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February 7, 2016 / 28 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Updated: 10 Dead as Explosion Rocks Central Istanbul, No Israelis Present

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

A popular tourist site in the heart of Istanbul was turned into a scene of horror Tuesday morning when a massive explosion sent bodies flying in Sultanahmet Square.

At least 10 people were killed and 15 more are wounded, according to the Istanbul governor’s office.

Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachson told JewishPress.com that “as far as he knows” no Israelis were present at the time of the blast.

Officials believe the explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber, according to numerous reports. A Turkish official told AFP on condition of anonymity that terrorist links are suspected. The Istanbul governor’s office said authorities are investigating the type of explosives used in the blast.

Three of the injured foreigners are from Germany. Two are from Norway, according to Dogan News Agency. There was a group of German tourists on the square at the time of the blast, Reuters reported.

Shortly after the explosion, Turkish authorities banned coverage by media, Anadolu news agency reported.

The blast occurred near the obelisk of Theodosius in Istanbul’s Fatih district, not far from the famed Blue Mosque. Some of the wounded, including tourists, were evacuated to the Haseki Research and Training Hospital.

One eyewitness told news reporters the explosion was instantaneous, like “a ball of flame.”

There have been two major bombing attacks within the past 12 month in Turkey, both by Da’esh (ISIS). More than 30 people died in July in an ISIS suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc, near Syria. The second attack was a twin bombing by a local ISIS cell outside a main train station in Ankara last October killed more than 100 demonstrators at a peace rally.

Russia Bans Turkish Employees, Turkish Hackers Breach Moscow Instagram Acct

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

Tensions in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey have not diminished at all since the incident occured on November 24; in fact the state-sponsored and non-governmental back-biting continues unabated.

Russian firms have been ordered to cease hiring Turkish citizens, and the Instagram account of at least one Russian governmental minister was breached by a Turkish cyberhacker group.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree December 1 “on measures to ensure national security of the Russian Federation from criminal and other illegal activities and the use of special economic measures against the Republic of Turkey.”

The restrictions on work visas do not, however, apply to some 53 construction and other firms with long-term contracts in Russia, according to the Sputnik news agency.

Nevertheless, the companies granted exemptions are prohibited from exceeding the total number of Turkish employees they hired up to December 31.

Meanwhile, a team of Turkish hackers has claimed responsibility for breaking into a Russian minister’s Instagram account Sunday (Jan. 3).

The Börteçine Cyber Team said it targeted the account of Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, replacing his images with those of the flag of Turkey, a still of the downed Russian Sukhoi-24, and a portrait of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Nearly 400,000 Turkish web sites have been breached by the Anonymous hacking collective since Dec. 14, however, including those of a number of Turkish banks, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

Thousands of Trucks Enter Gaza Weekly From Israel – No Excuse for Turkish Freeze

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories reported last week 3,750 trucks with 127,623 tons of goods entered Gaza through Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“There were 35 crossings of ambulances between Gaza and Israel last week,” according to a tweet by the COGAT.

Last Thursday alone, 24,629 tons of goods in 744 trucks were delivered to Gaza through Israel via the overland crossings. In addition, 2.2 million liters of fuel were delivered as well.

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Can Turkey Justify Its Continued Diplomatic Freeze?

Turkey has used the so-called Israeli “blockade” of Gaza as its excuse for refusing to normalize its diplomatic ties with Israel. But the truth is, the crossings between Israel and Gaza are open every day and for a long time now, active commerce has been taking place.

What is not being allowed to enter the region are materials that can be used to manufacture weapons with which to attack the Jewish State – and which have been used for that purpose in the past.

In this regard Turkey is no different in its own methods of self-defense and controlling terror within its borders. In fact the Ankara government is more aggressive: Turkey has no problem attacking PKK terrorists when it perceives a threat.

For Ankara to suggest it has a right to dictate a domestic security policy to another sovereign nation is pretentious, if not outright chutzpah.

Since Israel has already opened the crossings on a daily basis – which by the way, even Egypt does not do with the lone Rafah crossing on its border – Turkey has no reason to complain. But Israel does: Hamas still operates its terrorist organization freely and maintains an active international office within Turkey’s borders, despite a request from Israel to close its doors.

Perhaps Turkey is simply searching for excuses not to formally renew its ties with the Jewish State? There would certainly be many reasons it might be reluctant to do so, beginning and ending with its oily handshake in Tehran. At least the Arab nations in the region are far more honest in their anti-Semitism…

Senior Hamas Official Salah al-Arouri Quits Istanbul

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Senior Hamas official Salah al-Arouri has “voluntarily” left Istanbul as part of a deal to rebuild ties between Turkey and Israel. It is believed he is heading either to Qatar or Lebanon. However, his departure has not yet completely clarified the status between Israel and Turkey, sources for both sides said.

Al-Arouri was one of the founders of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of Hamas. He served 15 years in Israeli prison before he was expelled to Syria; in 2012, he fled to Turkey when the Syrian office of Hamas shut down.

The Hamas operative was also the main player responsible for the abduction and murder by Hamas terrorists of three Israeli yeshiva teens in Gush Etzion in June 2014. That attack ignited a series of conflicts that led to the launch of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s counter-terrorism war with Hamas.

The departure of al-Arouri from Turkey was agreed upon between Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a meeting on Saturday.

Erdogan is deeply loyal to Hamas, as he is to the Muslim Brotherhood which spawned the terrorist group.

Incoming Mossad director Yossi Cohen met last Thursday in Zurich together with Israeli and Turkish contacts to firm up normalization of ties between the two countries. During those talks it was reportedly agreed ambassadors for the two nations would return to their respective offices. In addition, it was allegedly agreed that Israel would establish a compensation fund for the families of those who were killed in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident; in return, Turkey would abandon any and all other claims regarding the case.

But in a statement that followed the meeting, the prime minister’s office stressed that the “understandings” still remained to be signed. A spokesperson for Turkey’s ruling (AK) Justice and Development Party said much the same thing in a statement on Sunday. He noted that although the “people of Turkey and the people of Israel certainly are friends,” nevertheless there remains much to do.

One of the unfinished issues between the two sides is Turkey’s loyalty to Hamas, and Erdogan’s unwillingness to close the offices of the terrorist group. Another is the unwillingness of Israel to remove its blockade of Hamas-run Gaza. The group is generously funded and equipped by Iran, which smuggles funds and weaponry to Gaza however possible.

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.”

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.

Jerusalem’s Armenian Pottery

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

One of the four quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City is the Armenian Quarter. It’s located between the Yafo and Zion gates.

Armenians have been in Jerusalem since the fourth century CE. Though many arrived only after the 1915 Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey.

The entire Armenian quarter consists of no more than around 1000 people.

But there you can find genuine (Jerusalem-style) Armenian pottery and artwork, and even watch as it’s made.

JERUSALEM OLD CITY

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/jerusalems-armenian-pottery/2015/12/02/

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