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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Recep Tayyip 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.


Israeli Cabinet Approves Deal With Turkey Despite Pressure from Families of Israelis Held in Gaza

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

By Joshua B. Dermer/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli security cabinet approved a reconciliation deal with Turkey on Wednesday by a vote of 7-3. The deal, which was supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was opposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

The deal, which was signed Tuesday, comes six years after Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade, leaving 10 Turkish citizens[editor: who attacked IDF soldiers] dead and causing a rift in Israeli-Turkish relations.

Three conditions on the part of Israel are to be met: (1) an official apology for the 2010 flotilla incident is to be issued, (2) as well as $20 million in compensation for families of those killed. In addition, (3) Turkey will be permitted to deliver aid to Gaza by way of the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The families of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza War, whose bodies are currently being held by Hamas in Gaza, expressed disdain for the deal.

The families demanded the return of the soldiers’ bodies before any aid can be provided to Hamas-ruled Gaza, a condition not included in the current deal.

The Shaul family protested outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence, demanding for the recall of the peace agreement. The Goldin family submitted a letter to the Prime Minister’s office.

Together with the Shaul family, relatives of Avera Mengistu, attended the protests. Mengistu, a Israeli man with a history of mental-illness, who is believed to be in Hamas custody after crossing into Gaza and undergoing interrogation by Hamas operatives on September 7, 2014. Mengistu’s whereabouts and condition are unclear, though Hamas officials claimed he was released following interrogation.

Mengistu’s brother, Ilan, denounced the reconciliation agreement, saying: “The government needs to listen to our cries and to understand that we’re speaking of a humanitarian issue here. Avera is my brother and a brother to all of us. We need to bring him home.”

“It is unacceptable that while government permits a humanitarian agreement with Gaza, the humanitarian rights of my brother are forgotten,” he added.

The Israeli cabinet decided to discuss imposing harsher conditions on Hamas prisoners currently held in Israeli jails as a means to pressure Hamas to release the Israelis held in Gaza.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with the three families for a half hour in the prime minister’s office, informing the families that the UN will appoint special representatives to handle the matter of returning the bodies and the missing Israeli.

Seven of the ten ministers who voted in favor of the deal met with the families before entering the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem to vote on the agreement.

Several Knesset members who opposed the deal expressed worry over the condition of paying the families of presumed terrorists as well as Turkey’s interests in entering the agreement, citing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric in recent years.

MK Naftali Bennett expressed caution over the deal, explaining that “reconciliation with Turkey is important at this time and to the interests of the State of Israel, however payment of compensation to the perpetrators of a terrorist act is a dangerous precedent that Israel will regret in the future.”

“As long as there is Turkish influence over Hamas, it is (the Turks) who should do all they can to ensure that Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, may their memories be a blessing, return to Israel,” Bennett said.

Netanyahu adamantly defended the deal at a press conference in Rome on Monday announcing the agreement.

“We are not entering a honeymoon. I’m not trying to beautify this agreement or look at it through rose-colored glasses,” he said. “What I am saying is that our vital interests are promoted by this agreement, that on balance it leans towards our interests.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

36 Dead, More Than 140 Wounded in Suicide Bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

At least 36 people were confirmed dead and more than 140 were wounded Tuesday night in the wake of a suicide bombing at the third largest airport in Europe, Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

A number of police were among the injured and the dead.

Security personnel opened fire as armed attackers detonated explosive vests and shot AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles at the airport shortly after 10 pm Tuesday night.

Turkish officials met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace late into the night to discuss the developments in the attack.

According to Turkey’s Fox News affiliate NTV, three suicide bombers who attacked the departure hall at the international terminal.

Watch video!

Turkish officials who asked for anonymity told reporters the suicide bombers approached security before going through the x-ray for luggage. The bombers opened fire, triggering a shootout with airport police, then detonated the explosive vests they were wearing as they entered the control point in the airport’s security system.

The “control point” is located at a site at the front of the terminal near the entrance to the building where passengers encounter their first security check, before being allowed to proceed into the terminal.

Ataturk Airport was shut down, with incoming and outgoing flights rerouted to a second airport that operates out of Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen. There was a terror attack on the tarmac at that airport last December as well.

Rize'de Ambulans Kaza Yaptı: 1 Ölü, 5 Yaralı by haberler

At least 61.3 million passengers passed through Ataturk Airport in 2015; it is the third largest airport in Europe, and the 11th largest airport in the world.

More than 200 people have been killed in terror attacks in Turkey since January of last year.

Taxi cabs were pressed into service to ferry the injured to hospitals in Istanbul. More than 112 ambulances were used to rush victims to the hospitals, according to Turkish media.

But despite the dozens of dead and wounded, authorities told news media there had been “no security breakdown” at the airport. All roads leading to the airport were closed, and civilian traffic to the airport has been blocked.

Security personnel had, in fact, acted to neutralize the threat as they were meant to do and contained the threat at the entrance to the building, successfully blocking the terrorists from accessing the terminal.

One heroic police officer reportedly jumped on one of the suicide bombers when he saw him detonate his explosives vest, thus absorbing much of the blast with his own body.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey’s President Erdogan ‘Waiting for Israel’ to Respond on Gaza

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is waiting for Israel to grant permission for Turkey to construct energy and water transfer infrastructure in Gaza, according to a report published Saturday (May 21) in the Hurriyet Daily News, quoting an earlier broadcast.

“I expect that something will happen this month. It’s my wish that we’ll reach a conclusion in a short time,” Erdogan told a news broadcast by A Haber on May 19.

“In regards to [lifting] the embargo, they say, ‘We are open to allowing goods into Gaza through Turkey, but we are not open to those coming from places other than Turkey.’ But the problem is not only this. We have some other demands,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader said Ankara has demanded that Israel allow provision of continuous energy to Gaza, “as the enclave has only three to four hours of electricity per day,” Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey’s proposal to provide electricity to Gaza through a naval vessel was rejected by Israel.

“But they proposed something else: We told them that we are ready to construct all the infrastructure [of energy]. They viewed the proposal positively,” Erdogan said.

The second demand, he said, was that Turkey be allowed to provide water to Gaza either by desalinating the sea water or by drilling wells. “There are positive developments with regard to this issue as well,” he said.

Turkey’s third demand from Israel, said Erdogan, was regarding construction projects in Gaza.

“Our third offer is about building schools and hospitals. The construction of a hospital has been completed and necessary equipment is being provided. ‘These must be done,’ we told them. ‘If these would be done, then we’ll immediately appoint ambassadors and improve our relations in the right direction.’”

According to the report, Israeli and Turkish diplomats are expected to meet in the near future to finalize an agreement between the two countries.

But it’s impossible to know what the final outcome will be: Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is set to meet at a nationwide Congress on May 22 to choose a new prime minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hand-picked by Erdogan, resigned his position earlier this month.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey’s PM Ahmet Davutoglu Resigns

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned from his post on Thursday afternoon.

Davutoglu told journalists at a news conference that followed the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s central executive committee meeting, “I have worked with my heart and soul. There was no fallout from the AK Party structure during my chairmanship.

Davutoglu explained that his decision to resign was made “out of necessity,” saying, “I think that it is right to step down for the continuity of AK Party’s unity and solidarity,” according to Turkey’s Daily Sabah news site.

Erdogan has long been pressuring the party – and the country – for a Constitutional change that would create a presidential leadership government, one without a prime minister.

“Strong AK Party governments will continue in the next four years. Determined operations against terror groups are successfully continuing,” he said. “No investments were left unfinished and there were no setbacks during my tenure as prime minister,” he added.

Davutoglu said he would not run as a candidate for party leadership in the May 22 party congress. However, he said, “I will not tolerate any speculations about my relationship with President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan. My loyalty to the president will last to the end.”

It is not yet clear how Davutoglu’s resignation will affect Turkey’s diplomatic talks with Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Kerry Meets Turkish Pres., Egyptian FM in Washington

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

U.S. Secy of State John Kerry met Wednesday with Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdogan and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry separately in Washington for what officials there called “brief visits.”

With Erdogan, Kerry discussed ongoing efforts to secure a political transition in Syria and assessed coalition efforts to “degrade and defeat Da’esh (ISIS) in the country.

The two men “reviewed the progress that has been made on the ground and discussed ways to strengthen [their] cooperation against this shared threat,” according to State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby.

Erdogan has been visiting the United States this week for the opening of a new mosque in Maryland, about 10 miles from the White House. The new center is considered to be the largest Turkish mosque outside the country. The Diyanet Center of America, as it is called, is a vast complex with the capacity to seat 10,000 worshipers on a 60-acre site. In addition to the mosque, the site is home to a cultural center, Turkish bathhouse, 10 different representative Turkish homes, a museum and more. Workshops and cultural exhibits on traditions such as Islamic calligraphy, Turkish marbling and visual storytelling will be held there as well.

President Barack Obama has declined to attend the opening of the mosque event set for this Saturday morning (April 2), despite publicized reports last November that he would be there. Erdogan will be joined by Turkey’s head of religious affairs, Dr. Mehmet Gormez.

With Shoukry, Kerry discussed a range of regional and bilateral issues, including Libya and Syria, Kirby said.

The U.S. Secretary reiterated America’s “commitment to help Egypt fight terrorism, increase economic growth, govern democratically, and bolster regional security,” according to a statement by Kirby.

Kerry and Shoukry “also discussed the importance of easing restrictions on association and expression in Egypt” and that of “allowing human rights non-governmental organizations to operate freely.”

Hana Levi Julian

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-warns-israelis-to-leave-turkey-for-safetys-sake/2016/03/28/

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