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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’

Turkey’s President-elect Erdogan Building PR via Israel & Gaza

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Turkey’s President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan — the country’s current prime minister — is scoring major public relations points at home via Gaza, through Israel.

Erdogan is raising millions for Gaza residents left homeless in the wake of a war on Israel started by their Hamas terrorist leaders.

The Ankara government has raised $20.8 million dollars so far to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza since the start of Operation Protective Edge, according to the Yeni Safak newspaper, which quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler.

The country’s international development agency, TIKA, provided 15,000 Gaza families “through its permanent office in Gaza, under the ongoing heavy Israeli attacks,” Isler claimed in a written statement to the paper.

A rundown of benefits provided by the Turkish government included:

  • Daily food for more than 350,000 Palestinian Authority unity government Arabs since the beginning of Ramadan (but it was not made clear whether they were all residents of Gaza);
  • ‘Desperately-needed fuel’ for the Palestinian Energy Authority; and
  • Medicine and generators delivered by the Turkish Red Crescent.

In addition, Turkey transferred 18 wounded people to Ankara for medical treatment “as part of a plan to evacuate “thousands” from Gaza.

What was not mentioned was the pivotal role of Israel and Egypt in all of this: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was careful to first visit both nations to formally request the use of their airspace prior to sending aircraft to collect anyone from Gaza or deliver any form of aid.

As a matter of fact, Turkish aircraft have been using Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport to transfer all of the supplies and transport patients between Gaza and Ankara.

In addition, all aid deliveries to the region have been carried out with the full cooperation of the State of Israel via the land crossings into Gaza.

That, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israeli rhetoric by Turkish president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s prime minister to date, including comparing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Hitler.

Also not mentioned was the fact that the top terrorist in Hamas, Salah al-Arouri, is living safely in Turkey, far from the reach of Israel and well within range of those from whom he can raise funds to finance more attacks against the Jewish State.

Erdogan has tightened Turkey’s ties with Iran and has equated Zionism with racism, leading the country in an anti-Semitic direction that has threatened the good relations Turkish Jews have always enjoyed with their neighbors. Breitbart News this week quoted one businessman as saying that Turks now swear at Jews in the street. The site reported that “one hotel warned in response to an email message requesting to book a room that ‘for your further safety concerns it is our duty to inform you that the Palestine embassy is our next door neighbor and we do not have private security within the hotel.’”

No need for that warning: Israel has already slapped an alert against travel to Turkey by its citizens. Most — if not all — all kosher production supervisors reportedly left the country several weeks ago following riots and attacks on Israel’s embassy in Ankara and near its consulate in Istanbul, in addition to harassment by various individuals.

A statement by Erdogan pressuring Turkish Jews to issue public condemnations of Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas terrorist group — launched to silence incessant rocket fire on citizens of southern Israel — makes clear his position regardless of any future ‘business’ arrangements with the Jewish State.

Are Turkey’s Jews in Trouble?

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Are the Jews of Turkey – Israel’s former ally in the region — in danger?

On Friday, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed alarm at the increasingly hostile environment towards Israel in Turkey that has extended itself towards that country’s Jews.

The ADL called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reject the targeting of Turkish Jews over Israel’s counter terrorist Operation Protective Edge — launched to silence the rocket fire aimed by Hamas at Israeli civilians – and to publicly assert that the Jewish community has the full support and protection of the state.

Instead, Erdogan issued an additional condemnation of Israel the next day, telling supporters in a speech at the Black Sea resort city of Ordu, “[Israelis] have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.” According to the Reuters news service, the Turkish leader repeatedly likened Israel to the Nazi murderers over the Jewish State’s current counter terrorist Operation Protective Edge against the Hamas rulers of Gaza.

But Erdogan was apparently persuaded by senior members of his Islamic AKP party to lower the heat against the Jews in his own country, if only a trifle. “I don’t approve of any [bad} attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey despite all this. Why? They are the citizens of this country,” he said.

Approximately 17,000 Jews remain in the country. But the rising anti-Semitism combined with increasing difficulty for young Jews in finding a spouse is prompting families to emigrate at a much faster rate than they have in past years. Istanbul’s Sephardic synagogue, the magnificent Neve Shalom, has been attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorists three times since 1986 — most recently in 2003.

Neve Shalom Synagogue of Istanbul, June 2013.

Neve Shalom Synagogue of Istanbul, June 2013.

As recently as June 2013, in order to enter the building, a visitor had find the small nonedescript entrance alley off to the side, then surrender one’s passport, walk through a metal detector and undergo a search carried out by grim Turkish security personnel. Some visitors were not allowed in anyway, depending upon the whim of the security guards.

APC

Street view of Neve Shalom synagogue, Istanbul, June 2013.

Street view of Neve Shalom synagogue, Istanbul, June 2013.

The Sephardic Jewish Center was also well hidden, away on a side street in the center of Istanbul in a posh neighborhood filled with upscale restaurants. One would not know it was there, unless you knew what to look for. Even then, the entrance is hidden.

To find it, one enters a building and is greeting immediately by a friendly security man at the door who asks your business. An upscale shop is located on the ground floor, across the from desk.

If you know what to ask, and where you are going, you are passed through to the location of a small elevator, well protected with metal grating and heavy steel bars and locks. Several other security measures later, all with heavy reinforcements, and eventually one emerges into the offices of the Jewish news weekly, the Salom Gazette, housed in the Sephardic Jewish Center, the nerve center of Turkish Jewry. The Istanbul-based Center, which is struggling for resources — and survival — at this point, produces the only Ladino newspaper in the world. It is probably the only spot in the country where Jews can find materials in Hebrew, Ladino, and other languages about Israel and Judaism.

Violent “pro-Palestinian” Demonstrations Around World

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Pro-Palestinian activists around the world reacted quickly to Israel’s ground invasion.

In Jordan, Egypt and Turkey, Israel’s “allies” in the region, security forces clashed with protesters hours after Israel announced the beginning of the ground invasion of Gaza. Israel Radio reported that dozens of protesters in Cairo burned Israeli flags and demanded Egypt expel Israeli Ambassador Chaim Cohen. The report also said protesters tried to march on the Israeli embassy, but were rebuffed by security forces.

Same for Turkey: Hundreds of protesters threw stones and waved Palestinian flags in front of the Israeli Embassy and the consulate in Istanbul. Local media said demonstraors in Ankara condemned Israel’s “massacre of civilians by air raids, and Reuters reported that riot police disbursed the riot in Istanbul with tear gas and water cannons. Reuters reported that demonstrators in Istanbul chanted “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine,” and smashed consulate windows with sticks and rocks.

In addition, the online Algemeiner website quoted Bulent Yildirim, head of the IHH “humanitarian” group, who told a local television station that “Turkish Jews will pay dearly” for Israel’s actions and that Israel is “acting like a spoiled child” for responding to rocket fire at Israeli cities.

Yildirim added, “Jewish tourists, don’t dare come to Turkey. Tonight and tomorrow we are going to hold a different kind of protest, we do not have patience anymore…The Zionists are putting the future of the Jews in danger, we can not hold back our youngsters anymore,” he said.

Yildirim’s organization was the driving force behind the 2010 “humanitarian flotilla” to Gaza, attended by MK Hanin Zoabi, that ended with the deaths of 10 Turkish citizens who attacked IDF troops in international waters.
In order to underscore the common left-wing claim that “pro-Palestinian’ does not mean “anti-Semitic,” graffiti was scrawled on the Israeli consulate reading “Die out murderer Jew.”

In Great Britain, 5,000 protesters brought traffic in central London to a standstill on 15 July, charging the BBC with “one-sided coverage (of the conflict) in favor of Israel (Yes, really!). The protesters cited support from radical academics and journalists including Noam Chomsky and John Pilger.

Former IDF Intel Chief ‘Not Going to Turkey’ for Arrest

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told the Reuters news service Monday evening that he has no plans to respond to the arrest warrant issued by an Istanbul court in Turkey this week.

“I will not visit Turkey, just as I won’t arrive in Syria, Iran or North Korea,” Yadlin commented.

The former military intelligence chief now heads Israel’s National Institute for Strategic Studies. He was charged in connection with his part in the military response to the violation of Israel’s territorial waters off the coast of Gaza in 2010 by a six-vessel flotilla, including the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara.

The vessels were attempting to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, which prevents the transfer of weapons, ammunition and other contraband to Gaza terrorists. Nine armed terror activists died after attacking Israeli Navy commandos who boarded the vessel after repeated Israeli instructions to change course and head for Ashdod port were ignored.

Turkey: A House Divided

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute

There is no doubt that the Gezi Park demonstrations in May and June, which spread to most of Turkey, represent a seismic change in Turkish society and have opened up fault lines which earlier may not have been apparent. What began as a demonstration against the “development” of a small park in the center of Istanbul ended as a widespread protest against the AKP government — and particularly Prime Minister Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.

The European Commission in its latest progress report on Turkey has recognized this change when it writes of “the emergence of vibrant, active citizenry;” and according to Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül, who in the report is praised for his conciliatory role, this development is “a new manifestation of our democratic maturity.” The Turkish government, however, has chosen to see these demonstrations as a challenge to its authority and has reacted accordingly.

The report mentions various repressive measures taken by the government, including the excessive use of force by the police, columnists and journalists being fired or forced to resign after criticizing the government, television stations being fined for transmitting live coverage of the protests and the round-up by the police of those suspected of taking part in the demonstrations.

However, there is, in the EU report, no mention of the campaign of vilification led by the Prime Minister against the protesters, or reprisals against public employees who supported or took part in the protests; also, measures taken to prevent the recurrence of mass protests, such as tightened security on university campuses, no education loans for students who take part in demonstrations and a ban on chanting political slogans at football matches.

Not only the demonstrators themselves have been targeted but also the international media, which Prime Minister Erdoğan has accused of being part of an international conspiracy to destabilize Turkey. The “interest rate lobby” and “the Jewish diaspora” have also been blamed. As the Commission notes, the Turkish Capital Markets Board has launched an investigation into foreign transactions to account for the 20% drop on the Istanbul Stock Exchange between May 20 and June 19, which had more to do with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering than the Gezi Park protests.

In August, however, a report on the Gezi Park protests by the Eurasia Global Research Center (AGAM), and chaired by an AKP deputy, called the government’s handling of the situation “a strategic mistake” and pointed out that democracy-valuing societies require polls and dialogue between people and the local authorities.

Polarization

The Commission is correct, therefore, when it concludes that a divisive political climate prevails, including a polarizing tone towards citizens, civil society organizations and businesses. This conclusion is reinforced by the observation that work on political reform is hampered by a persistent lack of dialogue and spirit of compromise among political parties. Furthermore, the report emphasizes the need for systematic consultation in law-making with civil society and other stakeholders.

This division was underlined by Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek in June, when, at a conference, he deplored the lack of a spirit of compromise in intellectual or political circles. This lack is not only illustrated by the occasional fistfight between parliamentary deputies, but also when the AKP government in July voted against its own proposal in the mistaken belief that it had been submitted by the opposition. Or when the opposition two days later passed its own bill while the government majority had gone off to prayers.

President Gül, in a message of unity to mark the start of Eid al-Fitr (in August, at the end of Ramadan), had called on Turkey to leave polarization behind and unite for the European Union membership bid. But to create a united Turkey will be difficult, given the attitude of the present government. Even the democratization package presented by Prime Minister Erdoğan at the end of September does not indicate any substantive change in the government’s majoritarian approach to democracy.

Irrespective of the Prime Minister’s reference to international human rights and the EU acquis [legislation], both lifting the headscarf ban for most public employees and a number of concessions to the Kurdish minority can be seen as a move to boost Erdoğan’s popularity ahead of the local elections in March.

Riot Police Storm Istanbul’s Taksim Square

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Turkish riot police stormed Taksim Square early Tuesday morning and clashed with protesters, one day before protests leaders were to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Authorities said the police only entered the area ‘”to clear the banners and flags on [a] statue and the AKM cultural center.” However, they also told the demonstrators to retreat to the nearby Gezi park, also occupied by the protest movement now in its second week.

Turkish television showed live video of clashes between police and protesters, who said they would not leave Taksim Square. At least two people were injured,one of them hit in the back by a tear gas canister.

Authorities issued a written statement that the police would not enter Gezi Park, but regardless of the pretty words, police entered Taksim Square with armored vehicles and fired tear gas at crowds.

Protesters hurled firebombs at police, who responded by spraying them with water cannons.

Ironically, the police statement that its force simply wanted to clean up banners was issued via Twitter, the social network that Erdogan has said should be censored because it is being used to “slander” the government.

The wave of demonstrations began in response to government plans to redevelop Gezi Park. Ostensibly, it was a pro-environment reaction, but the park is a symbol of secular Turkey, and Erdogan’s development plan includes placing military barracks and a mosque in the park.

As in other countries, tens of thousands of others jumped on the opportunity to express their outrage stemming from a wide variety of religious and governmental issues, such as restricting the sale of alcohol, the growing influence of Islam in public affairs, and Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism.

The surprise storming of Taksim Square is likely to anger the protesters even more and remove any chance of trust in the prime minister. His hard-line stance has dumped fuel on the fire of demonstrators.

Three people have died and more than 5,000 have been treated for effects of tear gas fired by the police. One doctor said last week that the effects of the gassing indicate that police are using CR gas, a chemical which can be lethal.

Demonstrations against Erdogan have been staged in 78 cities across the country., and every time Erdogan spews condemnation of the “vandals” and “terrorists,” the protest movement grows.

Jeremy Salt, associate professor at Bilkent University in Ankara, told the Russian RT website that the rebellious social mood n the country is a result of Erdogan’s  government taking the country “over a different path.”

Taksim Square symbolizes the modern secular Turkish Republic.

“Erdogan wants to turn it [Taksim Square] into symbol of something else. He wants to put up military barracks and a mosque there to totally change the face of Taksim Square to represent what he wants Turkey to become – which is a religious society,” Salt said.

Echoes of Assad and Mubarak: Erdogan Calls Protesters ‘Vandals’

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has chosen to take the road of deposed or embattled Muslim leaders in the Middle East as the protest movement in Turkey seems to grow to the same degree he ridicules it.

Tens of thousands filled Istanbul Square Sunday to demand his resignation, and they clashed with riot police, backed by hovering helicopters.  Instead of addressing them directly, he appeared at the Ankara airport, where he was applauded in one of several planned rallies.

Erdogan charged that the protesters are nothing but vandals who drink beer in mosques and insult women wearing headscarves.

He already has referred to demonstrators as “anarchists and terrorists.”

“Tweeter is an enemy,” he says.

Who else ridiculed social networks? Qaddafi, who was killed in the revolution, Mubarak, who was arrested and jailed in the revolution, and Assad, who still remains in power but has been isolated by the entire world except Iran, Hezbollah and, for the time being, Russia.

And how did Erdogan refer to a police officer who was killed in clashes with protesters? He was ”martyred.”  That is right out of the book of Hamas, which, by the way, Erdogan for some strange reason continues to praise.

Erdogan has deepened the rift in Turkish society by turning the protest movement into a “me or them” issue, fueling what could have been a small and weak protest movement with the dynamite it needs to engulf others who don’t like the government, particularly those  who are nervous about the government’s potting Islam in the forefront of its agenda.

Anyone who protests apparently is an enemy to Erdogan, who demonstrates the same insecurity of dictators, past and present.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/echoes-of-assad-and-mubarak-erdogan-calls-protesters-vandals/2013/06/09/

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