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Posts Tagged ‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan’

Erdogan Threatening to Remove US Diplomat for ‘Scheming’ against Him

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

There have been repeated signs that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is really finished playing at being the most western leader of a Muslim country.  Over the weekend he took two additional steps that reflect a more authoritarian, illiberal leadership style.

One step was a further crackdown on press freedoms – Turkey is already the leading jailer of journalists in the world – and the second was an open threat to throw out the U.S. ambassador. Turkish media and the prime minister also claimed that the U.S. ambassador and other Western diplomats were behind a far-reaching graft probe affecting many members of this Turkish government.

On Sunday, Dec. 22, a public statement was issued barring all journalists from entering police stations throughout Turkey.

All journalists in Turkey were told they had to turn in their keys and press passes to police stations.

The significance of this step is that it comes on the heels of the removal from office of more than 100 Turkish police chiefs from their positions. That move came in response to the ongoing graft investigation.

The second step was also taken in response to the graft crisis.

Rumors have spread throughout Turkey that various Western ambassadors met and were behind the ongoing graft probe against many members of Erdoğan’s government.

Over 80 people, including the sons of various heads of Turkish ministries have been detained and accused of being involved in corruption and bribery.

The main opposition to Erdoğan appears to actually be a former long-time ally of his, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., in Pennsylvania. The two powerful leaders used to be aligned. Both are committed to changing the nature of Turkey back from a secular country to one that is Islamist.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, was named in various media reports as being a part of that plot.

In a speech given at the Black Sea airport at Samsun, the Turkish prime minister had harsh words to describe what he said was a meeting of foreign ambassadors to Turkey on Dec. 17.

Erdoğan claimed that at that meeting, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, “burst out” with ‘”now you will watch the fall of an Empire.’” This was allegedly a reference to the fall of Erdoğan’s government.

Erdoğan called the actions and statements of the ambassadors “provocative.”  He also said that unless they mind their own business, they will be thrown out of the country.

Ricciardone issued a statement on Sunday, just a few hours after Erdoğan’s public threat.

“The United States is in no way involved in the ongoing corruption and bribery operation,” Ricciardone said in a written statement released on Dec. 21.

“Nobody should put Turkey-U.S. relations in danger with unfounded claims.”

Erdogan: Israel Behind Egypt Coup

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was behind last month’s military coup in Egypt.

Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development, or AKP, party that he has evidence that Israel was involved in the July 3 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Turkish Hurriyet news service reported.

“Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the prime minister said, according to Hurriyet.

He cited as proof a statement by a French intellectual he identified as Jewish, who told the Israeli justice minister during a visit to France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box,” Hurriyet reported.

The White House condemned Erdogan’s remarks.

“Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters later Tuesday.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and later expelled Israel’s ambassador following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in a confrontation with Israeli Navy commandos. The ship was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March for the incident, and representatives of the countries have met for reconciliation talks. The talks reportedly are held up over the amount of compensation that Israel is to pay to the families of the Turkish casualties and how the payments are to be characterized.

Egypt Decides Erdogan Cannot Visit Gaza

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Egypt has ditched Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest attempt to show his love for Hamas by visiting Gaza, the Egyptian Youm7 website reported.

The military that threw out and then arrested Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi is staging an open war against the Brotherhood and its offspring Hamas, which it created decades ago.

Erdogan’s insistence on visiting Gaza – he has announced he would so at least half a dozen times the past two years – is another foreign policy blunder that has become his trademark since he ditched Israel as a friend.

He turned against Israel after the Operation Cast Lead counter-rocket attack maneuver more than four years ago and then ran into the waiting arms of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bassar al-Assad. Erdogan made a U-turn after he belatedly realized the international community began isolating both countries.

Turkey’s Big Concession: Israeli Bird Was not a Mossad Spy

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Turkey has had the decency to admit that an Israeli bird that flew over its sovereign territory is not an Israeli Mossad spy, as first suspected last year.

The country’s Hurriyet newspaper reported that the dead bird, commonly known as a bee-eater, has been cleared one year later from any charges of spying. A Turkish farmer had found the bird, a dead Merops Apiaster bird, or European Bee-Eater, in his field. Considering Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s paranoia of Israel, it was not surprising that Ankara intelligence started working overtime to expose a Mossad spy.

The bird wore a metallic ring, stamped as “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel.” You would think that if the Mossad were going to spy with a bird, it would not advertise the fact, but Turkish officials obviously figured that the Mossad was using reverse psychology to trick them into thinking that the bird was not a spy.

It took a year for medical personnel ay Elazığ’s Fırat University to admit that the bird was not carrying a microchip.

The innocent bird now shares the same history as the squirrels, sharks and other Zionist animals that Arab countries suspect as being Mossad spies.

In 2007, Iran’s goon squads arrested 14 squirrels that “were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies, and were stopped before they could act, thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services.”

Three years later, Egypt blamed Israel for a breakout of shark attacks in the Red Sea, charging that the Mossad placed them there to damage tourism.

And there is the famous case of the Mossad vulture, the bird that Saudi Arabia detained on suspicion of spying.

In all cases, Paranoid Arab officials have made monkeys  out of themselves.

Turkish Protests: Good for Israel?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Occupy-Gezi-protestsTurkish protesters have called upon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign, a move which may be good for Israel.

The seeds of a Turkish spring are presently being planted within Turkey. What started out as a movement to save one of the last green spaces in Istanbul from being converted into a shopping mall has emerged into a mass protest movement calling upon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign. Many Turks claim he has brutally suppressed dissent and attempted to make Turkish society more Islamist in nature. If Erdogan were to resign and the secular opposition were to gain power, it may have positive implications for Turkish-Israeli relations.

MASS REPRESSION

In the course of these demonstrations, the Turkish authorities have utilized brute force to suppress the opposition, firing tear gas and water canons en masse. One Turkish resident of Istanbul who was active in the demonstrations claims that the police deliberately fired at demonstrators. Countless Turkish civilians have been wounded or arrested, while some have even died. Nevertheless, despite the violence, many Turks are committed to calling upon Erdogan to resign.

Turkey-ProtestsOne young Turkish woman, Elif Ceylan, a resident of Izmir, Turkey, has reported, “I don’t like Erdogan’s way of pushing things in a non-democratic way. His idea of Turkey is pushing it into an Islamic state[...]These demonstrations are not related to any kind of political movement. This movement is about human rights and freedom of speech.”

IMPLICATIONS FOR ISRAEL

The question emerges, what are the implications for Israel? According to sources inside Istanbul, most of the protesters have not taken a clear stance on Israel. As Ceylan explained, “They are a blended group of people that just support human rights and freedom of speech. […] So I can’t really say they are pro Israeli or anti Israeli cause they are blended.” Nevertheless, one Turkish demonstrator from Istanbul claims that any one in Turkey with pro-Israeli sympathies would be attending these demonstrations. Nevertheless, the demonstrations aren’t about Israel.

Violence-in-Turkey-protestsAccording to Ceylan, “The importance of this movement is that the people of Turkey are finally getting together and rising up to say no to the non democratic way of the current government.” Nevertheless, Ceylan believes that if the Turkish people are truly given freedom of speech, it will give Turks the chance to question things and see Israel in a different light. She claims that presently the Turkish media is controlled by Erdogan and that the 2010 Gaza Flotilla which sailed from Turkey and the subsequent incident with Israel aboard the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara was due to Erdogan’s influence. If there is freedom of speech, then Turks will be exposed to more viewpoints and this will positively affect Turkish public opinion towards Israel and the Jewish people.

POTENTIAL FOR ISRAEL?

With Erdogan’s power facing challenges on such a massive scale, perhaps there is a potential for better relations between Israel and Turkey. The two countries were allies in the past and had positive relations during Ottoman times. Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel’s right to exist and Turkish diplomats saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. This implies that the negative changes instrumented by Erdogan can indeed be temporary.

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Hamas Pushing Erdogan to Reignite Strife with Israel over Gaza Harbor

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

According to the Al Qassam website, Hamas MP Jamal Al-Khudari has said that the visit to Gaza by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be an opportunity to discuss with the Turks the project of upgrading the Gaza harbor. The article’s translation was provided by MEMRI.

Al-Khudari told Quds Press last week that Arab and Islamic parties had promised to upgrade the Gaza harbor, to enable it to work as an important import-export port for the coastal strip.

The 48,000 square meter Gaza harbor is 970 meters in depth and is currently only used by fishermen who are kept within six nautical miles off the coast by the Israel.

Following the June, 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza, both Egypt and Israel decided to impose a land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, on the grounds that Fatah had fled and was no longer providing security on the Arab side. Egypt was also concerned that a Hamas spillover would ignite unrest in its own cities.

The blockade has been kept more and less rigidly, depending on the severity of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. In May, 2010, the Israeli Navy seized a convoy of six ships known as the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH). The convoy’s aim was to break through the blockade. Israeli naval commandos boarded the ships in international waters. On the Turkish MV Mavi Marmara, the main ship of the convoy, passengers attacked and captured three soldiers. After failing to disperse the attackers, soldiers resorted to live fire. Nine passengers were killed and dozens wounded. Nine soldiers were also injured, two of them seriously.

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent apology for the unfortunate event, its remnants are still hovering in the air between Turkey and Israel. Both countries, for a variety of reasons, are eager to restore normalcy: the Turks because Israeli tourism in the past injected a great deal of cash into their economy; the Israelis because they desire a safe haven for mid-way landing should they decide to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

But if Hamas is able to drag Turkey into making good on its promise, and becoming a partner in the project, it would pose a difficult challenge to Israel. Being able to control the traffic of goods into Gaza has enabled Israel to manage a rather successful policy of carrots and sticks with Hamas. Without recognizing the Hamas government officially, Israel has been able to open its border crossings with Gaza for incoming goods when Hamas controlled its urge to shoot rockets into Israeli civilian centers, and close the same crossings when the terrorist organization could no longer curb its murderous urges.

This is precisely why Hamas MP Khudari, who is the head of the committee against the siege, emphasized that his committee wants Turkey to remain a full partner in the operation of Gaza harbor as a commercial port.

He stressed his plan that Turkey would supervise the harbor, that and all import and export traffic would be handled via a Turkish port, which would mean an end to the sea blockade on the Strip. Goods for Gaza will no longer land in Ashdod, Israel, first and then be shipped a few miles by truck into Gaza. They would instead be processed someplace in southern Turkey, and then ship directly to Gaza harbor.

Khudari said that his committee is hoping that such a proposal would end Israel’s excuses for refusing to let goods in and out of Gaza through its harbor over security fears.

Of course, if you can’t count on the Turks telling you there’s nothing illegal in those shioments, who can you count on?

MP Khudari said that the project would go into effect as soon as it was approved, adding that it would be tabled with Erdogan on his visit to Gaza.

Erdogan announced his intention to visit Gaza in May after a visit to the USA in mid May.

Sunday Times: Israel Wants Use of Turkish Base to Bomb Iran

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Israel is about to offer missiles and advanced technology to Turkish in exchange for Ankara’s allowing the Israeli Air Force to use a base northeast of the capital, which is approximately  1,000 miles from the border with Iran, according to the Sunday Times of London.

It said that National Security Council chairman Yaakov Amidror will visit Turkey on Monday to try to put an end to the bitter differences between Turkey and Israel over the Mavi Mamara flotilla clash three years ago.

“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London newspaper. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”

Iran is a mutual fear for both countries, and President Barack Obama used his visit last month to Israel to put an end to the diplomatic crisis that began to develop during the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist maneuvers against Hamas-controlled Gaza, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned Israel from a long-term friend into a new enemy. He then embraced both Syria and Iran until realizing last year he chose the wrong side.

Israel is helping him climb down from the diplomatic tree and in principle has agreed to Erdogan’s demand to compensate the families of the nine Turkish IHH members who carried out a brutal pore-mediated attack on Israeli Navy commandos who boarded their ship virtually unarmed to keep it from sailing to embargoed-Gaza. After the IHH attackers kidnapped three commandos and wounded them and several others, the Israeli force overtook them, killing nine IHH terrorists.

The London newspaper reported that Amidror’s mission is to re-open a 1996 Israeli-Turkish agreement that allows the Israel Air Force to train in Turkey’s air space and use the Akinci Air Base, northeast of Ankara. In return, Turkish pilots were allowed to train at Air Force bases in the Negev.

With the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon staring at in its face, Turkey wants Israel’s advanced technology and missiles, such as the Arrow,  to beef up its defense not only against missiles from Iran but also from Syria.

Turkey is very worried by Iran’s missile ambitions,” the Israeli source told the Sunday Times. “With Israeli know-how based on the Jericho ballistic missiles, the time frame will be cut short.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/sunday-times-israel-wants-use-of-turkish-base-if-it-bombs-iran/2013/04/21/

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