. “As far as Turkish officials are concerned, there are no prospects [for current diplomatic ties],” she said. “Those people did what they did. As we now perfectly understand, it was their conscious choice. As for relations between countries and peoples, they will be developing.”

Close to two months after Russian planes began flying combat missions to support Syrian president Assad’s ground forces against rebel and ISIS forces, on Nov. 24, the Turkish Air Force downed a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber. The diplomatic fallout from that shoot-down was fast and stormy, and it has remained on that level, although there have been no more actual military confrontations. Since the incident, Russian trade relations with Turkey have all but ended, and both countries have been painting each other as supporters of terrorism.

In early February, Turkish president Recep Erdogan sought an audience with President Vladimir Putin, but he is yet to receive an invitation. Instead of agreeing to talk, Putin accused Turkey of stabbing Russia in the back.

“The house of cards of what [the Turkish authorities] decided to build in international relations has started falling apart,” Zakharova told the press. “As for relations between peoples and countries, they will certainly continue to develop. There can be no antagonism campaigns against the Turkish people, business and representatives of economic medium,” she added, suggesting it was all strictly about Erdogan.

David Israel

Erdogan Says He Wants Improved Turkish-Israeli Relations

Monday, December 14th, 2015

(JNi.media) Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of journalists during a flight back from a trip to Turkmenistan on Monday that “normalization with Israel” was possible, Yeni Safak and other Turkish media reported. Erdogan said all it took to thaw the relations was for the two sides to finalize a compensation deal for the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid’s victims and for Israel to lift its blockade against the “Palestinians,” by which he meant stop the efforts to block weapons and other contraband materials from entering the Hamas controlled Strip freely.

Erdogan said the entire region would benefit from the normalization of ties between the two governments. “There is so much that we, Israel, Palestine and the region can gain from such a normalization process. The region is in need of this,” Erdogan said.

He listed his country’s three demands of Israel: “An apology—which Prime Minister Netanyahu has done; compensation—which Israel has offered, to the tune of $20 million, in 2014, but the Turks demanded $30 million coupled with the third demand, removing the Gaza blockade. “If the compensation issue and the lifting of the embargo are resolved then we can enter a process of normalization,” Erdogan promised.

Despite his unrealistic expectations regarding Israel’s Gaza blockade—as long as the government in Gaza continues to make the destruction of Israel its top priority—the benign statement from Erdogan is much nicer than the style of his statements back in 2014 against Israel’s operations in Gaza, when he accused it of committing genocide and “barbarism surpassing Hitler.”

JNi.Media

Putin: Erdoğan Supporting Extremists, Forcing Islamization of Turkey

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the current Turkish leadership purposefully supports the country’s Islamization, TASS reported Wednesday. “The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday (the Su-24 downing), the problem is much deeper,” Purtin told reporters. “We see — and not only we, I assure you that the entire world sees — that the current leadership of Turkey has been for a number of years pursuing a purposeful policy of … the Islamization of the country.”

Putin noted that Islam was a great world religion, which is one of the major religions in Russia as well. “We ourselves support Islam and will continue doing so, but the point at issue is the support of a more radical branch. And that in itself creates a very unfavorable environment, the atmosphere that one cannot see at first sight,” Putin said.

The Russian president warned that Russian nationals in Turkey may be in serious danger. “After yesterday’s event, we cannot rule out other incidents, and if they happen, we will have to respond somehow. Our citizens in Turkey can, certainly, be in serious danger,” Putin said, adding that he supported his Foreign Ministry’s recommendations urging Russians not to visit Turkey. There are an estimated 10,000 Russian vacationers currently in Turkey, according to TASS.

“After such tragic events as the downing of our plane and the pilot’s death, this is a forced measure and the Foreign Ministry is right to warn our nationals of the dangers,” Putin said.

According to TASS, after being downed by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday morning, both pilots ejected from their Su-24 bomber, which Russia claims had not violated Turkey’s air space. One was killed by gunfire from the ground, the other was rescued by Russian and Syrian forces and brought to a Russian air base nearby.

Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency has asked the country’s tour operators to suspend selling holiday packages to Turkey.

JNi.Media

Obama Adamant His is the Right Strategy; Hollande Recognizes ‘We are at War’

Monday, November 16th, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama had everyone’s attention with the major world leaders and international journalists attending the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey on Monday, Nov. 16.

In the wake of Friday’s Paris massacres carried out by ISIS and its supporters which led to hundreds dead and wounded civilians, it is not an exaggeration to say that people were anticipating a statement of strength and resolve from a man in the position which has long been considered the leader of the free world.

That is not the message they heard from Obama.

Instead, Obama appeared to be digging in his heels, refusing to consider that he may have misjudged ISIS and may have pursued the wrong strategy thus far with the growing barbaric and now global threat to civilization, ISIS.

Obama bridled at the reporters who asked variations of the same questions: did you underestimate ISIS? are you going to change your strategy, given ISIS has grown in size and capability in the year since he committed to fighting them? do you now agree that ISIS is not ‘contained?’

“That’s the same question I’ve already answered three times,” Obama said. He insisted that the strategy the U.S. is pursuing is “the right one,” and that he would not just announce a new strategy that makes for a good headline. He referred to the Paris massacre as a “setback.”

Obama responded to the query whether he knew that ISIS had the capability to carry out an attack like the one in Paris: “We have been fully aware of their potential to carry out a full military attack,” he said, but he continued to dig in, not only insisting his strategy is the right one, but also continuing to downplay the enormity of the threat.

The U.S. Commander in Chief described ISIS as “a handful of people” with “not wildly sophisticated weapons,” ones “who don’t care if they die.” That, he claimed, is what makes it very difficult to defeat them.

One reporter dared to ask the President whether the president thought he “understand[s] this enemy well enough to defeat them?”

The U.S. President was terse, he was indignant and he was dismissive of the journalists for not being satisfied with his answers. What people did not see or hear was an anger directed at the global enemy. When Obama said the nations are united to “defeat this enemy, ISIL,” his tone sounded more like he was reading a shopping list or a weather report than a conviction to overcome the barbarians.

The President finally did find his footing when he launched into his familiar trope of Muslims being the largest number of victims. “The overwhelming majority of victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.”

Obama made the point, once again, that it is “wrong to equate ISIL with Islam,” it is “wrong to consider ISIL a Muslim problem instead of a terrorist problem.”

He admitted that “the most vicious terrorist groups at the moment claim to be speaking for true Muslims,” but countered that by pointing to leaders of the Muslim majority countries like Erdogan in Turkey, and the leadership of Malaysia and Indonesia, who are “tolerant and work to be inclusive of all their people.” Really? Ask the non-Muslim majorities in those countries how well they are treated.

But this time Obama was willing to concede that it is important for “Muslims around the world to ask very serious questions about how these ideologies have taken root and built up over time” just as it is important for non-Muslims not to stereotype Muslims.” He claimed that “there have been times when there has not been enough pushback against extremist thoughts or rationales for why Muslims feel marginalized.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-adamant-his-is-the-right-strategy-hollande-recognizes-we-are-at-war/2015/11/16/

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