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February 13, 2016 / 4 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

UPDATED Pipe Bomb Explodes in Istanbul Speculation ISIS or PKK

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

An explosion near a central subway station in Turkey’s capital is being investigated, but so far the cause of the blast remains unknown. It occurred in the Bayrampasa District of Istanbul.

There are media reports of at least six wounded, although Istanbul’s Governor Vasip Sahin said that only one citizen was slightly injured. Several Turkish news sources are reporting that at least one of the injured has died.

The metro lines in Istanbul have been canceled, and the windows of a train that was passing through the area when the explosion occurred are broken.

Ambulances and fire trucks have been dispatched to the scene.

There is speculation that the cause of the blast was a bomb, others claim a transformer blew up.

This story will be updated as information comes in.

UPDATE: Turkish television news shows reveal that small bits of metal, like bomb shrapnel, were found at the site, suggesting the source of the blast was a bomb. On Turkish social media, speculation is rife that the source of the bomb could either be ISIS or the PKK, the Kurdish insurgency group, in retaliation for the assassination of the beloved Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elci, who was killed in public on Nov. 28.

A Turkish citizen who requested his name not be used said he heard reports that the blast occurred just one minute after a Turkish police convoy passed, leading to speculation that the convoy was the target of the explosion.

UPDATE #2: The mayor of the district in which the explosion occurred stated, in a live televised news conference, that the source of the explosion was a pipe bomb, according to Reuters.

UPDATE #3: Two victims of the Istanbul train bombing are now reported dead.

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.”

An Angry Russia Moves S-400 Antiaircraft Missile Systems into Syria

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

(JNi.media) Russia has moved the S-400 (Growler) air defense missile systems to its airbase near Latakia in Syria after Turkey had shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, the official Russian news agency TASS reported. The S-400 systems “will ensure the safety of the Russian air group’s flights and will destroy any targets posing a threat to it,” according to TASS. Also, as of this week, Russian aircraft and helicopters on combat missions will be accompanied by fighter jets and covered by aerial electronic warfare systems.

The Pentagon is concerned that the Russian missile systems may complicate the situation in the sky over Syria, stating that the US expects these systems will not be aimed at aircraft belonging to the US-led coalition. The statement was met with a sarcastic response from Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, who said, “We were confident until Tuesday that our planes destroying Islamic State facilities were guaranteed against attacks from the so-called US-led anti-IS coalition.” He was referring to the fact that Turkey is a bona fide member of NATO.

“Now all the northern provinces in Syria bordering on Turkey, as well as the north-eastern provinces bordering on Iraq are tracked by our [S-400] system and targets can be hit at a depth of up to [200 miles],” military expert and editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland journal Viktor Murakhovsky told TASS, adding with a tone reminiscent of what a sleeping bear must sound like after being poked with a stick: “Therefore, as it turns out, with the deployment of the S-400 at the Khmeimim airbase, the territory of Turkey is visible within the distance of about [220-250 miles] while fire can be delivered at a distance of about [125-155 miles] in depth.”

“Turkey has itself to blame for creating such a situation when now its plane may be shot down if they enter Syrian airspace even for a second. Now the [S-400] system will track all Turkish warplanes approaching the border. The S-400 is a sword of Damocles that will hang over the heads of potential intruders,” the expert added.

Damocles, a courtier under Dionysius II, a 4th-century BCE tyrant in Syracuse, Sicily, was pandering to his king, saying he was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority. Dionysius then offered to switch places with Damocles so that the latter could taste that fortune firsthand. Damocles eagerly accepted the king’s proposal and sat down in the king’s throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius had arranged that a giant sword hang above the throne, held by a single hair of a horse’s tail. Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate. The tale conveys the sense of constant fear in which a great man lives.

Last Thursday, the Israeli Air Force concluded its second annual exercise, which stressed that when it comes to Russia, Israel will try its best to avoid friction, despite the increasing Russian military presence in neighboring Syria. According to a senior officer, the IDF has forged a clear policy of never downing a Russian plane, even if it has entered Israeli territory.

There are new reports that say Russian planes have entered Israeli airspace.

Both the Pentagon and Israel are afraid of the Syrian civil war potentially developing into a global conflict. But Regional Security Sector Head at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies Igor Nikolaichuk believes that the S-400 will be a deterrence, signaling to NATO members: “Don’t step in and don’t try to shoot down our planes.” In his view, “The Americans’ fears are completely unfounded and are only an element of political pressure. Modern technical capabilities and specialists’ qualification give a possibility actually to exclude an incidental downing of planes.”

Russia Shuts Border Gates to Turkish Trucks

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Passengers and trucks traveling from Turkey are encountering new obstacles when they reach the Russian border, according to the Hurriyet Daily News website. This comes two days after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24M warplane.

Turkey’s defense ministry said the warplane violated Ankara’s airspace despite repeated warnings – which were ignored — to redirect its flight path. The Russian navigator who was rescued 12 hours after ejecting from the flaming wreckage of his jet, denies ever having heard any of the warnings, and denies ever having left Syrian airspace.

“Russia has closed its border gates to Turkish trucks,” Fatih Sener, head of the International Transporters Association of Turkey (UND), told the Turkish news website.

The country’s trucks are now being subjected to “full examination” by Russian customs personnel, according to Turkish officials.

“Around 36,000 trucks carry goods from Turkey to Russia a year. Some 100-150 trucks are now being kept waiting at Russia’s borders. We face an uncertain situation here. No explanation has been made about the trucks which are on their way to Russia though Georgia, although the trucks are apparently being subjected to a ‘full examination’ on their way to Russia via Ukraine. This means all goods in the trucks will be unloaded and examined in detail at the Russia border, but such procedures can take days,” Sener said.

Russia already has ended security cooperation with Turkey and has asked Russians not to visit the country. Within the past day, the Kremlin also introduced new restrictions claiming that 15 percent of agricultural imports from Ankara suddenly do not meet “sanitary regulations.” This has resulted in Russia deciding to import tomatoes from Israel instead.

“Such problems are normal in the Middle East, but Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), so it should not behave like Egypt,” he added.

Actually, no goods are being permitted passage to Russia, in fact, according to Adnan Dalgakiran, head of the Machinery Exporters’ Association and a board member of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM).

“The passing of Turkish trucks through Russian borders has halted now, including machinery,” he told a meeting of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry on Wednesday, according to Reuters. “No Turkish goods can enter Russia now.”

The same difficulties are being faced by the textiles sector, a major export for Turkey, as well. The country’s annual exports to Russia are around $1 billion, “but this has shrunk by 40 percent this year due to the economic problems in Russia,” Ismail Gülle, head of the Istanbul Textiles and Raw Materials Exporters Association, told Reuters.

“Any further shrinkage in our exports will create a big problem for us,” Gülle warned.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke yesterday (Wednesday, Nov. 25) by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the escalating tensions with Turkey.

The Secretary offered his condolences for the “loss of life in Tuesday’s incident,” according to a statement by the State Department.

Kerry also urged for “calm and dialogue between Turkish and Russian officials in the days ahead,” the statement continued. “He also stressed the need for both sides not to allow this incident to escalate tensions between their two countries or in Syria. The Secretary underscored the importance of progress toward a diplomatic solution in Syria continuing unabated.”

The only question is, of course, what Kerry meant by “progress toward a diplomatic solution in Syria.”

Former ‘Lone Soldier’ from NY Serves up Turkeys for American Olim

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Some 200 Lone Soldiers and new Olim from North America will gather Thursday at the Beit HaChayal in Tel Aviv for a special Thanksgiving dinner catered by chef Idan Ianovici, a former Lone Soldier from New York and owner and Vici Deli in Raanana.

The Thanksgiving dinner aims to allow young immigrants without family in Israel to celebrate the traditional holiday – with some Israeli twists.

“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of Pre Aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We wanted to give new Olim who arrived alone, including Lone Soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo Olim here in Tel Aviv.”

Guests will enjoy roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving fare, as well as Israeli desserts.

“When I was a Lone Soldier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with only a few friends,” said Ianovici, who served in the IDF’s Armored Corps and has worked at restaurants in New York and Israel since he was 16. “I’m so happy to be able to help give these young Olim the opportunity to experience a proper Thanksgiving in Israel.”

Russia Punishes Turkey by Importing Tomatoes from Israel

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Russia may be giving a Thanksgiving turkey to Israel in the form of tomatoes that it will import following a sudden ban on accepting produce from Turkey, another punishment for Ankara’s downing a Russian plane this week.

Now that Turkey is a rotten tomato for Russia, Israel will benefit from the need to find 360,000 tons of tomatoes to replace the banned imports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin already has ended security cooperation with Turkey and has asked Russians not visit the country. Moscow invented a diplomatic reason for the ban of food imports from Turkey, claiming that 15 percent of the agricultural imports from Ankara suddenly do not meet “sanitary regulations.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists:

We’re not imposing any embargo.

These (restrictions) are introduced due to an increasing danger from various manifestations of extremism. Of course, additional control measures are taken. This is rather natural, especially taking into account the unpredictable actions of the Republic of Turkey.

Turkish media quoted a member of the Turkish Exporters Association as saying:

Turkish vegetables account for 20 percent of the total Russian imports of vegetables. Import of vegetables, tomatoes in the first place, will be substituted with those from Iran, Morocco, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan.

Israel’s benefiting from Turkey’s intercept of the Russian is a double punishment for Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, whose wounds from the Russian reaction will be salted with the bonus for Israel.

He has not forgiven Israel for boarding the IHH-terrorist infested Mavi Mamara ship five years ago and killing 10 IHH terrorists who tried to kill Navy officers stopping the vessel from breaking the maritime embargo on Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The only negative might be a rise in the price of tomatoes in Israeli supermarkets because of the increased demand from Russia.

Turkey Backpedals as Tensions Rise With Moscow, Says ‘Didn’t Know Downed Plane Was Russian’

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Turkey is starting to dial down its defensive stance in the face of Russian rage over the death of one of its pilots, and says it is ready for “all kinds of cooperation” with Moscow officials after shooting down a Russian Sukhoi-24M fighter jet on Tuesday over what it said was Turkish airspace.

At the time, Turkish military officials said its air force radar controllers repeatedly warned the jet it was violating its airspace and to redirect its flight path, but received no response. On Wednesday, Turkey released a recording of those warnings; a second clip was also published by media that was picked up from an entirely independent source as well.

“The nationality of the plane was not known…and the rules of engagement were automatically used,” the Turkish military said in a statement released early Thursday. Russian defense and military attaches were invited to Ankara headquarters for an explanation of the incident, Turkish officials added.

Moreover, Turkish military leaders said their troops had set out on a search and rescue mission to try and find the pilots after the Sukhoi-24M was shot down.

However, Russia has escalated the issue, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claiming on Russian TV on Wednesday that Moscow had “serious doubts” the incident was “an unpremeditated act. It looks very much like a planned provocation,” he said.

The Russian defense ministry announced late Wednesday it would deploy S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria at its Hmeymim air base near Latakia, less than 30 miles from the Turkish border. The missiles have a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles) according to the Missile Threat website.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkey-backpedals-as-tensions-rise-with-moscow-says-didnt-know-downed-plane-was-russian/2015/11/26/

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