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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Turkey Arrests of Alleged Terrorists Include Member of IHH

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Turkish police raised a Muslim charity front that is allegedly linked to Al Qaeda and arrested several people, including one who works for the IHH group that kidnapped and brutally assaulted IDF commandos who  stopped their Mavi Mamara ship and other boats from reaching embargoed Gaza.

The “Humanitarian Relief Foundation” said police raided their warehouse near the Syrian border but it denied it is linked with Al Qaeda.

Erdogan Blames Foreigners for Engineering Corruption Probe

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sounding more and more like Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, has blamed foreigners for supposedly engineering the corruption probe that has rocked his government.

He appealed directly to the people with a populist cry to support him against some foreign enemy attacking “the bread on your table, the money in your pocket, the sweat of your brow.”

“History will not forgive those who have become mixed up in this game,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in which he focused on the investigation of the police and judiciary and which he charged is part of a plot by foreigners to undermine his regime and diminish Turkey’s power in the Middle East.

After police raided homes and offices and questioned businessmen and the sons of three minsters, Erdogan got rid of 70 people involved in the probe and blocked another probe into large projects he has backed.

The “enemy” allegedly behind the probe is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is based in the United States and who is a former ally of Erdogan.

“Circles uncomfortable with Turkey’s successes, its growing economy, its active foreign policy, its global-scale projects, implemented a new trap set against Turkey,” Erdogan said in his address on television.

He also said that last June’s anti-government protests were part of a conspiracy that was “dressed up in the cover of trees, parks and the environment.

Israel to Renew Flight to Turkey

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

After a half decade hiatus due to security disagreements, Israel is set to resume Israeli flights to Turkey in Summer 2014.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced today that the disagreement resulting from security arrangements in Turkey have been resolved.

The agreement to resume flights was signed today after Turkey acquiesced to Israel’s security requirements.

Turkish airlines did not halt their service during this 5 year fallout period.

Rep. Steve Cohen Presses Turks on Antisemitism

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a co-chairman of the Congressional caucus on Turkey, pressed the Turkish foreign minister on reports of Antisemitism and human rights abuses in his country.

Cohen said he asked Ahmet Davutoglu when the caucus met Monday with a Turkish delegation about reports of a surge of Antisemitism of the repression of dissent in Turkey.

“Just met w/Turkish delegation,” Cohen said in a Twitter post attached to a photo and a New York Times story detailing allegations of repression of dissent. “Made sure to ask about #humanrights & #antisemitism in #Turkey.”

In an interview Tuesday, Cohen said Davutoglu denied both phenomena, saying that Jews still felt comfortable in Turkey.

“That was good to hear, but hard to believe,” Cohen told JTA.

Cohen, who has Turkish Jewish ancestry, has been a leading member of a caucus that successive Turkish governments have valued for advancing Turkish interests in Washington.

“I don’t think it hurts among friends – and I consider the Turks friends – to bring up issues of concern,” Cohen said.

Pass the Cranberry Latkes for Thanksgivukkah Holiday (Video)

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

If the Pilgrims are lighting menorahs and the Maccabees are chasing turkeys, it must be Thanksgivukkah, as some have come to call the confluence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah that will happen this year on Nov. 28.

It’s a rare event, one that won’t occur again until 2070 and then in 2165. Beyond that, because the Jewish lunisolar (lunar with solar adjustments) calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, the Chanukah-Thanksgiving confluence won’t happen again by one calculation until the year 79811 — when turkeys presumably will be smart enough to read calendars and vacation in space that month.

How do we celebrate this rare holiday alignment? Do we stick candles in the turkey and stuff the horns of plenty with gelt? Put payos on the Pilgrims? What about starting by wishing each other “gobble tov” and then changing the words to a favorite Chanukah melody:

“I cooked a little turkey, Just like I’m Bobby Flay, And when it’s sliced and ready, I’ll fress the day away.”

The holiday mash-up has its limits. We know the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will not end with a float carrying a Maccabee. But it has created opportunities as well: Raise your hand if you plan to wait until the post-Thanksgiving Day sales for your Chanukah shopping.

Ritually, just as we’ve figured out that we add candles to our menorahs from right to left and light them from left to right, a new question looms this year: Should we slice the turkey before or after?

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Dr. Ron Wolfson, whose book “Relational Judaism” (Jewish Lights Publishing) speaks to how our communal relationships — how we listen and welcome — can make our Jewish communities more meaningful. “This year is about bringing friends and family together.”

Wolfson, also the author of “The Chanukah Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration,” said in a recent interview that this year’s calendrical collision was a way to enhance “Thanksgiving beyond football and a big meal.”

In the American land of commercial plenty, the confluence certainly has served up a feast of merchandise. There are T-shirts saying “8 Days of Light, Liberty & Latkes” and a coffee mug picturing a turkey with nine burning tail feathers. And then there’s the ceramic menorah in the shape of a turkey — a Menurkey, created by 9-year-old Asher Weintraub of New York.

But being more of a do-it-yourselfer, this writer recycled an old sukkah decoration to create a Thankgivukkkah centerpiece — the cornukiyah.

For the holiday cook trying to blend the two holidays’ flavors, there’s a recipe that calls for turkeys brined in Manischewitz, and another for cranberry latkes. But what about a replacement for the now infamous Frankenstein of Thanksgiving cuisine, the turducken? How about a “turchitke,” a latke inside of a chicken inside of a turkey?

For Wolfson, who has largely ignored the merch and wordplay, this year simply is an opportunity to change the script. At his Thanksgiving dinner, he is going combine Chanukah ritual with holiday elements found on FreedomsFeast.us, a website that uses American holidays to pass on “stories, values and behaviors.”

Wolfson, a Fingerhut professor of education at American Jewish University, wants us to consider the similarities of the stories at the heart of each holiday.

“The Pilgrims were escaping religious persecution in Europe. They did not want to be assimilated,” Wolfson said, adding that “the Maccabees were fighting against Hellenization,” another form of assimilation.

Counter to the usual “December dilemma” for the intermarried — whose numbers have increased to 58 percent since 2005, according to the recent Pew study — Wolfson noted the “opportunities and challenges” presented this year by Chanukah and Christmas not coinciding.

“We usually feel the tension between the two holidays,” he said. “This year we can feel the compatibility of the two.”

The early Chanukah will help people to appreciate its “cultural integrity,” said Wolfson, adding that he “would not be surprised by a spike in candle lighting this year.”

But for others in the Jewish community, the pushing together of the Festival of Lights with Turkey Day has forced other changes, some unwanted.

Rabbi Steven Silver of Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach, Calif., is canceling his temple’s traditional Friday night Chanukah dinner. “That holiday weekend will be vacation time, people will be out visiting family and friends,” he said. “The rabbis won’t have anyone in front of them that weekend, and that’s a problem.”

US Losing Middle East Coalition

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Ever since the seventies, the world has become accustomed to the split in the Middle East, between those countries that support the West – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, and we might add Turkey to this list as well, and those countries that were members of the opposing, Soviet, coalition: Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen. Lebanon was then between the democratic hammer and the Syrian anvil.

Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the eighties, there were no big shifts in political orientation, and the countries that were faithful to the Western bloc led by the United States remained faithful to it until recently, mainly because a new hostile bloc was formed, led by Iran and supported by Russia and China. The stronger the Iranian threat became, the more the pro-Western countries depended on America for support.

Lately, however, the pro-Western coalition has begun to crumble, and two key countries – Saudi Arabia and Egypt – are searching for a new political crutch, ever since it became clear to them that the American crutch is nothing but “a broken reed” (Isaiah, 36:6). A few more countries can be added to this list, mainly Turkey and the Gulf Emirates.

Saudi Arabia

In an unprecedented move, the Saudi kingdom has refused to become a member of the most powerful body in the world, the Security Council of the UN, a body authorized to deal with the world’s security problems and, with the power of the authority vested in it, can even declare war as a world body on a country that violates its resolutions. The question that immediately arises is: why did Saudi Arabia refuse to become a member of the body that is perhaps the only one capable of dealing with Iran’s military nuclear project? Why did Saudi Arabia reject the opportunity to influence events in Syria from within the Security Council? Why doesn’t Saudi Arabia take advantage of the most important stage in international policy in order to take action against Israel?

The superficial reason is that which the Saudi foreign office published, expressing an ethical position: the kingdom will not agree to enter the Security Council until the Council undergoes reforms that will enable it to fulfill its role, which is to maintain world peace. The obsolete apparatus, the wasteful practices, and double standards used by the Security Council all prevent it from fulfilling its role. There are many examples of this: the Palestinian problem has not been solved despite it having been created 65 years ago, and despite the fact that the wars stemming from it have threatened the peace of the entire region and the world several times. The Council allows the Syrian dictator continue slaughtering his citizens for almost three years without imposing effective sanctions, and the Council has failed to achieve the goal of turning the Middle East into an area free of weapons of mass destruction because it has not managed to create an effective method of oversight for military nuclear projects.

Despite the fact that the Saudis do not speak specifically about Iran in their official announcement, it is clear that their reference is not to Israel, from whom they fear no danger, but to Iran, whose nuclear plans do keep them awake at night. However, it is specifically the Iranian nuclear issue which should have pushed Saudi Arabia to become a member the Council; membership could have granted them an active role in making decisions against Iran, so why not join?

In part, the reasons relate to the way that the Saudis see the international alignment of countries recently but is also connected to the customary culture of honor in the Middle East, without which it would be impossible to understand the behavior of the Saudis, proud sons of the desert.

First of all, a person of honor does not join a club where he is considered a class ‘B’ member. In the Security Council there are class ‘A’ members – the five permanent members (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) who have nuclear weapons and veto power, and there are class ‘B’ members – the ten countries with temporary membership, who are not allowed to attain nuclear weapons and do not have veto power. Saudi Arabia would in no way agree to be a class ‘B’ member of any organization, and would prefer not to join because honor is more important to it than anything else.

Pentagon Official: U.S. Still Considering Drone Sale to Turkey

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

U.S. sales of drones to Turkey are still under consideration.

“The United States continues to work through our approach to exporting unmanned systems to our closest allies, including Turkey,” a Pentagon official told JTA on Tuesday.

The official would not comment directly on reports originating in the Turkish press that the Obama administration had canceled the sale of 10 Predator drones to Turkey in retaliation for Turkey’s alleged exposure to Iran of 10 operatives working for Israeli intelligence.

A spokesman for the State Department, which finalizes such sales, also would not comment, citing the policy of not making such sales public until Congress had been notified.

The drones each cost at least $4.5 million.

US Cancels Drone Contract With Turkey

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Everyone can try to pretend that relations between Israel and Turkey, and even between the United States and Turkey, are just as warm and fuzzy as they have been in the recent (recent for the U.S. is more recent than for Israel) past.

But once the U.S. starts packing up its toys and refusing to share (or sell) them with a former playmate – Turkey – there is no denying the rift.

The toys the U.S. will not be sharing with Turkey include 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as Predator drones.

The reason for the rupture?

Most reports point to the the Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan having disclosed to Iran the identities of 10 Iranians collecting information for the Mossad. But others see a deeper problem than one that just involves Israel. These theorists point to a more generalized problem of Turkey and Iran becoming closer collaborators, a dramatic about-turn given Turkey’s relentless campaign to unseat Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s primary puppet regime.

Yet another theory for the U.S. – Turkey rift – this one advanced by a Pakistani defense site – suggests that the drone contract cancellation was in response to Turkey’s rejection of bids from U.S. and other firms in favor of a Chinese defense firm for a $4 long-range air and missile defense system.  The Chinese firm which won that contract is sanctioned by the U.S.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-cancels-drone-contract-with-turkey/2013/10/22/

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