web analytics
June 25, 2016 / 19 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

Turkey Blames PKK, Syrian YPG for Ankara Terror Attack, Vows Retaliation

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Turkey is vowing to retaliate against the terror group who attacked its capital city Wednesday night.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the massacre. A powerful car bomb exploded in central Ankara, killing 28 people and injuring 61 others as it ripped through military buses carrying young personnel to facilities near the parliament.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu placed the blame for the attack squarely on the YPG Syrian Kurdish organization. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Davutoglu identified the terrorist as Saleh Najar, a Syrian national born in the Hasakah province.

“It has been determined with certainty that this attack was carried out by members of the separatist terror organization PKK, together with a member of the YPG who infiltrated from Syria,” Davutoglu said.

Turkish security forces detained nine people in connection with the attack. Davutoglu added, “Their connection to the YPG has been confirmed” but said he could not comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

The Turkish Air Force conducted cross-border air strikes in northern Iraq, he said, killing more than 70 PKK terrorists, including senior members. “We will take all precautions under the scope of legitimate self-defense and will retaliate with no hesitation.”

Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has been instructed to forward documents about the attack to members of the United Nations Security Council, he said.

“It is our right to expect a common stance against a terrorist organization,” Davutoglu declared.

The comment was directed at members of the UN and NATO who do not see eye-to-eye with Turkey — another UN and NATO member — on the status of the YPG and PYD.

Turkey regards the YPG and PYD as terror groups linked to the PKK, but that is not the case in the rest of the world.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is indeed recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. However, the Syrian Kurdish YPG and PYD groups are not seen in the same light by the U.S., nor by the European Union. Turkey regards both as terrorist organizations as well.

Davutoglu warned that those ‘directly and indirectly supporting’ the YPG ‘risk losing Turkey’s backing, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper. He added that it “unacceptable for members of NATO and the United States to have relations with an organization which carried out terrorist attacks ‘in the heart of Turkey.’”

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Turkey Toning Down Hopes for Reconciliation With Israel

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

It appears that, like Israel, Turkey’s government is working to reduce expectations of a reconciliation between Ankara and Israel, just as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has in Jerusalem.

The Ankara edition of ‘Today’s Zaman’ published an article Monday headlined: ‘Turkey FM says Israel wanted Erdogan ousted from power, put off deal.”

From the very first paragraph, the article laid the blame for any failure of reconciliation talks at Israel’s doorstep – as Turkey has consistently to this point.

“Turkey’s top diplomat has claimed that Israel has been cold to rapprochement with Turkey because of raised expectations about Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan being ousted from power,” the paper reported.

“Briefing lawmakers in Parliament last Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the framework agreement with Israel was already in place several years ago, saying his government has been in talks with the Israeli side on the same issues that were reported today. ‘In fact, there was a main agreement in place on all these issues, but why was Israel not approaching to [finalize the deal]?” he asked, adding that Israel has been waiting on the departure of Erdogan from power…’”

The foreign minister repeated Turkey’s conditions for the normalization of ties, which include the payment of compensation over the deaths of those who died in the 2010 Mavi Marmara debacle.

What is interesting and new is the position allegedly expressed by Cavusoglu, that Turkey insists on ‘lifting the Israeli embargo on Gaza (the use of language here, as with all diplomatic issues, is very important) and that “Turkey wants to help Gaza residents, including providing electricity to the strip.”

According to Today’s Zaman “the Turkish government’s priority is on lifting the embargo rather than the blockade and hopes to channel development assistance to rebuild Gaza.” (ed.-italics added)

This is the first time Turkey has changed its demand for Israel to drop its blockade of Gaza and instead moved to a request to lift the ’embargo,’ adding a suggestion that it be able to aid in supplying electricity to the enclave.

Despite Ankara’s leanings towards the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey nevertheless might prove helpful in preventing Hamas from stealing the construction supplies that now go missing to rebuild military infrastructure rather than residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, one must question whether Turkey is hoping to play a role in Gaza in order to establish a presence in the face of another recently-demoted former ally, Egypt. Israel has in the meanwhile strengthened its relations with Cairo, which has increasingly lost patience with Turkey’s foster son, Hamas.

Cavusoglu also revealed that Israeli officials have expressed concern Turkey would continue its public criticisms after a deal is finalized.

“If Israel continues to implement these policies, including illegal settlements and attacks on Palestine, then we’ll naturally criticize; we are very clear and open about this,” the Turkish foreign minister was quoted as saying.

And herein lies one of the problems: Turkey seems to feel free to interfere in the internal domestic national security issues of other sovereign nations but takes great umbrage when others do the same.

For instance, Ankara has no problem taking on the role of advocate for Hamas, the terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood that rules Gaza, and which has been responsible for countless mained, wounded and dead in Israel. Turkey even welcomed Hamas to establish its international headquarters in Istanbul.

But were another sovereign nation to take the same stance on behalf of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the internationally-recognized terrorist group located in Turkey’s southeastern sector, one wonders how Ankara would respond.

Somehow, Turkey fails to see the parallel.

Negotiators from Ankara and Jerusalem are once more trying to work out a way to regain the relationship the former allies once enjoyed. It has been mutually rewarding and is now needed by both as the region faces an impending onslaught by the hordes of Da’esh (ISIS).

Hana Levi Julian

Turkey Shells Kurds in Syrian Border Village After Recapture

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Over the weekend, Turkish forces shelled the Syrian village of Maranaz and the Menagh airbase, both of which were re-captured recently by the Kurds.

Israel is watching the situation in Syria closely; events across the northern border have serious potential to affect Israeli national security. Although Israel coordinates its activities with Russia, that doesn’t mean every move by Moscow is one that works well for Jerusalem across the northern border. Nor does Russia necessarily take into consideration how its military activities might impact Israeli security. The same holds true for Turkey.

Coverage earlier in the day by international media claimed Turkish artillery was aiming its shelling at villages that were under the control of Jaysh al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army), not YPG, (Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia). A Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday that Turkey’s military force shelled YPG targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria. The source did not explain the extent or reason for the shelling.

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), like the YPG, is considered by Ankara to be a branch of the Turkish PKK terror organization.

The PKK is recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity. However, neither considers the YPG or the PYD to be terrorist organizations.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Menagh, that were recently taken by YPG. The Syrian Kurdish YPG group confirmed the news in a tweet early Saturday evening. Local sources said the shelling did not have any major impact and was not hampering YPG efforts or operations at either location.

“It’s just a propaganda show to pretend they are not idle while al-Qaeda is smashed,” wrote a local source in a response on the Twitter social networking site.

But the artillery aimed Kurdish positions, rather than Da’esh targets, has raised more questions about the Ankara’s goals at a time when Turkey has turned up the pressure over its candidacy for European Union membership.

Moreover, as a member of NATO, Turkey has flatly stated that it expects the world organization to come to its aid in the event that its borders are breached.

But what if those borders are breached by desperate Kurds fleeing flaming wrecks of cities shelled by Turkish artillery?

Those same Kurds are viewed by Turkey as “terrorists” and yet the United States does not view them in the same light. How would this conflict be resolved among two members of NATO, sworn to protect each other under “siege” ?

Meanwhiel, special forces from the United Arab Emirates are reportedly being sent to Syria to help Sunni fighters recapture Raqqa, the northern Syrian city seized by Da’esh (ISIS) for use as the capital of its world caliphate.

It is not clear how many forces the UAE plans to send to Syria for the mission. But Saudi Arabia has also pledged to send forces to train and help local fighters recapture Raqqa.

Numerous Kurds fell in the initial battle to hold the city.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, warned other nations they not interfere in the Syrian conflict. Medvedev said in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt that more foreign intervention will only exacerbate the conflict and could lead to a “permanent war.”

Meanwhile, Israel could easily be caught between all parties and find itself dancing at numerous weddings all at the same time.

Having managed to maintain a cold peace with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for decades on the Golan Heights border, Israel has lately been forced to maintain a much closer watch in the area. The various groups jockeying for position in what is colloqually now being referred to as “the Syrias” are coming closer and closer to the Israel-Syria border — close enough to be seen with binoculars.

Hana Levi Julian

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russia-bans-turkish-employees-turkish-hackers-breach-moscow-instagram-acct/2016/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: