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April 30, 2016 / 22 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan’

Israel Warns Citizens to Leave Turkey ASAP

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau (NSCCTB) upgraded its travel warning for Turkey on Monday to that of a “high concrete threat.”

But the threat is not just terrorism, although that is where the current danger lies. Ultimately, there is a greater existential threat beneath.

The counter-terrorism bureau warned Israelis not to travel to the country, and told those who are already there to leave as soon as possible.

“The deadly 19 March 2016 attack in Istanbul, in which a group of Israeli tourists was hit, underscores the threat by Da’esh (ISIS) against tourist targets throughout Turkey and proves high capabilities of carrying out further attacks.

“Terrorist infrastructures in Turkey continue to advance additional attacks against tourist targets – including Israeli tourists – throughout the country,” the warning continued.

Although Da’esh has carried out most of the attacks and the outlawed PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party terror group has carried out the rest, for Israelis, the Hamas terrorist organization presents an equal threat. The international Hamas headquarters is located in Istanbul, and yet no mention has been made of its existence despite its ongoing pledge to annihilate Israel and her Jewish citizens. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party welcomed Hamas to the country; Erdogan is a passionate supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood which gave birth to Hamas.

This fact stands in stark contrast to Erdogan’s recent vows to “fight terrorist together with Israel,” leaving one to wonder where he really stands.

“In the wake of an NSCCTB assessment of the situation, it has been decided to upgrade the existing travel warning vis-à-vis Turkey from a basic concrete threat to a high concrete threat, and to reiterate our recommendation to the public to avoid visiting the country and – for Israelis currently in Turkey – to leave as soon as possible.”

There are many Israelis who live in Turkey. A large number are intermarried with Turkish citizens. Some are there because they simply love the beauty of the country, its music and its art. Others are there for reasons relating to their business or artistic concerns.

While it is possible to find a few imported kosher items here and there in Istanbul, one has to hunt very hard to track them down. There are no local kosher supervising agencies. The only exception is the hechsher provided by the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey on a few tourist-related items such as “Turkish Delight” candies.

For the kosher traveler, one can order La Casa packaged meals that are used by Turkish Airlines and under the hechsher of the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey. As it happens, La Casa is also a catering service and actually creates one of the best-quality meals in the industry. Jewish travelers rely on it when visiting Turkey — with the exception of one restaurant and a kosher butcher who stocks frozen foods, there are no other options.

JewishPress.com spoke exclusively with some Jews who live in the country during a recent visit to learn how Jews are faring in Turkey and to give them a voice, if possible.

Not one of the Turkish Jews with whom this news outlet spoke was willing to be identified and most were unwilling to meet in person. Of those who did agree to meet, the tension – nay, fear – was palpable. Even after assurances this reporter would not record the conversation, it took repeated promises that no names would be used before sources could relax enough to speak.

The following narrative is a mashup of the comments of several sources with whom this reporter spoke while in Turkey, in order to fulfill that promise of protecting their identities.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli-Turkish Talks Likely to Focus on Gaza in Geneva

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Israeli and Turkish diplomats are meeting today (Feb. 10) in Geneva, Switzerland, according to reports in both Israeli and Turkish media.

Although Turkish diplomatic sources did not confirm the report, Turkey’s NTV said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu was traveling to Geneva for the meeting.

Likewise, although it has not been confirmed, it is likely the two sides are starting to focus on the thorny issue of Israeli national security and Turkey’s insistence on ending the blockade of Gaza. The region has become the central headquarters for a number of radical Islamist terrorist organizations, not the least of which includes its ruling government, the Hamas terrorist group — which has its international headquarters in Istanbul, funded by Iran.

In general, the talks are continuing over how to heal the broken ties between the two former allies following two separate ice-breaker meetings in Ankara between 51 American Jewish leaders with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier this week.

Turkish media ascribes the break to the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when a Turkish-owned vessel participated in an illegal flotilla aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

When the flotilla ignored Israeli Navy orders to redirect to Ashdod port, IDF commandos boarded each vessel to bring them in, including the Mavi Marmara. But on that vessel the commandos, armed only with pistols and paintball guns, were attacked by terror activists armed with knives and iron bars. During the clash that ensued, 10 attackers were killed, and a number of IDF commandos were seriously wounded.

Turkey used the incident as an excuse to break its ties with Israel and demanded a formal apology, compensation to families of the “victims” — and removal of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. This would open Israeli citizens wide to the results of a massive delivery to Hamas of weaponry from Iran, not to mention opening the border wide to infiltration of terrorists into Israel, further exacerbating the current wave of terror.

Such a request can be likened to asking Turkey to drop any military defense against the PKK — the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization which is recognized by the international community as a terrorist group. The PKK has repeatedly attacked Turkish citizens and government officials. Turkey’s military does whatever it can to defend against the group and eliminate it.

Israel officially “apologized” to Turkey in 2013 over the deaths of her citizens. Discussions over compensation are continuing, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

However, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported Wednesday that Israel had agreed to pay Turkey $20 million in compensation, which is to be transferred to a special fund “that will in turn provide grants to the families of the Turkish citizens who were killed on injured in the Israel commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, in accordance with the recent agreement between the two countries.”

Turkey continues to maintain a hardline attitude, however, on what it calls “the Palestinian cause in talks with Israel.”

According to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, discussions on “how Turkish access to Gaza will be provided in an unrestricted fashion have yet to be clarified.”

The Daily Sabah quoted presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin at a recent Ankara briefing as saying Israel must meet all three conditions to normalize relations. He added Turkey “will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached and the Palestinian people have their own state. Permanent peace cannot be achieved in the region without resolving the Palestinian issue,” Kalin said.

However, despite the chilly diplomatic atmosphere business is quite brisk between the two nations.

The group that owns the license to Israel’s mammoth Leviathan natural gas field recently signed a new $1.3 billion contract to supply the Israeli Edeltech Group and its Turkish partner, Zorlu Enerji.

Hana Levi Julian

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

Russia Presents ‘Evidence’ of Alleged ISIS Oil Imports to Turkey

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Russian officials presented materials on Wednesday that they said proved Turkey’s leadership is “involved in illegal oil trade with ISIS.”

The Russian Defense Ministry presented materials in a Moscow briefing on Wednesday that officials said proved Turkey has been importing oil from the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of shooting down one of Russia’s warplanes to protect the transfer of black market Syrian oil from ISIS through Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would resign if Putin could prove the allegation.

At the briefing in Moscow, Russian Defense Ministry officials charged Turkey’s leadership, including Erdogan and his family, with being “involved in illegal oil trade with [ISIS]… Turkey is the final destination for oil smuggled from Syria and Iraq,” said Deputy Defense Ministery Anatoly Antonov.

Russian Defense Ministry map showing alleged oil truck routes to Turkey from ISIS oil wells in Syria.

Russian Defense Ministry map showing alleged oil truck routes to Turkey from ISIS oil wells in Syria.

“Today, we are presenting only some of the facts that confirm that a whole team of bandits and Turkish elites stealing oil from their neighbors is operating in the region,” Antonov said. He added that the oil “in large quantities” enters Turkish territory in “live oil pipelines” via thousands of oil trucks.

“According to our data, the top political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – is involved in this criminal business,” he added.

Lt.-Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, also at the briefing, said that Russian air strikes that began on September 30 had significantly reduced the oil income of the terror organization.

“The income [of Da’esh] was about $3 million per day,” he said. “After two months of Russian air strikes their income was about $1.5 million a day.”

The officials presented photos of oil trucks, videos of air strikes on ISIS oil storage facilities and maps showing the routes of oil deliveries and promised more evidence to be posted on the ministry’s website in the coming days.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan to Quit If Putin Proves Claim Turkey Imports Oil From ISIS

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed back at claims by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ankara buys its oil from Da’esh (ISIS).

The exchange took place on the sidelines of the COP 21 global conference on climate change taking place in Paris.

“We have received additional data which unfortunately confirm that this oil, produced in areas controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist organizations, is transported on an industrial scale to Turkey,” Putin said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, a Turkey-based newspaper.

“We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers,” Russia’s TASS news agency also quoted Putin as saying during a news conference on the sidelines of the climate talks.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Erdogan denied the claims, saying Turkey obtained all its oil and gas imports “through the legal path… We are not dishonest so as to do this kind of exchange with terrorist groups. Everyone needs to know this,” he said. “If evidence of this kind is found, let those who find it present it,” he added, according to TASS.

Erdogan labeled the accusations “slander” and vowed to resign if the claims were in fact proved.

“I will say something very strong here. If such a thing is proved, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office,” he was quoted by the state-run Andolu news agency as saying. “I am asking Mr. Putin, would you stay in that office? I say this clearly.”

Nevertheless, Erdogan clearly was also mindful that his nation cannot afford to alienate mighty Russia, and appeared to be working hard to avoid it. In his remarks he described Moscow as a “strategic partner,” adding, “Even if it is just a piece of string remaining … we don’t want ties to be cut. How Russia will proceed, I cannot know.”

Ultimately, however, Erdogan said that continued Russian sanctions against his country would be met with those of Turkey – but not yet.

“Let’s act patiently and not emotionally,” he told reporters. “Let’s let their chips fall as they may, then if we have our own chips, we’ll let those fall.”

Hana Levi Julian

Putin Accuses Turkey of ‘Stab in the Back’

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of a “stab in the back” after an F-16 Turkish fighter jet downed a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 with an air-to-air missile over Turkish air space.

Putin insisted the jet had been in Syrian airspace at the time and never threatened Turkish territory at all. He accused Turkey of aiding Da’esh (ISIS) and said Ankara was helping the terror group sell its oil in remarks prior to a meeting in Sochi, Russia with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. He warned the incident would have “serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations” but offered no details.

Turkey said in a terse statement the Russian warplane had violated its airspace and had been fired upon only after repeated warnings by Turkish pilots. The Turkish military also released a map that it said showed the plane was shot down as it flew east along a narrow strip of Turkish territory slightly more than a mile wide, along the Syrian border.

“The aircraft entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yaylidag in the southeastern Hatay province. The plane was warned 10 times in the space of five minutes before it was taken down,” the Turkish military said in a statement.

“In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15 kilometers or less away from the border.” When the Russian aircraft ignored the warnings, “the Turkish Air Forces responded by downing the aircraft,” said a Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ordered Turkey’s foreign ministry to consult with the United Nations and NATO, according to the statement from his office. NATO subsequently announced it would hold an emergency session Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the incident.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was scheduled to arrive in Turkey for talks on Wednesday, but in a ninth-hour move cancelled his trip, reportedly due to the downing of the Russian warplane.

In Sochi, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters, “It would be wrong now to give any assessments, assumptions or make any conclusions before we get a full picture. We have to be patient; it is a very serious incident, but again, without all of the information it is impossible to say anything, and it would be wrong.”

Footage of the Russian warplane dropping from the skies in flames into a forested area in northern Syria known to Turkish citizens as the Turkmen Mountains was broadcast over the Haberturk television channel on Tuesday.

Turkmen forces in Syria allegedly shot dead both of the pilots from the downed Sukhoi as they came down in their parachutes.

“Both of the pilots were retrieved dead,” Turkmen brigade deputy commander Alpaslan Celik told reporters, according to Reuters. “Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air.” The Turkmen deputy commander held up what he said was a piece of one of the pilots’ parachutes.

Subsequently it was discovered that only one pilot was killed.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Returns to Polls for Parliamentary Elections

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Turkey goes to the polls today (Sunday, Nov. 1) to choose its parliamentarians. The poll follows a June 7 election that turned the government upside down, removing the Islamist Justice and Development (AK) Party from a single-party majority.

A strong backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the rest of the AKP leadership forced the Nov. 1 election in an attempt to regain a parliament majority.

The November polls were called after the AKP failed to create a viable coalition government; ; President Erdogan refused to allow a different party to attempt to form a government instead.

Since June, the interim national unity caretaker government has negotiated two new agreements.

The first deal was reached with the European Union over measures to handle the growing Syrian refugee crisis in exchange for advancing negotiations over Turkey’s membership in the EU.

The second agreement was reached in mid-July with the United States over the use by USAF warplanes of Turkish air bases and air space while fighting Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkey-returns-to-polls-for-parliamentary-elections/2015/11/01/

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