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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Turkish Forces Infiltrate Syria to Rescue Troops, Artifacts from Ottoman Tomb

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Turkish military forces launched a cross-border raid into northern Syria reportedly to evacuate personnel guarding a centuries-old Ottoman tomb across the border near the Kurdish town of Kobani late Saturday.

The operation was carried out overnight by ground troops backed by warplanes, according to the Turkish state-run TNT television station.

One soldier was killed while evacuating personnel protecting the Tomb of Suleyman Shah and artifacts in the mausoleum, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. Suleyman Shah, who died in 1236 CE, at a spot along the Euphrates, was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the massive Ottoman Empire.

A joint operation by Turkish intelligence and military personnel, the evacuation was carried out after reports suggested the tomb was besieged by members of Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror organization.

There were no clashes with enemy combatants, according to Hurriyet, which reported that Turkish troops left Syria after detonating the symbolic building to prevent Daesh terrorists from using it as a base.

The artifacts from the tomb were “temporarily” brought to Turkey and the army “took control of an area in the Ashma region of Syria, raising our flag, where Suleiman Shah will later be transferred,” according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“I want to stress that a nation can build a future only by laying a claim to its past,” the Turkish prime minister added.

Exclusive: Syrian Activist Blasts Foreign Deal to Train, Arm & Equip Syrian ‘Moderate’ Forces

Friday, February 20th, 2015

A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”

The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?

Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013.  He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …

“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.

“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.

“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)

Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.

“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.

“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.

By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?

Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.

Can this cause be saved?

US Signs Deal with Turkey to Train & Arm Syrian ‘Moderates’

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The United States on Thursday signed an agreement with Turkey at the U.S. Embassy in that country to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces.

Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia also are expected to participate in the deal, which is set to begin in March, according to a defense official quoted by NPR.

At least 1,200 troops “have already been identified,” according to Fox News. Congress has allocated $500 million for the training, which is to be hosted at one of three anticipated sites in Turkey.

Hundreds of “moderate” Syrian opposition forces have already been screened and 1,200 identified, with the program to be launched in mid-March.

Major-General Michael K. Nagata has been tapped to lead the training, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Good News: Erdoğan Says He Does not Mind Being Alone in the World

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president and the country’s most famous stand-up, has confessed he feels “isolated’ politically but world leaders actually envy him because he says what he thinks. If that is not enough to challenge the best psychologist in the world, he also stated, “I don’t care about being alone in the eyes of the world. What matters is how the people view me,” referring to voters who he thinks are thrilled at their leader being snubbed. The Turkish Cihan News quoted him as telling journalists during a tour of Latin America:

We saw [how people see me] during the presidential election that people sided with me. And there’s no       isolation when you consider other countries’ people as well.

Maybe there is an isolation on the level of leaders, but it’s nothing other than envy. Erdoğan said he once had great relations with President Barack Obama but just can’t understand how things went sour. He dumped Israel in 2009, ran into the waiting arms of Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad and Iranian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at the same time Washington began to finally understand that the Iranian nuclear threat was real. So what is Erdoğan’s conclusion about his relations with Obama?

We had one-on-one meetings. After all these talks, we see that things started to develop in a different way, which I could not understand.

And does Erdoğan, think that President Obama envies him? Does Obama play golf better than Obama? The Turkish president recently has had a bit of criticism of Obama and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Obama’s sin, according to Erdoğan, was that he did not call last week’s murders of three Muslims in North Carolina an attack on Islam, even though the three Muslims who were shot and killed did not appear to have stemmed from a long-running parking dispute and without any link to religion. Erdoğan also cannot understand why the world “is not speaking out against” al-Sisi, whose regime has sentenced to death 183 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of Erdoğan’s favorite friends, along with Hamas. Erdoğan said, “When you speak out about these issues you are left alone, but not in the eyes of the people,” which says a great deal about the man on the street in Turkey.

French PM Warns ‘Threat is Still Present’

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Security officials in France say they are hunting for at least six more members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“The threat is still present” from last week’s terror attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFM television on Wednesday. “The work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues . . . because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices.”

The terrorists were involved in last week’s attacks in Paris and are believed to include a man seen driving a car registered to Hayat Boumedienne, the widow of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen killed in Friday’s shootout.

Police are searching Paris for the Mini Cooper registered to Boumedienne, according to The Associated Press. She herself is already in Syria, according to reports from Turkish intelligence

French police sources were also quoted as saying the original terror cell was comprised of some 10 members and that “five or six could still be at large.” No names were released. A second police source said there were eight members in the cell, including Boumedienne.

As many as 10,000 military personnel have been deployed across the country to protect various sites, including iconic landmarks, strategic sites and Jewish schools and neighborhoods. Some 4,700 troops are to be assigned to protect the 717 Jewish schools in France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday. “A little girl was telling me earlier that she wanted to live in peace and learn in peace in her school,” the interior minister related during a visit to a Paris Jewish class. “That’s what the government, that’s what the Republic, owes to all the children in France: security in all the schools, especially in the schools that could be threatened,” he said.

The move comes in the wake of a three-day rampage of terror that left 17 people dead and more wounded last week, including five Jews. The siege began with an attack on the offices of the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a satiric weekly French magazine that has published a number of irreverent caricatures of the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam. Also attacked was a kosher grocery, where more than a dozen shoppers were held hostage by Coulibaly, who eventually killed four before he himself was killed in the hours before the start of the Sabbath. Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi took another hostage in a printing factory across the city until police stormed the building, forcing them to come out with guns blazing and meet their deaths.

The two brothers were members of AQAP and Coulibaly had pledged allegiance to ISIS. But Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi knew each other from way back; they were served time in prison together in 2005. Cherif was also convicted in 2008 of holding membership in a network that sent jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. In 2010, Cherif and Coulibaly traveled together with their wives to central France to visit Djamel Beghal, a radical Islamist sentenced to 10 years in prison for terrorist activity. In 2011, Cherif’s brother Said traveled to Yemen to spend time with AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki and to train with AQAP terrorists.

A fourth terrorist, Hamid Mourad surrendered to police during a raid just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Turkish Intel Took ISIS Wife’s Fingerprints Though ‘Unaware’ of Importance

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Hayat Boumedienne was in a big hurry as she passed through Turkey into Syria, but not such a hurry that she didn’t have time to spend a couple of days in a popular hotel in Istanbul. Enough time for Turkish intelligence to lift her fingerprints, too.

Turkey’s alert security services managed to collect the fingerprints of the wife of Amedy Coulibaly, an operative for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) even though they maintained they were “unaware” of her importance.

Coulibaly is believed to have killed a French policewoman on Jan. 8 and held more than a dozen people hostage at a kosher grocery the next day, killing four and wounding others before he was finally killed by French police.

Meanwhile Boumedienne had apparently slipped into Syria while all that was going on, and according to a report published in the Daily Hurriyet, after having arrived in Turkey on Jan. 2 to rendezvous with ISIS terrorists.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed on Monday, Jan. 12 that airport footage showed Boumedienne’s arrival in Turkey on Jan. 2, in addition to evidence from “telephone recordings” that she had stayed in Istanbul’s Kadikoy neighborhood and crossed into Syria on Jan. 8.

French authorities were aware of the information, Davutoglu said. “We provided them with the information as soon as we got it, without them even asking,” he told reporters, responding to claims by the Syrian Foreign Ministry that Ankara had allowed ISIS terrorists to travel through Turkey to Syria.

Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fiden was quoted by Hurriyet as saying that Turkey has deported 1,056 foreigners and imposed a travel ban on 7,833 others to prevent foreign fighters from joining jihadist groups in Syria.

According to the Daily Yeni Safak, Boumedienne stayed for two days at a hotel in the central Istanbul district of Kadikoy on the city’s Asian side, together with a man identified as Mehdi Sabri Belhouchine. The two left the hotel only twice in the two days they were there, the daily newspaper reported.

The British newspaper The Times reported that Boumedienne called France 18 times during her stay in Istanbul, before crossing into Syria. She traveled to the southeastern province of Sanliurfa on Jan. 4. According to the report, the last signal from her phone was picked up on Jan. 8, one day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the same day that her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, shot a policewoman.

“It is unlikely that she will cross again into Turkey, even with a fake identity, because her name has been revealed. Along with her fingerprints, her face has also been disclosed,” states a security report on Boumedienne, according to Hurriyet. “She will likely be [hidden] by the militant group. Then she might be dispatched to a different zone to operate.”

Turkey’s Erdogan Attacks Netanyahu for ‘Daring’ to Show Up at Paris Unity Rally

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

One day after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas appeared arm in arm with world leaders in Paris at Sunday’s unity rally against radical Islamist terror, he joined Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in slamming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for doing the exact same thing.

Turkey’s new presidential palace in Ankara was given the opportunity to witness a “dress show” during Erdogan’s welcoming ceremony for Abbas as a visiting head of state for the first time on Monday. The two shook hands flanked by a costumed retinue before moving on to a meeting room for bilateral talks. Erdogan also took the opportunity to meet with members of the media together with Abbas, where the pair lashed out at Israel’s prime minister for showing up to the event in Paris.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu joined Netanyahu, Abbas and other world leaders who gathered to honor the memory of the 17 people murdered last week in terror attacks by Islamist extremists. The Turkish president said, however, that Netanyahu had no right to participate due to the civilian casualties in Gaza resulting from Israel’s war with the ruling Hamas terror organization last summer.

“I also hardly understand how he dared to go there,” Erdogan told reporters. For one, you give an account for the children and women you massacred,” he said, according to AFP.

“How can you see this individual who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza waving his hand? He is waving his hand as if people are very enthusiastically waiting for him,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

The Turkish president went on to say that historically, Muslims were never on the side of terror, nor did they perpetrate massacres. Last week’s slaughter in Paris resulted from racism, hate messages and Islamaphobia, Erdogan contended.

“We hope that those attacking nations cease their assault on our mosques,” he said. “Take note that the acts of terror are not carried out in a vacuum. The acts follow a predetermined script and we should be alive to a plot against the Islamic world.”

Erdogan accused Israel of ‘escalating tensions in the region by violating holy sites along with its recent increasingly aggressive behavior,’ according to a report published in Turkey’s Todays Zaman newspaper. He added that protecting the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the “Noble Sanctuary” and the third holiest place in Islam, ‘is not only the duty of Palestine, but also the entire Islamic world,’ according to the report – implying that the site is in danger. The Turkish president also vowed to continue fighting against Israel’s ‘reckless behavior that recognizes no rules’ with other Muslim countries and the international community, the newspaper reported.

With regard to the Paris terror attacks, Erdogan asked European authorities to ‘take preventive measures against those who attack mosques and Muslims,’ saying ‘these are all provocations’ and adding ‘these things are not being done for nothing… These are all a result of a scenario. There are also games being played over the Islamic world. We need to be aware of this too.’

Erdogan said it was ‘meaningful’ that Muslims were being blamed for a massacre that was committed by ‘French citizens.’

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkeys-erdogan-attacks-netanyahu-for-daring-to-show-up-at-paris-unity-rally/2015/01/13/

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