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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Israeli-Turkish Talks Likely to Focus on Gaza in Geneva

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Israeli and Turkish diplomats are meeting today (Feb. 10) in Geneva, Switzerland, according to reports in both Israeli and Turkish media.

Although Turkish diplomatic sources did not confirm the report, Turkey’s NTV said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu was traveling to Geneva for the meeting.

Likewise, although it has not been confirmed, it is likely the two sides are starting to focus on the thorny issue of Israeli national security and Turkey’s insistence on ending the blockade of Gaza. The region has become the central headquarters for a number of radical Islamist terrorist organizations, not the least of which includes its ruling government, the Hamas terrorist group — which has its international headquarters in Istanbul, funded by Iran.

In general, the talks are continuing over how to heal the broken ties between the two former allies following two separate ice-breaker meetings in Ankara between 51 American Jewish leaders with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier this week.

Turkish media ascribes the break to the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when a Turkish-owned vessel participated in an illegal flotilla aiming to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

When the flotilla ignored Israeli Navy orders to redirect to Ashdod port, IDF commandos boarded each vessel to bring them in, including the Mavi Marmara. But on that vessel the commandos, armed only with pistols and paintball guns, were attacked by terror activists armed with knives and iron bars. During the clash that ensued, 10 attackers were killed, and a number of IDF commandos were seriously wounded.

Turkey used the incident as an excuse to break its ties with Israel and demanded a formal apology, compensation to families of the “victims” — and removal of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. This would open Israeli citizens wide to the results of a massive delivery to Hamas of weaponry from Iran, not to mention opening the border wide to infiltration of terrorists into Israel, further exacerbating the current wave of terror.

Such a request can be likened to asking Turkey to drop any military defense against the PKK — the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization which is recognized by the international community as a terrorist group. The PKK has repeatedly attacked Turkish citizens and government officials. Turkey’s military does whatever it can to defend against the group and eliminate it.

Israel officially “apologized” to Turkey in 2013 over the deaths of her citizens. Discussions over compensation are continuing, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

However, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported Wednesday that Israel had agreed to pay Turkey $20 million in compensation, which is to be transferred to a special fund “that will in turn provide grants to the families of the Turkish citizens who were killed on injured in the Israel commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, in accordance with the recent agreement between the two countries.”

Turkey continues to maintain a hardline attitude, however, on what it calls “the Palestinian cause in talks with Israel.”

According to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, discussions on “how Turkish access to Gaza will be provided in an unrestricted fashion have yet to be clarified.”

The Daily Sabah quoted presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin at a recent Ankara briefing as saying Israel must meet all three conditions to normalize relations. He added Turkey “will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached and the Palestinian people have their own state. Permanent peace cannot be achieved in the region without resolving the Palestinian issue,” Kalin said.

However, despite the chilly diplomatic atmosphere business is quite brisk between the two nations.

The group that owns the license to Israel’s mammoth Leviathan natural gas field recently signed a new $1.3 billion contract to supply the Israeli Edeltech Group and its Turkish partner, Zorlu Enerji.

Hana Levi Julian

Istanbul Synagogue Sprayed With Anti-Israel Grafitti

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

The Istipol Synagogue in Istanbul’s historically Jewish Balat neighborhood was sprayed with hate a few days ago, according to a report Tuesday in the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

The grafitti, “Terrorist Israel, there is Allah!” was found slathered on the outside walls around the synagogue, in white paint, on January 8. It has since been painted over.

The vandalism occurred after a one-time prayer service was held at the synagogue – the first in 65 years – a rare event that given the response, may not be repeated for some time.

There are nine synagogues in the area, but only two remain active at this point, according to the newspaper.

Ivo Molinas, chief editor of the weekly Jewish Salom newspaper, was interviewed about the anti-Semitic attack by the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

Molinas noted that the Turkish Jewish community has nothing to do with Israeli domestic or foreign policy. He expressed exasperation at the automatic connection made by gentile Turks between Turkish Jewry and the State of Israel.

“I don’t know what to think, other than that people insist on connecting us to Israel. Of course there are some connections between our community and Israel; members of our community have family that live there and might have emotional connections but we have nothing to do with their political policies,” Molinas explained in a phone interview with Today’s Zaman.

“Writing anti-Israel speech on the wall [outside] of a synagogue is an act of anti-Semitism. There is widespread anti-semitism voiced in Turkey and it gets in the way of celebrating the richness of cultural diversity in this country,” he added.

This hatred is not new.

About 18 months ago, a conservative columnist known for his ties to the AKParty led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a piece calling on the Turkish government to tax the country’s Jews in order to rebuild Gaza.

Writing in the Yeni Akit, Faruk Kose wrote that Turkey should impose the “Gaza Fund Contribution Tax” on Jews having anything whatsoever to do with Israel, or on anyone tied in any way to Israel.

The columnist said that Turkish Jewish citizens, any corporation, company or business that has any connection or maintains a partnership with a Turkish Jew – in short, anyone with any tie or connection with a Jew anywhere, or with Israel – should be taxed. Failure to pay the tax should lead to revoking one’s business license, and seizure of the offender’s property.

“The reconstruction of Gaza should be paid for by Jewish business owners,” Kose wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

Updated: 10 Dead as Explosion Rocks Central Istanbul, No Israelis Present

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

A popular tourist site in the heart of Istanbul was turned into a scene of horror Tuesday morning when a massive explosion sent bodies flying in Sultanahmet Square.

At least 10 people were killed and 15 more are wounded, according to the Istanbul governor’s office.

Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachson told JewishPress.com that “as far as he knows” no Israelis were present at the time of the blast.

Officials believe the explosion may have been caused by a suicide bomber, according to numerous reports. A Turkish official told AFP on condition of anonymity that terrorist links are suspected. The Istanbul governor’s office said authorities are investigating the type of explosives used in the blast.

Three of the injured foreigners are from Germany. Two are from Norway, according to Dogan News Agency. There was a group of German tourists on the square at the time of the blast, Reuters reported.

Shortly after the explosion, Turkish authorities banned coverage by media, Anadolu news agency reported.

The blast occurred near the obelisk of Theodosius in Istanbul’s Fatih district, not far from the famed Blue Mosque. Some of the wounded, including tourists, were evacuated to the Haseki Research and Training Hospital.

One eyewitness told news reporters the explosion was instantaneous, like “a ball of flame.”

There have been two major bombing attacks within the past 12 month in Turkey, both by Da’esh (ISIS). More than 30 people died in July in an ISIS suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc, near Syria. The second attack was a twin bombing by a local ISIS cell outside a main train station in Ankara last October killed more than 100 demonstrators at a peace rally.

Hana Levi Julian

Russia Bans Turkish Employees, Turkish Hackers Breach Moscow Instagram Acct

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

Tensions in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey have not diminished at all since the incident occured on November 24; in fact the state-sponsored and non-governmental back-biting continues unabated.

Russian firms have been ordered to cease hiring Turkish citizens, and the Instagram account of at least one Russian governmental minister was breached by a Turkish cyberhacker group.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree December 1 “on measures to ensure national security of the Russian Federation from criminal and other illegal activities and the use of special economic measures against the Republic of Turkey.”

The restrictions on work visas do not, however, apply to some 53 construction and other firms with long-term contracts in Russia, according to the Sputnik news agency.

Nevertheless, the companies granted exemptions are prohibited from exceeding the total number of Turkish employees they hired up to December 31.

Meanwhile, a team of Turkish hackers has claimed responsibility for breaking into a Russian minister’s Instagram account Sunday (Jan. 3).

The Börteçine Cyber Team said it targeted the account of Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, replacing his images with those of the flag of Turkey, a still of the downed Russian Sukhoi-24, and a portrait of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Nearly 400,000 Turkish web sites have been breached by the Anonymous hacking collective since Dec. 14, however, including those of a number of Turkish banks, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

Hana Levi Julian

Thousands of Trucks Enter Gaza Weekly From Israel – No Excuse for Turkish Freeze

Monday, December 28th, 2015

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories reported last week 3,750 trucks with 127,623 tons of goods entered Gaza through Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

“There were 35 crossings of ambulances between Gaza and Israel last week,” according to a tweet by the COGAT.

Last Thursday alone, 24,629 tons of goods in 744 trucks were delivered to Gaza through Israel via the overland crossings. In addition, 2.2 million liters of fuel were delivered as well.

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Delivery statistics at Kerem Shalom Crossing Dec. 20-24 2015

Can Turkey Justify Its Continued Diplomatic Freeze?

Turkey has used the so-called Israeli “blockade” of Gaza as its excuse for refusing to normalize its diplomatic ties with Israel. But the truth is, the crossings between Israel and Gaza are open every day and for a long time now, active commerce has been taking place.

What is not being allowed to enter the region are materials that can be used to manufacture weapons with which to attack the Jewish State – and which have been used for that purpose in the past.

In this regard Turkey is no different in its own methods of self-defense and controlling terror within its borders. In fact the Ankara government is more aggressive: Turkey has no problem attacking PKK terrorists when it perceives a threat.

For Ankara to suggest it has a right to dictate a domestic security policy to another sovereign nation is pretentious, if not outright chutzpah.

Since Israel has already opened the crossings on a daily basis – which by the way, even Egypt does not do with the lone Rafah crossing on its border – Turkey has no reason to complain. But Israel does: Hamas still operates its terrorist organization freely and maintains an active international office within Turkey’s borders, despite a request from Israel to close its doors.

Perhaps Turkey is simply searching for excuses not to formally renew its ties with the Jewish State? There would certainly be many reasons it might be reluctant to do so, beginning and ending with its oily handshake in Tehran. At least the Arab nations in the region are far more honest in their anti-Semitism…

Hana Levi Julian

Senior Hamas Official Salah al-Arouri Quits Istanbul

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Senior Hamas official Salah al-Arouri has “voluntarily” left Istanbul as part of a deal to rebuild ties between Turkey and Israel. It is believed he is heading either to Qatar or Lebanon. However, his departure has not yet completely clarified the status between Israel and Turkey, sources for both sides said.

Al-Arouri was one of the founders of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing of Hamas. He served 15 years in Israeli prison before he was expelled to Syria; in 2012, he fled to Turkey when the Syrian office of Hamas shut down.

The Hamas operative was also the main player responsible for the abduction and murder by Hamas terrorists of three Israeli yeshiva teens in Gush Etzion in June 2014. That attack ignited a series of conflicts that led to the launch of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s counter-terrorism war with Hamas.

The departure of al-Arouri from Turkey was agreed upon between Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a meeting on Saturday.

Erdogan is deeply loyal to Hamas, as he is to the Muslim Brotherhood which spawned the terrorist group.

Incoming Mossad director Yossi Cohen met last Thursday in Zurich together with Israeli and Turkish contacts to firm up normalization of ties between the two countries. During those talks it was reportedly agreed ambassadors for the two nations would return to their respective offices. In addition, it was allegedly agreed that Israel would establish a compensation fund for the families of those who were killed in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident; in return, Turkey would abandon any and all other claims regarding the case.

But in a statement that followed the meeting, the prime minister’s office stressed that the “understandings” still remained to be signed. A spokesperson for Turkey’s ruling (AK) Justice and Development Party said much the same thing in a statement on Sunday. He noted that although the “people of Turkey and the people of Israel certainly are friends,” nevertheless there remains much to do.

One of the unfinished issues between the two sides is Turkey’s loyalty to Hamas, and Erdogan’s unwillingness to close the offices of the terrorist group. Another is the unwillingness of Israel to remove its blockade of Hamas-run Gaza. The group is generously funded and equipped by Iran, which smuggles funds and weaponry to Gaza however possible.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan Says He Wants Improved Turkish-Israeli Relations

Monday, December 14th, 2015

(JNi.media) Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of journalists during a flight back from a trip to Turkmenistan on Monday that “normalization with Israel” was possible, Yeni Safak and other Turkish media reported. Erdogan said all it took to thaw the relations was for the two sides to finalize a compensation deal for the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid’s victims and for Israel to lift its blockade against the “Palestinians,” by which he meant stop the efforts to block weapons and other contraband materials from entering the Hamas controlled Strip freely.

Erdogan said the entire region would benefit from the normalization of ties between the two governments. “There is so much that we, Israel, Palestine and the region can gain from such a normalization process. The region is in need of this,” Erdogan said.

He listed his country’s three demands of Israel: “An apology—which Prime Minister Netanyahu has done; compensation—which Israel has offered, to the tune of $20 million, in 2014, but the Turks demanded $30 million coupled with the third demand, removing the Gaza blockade. “If the compensation issue and the lifting of the embargo are resolved then we can enter a process of normalization,” Erdogan promised.

Despite his unrealistic expectations regarding Israel’s Gaza blockade—as long as the government in Gaza continues to make the destruction of Israel its top priority—the benign statement from Erdogan is much nicer than the style of his statements back in 2014 against Israel’s operations in Gaza, when he accused it of committing genocide and “barbarism surpassing Hitler.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/erdogan-says-he-wants-improved-turkish-israeli-relations/2015/12/14/

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