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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Turkish’

Turkish Forces Invading Syria Again

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Turkish Armored vehicles entered the Syrian town of Cobanbey in the northwestern Aleppo province Saturday, as part of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield aimed at clearing ISIS from its border region, military sources told the Anadolu Agency. The sources said the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is being supported by the Turks, took control of the town of Cobanbey, near the Turkish border in Aleppo.

Saturday’s invasion took place 36 miles west of Cerablus, opening a second front for the Turkish Army in Syria. The move could cut in half the territory controlled by ISIS along the Turkish border and isolate its drifting troops along the border.

The town, which shares a border with the city of Azaz which is controlled by Syrian opposition forces, has frequently changed hands between the FSA and ISIS.

Turkish fighter aircraft have been striking the villages along a highway where ISIS fighters are regrouping after having fled Cerablus, DHA reported Saturday. Three Turkish air force sorties have hit Gandıra Village in Cerablus. Syrians living in Gandıra, Bozhüyük, Küllü and Zugara have fled their villages to the Turkish border.

DHA reports that the area near the Turkish border has been cleansed of ISIS and is being supervised by the FSA, which is clearing the Cerablus fields from mines and explosives. Turkish Armed forces are monitoring civilian safety in the area.

The Turkish government launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 with Moscow’s approval and in coordination with the US Special Forces who are operating in the area. It aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.

JNi.Media

Kurds Shoot Rockets at Turkish Airport, Kill 11 Police in Truck Bomb Attack

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Turkish authorities blame the Kurdish PKK of shooting rockets at a civilian airport in Diyarbakir in southwestern Turkey Saturday night, sending passengers and staff scrambling for shelter, Dogan news agency reported. There were no casualties. According to Dogan, four rockets were shot at a police checkpoint outside the airport’s VIP lounge just before midnight. According to Turkish TV, the rockets did not hit their target but landed instead in an open field nearby. Diyarbakir governor Huseyin Aksoy told the TV news channel there was no disruption in the flights schedule.

The PKK has been fighting the Turkish government since 1984, and is considered a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.

On Friday morning, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reported that 11 police officers were killed and 78 wounded, including three civilians, in a truck-bomb attack in the Cizre district of the southeastern province of Şırnak.

According to Dogan, the attack took place at a police check point outside a riot police station in the Konak neighborhood on the Cizre-Şırnak highway. After some shooting, the bomb on the truck was detonated, destroying the riot police building.

Speaking at a press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov in Istanbul, Yildirim vowed to overcome all attacks against his country, saying, “No terrorist group could hold Turkey captive,” and “the brotherhood will not be damaged.”

“Let our nation know that we have opened a total war against these terrorist groups,” Yildirim announced, then quoted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founding father of modern Turkey, who paraphrased on Patrick Henry when he declared, “Give me independence or give me death.” Yildirim added that “these vile people” would get their just deserts.

David Israel

Turkish PM Denies Russia Demanding to Use NATO Nuke Base

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Russia is not demanding to land its planes in the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey, as several Russian news services have claimed. “Russia had no demands to use İncirlik air base, those reports are not true,” Yildirim told foreign correspondents in Istanbul on Saturday, according to Hurriyet Daily News. However, the prime minister did agree that should Russia wish to use the base for its operations against ISIS, it would be welcome to do so. Still, Yildirim added, “Russia doesn’t need to use the base. They have bases in Syria.”

Yildirim’s statement concluded an anxiety-filled few days in which Russian news sources were announcing that Russia has been demanding that Turkey give its air force access to the NATO air base in İncirlik, which is where US and coalition air forces take off on their strikes in Syria. Located some 65 miles from the Syrian border, Incirlik is also where an estimated 50 US B-61 nuclear warheads (think 100 Hiroshimas times 50) are kept.

According to Izvestia, a Russian lawmaker named Igor Morozov said it was only a matter of time before Turkish president Erdogan hands over the NATO base at Incirlik to the Russians, to intensify the war against ISIS. “You’ll see, the next base will be İncirlik,” Morozov told Izvestia, shortly after the Kremlin had revealed that Russian bombers have been using an Iranian airbase for their attack on Syria. He predicted İncirlik would be “one more victory for Putin.”

Those statements came against the background of a report by EurActiv, a Belgian foundation focusing on European Union policies, that the US has begun to transfer its nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, for fear of the worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.

EurActiv cites a Stimson issue paper from August 2016, suggesting that during the July failed coup in Turkey, the Incirlik base power was cut, and US planes were not allowed to fly in or out of the base. As the coup was being suppressed, the base commander was arrested. Another source told EurActiv that US-Turkey relations have so deteriorated after the coup that Washington no longer trusted Ankara with the nuclear weapons, and so the warheads are being moved to the Deveselu air base in Romania.

Foreign Policy on Friday debunked the story, quoting a tweet from nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis, the director of non-proliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, that said Romania does not have the special WS3 vaults needed to store the weapons safely. Also, the Romanian Defense Ministry released a statement saying “so far there have not been any plans or discussions on this topic.”

Of course, this entire brouhaha is borne by Erdogan’s obsession with his former ally and current enemy Fetullah Gulen, whose extradition from the US the Turks have been demanding since the failing of the coup (which Gulen’s supporters may or may not been responsible for). As long as the US insists on following the rule of law on the Gulen extradition, the Turks will persist in these shenanigans, until someone gets seriously hurt.

So far, as that Moscow parliamentarian has put it so aptly, one more victory for Putin.

JNi.Media

Turkish Parliament Passes Israeli Compensation Bill

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

The Turkish parliament on Friday night approved a deal for Israel to pay $20 million to the families of Turkish participants who were killed in the 2010 Gaza flotilla flagship Mavi Marmara incident, Anadolu reported. The deal ushers in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries after a six-year break.

The money will be transferred in a lump sum deposit to a bank account opened by Turkey and shared through diplomatic channels, and the transaction will be completed within 25 business days of the bilateral agreement taking effect.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier this month that Jerusalem had met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were degraded in 2010 after Israeli commandos were attacked on the high seas when they were trying to take over control of the Gaza-bound Turkish ship in international waters. Nine Turkish activists who attacked the Israeli soldiers were killed and 30 injured, one of whom later died of his injuries.

Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of the dead activists and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade. But Ankara settled for two out of three: in 2013 Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The approval of the deal had been delayed on account of the failed coup in Turkey. The deal was actually signed a month and a half ago in Jerusalem by Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold and in Ankara by Turkish outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlolo. The Netanyahu security cabinet approved the deal by a vote of six to three, with Ministers Liberman, Bennett and Shaked voting against.

JNi.Media

Erdogan to EU: No Visa Waiver for Turks, No Turkish Haven for Refugees

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is irate at the European Union for not delivering on their promised quid pro quo, which was, essentially, Turkey would keep millions of Syrian refugees from flooding Europe, and in return Europe would let millions of Turkish tourists and employment seekers come in without a visa.

Speaking to Le Monde on Monday, Erdogan threatened that the Turkish migrant deal with the EU “will not be possible” if visa-waiver promises are not kept.

“The European Union does not behave sincerely with Turkey,” Erdogan said. “We currently host three million refugees, whereas the only EU concern is that they do not arrive on its territory.”

He said the EU had offered the visa exemption for Turkish nationals in return for Turkey’s humane treatment of the Syrian hordes, and the measure was supposed to take effect on June 1.

“We are now in August and there is still no visa-waiver. If our demands are not met, re-admissions will no longer be possible,” said the Turkish leader.

Turkey and the EU signed the deal on March 18, aiming to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Anadolu reported.

Erdogan did not mention that Turkey had received the aid package portion of the deal, to the tune of $6.8 billion, ostensibly to help Turkey care for the millions of refugees it hosts.

David Israel

UN Watch Helps Release Turkish Human Rights Lawyer from Prison

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

UN Watch, a Geneva based non-governmental human rights group, welcomed Turkey’s release Monday of human rights advocate and journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz after four days of detention. The group but urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon and human rights commissioner Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein to condemn the government of President Recep Teyyip Erodgan for imposing a travel ban on Cengiz.

Cengiz was kept in the Anti-Terror Bureau (TEM) on Vatan Street for four days. He said that he didn’t face any ill-treatment except for being handcuffed from behind, but he saw people whose eyes were swollen shut in the packed custodial prison.

Cengiz thank you tweet

“We call on the UN Human Rights Council to exercise its duty and immediately convene an urgent session into the alarming deterioration of the rule of law in Turkey, and to create a commission of inquiry to investigate both the attempted coup and the government’s illegal purge of tens of thousands of Turkish citizens from their jobs,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Cengiz and his wife Sibel Hurtas, also a journalist, were detained Thursday at Istanbul airport on their way to attend a conference in London. Hurtas was released on the same day she had been arrested, but Cengiz was detained until Monday.

Cengiz had visited the UN Human Rights Council in February, hosted by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights, a coalition of 25 human rights groups led by UN Watch, and testified about abuses in Turkey.

Since his arrest, UN Watch was campaigning for Cengiz’s release.

“By arresting a prominent journalist, lawyer and human rights defender, the Turkish government has seriously compromised its claim to be defending democracy and the rule of law,” Neuer said.

“We urge Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner Zeid to condemn the illegal ban on Mr. Cengiz’s travel, which among other things would prevent him from visiting the United Nations to provide the world body with vital new information and analysis on the desperate situation of human rights in Turkey,” Neuer noted.

JNi.Media

Turkish Tourism Worst Casualty of Failed Coup, Terrorism

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Turkish Hoteliers Federation head Osman Ayık told the Hürriyet Daily News that Turkey must improve its reputation abroad in order for its troubled tourism sector to prosper again. “The confidence factor that Turkey projected abroad has eroded,” Ayık said. “There is a certain perception in Europe about Turkey and arrivals from the continent have seen a sharp decrease. We need to take steps to reverse that trend.”

Tourism is an essential part of the Turkish economy, employing 8% of the country’s workforce, and it has taken a severe blow from the failed military coup this past weekend, and earlier in this year of relentless terrorist attacks, with a 10% decline in arriving tourists in the first quarter of 2016. According to Euromonitor International, the number of international visitors to Turkey is expected to decline by 5.2% overall in 2016.

Since the coup attempt, the Federal Aviation Administration has not allowed US airlines to fly to or from Istanbul and Ankara, and has blocked all carriers, foreign and domestic, from flying into the US from Turkey even indirectly. The State Department warned US citizens to avoid travel to the tourism sites in southeastern Turkey, and the UK Foreign Office issued an advisory to its citizens against travel to Turkey because terrorism threats are still high there.

Roenen Karaso, a VP in Israel’s tourism company ISSTA, told The Marker that Turkey is “a dead destination. Today we’re talking about bottom prices for mini-vacations to Turkey for 40% less compared with last year. For instance, three nights in motels, all included, in Topkapi or Kremlin in Antalya (Turkey’s resort destination on its southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters) will cost a family (two parents with two children) $400, compared with $600 a year ago — and there are still no takers.”

Karaso said that even connecting flights, the bread and butter of Istanbul’s international airports which until the coup continued to thrive despite the threat of terrorism, “are starting to show a decline of about 10% in orders compared with the previous Sunday.”

For Russian, European and Israeli vacationers, Turkey is not in the cards this summer, which will go down as Turkey’s lost summer. Efraim Kramer, CEO of tourism website Eshet Tours, told The Marker that tourism rates in Turkey “have come down because the Russians have stopped traveling to Turkey, and the Germans and English travel there less as well. We’re seeing an international phenomenon of tourists from Christian countries avoiding Muslim countries — we’ve seen it in Egypt, Tunisia and Marocco, and now in Turkey, too.”

Ayık told the Hürriyet Daily News that “the most fundamental lesson to be learned is to be in harmony with the world. It is the gist of our job. Our sector is one that goes hand-in-hand with peace. That’s why Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s statement that we will increase our friends and decrease our enemies will have a positive reflection on our sector. No matter how beautiful your country might be, if you don’t get along well with your neighborhood that means serious trouble for tourism.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkish-tourism-worst-casualty-of-failed-coup-terrorism/2016/07/18/

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