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Tag: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Three Turkey Sandwiches

40 Israeli passengers on board a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul were held for several hours by local Turkish police on Monday after their passports were taken confiscated. Authorities in Jerusalem estimate that the detention of the Israeli passengers came in response to a recent incident during which Turkish citizens were detained for questioning by border police at Ben Gurion Airport. Turkish Foreign Ministry officials said there is no news regarding any change in the policy concerning the reception of Israelis. Israeli businessmen who were on the flight said the attitude of the police officers was extremely rude, holding Israelis without any explanation, and causing passengers to miss their flights without caring.

The Turkish news agency, Anatolya reported that Turkish tourists encountered similar treatment at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Turkey on Monday informed Israel’s top diplomat in Ankara that nearly all senior Israeli embassy personnel must leave the country by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, deputy ambassador to Turkey, Ella Ofek, has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and informed that all Israeli diplomats ranking above the level of second secretary, including the IDF military attaché, must leave Turkey by Wednesday. The only Israeli diplomats who will be permitted to stay are embassy spokesman Nizar Amir and other personnel who provide consular services.

On Monday, Opposition Leader Tzippi Livni attacked the Likud government for its handling of the crisis with Turkey, saying that the Jewish Country should have acted earlier to avoid the current situation that she described as the “worst of all possible situations.” Livni said that with appropriate diplomacy, an arrangement could have been reached which did not have the significance of “an apology with a gun pointed at our head.”

Livni said:

“I was there when relations with Turkey were not simple and they invited Hamas after Palestinian Authority elections. After my meeting with [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, they took back [the invitation]. I have been in the negotiating room and I know what can be obtained and what cannot be obtained, so enough with the slogans.”

The French government has also expressed concern over diplomatic deterioration between Turkey and Israel. A statement from the French government said:

“France regrets that the parties have not arrived at an agreement to overcome their differences, despite the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General…with reservations, [France] is concerned by the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations and calls these two countries to recover, without delay, the path of dialogue and calm…We have taken note of the conclusions of the Palmer Commission report. We have equally noted that the authors of the report stress that the document reflects the view of the panel on the events and does not constitute a juridical analysis on the legality of the actions undertaken…France had condemned the military operation carried out in international waters off Gaza… and the disproportionate use of force by Israel…”

Meanwhile, Turkey (the second largest army of NATO) has more on their plate. A new NATO early-warning radar system is to be deployed in Turkey to help spot missiles coming from outside Europe and namely Iran. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghashghavi was quoted as saying:

“Iran and Turkey are neighbors and friends and fully capable of maintaining their security by themselves and without any interference by foreigners…The presence of non-regional countries would not only fail to improve the security level in our region but rather make it worse…”

But the Turkish foreign ministry defends itself:

“Turkey’s hosting of early warning radar will constitute our country’s contribution to the defense system being developed in the framework of NATO’s new strategic concept…It will strengthen NATO’s defense capacity and our national defense system…”

In recent years, according to the Turkish publication, Zaman:
“Turkey has sought stronger ties with fellow Muslim states in the Middle East, including Iran, to rebalance a foreign policy that previously gravitated heavily toward the West. But it has split with Iran recently over Syria’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests… Turkey, seen as a bridge between the Middle East and the West, has become increasingly critical of Iranian ally Syria, with Turkish President Abdullah Gül saying he has lost confidence in the country…”

Meanwhile, Turkey has been involved for some time in a war with Kurdish rebels on the Iraq border. CNN reports:

A pick-up game of soccer for policemen in the eastern Turkish town of Tunceli turned deadly Sunday night when suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on players and spectators.
A police officer and his wife were both killed in the attack, a local police officer said Monday, on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to give interviews to the media.
The officer said nine other police officers were wounded, while one of the attackers was killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

CNN reports that:

The government of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to improve relations by launching a state Kurdish language TV station in 2009. But tensions have escalated between Erdogan’s government and the main Kurdish nationalist political party in recent months. After winning a larger number of seats in June parliamentary elections, the main Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) boycotted the swearing-in ceremony for new lawmakers. Kurdish lawmakers are protesting a decision by Turkey’s electoral board, which disqualified a prominent Kurdish candidate from participating in the June election.

Riots have erupted periodically in Istanbul and other Western Turkish cities over the last six months.

More on Turkey today 8/9/2011

At a Tel Aviv conference, Israeli vice premier Moshe Ya’alon confronted the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayip Erdoganon, Wednesday, “How can you trust a government that consorts with Iran and Hamas… Since his government rose to power, Turkey has decided to turn East instead of West. Turkey turned into an Islamic republic from a secular republic.”

In reference to the issue of apologizing to Ankara for the Mavi Marmara mishap Ya’alon said:

“We are talking about a phenomenon that goes beyond this specific incident. The goal is to defeat the State of Israel. If anyone thinks that one word can settle the matter, they fail to understand…what happened during the flotilla was without a doubt a Turkish provocation… We had no intention of ending the incident with fatalities but the soldiers had no other choice but to defend themselves.
The result was not good and we tried to resolve the crisis later on… Israel is not at fault for the situation with Turkey. I regret hearing the Opposition chairwoman say that the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks led to the situation with Turkey. Whoever says that in an interview is asking for outside pressure. Perhaps he fails to understand or perhaps he is driven by political interests.”

One Turkey Sandwich Growing Stale

Prime Minister of the Jewish Country, Binyamin Netanyahu, recently said he “hopes a way will be found to overcome the differences with Turkey,” he added that “we do not want a further downgrading of the relations… Israel has a right to defend itself… We do not need to apologize for [stopping] weapons smuggling by Hamas, and we do not need to apologize for working to defend our children, our citizens and our cities.”
So that’s that!

Meanwhile, reportedly, overwrought diplomatic vibrations between Israel and Turkey since the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May of 2010 and more specifically following the release of the Palmer Commission report, have not seem to have shaken routine business relations between the two countries.

This says a lot about money. This does not say much about Turks and Jews. But actually, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, bilateral trade increased to $1.1b in exports to Turkey between January and July of 2011, and Turkish exports to the Jewish country have jumped to $1.25b. Israel imported $1.8b of goods from Turkey in 2010 and exported $1.3b. 70% of Israeli exports to Turkey are chemicals and refined oil products. Other exports include metals, machinery, furniture, wood and paper products.

In a loosely related scoop of desert sand, a senior Israeli official warned it would only worsen ramshackle diplomatic standings with the Jewish Country were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the Gaza Strip, where rockets have been fired and terrorists infiltrating the Israeli border and murdering Jews since August.

It is however confirmed that Erdogan will pay a two-day visit to Egypt starting September 12th and this is when he may cross over into Gaza – retracing the steps taken recently by Hamas murderers who opened fire on an Egged bus on the road to Eilat a couple of weeks ago.

The senior Israeli official says Erdogan would hurt Turkey’s relations with the United States as well by visiting Gaza. The move would also weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because a trip to Hamas-controlled Gaza would challenge his position as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc said that Erdogan was scheduled to meet with the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi as well as other leading Egyptian politicians and intellectuals during the visit. The visit is expected to produce important decisions reflecting the strength of relations between Egypt and Turkey. Apparently Turkey hopes for reforms and elections in Egypt to proceed in accordance with the hopes and wishes of the people. The Turkish deputy prime minister says Erdogan may possibly cross into Gaza at the Rafah crossing after making arrangements with Egyptian authorities.

On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced at a press conference that Ankara is to expel Israel’s ambassador, and freeze all military agreements. This is in response to Netanyahu’s refusal to apologize for the flotilla incident. Davutoglu also says Turkey will be taking measures for freedom of maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, will no longer recognize the blockade on the Gaza Strip (along with Egypt).

The Turkish political columnist Asli Aydintasbas says it is unlikely fences will be mended between Israel and Turkey unless Jerusalem meets Ankara’s demands. “Knowing the prime minister’s personality and knowing the importance of this issue for Turkey, I do not see how Turkey can accept anything short of an apology…” says Aydintasbas.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is pushing for a solution to the diplomatic crisis or at least says he is in favor of one:
“Both sides are very important countries in the region… Their improving relationship, normal relationship will be very important in addressing all the situations Middle East.”

The Three Idiots

Cold Turkey

Well, it’s not over yet, relations between Israel and Turkey are still prickly. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon refused to shake the hand of Turkish envoy, Ambassador Ahmed Oguz Celikkol and made him sit on a sofa, lower than his seat, during a meeting in Jerusalem this week. Also, there was no Turkish flag on display at the meeting.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to criticize Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians – as this month violence has continued between Hamas, the IDF and Israeli border police.

Ayalon on Monday, summoned the Turkish ambassador to criticize a television drama in Turkey which depicts Israeli security forces as kidnapping children and shooting old men. This is the second such drama in Turkey broadcasting in two years.
The Turkish response came on Tuesday when their Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Israel

“to abide by diplomatic courtesy and respect.”

The statement stated,

“Turkey is expecting steps to repair the treatment of our ambassador in Tel Aviv.”

Ha!
The relationship between Jews, the Jewish State and Turks is complicated. While Zionist pioneers fought alongside the English in the fight for control of Palestine between the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire, during World War I; many years ago Turkey were the ones to embrace Jews exiled by the Spanish Inquisition, and there have remained Jews in Turkey, successful and free, ever since. So we should be cautious before labeling Turks as anti-Semites.

Turkey and Israel grew close in the mid-1990s, basing their alliance on mutual fears of Iran and Syria. Israel has supplied hundreds of millions of dollars of military hardware to Turkey over the years. Furthermore the two countries conduct joint naval exercises and the Israeli air force trains over Turkish airspace.

When Turkey scrapped a military exercise involving Israel last year, the feud began to get ugly.
Since Erdogan’s government came to power in 2003, Turkey has forged closer ties to Iran and Hamas. Turkey believes Hamas must play a key role in the Palestinian territories – One Jerusalem strongly disagrees.

Erdogan said in Ankara, at a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri:

“We can never remain silent in the face of Israel’s attitude. … It has disproportionate power and it is using that at will, while refusing to abide by U.N. resolutions.”

Ayalon responded that,

“The Turks should be the last to preach morality.”

He was alluding to Turkey’s past conduct against Armenians, Kurds and Greek Cypriots.
A tunnel in Jerusalem’s Old City, near Jaffa Gate, has flyers posted on its wall, depicting the Turkish genocide of Armenian’s in the beginning of the last century. The tunnel is near an Armenian restaurant.
But the Turks maintain that they have the right:

“Deep-rooted relations between Turks and Jews that precede the establishment of the Israeli state and the general structure of our relations give us the responsibility to make such warnings and criticism.”

Cabinet Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer
of the Labor Party, concerned about relations between the two countries apologized, calling Ayalon’s conduct, “uncalled for” and “humiliating.”
Speaking to Army Radio, Ayalon refuted that

“It’s the Turks who need to apologize.”

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