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September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘IHH’

Israeli, Turkish Officials Meet to Mend Broken Ties

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

After more than a year of silence, Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold – a former Israeli ambassador – met Monday in Rome with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu.

The two men sat away from the glare of media cameras and quietly began to renew the contacts between Jerusalem and Ankara, along with other senior Israeli and Turkish officials. Gold, an appointee and longtime associate of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was tasked with exploring the potential for cooperation between Israel and Turkey.

The move comes in the wake of Turkey’s recent parliamentary polls, which left the AK Party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the minority for the first time in a decade. This has opened the possibility that Turkey, a former ally, might consider renewing its diplomatic ties with the Jewish State.

Erdogan pulled Turkey’s ambassador from Israel and cancelled three joint military drills following clashes aboard a flotilla vessel owned by the Turkish IHH organization. The Mavi Marmara was participating in a six-vessel flotilla (three were Turkish-flagged) sent to deliberately – illegally — breach Israel’s maritime blockade around Gaza.

The terror activists on board the ship launched an attack on Israeli commandos who boarded to redirect the vessel to Ashdod port. Eight Turkish-born fighters and one American, all of whom were armed, died in the battle. The incident prompted venomous rhetoric from Erdogan, who immediately cut ties with Israel.

In a gesture of conciliation, Israel eventually apologized for operational errors that might have led to the deaths of the Turkish nationals and offered compensation to their families. Nevertheless, then-Prime Minister Erdogan was not appeased and refused to renew ties unless Israel also dropped its blockade of Gaza, a security measure that helps prevent terror groups in the enclave from importing weapons and other contraband from their generous Iranian benefactor.

Although Israel had discussed dropping the blockade, the escalation of rocket attacks against the south led to a counter terror war in Gaza last summer. This prompted Erdogan to rev up his offensive rhetoric anew against the State of Israel. Once again, the Turkish leader found a reason to sabotage renewal of ties, claiming the attack on Gaza by Israel proved Jerusalem “does not want normalization.”

Although trade has continued uninterrupted throughout, diplomatic communication has been maintained with Israel via the director of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Oddly, the stores in the Jewish State have been and still are filled to the brim with Turkish products, from housewares to clothing to food stuffs and more.

Even during Operation Protective Edge last summer, Israel allowed Turkish pilots to land and take off from Israeli airports in order to airlift medical patients from Gaza.

There has, however, been a complete halt to Israeli tourism to Turkey, a sector which once brought millions from Israel to the Turkish economy.

Within Turkey itself, the Israeli embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul both came under vicious attack by mobs last summer; the Jewish community also felt Islamist rage. Jews were told by some AK Party-linked columnists they should “pay” for the “crimes” of Israel in Gaza. They were egged on by Erdogan’s anti-Israel remarks.

Other Turkish citizens, appalled by the outpouring of hatred, denounced the rhetoric and called for a show of brotherhood with their Jewish neighbors. They reminded the public that Jews have contributed to Turkish society for more than two thousand years. Jews were found living in Anatolia, in fact, as far back as 2,400 years ago.

Compared to the many thousands of Jews who once graced the flagship nation of the Ottoman Empire, however, the current Jewish community in Turkey is very small and maintains a low profile due to fears of reprisal. Upon the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948, there were 80,000 Jews living in Turkey: today there are only 17,300 out of a total population of 70 million.

Few are willing to publicly identify themselves as Jews; even fewer are Torah observant. Most have assimilated and do their best to blend completely into Turkish society. They are aided in this effort by the majority contention that in Islam a man may marry a Jewish woman. Those who are worried about their daughters marrying out of the faith or their descendants disappearing from the Judaic Tree of Life have made – or are making – plans to emigrate. Those who do not either remain in order to strengthen those who cannot leave, may no longer feel the issue is relevant, or have simply given up.

Yet it was the Ottomans under Sultan Orhan who gave permission in 1324 to Jews living in Bursa to build the Etz ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life) Synagogue, which remained in service until just 50 years ago. Western European Jews were invited by Muslim sultans to immigrate to the Empire twice, and once by Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati (1454) during the time of the Ottomans. Four cities in particular became centers of Sephardic Jewry during that time: Istanbul, Salonica, Tzefat (which later returned to Israel by way of the British Mandate) and Izmir (also known as Smyrna), where the Tu B’Shevat seder was developed in the 17th century.

According to the 2015 Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Global 100 index of anti-Semitism, 69 percent of Turkish citizens hold some type of anti-Semitic belief. During Operation Protective Edge, there were 30,000 Turkish-language positive tweets about Hitler and Nazi atrocities against Jews. A Pew Research Center Poll found in November 2014 that 86 percent of Turkish citizens hold a negative view of Israel.

It is hard to be Jewish in today’s Turkey, where hatred of Israel, the Jewish State, has been publicly nurtured and encouraged from the very echelons of government. One questions whether renewal of ties between the two countries will come in time to reverse this terrible trend, or whether it is already too late.

Turkish Legislator Pens Bill Naming Israel Terrorist State

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Lütfü Türkkan, a Turkish deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party(MHP), introduced on Monday a bill to the Parliament of Turkey which proposes recognizing Israel as “a terrorist state.”

Turkkan told the Turkish parliament that Israel was conceived in terror, in 1948, that Israel’s “attack” on the “humanitarian” ship the Mavi Marmara constituted terrorism and that Israel’s actions in this past summer’s war with Gaza were also acts of terrorism.

The far rightist legislator said that Israel deliberately targets civilians and that the reason the Arab-Israel conflict has not yet been resolved is because of Israel’s “terrorist actions” against Palestinian Arabs.

Türkkan gave a brief summary for why Israel should be branded a “terrorist state”:

Israel has intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza, killing mostly women and children. Most recently, on 7 July 2014, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip by air and sea, on 17 July, the operation was expanded to an Israeli ground invasion. The number of causalities has been increasing because of continued attacks. The State of Israel aimed killing children, senior citizens, and women living in Gaza; when this is taken into consideration, Israel’s crimes meet the definition ‘terrorism’.  It has become an undeniable fact that Turkey should recognize Israel as a terrorist state.

Türkkan’s MHP, or Nationalist Action party, is far right. It is currently the second largest opposition party in the Parliament of Turkey.

Turkish political commentator and social media expert Ege Berk Korkut explained to The Jewish Press that Turkkan’s bill is unlikely to ever become law. This is so despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip’s Erdogan’s rabid hatred for Israel, evidenced by his support for Hamas.

According to Korkut, who is a native of Turkey currently residing in Germany, Erdogan will not throw his large majority party, the AKP, behind Türkkan’s bill. This is because both party leaders are too egocentric to do anything to boost the other.

Korkut explained further that despite Erdogan’s strongly anti-Israel statements and sentiments, he is in favor of the strong trade agreement between Israel and Turkey, which was signed in 1995. Finally, as Korkut pointed out, if Erdogan wanted Turkey to name Israel a terrorist state, he would have introduced such legislation himself. Its introduction by a leader of another party virtually guaranteed that the proposed legislation will never become law.

Türkann’s bill is officially named “The Legislative proposal for the recognition of Israel as a terrorist state by Turkey.

Israel Busts Turkey-Based Hamas Terrorist Network

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Israeli security forces in recent weeks have arrested dozens of terrorists operating within the Palestinian Authority and with tactical and financial support from Turkey, which the United States still considers a close ally.

The cell that planned to kill Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with RPG grenades, as reported here earlier today, was only one of several what targeted other Israeli officials, soldiers, civilians and even Palestinian Authority officials, the Times of Israel reported, quoting PA sources.

However, it is not known if the trio that planned to assassinate Lieberman was operating under the network based in Turkey.

Several of the terrorists reportedly are being held by the Palestinian Authority.

The arrests follow last August’s previously reported plot to overthrow Mahmoud Abbas

Turkey, which helped sponsor the IHH terrorists on the Mavi Mamara ship more than four years ago, has become Hamas’ de facto headquarters.

Senior Hamas official Salach al-Aruri last August admitted that Hamas was behind the kidnap-murders of three Israeli yeshiva students in June.

The United States for years has declared Hamas to be an illegal terrorist organization, but it has not opened its mouth in public to say anything against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s open support for Hamas.

Ever since Operation Cast Lead in late 2008, Erdogan has gone out of kilter.

He single-handedly changed Turkey from a decades-long friend of Israel to a sworn enemy.

He also suddenly and inexplicably saw Iran and Syria as allies in what he figured would be the new power broker in the Middle East.

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s butchery against his own people and raids on refugees who deserted to Turkey changed Erdogan’s mind, or what is left of it.

Similarly, he finally realized that a nuclear Iran might not be so healthy for Ankara.

But he still plays cards with Hamas, probably because of populist hate against Israel that has been fueled by incitement from Erdogan and Turkish media.

“Countries do not gain strategically by hosting terrorist groups,” Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations told Al-Monitor.

“My research demonstrates empirically that terrorism is politically counterproductive behavior that erodes popular support for the political cause and results in a backlash from the target country,” he added. “Hosting terrorist groups is thus a political liability.”

ISIS makes Hamas look like the Boy Scouts, so Turks are not up in arms so long as they see Hamas as being nothing more than a group of Muslims loyal to the cause of turning Israel into an Arab country, whether through the “peace process” or the “war process.”

Al-Monitor noted that “Turkey’s support for Hamas — along with Qatar — hampers Israel’s ability to isolate Hamas,” but the reported Israeli success in busting another Hamas network based in Turkey shows that it still can be done.

It also proves that Abbas knows he is making empty threats when he warns he will break off security cooperation with Israel.

It would be suicidal for him.

ICC Nixes Probe of 2010 Clash on Gaza Flotilla Vessel

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has decided not to investigate the 2010 incident involving clashes between Israeli commandos and IHH terror activists aboard a “humanitarian” flotilla headed for Gaza.

The clashes took place aboard one of six vessels in the flotilla, the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship, which was found when searched to be carrying no aid supplies whatsoever.

It did, however, carry armed activists who were itching for a fight and more than prepared to start one. As soon as the Israeli soldiers began to board their vessel to take control and bring the ship to Ashdod port – since the flotilla had ignored Israeli orders to change course and avoid Gaza on its own – the activists attacked the commandos with crowbars, knives, chains and other weapons. Some soldiers were hurled overboard into the sea. Several were tied up.

But the soldiers who were behind and following saw the attack and realized what was happening, and they launched a counter attack. Ultimately, nine of the terror activists died in the clashes, including eight Turkish nationals and one American.

Prosecutors at the ICC found that although there was a “reasonable basis” to believe the Israeli commandos may have committed war crimes during the incident, they did not fall under the jurisdiction of the court.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who at the time was the country’s prime minister, has milked the incident to distance his government — and his country — from  its regional ally, Israel.

Until the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the two nations were close allies, but Erdogan flew into a rage when Israel launched a counter terror operation in summer 2006 against the Hamas terrorist organization, created by the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group which Erdogan strongly favors.

Since that time, Erdogan has constantly sought excuses to slap at Israel and to dissolve the close economic, military and strategic relations that have been developed between the two countries over the years.

IHH Mavi Marmara Activist Joins ISIS, Gets Killed

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

An IHH activist who was on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 joined ISIS (Daash) in Syria and was killed over the weekend in an American airstrike, according to a Globes report.

Yakup Bulent Eleniak (40), a father of two, was considered to be one of the more visible activists in the Turkish-Muslim IHH group.

Turkish media claims that Eleniak was in Syria helping the needy and providing them with food.

However, Eleniak was killed because he was residing in one of ISIS’s largest camps in Syria, which the US struck.

In May 2010, Eleniak participated in the illegal attempt to run the blockade into Gaza on the Mavi Marmara. Eleniak was not one of the IHH activists who were harmed when the IHH activists attacked IDF troops who legally boarded the ship at the time. Nine of the IHH activist were killed when they attacked the IDF troops.

IHH claims to be a humanitarian aid group. In 2008, Israel banned IHH, and in 2010 added the IHH to its terror watch list.

We waiting to see if Turkey will demand an apology and reparations from the US as a result of their airstrike.

Turkey Planning ‘Marmara II’

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The Turkish terror group IHH is planning a redux of the 2010 “freedom flotilla” to Gaza that left 10 Turkish citizens dead.

The original flotilla planned to break Israel’s “siege” of the Gaza coast (i.e. Israel’s naval blockade, intended to prevent military shipments from reaching Hamas and other terror groups). Israel warned that the boats would not be allowed to approach the blockaded zone, but when Israeli Navy Seals stopped and boarded the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel in the flotilla, the peaceful activists tried to lynch the IDF soldiers with metal bars, fists, kicks and even guns.

Ten terrorists died as a result of the altercation, and Turkey downgraded relations with Israel immediately after the incident.

Today, four years later, the group says it has put wheels in motion to form a second flotilla for Gaza. IHH chairman Bülent Yildrim said last week that the group would set sail as soon as it had cleared bureaucratic red-tape with the Turkish government. He also said the Turkish Navy has agreed to escort the ships to Gaza. Israeli officials did not respond to the news item, but it is noteworthy that IHH has threatened several times to organise new flotillas since the Mavi Marmara altercation.

IHH has long been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and many Western powers. According to NGO Monitor, Turkish authorities investigated the group in 1997 after receiving info that senior IHH figures had purchased weapons from Islamic radicals. The monitoring group said a police raid on the IHH headquarters in Istanbul found weapons, explosives, and instructions for making improvised explosive devices.

Later, it is believed the group provided material assistance to Hamas during the later group’s murderous bus bombing campaign a decade ago, and some American officials believe the group was planning a bomb attack on Los Angeles International Airport.

More recently, IHH chief humanitarian displayed his admiration and respect for members of all religious faith groups, saying Turkish Jews could easily pay the ultimate price for Israel’s actions.

“Israel’s spoiled attitude could spell the end for Jewish communities living in Turkey. Otherwise more bad things will happen,” said IHH Chairman Bülent Yildrrims.

In a separate statement, MK Şamil Tayyar, a member of parliament representing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party, said he “Hope(s) your race disappears under many more new Hitlers.”

Israel Opens Gates for Turkish Hospital on Ruins of Gush Katif Town

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has approved allowing the entry of  570 truckloads of construction materials, electrical equipment, telecommunications and plumbing materials into Hamas-controlled Gaza for construction of a Turkish hospital on the ruins of the destroyed Jewish community of Netzarim.

Turkey initiated the project three years ago without any coordination with Israel at a time when both countries’ relations were in the deep freeze.

The government of Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who keeps a door open to Iran by embracing the Hamas terrorist government, had no problem in getting around Israel’s restrictions on “dual-use” equipment that also is used to build rockets and factories for weapons used to attack Israel. It simply used tunnels to smuggle equipment for  the 160-bed complex that is to cover 34 acres.

Ya’alon’s announcement came a day after  the Turkish deputy prime minister was quoted as saying that Israel is about to sign on the dotted line to pay millions of dollars to families of terrorists who tried to kill Israeli Navy commandos in the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship four years ago.

It is nice to know that Hamas finally is using the ruins of Gush Katif communities for something other than terrorist training camps. It needs a hospital to care for terrorists who are wounded by Israeli soldiers when they attack Israel with rockets or try to blow up Israeli soldiers at the security fence.

The Israeli government did not ask former residents of Netzarim for permission to bless Turkey’s grand humanitarian gesture.

If there is one place in the world that it is difficult for even President Shimon Peres to think that there will be peace, it is Gaza. Peres was his usual smug self with his head in the clouds when he assured everyone that expelling Jews and withdrawing Israel’s military eyes and ears from Gaza would bring peace and quiet.

After Hamas attacked Ashkelon, and then Ashdod, and Rehovot, the same Shimon Peres as President of the State of Israel, made a fool of himself by saying, in public no less – and this is a paraphrase but very close to the original quote –  “ I can’t understand why Hamas would so such a thing after all that we did for peace.”

The number of Israelis who trust Hamas is close to zero. The more Mahmoud Abbas and the entire Palestinian Authority regime proves to even Israel’s bleeding heart media that the Arabs have no interest in peace with Israel, the more the expulsion wrenches the stomach.

Hamas needs the hospital for Gaza civilians, many of whom have no problem hating Israel while at the same time begging for medical care at Israel’s hospitals. Some of the patients even change their minds after  medical care and realize that Jews actually are human beings and  not apes and pigs depicted by  Muslims preachers.

The idea of a hospital sounds great, but as awful as it is to think, hate is hate and it is a two-way street. Here is the response of one former Netzarim resident to The Jewish Press: “When the hospital is full, it should be blown up.”

That could be the ugly end to this ugly story, but a look at the reasons for the Israeli government’s second marriage with Turkey makes this article even uglier.

Turkey and Israel were great friends for years, carrying out joint military exercises and enjoying a healthy flow of goods and merchandise in two directions. Tens of thousands of Israel tourists flocked to Turkey’s resorts.

All of that changed when Erdogan got on his high horse during the Operation Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign more than five years ago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-opens-gates-for-turkish-hospital-on-ruins-of-gush-katif-town/2014/03/27/

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