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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Armenian Genocide

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Armenians protest with flags and signs in front of the Turkish Consulate in Sheikh Jarach, Jerusalem, as they mark the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, on April 24, 2016.

The massacres, were carried out by Turkey, began in April 1915.

Armenian communities around the world mark the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians, on April 24 each year with marches, vigils and rallies to demand recognition from the world community, and reparations from Turkey.

Photo of the Day

Turkey Retaliates Against ISIS Rocket Fire From Syria

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Turkish military forces struck Da’esh (ISIS) targets across the southeastern border in Syria on Wednesday in retaliation for three days of rocket fire.

More than a dozen people were injured and at least two people were killed since Sunday in the attacks.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised speech the Turkish army “struck back in line with its rules of engagement.”

The southern Turkish province of Kilis was struck Wednesday morning by Katyusha rocket fire from across the border in Syria. Four rockets struck two different areas in the region at about 9:10 am, landing in open fields. No casualties were reported, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

One day earlier (April 12), two people were killed and six were wounded when two rockets landed in the same province, less than a day after a barrage from Syria had struck the area.

On April 11, three rockets were fired at Kilis from a Syrian region under the control of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization. Twelve people were reported wounded in that attack.

The rocket landed in an open field, according to the report. No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Hana Levi Julian

3 Wounded in Central Istanbul Bus Stop Bombing

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

At least three people were wounded Saturday night after a bomb detonated at a bus stop in the Mecidiyeköy neighborhood of the Şişli district, in central Istanbul. It is one of the more prominent business quarters of Turkey’s largest city.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Earlier in the day, Turkish police discovered a suspicious bag at another bus stop. The security forces deployed a bomb squad robot to safely detonate the bomb within.

The blast came just hours after a ‘credible threat’ alert from the U.S. embassy in Turkey, warning citizens to stay away from tourist sites and crowded areas in Istanbul and Antalya.

The American alert followed a renewed “high concrete threat” warning on Friday by Israel to its citizens. Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged Israelis to leave Turkey at once, and advised those who were planning to travel to the country to postpone their trips for now.

Emergency response teams sealed off the area as Turkish police and security personnel swarmed in to determine who was behind the bombing.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel, US Warn Citizens to Leave Turkey Immediately Due to ‘High Concrete Threat’

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Both Israel and the United States are warning their citizens to leave Turkey immediately in the face of “credible” terror threats.

The warning from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara followed Israel’s “high concrete threat” barely a day later.

“Following a situational assessment, we are reiterating and sharpening the high level of threat in Turkey,” read the warning posted by the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau (NSCCTB).

A Da’esh suicide bomber in Istanbul targeted a group of Israelis and other tourists in an attack on March 19, 2016 that left four people dead, three of them Israeli, and wounded 39 others, including 11 Israelis.

The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel alert for Turkey towards the end of last month less than two weeks later, warning of another impending attack.

This weekend, the bureau repeated and sharpened its warning, saying that it recommends that Israelis “avoid traveling to the country and those who are there, leave as soon as possible…Israeli tourists currently in Turkey are asked to refrain from going to crowded tourist sites. Follow the instructions of local security officials and the media, and leave the country as soon as possible. To the families of Israeli tourists, please update your relatives about this warning,” the advisory adds.

“There are immediate risks of attacks being carried out in the country, and we stress the threat applies to all tourism sites in Turkey.”

The U.S. warned its citizens in an emergency travel warning published on the website of the embassy in Turkey Saturday night. The warning advised citizens of “credible threats to tourist areas, in particular to public squares and docks in Istanbul and Antalya. Please exercise extreme caution if you are in the vicinity of such areas,” the American travel warning stated.

Antalya is a major tourist attraction on Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline. Millions of people are drawn to the site every year, making it a perfect target for terrorists.

Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting against Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Coalition aircraft use an air base located in Turkey, at the southeastern city of Incirlik, to bomb Da’esh targets.

In addition, Turkish citizens have been targeted by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization, based in southeastern Turkey as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey, Israel Deal to Close ‘Very Soon,’ Says Turkey’s Foreign Ministry

Friday, April 8th, 2016

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced Friday that a deal is to be finalized “very soon” with Israel.

In fact, the deal may close the next time the two teams meet, according to a statement by Turkey’s foreign ministry, quoted by Turkish media.

“The teams made progress toward finalizing the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal would be finalized in the next meeting which will be convened very soon,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Talks in London lasted well into the night Thursday between Israeli and Turkish delegations, ending just before midnight.

Israeli National Security Council Acting Chairman General Jacob Nagel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Joseph Ciechanover both were present at the talks. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu represented Turkey’s government, according to the Daily Sabah.

Sinirlioglu had previously met in Rome with Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold in June 2015.

The current round of negotiations started in December 2015, with both sides reaching a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, the Daily Sabah reported.

During that first meeting the two teams agreed on “the return of ambassadors to both countries, after Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the relatives of the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid.” Talks resumed in February of this year. During that meeting, “Turkish and Israeli officials discussed easing, rather than lifting Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which Ankara aims to begin rebuilding,” the newspaper reported.

During his visit to the United States a week ago, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Jewish American leaders. He underlined the need for “cooperation against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the West” during the gathering, Turkish media reported.

American Jewish leaders also expressed their appreciation to the Turkish president for his nation’s assistance after the Da’esh (ISIS) suicide bombing on Istanbul last month. Three Israelis died and 11 others were wounded in the attack, which also killed an Iranian national and wounded 28 other people.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin spoke with his Turkish counterpart almost immediately following the attack, thanking him for his country’s supportive stance and vowing to work together against terrorism.

Israel and Turkey were once close allies. Israel’s war with Gaza in 2006 stretched the diplomatic ties to the breaking point, but the bonds were torn in 2010 over the deaths of nine Turkish activists on an illegal flotilla that tried to breach Israel’s defensive maritime blockade of Gaza. The activists attacked Israeli naval commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port; during the clashes, nine of the Turks died and a number of Israelis were badly wounded.

Turkey demanded compensation to the families of the deceased, an apology for the incident and the removal of the blockade. Outraged, many Israelis opposed any movement toward such demands. But time and discussions between old friends can accomplish much.

The first two conditions have long since been met. The last is impossible given that it is a national security issue; it since has been discussed and a compromise appears to have been reached.

“Israel allows commercial goods into Gaza daily,” Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News noted in its coverage of the talks on Friday, “but limits the transfer of certain items such as cement and building materials as it fears militants could use them to build fortifications. Officials describe the blockade on Gaza, which is supported by neighboring Egypt, as a necessary means of preventing arms smuggling by Palestinian militants.”

The talks have come a long way indeed.

Oddly, business people in both countries never faltered even for a moment: if anything, trade between the two nations has increased over the past five years. Anyone looking for concrete evidence need only step into the new Machsanei Mazon supermarket that opened this past week in the northern Negev city of Arad.

Nearly 15 percent of the kosher-certified items in the store are from Turkey, including rarely-seen six-pack bottles of ginger ale and the “Dime” brand bottles of cherry-flavored juice drink that are found in every store in Turkey. You can’t find them with a hechsher (kosher supervision symbol) anywhere in the country.

You have to come to Israel to find Turkish products with (Turkish) kosher certification.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan Security Team Clashes With Reporters, Protesters in Washington DC

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had an eventful visit in the United States in advance of his address to the Brookings Institute.

Erdogan had arrived earlier in the week to attend a nuclear security summit at the White House, and is slated to participate in the opening of a new mosque and Turkish Islamic cultural center in Maryland, a scant 10 miles from Washington.

But the Turkish leader faced vociferous protests Thursday from Kurdish Americans outside the Brookings Institute ahead of his speech on challenges in the region. And that triggered his advance team, which behaved like a bunch of green mafia goons.

The demonstrators were waving the typical American protester picket signs calling the Turkish president a “facist murderer,” demanding he “End Turkish denial” and “Stop Turkish aggression.”

And as usual, Washington DC police moved to contain the protesters. Media was there, of course, complete with cameras, film and audio crews, some already entering the building and others still outside covering the protests in advance of the event. That’s when the firestorm broke out.

News outlets in Washington reported that Erdogan’s security personnel tried to remove some journalists from the Brookings Institute but were not allowed to throw them out.

The security detail was photographed clashing with protesters and confronting city police after law enforcement declined to remove demonstrators from the area.

Erdogan’s security detail “became physical with reporters, removing one journalist from Brookings, kicking an NPR reporter and throwing a female reporter to the sidewalk,” according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Turkish bodyguards told a cameraman he was not allowed to film outside the think tank’s building. Security personnel chased another cameraman across the street.

Another Turkish security guard called a veteran female journalist Amberin Zaman “a PKK whore” as she stood in the driveway of the Brookings building, preparing to enter. Other epithets they used cannot be printed here.

In the United States, it is legal to demonstrate in the public arena and to carry picket signs even when they display outrageous messages. But in Turkey, such actions could earn a protester a jail sentence, at the minimum. Clearly, Erdogan’s advance team had received little or no briefing — or had chosen to ignore the information provided to them.

The Turkish leader has made a concerted effort to suppress media freedom in Turkey. Several weeks ago his administration seized control of Zaman / Today’s Zaman, the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in the country, and shut it down. Other news outlets have been closed down over the past year as well. Numerous journalists have been jailed for expressing opinions contrary to those of the president, questioning his actions or writing investigative reports. It’s very unpredictable.

Brookings Institute staff eventually came out of the building to physically escort some of the journalists into the forum and shield them from the harassment.

One DC police officer was heard to remark after a heated discussion with an Erdogan security guard, “He just cursed at me in Turkish.” Some of the Turkish personnel had to be physically blocked from assaulting the protesters, by a combined force of DC police and Brookings staff.

A total free-for-all.

National Press Club President Thomas Burr said in a statement later in the day the Erdogan security team “have no right to lay their hands on reporters or protesters or anyone else for that matter, when the people they were apparently roughing up seemed to be merely doing their jobs or exercising the rights they have in this country.”

A relatively mild response to the thuggery that took place with the excuse of “misunderstanding” and cultural dissonance.

Nevertheless, not every demonstrator was protesting the Turkish president’s presence: there was also those at Brookings who waved Turkish flags and pro-Erdogan banners. Some of the picket signs thanked the Turkish president for “protecting Syrian refugees.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-meets-turkish-pres-egyptian-fm-in-washington/2016/03/31/

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