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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Israel, Turkey, Open Discussions On Natural Gas Pipeline and Explorations

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz met this week with his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak, while the two were at the World Energy Congress taking place in Istanbul.

This is the first visit by an Israeli minister to Turkey since 2010, and is seen as another step in resuming diplomatic ties between the two nations.

In another week to ten days, Israel and Turkey are expected to exchange ambassadors as well.

Steinitz and Albayrak, meanwhile, have decided begin to look into the possibility of building an underwater pipeline to carry natural gas from Israel through Turkey and on into Europe.

“Exporting gas to our neighbors in the region or to Europe through different pipelines, this is of course very important, and of course one of the important options is connecting to Europe through a pipeline to Turkey,” Steinitz told reporters. “We discussed other issues of energy cooperation, but this is the most vital … We are ready to engage in the specific detailed dialogue between our two governments in the next coming months,” he said.

The pipeline would be laid along the Mediterranean sea bed, and carry Israeli gas to Turkish consumers, and then continue on to bring product for sale to Europe as well.

Steinitz told reporters at the briefing that it is estimated that the lion’s share of natural gas beneath Israel’s sovereign waters has yet to be discovered, possibly as much as 2,200 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

“This is a lot of gas — much more than we can consume,” he pointed out, adding that the gas fields are under the waters of Israel and Cyprus, and that Israel will require the cooperation of Turkey to take full advantage of the bounty that lies therein.

Albayrak is the son-in-law of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Hana Levi Julian

Iranians Caught With Fake Israeli Passports

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Israeli intelligence agencies were updated during Yom Kippur that three Iranian citizens were caught in Italy with fake Israeli passports.

They were deported via Serbia to Turkey, according to a report Wednesday night broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 television news.

Security agencies are investigating the history of the trio to see whether any of the three have carried out terror attacks against Israeli targets in the international arena.

Hana Levi Julian

Terrorist Bombing Near Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

At least 10 people were injured Thursday in Istanbubl when a motorcycle blew up in a drive-by car bombing outside a police station in the Yenibosna neighborhood.

All of the victims of the attack, which took place near Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, were civilians. It is not yet known whether any of the injured were Jewish or Israeli citizens, both of whom live in Istanbul.

(H/T for the above video to Eurasia Diary.)

A bomb-laden motorcycle was detonated, causing the blast, according to a tweet by provincial governor Vasip Sahin.

Police are hunting for an individual wearing a black coat, jeans and a black helmet who fled the scene just before the explosion detonated, according to private broadcaster CNN Turk.

A witness who was at a metrobus station about 500 meters away from the explosion site told the Daily Sabah the blast shook the ground. Another witness, located in a private school next to the site, told the newspaper that gunshots were heard after the explosion.

There have been several bombings this year in Turkey. At least 41 people died, including a number of police officers, and 140 more were wounded in a major terrorist attack by three suicide bombers at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in June. A major suicide bombing this past March in Ankara that killed 27 and wounded 75 others, and six days later, another suicide bombing by an ISIS terrorist in Istanbul which killed four people, including two Israelis, and which wounded 39 others.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Foreign Ministry to Appoint New Ambassador to Turkey

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is scheduled to convene its ambassadorial appointment committee on October 27, with the main agenda item being the appointment of Israel’s next ambassador to Turkey.

At the same time, on the same day, Ankara will simultaneously be engaged in appointing its ambassador to Israel.

The appointment is considered to be one of the most delicate posts in the entire foreign ministry, given the years of negotiation required to reactivate the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Dr. Dore Gold, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, will chair the appointments committee meeting.

Turkey severed relations with Israel in 2010, following an incident involving an illegal flotilla to Gaza that included at least one Turkish-owned vessel. Ten armed Turkish “activists” died after attacking the Israeli commandos who boarded the ship to redirect it to Ashdod Port.

Turkey demanded compensation payment to the families, an apology from the Israeli government, and insisted that Israel drop its blockade of Gaza. Outraged Turkish authorities filed legal charges against Israeli military authorities and soldiers who were involved in the incident as well.

Years of talks led to a final agreement between the two sides which included a $20 million compensation payment by Israel to Ankara, a statement of regret from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an agreement to allow Turkey to build a hospital in Gaza, and to send humanitarian shipments to the region. In exchange, Turkey agreed to drop all legal charges against military leaders and soldiers in connection with the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident and to reinstate diplomatic ties with Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Builds Huge Security Wall Along Its Syrian Border

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Turkey’s Housing Development Administration has begun construction of the remaining 700 kilometers of a massive wall designed to seal its 900-kilometer border with Syria.

The first 200 kilometer-long length of the wall has already gone out to tender, and is to be built by the country’s Defense Ministry, together with the governors’ offices of the neighboring provinces.

It is expected that the remaining section of the “security wall” will be completed within the next five months, Housing Development Administration director Ergün Turan told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

“The increase of border security with Syria carries huge importance. With the completion of the wall, our border will become more secure,” Turan said, adding that the concrete blocks are two meters wide and three meters high.

Turan said the sections of the walls in the southeastern provinces of Hatay and Şanlıurfa were mostly completed and work was ongoing on other sections. He added the blocks each weigh seven tons, are covered with razor wire and are portable.

All five construction sites include minefields, making the work particularly difficult and meticulous, he said, with at least 200 to 250 gigantic concrete blocks produced at each for transfer to the border on trucks that must travel areas in which there are often no roads.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Announcing Delivery of S-300 Missiles to Syria in Wake of Collapsed Talks with US

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Monday’s suspension of nuclear disarmament talks with the US over the latter’s challenge of Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had delivered one battery of the air defense system S-300 to Syria.

“It is true that one battery of the S-300 air defense systems has been delivered to Syria. It is to provide protection for the naval logistics facility in Tartus and the Russian Navy’s task force,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters in Moscow.

Last year, Russia moved to Syria its newest air defense system S-400, and last March Putin announced that the S-400 systems and the short-range systems Pantsir-S1, a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, would remain on permanent combat duty in Syria.

As the website Liberty Unyielding noted Wednesday, “nothing about the fight against the rebels in Syria requires an S-300V4-enabled, full-scale land war according to Russian doctrine. Nothing about it requires the level of air defense represented by the S-400, for that matter. The rebels don’t have anything at all that requires bringing either system to the fight.” Instead, the same website contends, “the system is being put there to mark and hold Russian territory against the US, our most advanced allies, and (potentially, someday) China.”

The White House has been watching helplessly as Putin suspended the treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium. Over the past three decades, Russia and the US have signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals. All that good work is being threatened now with Putin’s decree that suspended a 2000 agreement binding the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium intended for use in nuclear weapons.

Asked by a reporter on Monday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest admitted the Administration was “disappointed” by Putin’s move.

“The decision by the Russians to unilaterally withdraw from this commitment is disappointing, and the reason for that is that this agreement that went into force in 2011 pledged the disposal of thousands of nuclear weapons’ worth of plutonium,” Earnest stated, adding, “And this was an agreement that was reached by the United States and Russia because we’re the two countries that have the largest amount of this material and both leaders in Russia and the United States have made nonproliferation a priority. And certainly the United States is interested in limiting proliferation and trying to reduce the risk associated with potential nuclear terrorism. And again, we know that Russia’s leadership has recognized this risk. The United States has been steadfast since 2011 in implementing our side of the bargain, and we would like to see the Russians continue to do the same thing.”

Konashenkov responded to Earnest’s statement by saying the US “is to blame for the disruption of all September 9 ceasefire agreements on Syria and for letting the militants build up reserves again.” He continued: “It is the United States that has fallen through with a crash regarding the implementation of the September 9 ceasefire agreements. It failed to separate a single group of the so-called opposition from  [Al Qaeda offshoot] Jabhat al-Nusra, thus letting the terrorists regroup themselves and replenish reserves.”

“Isn’t it the right moment for our US counterparts to recognize in public that the whole opposition in Syria they have reared all along and still keep under control are part and parcel of the same ‘umbrella brands’ Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusra?” Konashenkov asked, and invited Earnest “to come down to earth from the sky.”

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War US-Russia disarmament, according to Reuters, which suggests that the practical implications from the suspension of the deal will be limited. It comes down, instead, to “powerful symbolism.”

This also comes down to a growing realization in the West that President Obama, in his zeal to foment the “Arab Spring,” has enlarged the political vacuum created by President GW Bush in the Middle East, and with the current White House’s policy of avoiding at all cost a “boots on the ground” military intervention in Syria or Iraq, Putin’s Russia is never going to leave, regardless of who gets elected President come November. Putin is grabbing this opportunity offered by a reluctant Obama to flank the West and guarantee naval access in the Eastern Mediterranean.

So far, Putin has planted Russian troops in Syria, forged long term relations with Iran, flirted with Egypt and with Israel — which receive about $6 billion annually in US aid, and patched up his relations with Turkey, a NATO member.

And, as Sen. Pence mentioned in Tuesday night’s debate (although he was off by a couple trillions), Putin’s Russia managed these sound regional gains with a mere $1.3 trillion GDP, compared with the US’ $17.9 trillion GDP (which is 13.7 times stronger).

It could be time for extensive language courses for Washington officials, except this time it’s the optimists who will study Mandarin, while the pessimists will take up Russian.

JNi.Media

Israeli Navy Prepared to Escort Women’ Gaza Boats to Ashdod

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

As Zaytouna and Amal, two boats with about 30 Gaza-bound passengers, mostly women, are getting closer to Israel’s shores, the IDF navy has been preparing to exercise the routine protocol in such cases, namely to board the boats and escort the passengers, politely but firmly, to the harbor city of Ashdod.

The website Women Boat to Gaza has been billing the endeavor as a “flotilla,” but the term commonly describes a fleet of ships or boats, so, in this case, the term “boats” is probably more accurate.

Ashdod has been serving as a destination for aid supplies for Gaza, for most of the decade since Hamas has taken over control of the Strip. Israeli officials go through the cargo, remove the contraband weapons and explosives that routinely arrive in those shipments, and clear the goods for trucking to Gaza, a few miles southward. Presumably, whatever goods the one or two boats manage to bring in will end up in Ashdod for inspection, followed by shipping to Gaza.

Israel’s Channel 2 News has reported that naval gunships have been waiting in Ashdod harbor for the signal to intercept the two boats. The same report suggested that the women onboard the boats are planning to exercise civil disobedience, which could get splashy.

The Zaytouna Captain is US Army retired Colonel Ann Wright, who served in the State Dept. diplomatic corps. She resigned from the US government in 2003, over her objection to the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Since then she has been active in every single attempt to break through the blockade on Gaza.

It should be noted that the Turkish government, which ended up in a six-year tiff with Israel over the tragic end of the largest and most memorable 2010 Gaza flotilla, has expressed its anger at the mostly Turkish activists in that endeavor, for forcing it into this quagmire. Since Turkey has settled its dispute with Israel, Turkish goods destined for Gaza have been arriving in Ashdod regularly and then shipped to their intended recipients.

It should also be noted that the reason Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is because the Hamas government has been declaring practically every day its intent to destroy Israel, and has been devoting most of its international aid money to military preparations to carry out this threat.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-navy-prepared-to-escort-women-gaza-boats-to-ashdod/2016/10/04/

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