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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

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

Lessons from 5776, Optimism for 5777

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

As we take our leave from 5776, I would sum it up as the year that Israel discovered the correct paradigm for dealing with her adversaries.

In previous years, many believed Israel’s military superiority allowed and even obliged her to take “risks for peace.” Others believed that propping up the economies of Israel’s neighbors until they were on par with her own, while giving up land, would bring peace.

But in 5776, Israel discovered that the secret for a relatively peaceful status quo comes not from creating economic parity, giving away land or taking risks, but rather by creating economic dependence, along with the application of Israel’s military superiority.

It should be made clear that a peaceful status quo is a separate discussion from what Israel’s long term vision for the region should be — whether that solution be Israel applying phased or full sovereignty over all of Israel’s territories, a confederation with Jordan, or some other ideas not yet tested or considered.

It’s been repeatedly noted that only one of the terror attacks by PA Arabs in this recent terror wave was executed by an individual with an Israeli work permit.

Israelis have learned that no matter how much their neighbors may hate them (and by the way, not all of Israel’s neighbors close and far hate Israel), or how much incitement they absorb from Palestinian Authority TV and the Islamic preachers, their families and villages depend on the money they make from Israelis, and all of them, save one, would not dare risk that.

Which is why the Palestinian Authority tried its best to force these Arab workers to stop working in the settlements, and why it failed. (PA Arabs make three times more working for Israelis than they do working in the Palestinian Authority.)

Incidentally, Israel would probably help the future stability of Judea and Samaria by announcing it will guarantee PA police salaries should the Palestinian Authority collapse under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption or Abbas’ retirement or death.

There’s very little that creates more loyalty than a paycheck paid on time.

Despite the roadblocks set up by Israel’s High Court, 5776 concluded with Jordan signing a $10 billion gas deal with Israel, which a Jordanian official said will save Jordan $600 million a year. It’s a deal that might very well tie Jordan’s economic stability to Israel for the next 15 years, along with the fresh water that Israel provides them.

Besides natural gas, Turkey, Greece, various Arab countries, some African states, India, Russia and China are looking to purchase or enter business partnerships with Israel, to acquire Israeli technology, military experience and equipment, fresh water solutions, solar energy, agricultural know-how or simply gain access to Israeli projects.

As these countries and others become more reliant on what Israel has to offer, there will be a gradual, visible change in their public attitudes, voting in international forums, and policies towards Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his speech last month before the UN General Assembly.

On the military side, this past year, the IDF finally resumed its function in actively preventing terrorism, rather than restricting itself to a reactive mode. IDF soldiers have been raiding the hornet nests in the Palestinian Authority every night, to confiscate illegal weapons and ammunition, uncover weapons factories and erode the terror networks of Hamas, the PLO, and the various Islamic Jihadi groups which expanded operations under former defense ministers Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon. And, surprisingly, these IDF actions hardly provoke any international condemnation, save for criticism from Haaretz.

It was also the year Israel has actively taken on BDS, and began to beat it down, state after US state.

Obviously, all was not rosy this past year.

Thanks to the Iran deal, a revitalized Islamic Iran has been expanding its terror operations. But as Iran and their client Hezbollah try to establish terror bases on Israel’s Golan Heights’ border, Syrian Rebels are fighting those Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists on the Golan — the same rebels who are reportedly receiving much-needed medical aid from Israel.

There has been an upswing in Israeli Arabs participating in terror attacks and joining ISIS due to Islamic radicalization, incitement and propaganda, but Israel is already learning how to deal with them.

Hamas is still destroying Gaza as it continues to prepare for another round of fighting with Israel.

In the spring of 5777, Israel will celebrate 50 years since the liberation of our ancient lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from the illegal Jordanian occupation. Expect the usual NGOs (under new names and old) and Israel haters to foment their venomous propaganda, and also expect fewer and fewer people, everywhere in the world, to pay attention.

There’s concern over Obama’s anticipated November surprise at the UN.

And, of course, there will be the new challenges that either candidate for US president will present to Israel.

At the JewishPress.com we believe we have reason to be optimistic.

Israel has made significant positive changes this past year, with strategic, long term ideas being implemented, already with noticeable results. 5777 will bring challenges, even difficult ones, but we believe Israel is ready for them.

Shana Tova – Have a sweet new year.

Stephen Leavitt

Report: Israel Paid $20M to Turkey as Compensation for Mavi Marmara

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

In line with the terms of the normalization agreement signed with Turkey in June, Israel paid Ankara $20 million on Friday in compensation over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, according to “Turkish diplomatic sources” quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

The two countries finalized and approved the agreement this past August. Under the deal Israel agreed to pay the compensation and Turkey agreed to drop all charges against IDF officials and soldiers with any connection to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish terror activists died after attacking Israeli commandos. The agreement normalizes ties between Israel and Turkey after a six-year hiatus. Israel also agreed to Turkey’s participation in humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.

According to the report by Anadolu, “Israel has agreed to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the occupied Gaza Strip.”

Turkey has sent two shipments of humanitarian aid to Gaza thus far. Both arrived at Ashdod port and then were delivered via the land crossing at Kerem Shalom in much the same manner as aid from other international sources.

Less than two weeks ago (Sept. 21, 2016) a man yelled ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (God is Great! in Arabic) and tried to storm the Israeli Embassy in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, but was shot in the leg by Turkish police.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-paid-20m-to-turkey-as-compensation-for-mavi-marmara/2016/10/02/

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