Syria condemns Turkey for requesting missile deployment by NATO. – AlJazeera
Syria condemns Turkey for requesting missile deployment by NATO. – AlJazeera
A tense situation is unfolding between Turkey and Syria after the latter shot down a fighter jet belonging to the former. According to Turkish officials, one of their aircrafts was shot down while in international space. Authorities are now convening with NATO allies to decide what kind of measures should be taken in response. Syria claims that the jet crossed over to its airspace, which is a violation of its sovereignty.
Members of NATO will be gathering for a conference in Brussels to discuss the issue. No military action is expected at this point.
Jihad Makdissi, Syriaâ€™s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said that Syria was merely acting out of self-defense and dismissed claims that the aircraft was in international space. It was also reported in the Syrian media that the jet may have been on an espionage mission and flew over the area to spy on the countryâ€™s radar system located in Latakia.
Turkey has said that no actions will be taken until it has discussed the matter with NATO, but has warned that the incident will not go unpunished. The matter may escalate even further after a claim that a second plane was fired at while on the search for wreckage of the downed jet.
Taner Yildiz, Turkeyâ€™s Energy Minister, said that a possible response may be to cut off Syriaâ€™s electricity supplies, since Turkey currently supplies Syria with about 10 percent of its power.
Turkey has also leaked news that several high ranking military members from Syria have defected due to souring relations between the two nations. Syria, in the meantime, has vowed that it will not stand idly by if NATO responds in an aggressive nature.
From the start of the Syrian crisis, Turkey has taken a firm stance against Syriaâ€™s government and has provided a refuge for defectors. About 33,000 Syrians have crossed over to Turkey for shelter.
These days you need to keep and make new friends. Benjamin Netanyahu and wife visited Cyprus in a historic one day trip. He met with Dimitris Christofias the PM and signed a mutual rescue agreement that allows both countries to send troops for a limited time to the other country in times of a disaster.
The same agreement was once in place with Turkey but since relations went downhill, this is a little message to the Turks that no one is irreplaceable.
Netanyahu said that “the sanctions on Iran are not working. We are dealing with a country that break all international codes of behavior.” He also said that the US and other countries should worry about a country like Iran holding a nuclear weapon.
Cyprus also has a tense relationship with Turkey that’s blaming it for drilling for Natural Gas in its territorial waters. That has also made the relations with Israel more important recently for Cyprus.
During some previous discussions Israel has asked to place some fighters in Cyprus. The same sort of discussions have gone on with Greece, which has also been getting chummy with Israel.
Turkia Have No Fear! The Jewish Country is here!
It is no big deal. You know. Offering assistance to countries who seek to place sanctions on you. And it really puts world politics in perspective. People come first. Then governments. Then schwarma.
Recently, the Turks were rocked by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, according to their seismology center. The quake occurred in the east of the country in a town known as Ercis which sits on a geological fault line and may have killed and injured upwards of 1,000 people, and collapsed 45 buildings. 10 other buildings have fallen in the city of Van.
The Telegraph reports:
Emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, state-run news agency Anatolian said. It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were.
The Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake struck at 10.41 GMT and was 5km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6. Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.
Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was heading to Van to see the damage, media reported. Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.
In Hakkari, a town around 100km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around 10 seconds during the quake. There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20km from the epicentre.
Major geological faultlines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey. Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey.
Despite recent animosity between these two governments it is Israel to the rescue, as it was recently when natural disasters occurred in countries such as Japan and Pakistan.
Note however, Turkey offered its aid to Israel during a massive wildfire that consumed a formidable chunk of Israel’s Carmel region late last year, and sent firefighting aircrafts.
Ehud Barak said Israel is offering to aid the Turkish government in any way it can. The Geophysical Institute of Israel said the quake was also felt in residential high rises in central Tel Aviv. Barak instructed the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security bureau, Amos Gilad, to contact Turkish officials and offer them “any aid that they may need.” The Foreign Ministry officials have also initiated contact with Ankara in order to estimate the extent of aid required, if at all.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement that, following orders by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, he contacted Turkish authorities, saying “Israel’s embassy in Ankara had already issued the offer to Turkish officials.”
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has ordered the IDF’s Home Front Command to prepare for the possible launching of a special delegation to the Turkish disaster zone.
In other news, the following report is from yesterday’s NYTimes:
ISTANBUL â€” More than 49 Kurdish insurgents were killed in the first two days of a new Turkish military offensive against P.K.K. rebels in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the military said Saturday.
The military began the operation, involving heavy air support and more than 10,000 troops, on Thursday, a day after an attack by the P.K.K., or Kurdish Workerâ€™s Party, killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 in the province of Hakkari, in one of the deadliest single-day attacks in recent years.
Part of the operation has extended into the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, a mountainous border area where P.K.K. militants often take shelter. Turkey has staged cross-border operations or bombardment several times in recent years, and it is a thorny issue in Turkeyâ€™s relationship with Iraq.
Now that the United States is leaving Iraq, trumpeting triumphantly in foreign policy, DebkaFile reports:
The eight-year US military presence in Iraq ends therefore leaving Iran sitting pretty on its two key strategic goals:
1. The exit of American soldiers, whose presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion was deemed in Tehran a continuous threat to its borders. US military involvement in Afghanistan is seen in the same light.
2. A weak Shiite-led government in place in Baghdad, heavily dependent on Tehran’s will. Torn by strife among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, Iraq is in no state to obstruct Iran’s hegemonic plans for the Persian Gulf and Syria.
The Iranian regime’s right hand for achieving those goals was â€“ and is – Al Qods commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the man also accused by Washington of masterminding the assassination plot.
Washington is well aware of Soleimani’s capacity for interfering with American interests. Indeed he crows about it.
IAF drones are reportedly patrolling the vast blue above the countryâ€™s gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea on charge of security concerns, citing Hezbollah. Lebanon has been complaining in a world forum about the Leviathan (16 trillion cubic feet) and Tamar (estimated 8.7 trillion cubic feet) oil wells, of the enormous Levant Basin Province. Together, the two Israeli sites are twice as big as the British fields in the North Sea, with an estimated value of $300 billion, enough gas for 50-70 years of domestic consumption.
It should be noted that recently Cyprus, inspired by Israel’s discovery, started looking for oil off of their shores, however, Turkey threatened Cyprus over these actions. Ahmet Davutoglu a senior Turkish official said that they would show the â€œnecessary responseâ€ if the country goes ahead with the marine oil dig. For years, Cyprus and Turkey have been in dispute over who owns the northern region of Cyprus, with the Turkish government claiming the region as theirs and threatening military action time and again.
Because Israel and Lebanon have no maritime border, Lebanon claims the Levant Basin as its own. The Hezbollah, which constitutes much of the Lebanese military, despite contrary claims has threatened to use force to protect the natural wealth it insists belong to Lebanon. Hopefully it would not result in a situation like the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006.
Hassan Nasrallah said:
â€œWe warn Israel not to touch this area or try to steal Lebanonâ€™s resourcesâ€¦Those who harm our installations will have their own installations harmed,â€ he said.
Israel says it would use force to defend its gas fields should an attack by Hezbollah happen.
Usually, countries negotiate their maritime border, as did Israel and Cyprus, several months ago.
Because the Arab League refuses to supply gas to Israel, the Jewish Country, who imports coal, mainly from South Africa, is starving for fossil fuels. Egypt is the only nation which supplies gas to the Jewish Country, but in a post-Mubarak situation this is a fragile reality. The Arab gas line supplies Egyptian gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and a separate feed for Israel
When the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt went down last spring, Israel began to sweat. On February 5th, an explosion happened near the El Arish compressor station which supplies Israel and Jordan, and as a result, the supply was temporarily halted.
On April 27 an explosion at the pipeline near Al-Sabil village in the El-Arish region once again halted natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan. And on July 4th, an explosion near Nagah, in the Sinai Peninsula halted gas to Jordan and the Jewish Country once again. These incidents are behind a failed attempt to blow up a pipeline supplying the Jewish Country, last March.
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 attachÃ©, 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.”
“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 undertakenâ€¦France had condemned the military operation carried out in international waters off Gaza… and the disproportionate use of force by Israelâ€¦”
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:
â€œIran and Turkey are neighbors and friends and fully capable of maintaining their security by themselves and without any interference by foreignersâ€¦The presence of non-regional countries would not only fail to improve the security level in our region but rather make it worseâ€¦”
But the Turkish foreign ministry defends itself:
â€œTurkey’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 conceptâ€¦It will strengthen NATO’s defense capacity and our national defense systemâ€¦”
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 protestsâ€¦ Turkey, seen as a bridge between the Middle East and the West, has become increasingly critical of Iranian ally Syria, with Turkish President Abdullah GÃ¼l saying he has lost confidence in the countryâ€¦”
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 Hamasâ€¦ 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 understandâ€¦what happened during the flotilla was without a doubt a Turkish provocationâ€¦ 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 onâ€¦ 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.”
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 relationsâ€¦ Israel has a right to defend itselfâ€¦ 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 â€“ 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 Israelâ€™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 apologyâ€¦” 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 regionâ€¦ Their improving relationship, normal relationship will be very important in addressing all the situations Middle East.”
Turkey’s military said air strikes on suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq this week have killed some 100 guerrillas and warned that it would begin further offensives against the group from both inside Turkey and across the border.
The military said that 80% of separatist rebels were injured in six days of cross-border air raids which commenced on Aug. 17th, hours after eight soldiers and a government-paid village guard were killed in an ambush by PKK the Kurdistan Workers’ Party near the border with Iraq.
The Turkish military released the following statement:
“According to initial information obtained, between 90 and 100 terrorists were rendered ineffective, more than 80 wounded terrorists were moved to hospitals or villages, and contact with a high number of terrorists was cutâ€¦Rendered ineffectiveâ€¦Iraq’s north and domestic areas will be monitored for separatist terrorist activity and air and ground operations will continueâ€¦”
The military said 79 shelters and hideouts were hit, one ammunition depot, 18 caves, eight depots, 14 PKK buildings or facilities, nine anti-aircraft gun positions and three rebel road blocks.
The PKK rebels however have denied any losses, insisting that areas hit by Turkish warplanes were in fact deserted bases.
“By giving these false numbers, the Turkish army commanders are trying to raise the spirits of their soldiers and to create more pretexts to continue their war against civilians…The government condemns and denounces all attacks and violations of the sovereignty of Iraq by neighboring countriesâ€¦ We do not believe that this is the best way of solving this issueâ€¦ Both the stances of the Kurdistan and Baghdad governments is weak and far from firm. (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki’s government is too weak to stand against Turkeyâ€¦ Targets hits were determined following detailed analyses that were verified several times and were included on the list of targets only after it was established with certainty that they were not areas inhabited by civiliansâ€¦”
Considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union the PKK is fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the conflict since 1984.
The rebels have long used northern Iraq as a base for hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets. Some 40 soldiers were killed in escalated PKK assaults since July.
Turkey has been carrying out a number of cross-border air raids and ground incursions over the years but has failed to stop rebel infiltration throughout the mountainous border.
Information, help and donations to the Carmel Fire victims – HERE
**See updates below.
Eli Yishai is the Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. The National Fire Department services are directly under his responsibility. He is the head of the Shas party and is an important part of the coalition that keeps Netanyahu’s party in government. He is the directly responsible guilty party that should be held responsible. He should be discharged from his position in government. He will not be. Our government is weak and this is the corrupt political structure we have. In a few months another commission will make suggestions and some low level dismissals will take place.
The only thing Eli Yishai will always worry about is money for the Orthodox party he represents (Shas) and, the all important fact the migrants should not be allowed to settle in Israel and are the cause of disease. This is what he considers the priorities of his office!
In my opinion Eli Yishai is a disease for Israel. He represents the uneducated, ignorent (Iran like), corrupt cancer that is eating up Israel and turning it into a fundamental, religious, backward country. Considering this is the only Jewish state we have, maybe we should not let this happen. As long as people like Eli Yishai can be allowed to govern and hold positions in the highest levels of government disasters like this will continue to happen.
Over 40 were killed in the last few hours in a fire that is raging on the carmel mountain and several other points in the North of Israel. There 135 firefighters – 135! that are fighting this mega fire and so far there is no signs of slowing down.
One of the main disasters of this event is the death of 40 officer trainees that were called into the scene to help the firefighters and were burnt alive in the bus that was taking them to the scene.
An ongoing investigation is showing that this maybe an arson and that the fire started in 3 different locations at the same time.
The recent weeks have been dry and there were no rainy days at all, making this one of the driest spells in Israel’s history. The North of Israel has been experiencing one of the worst “winters” in history with a record number of fires occurring in the past few weeks. The warning signs were there all the time and firefighters were warning that resources were low. Tonight when the “mother of all fires” has hit, it finds Israel unprepared.
Reinforcements are being called in from France, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria and there is a hope that planes with fire extinguishing equipment will be arriving later tonight.
UPDATE 8:02 PM 2/10/10
A high ranking police officer Chief Deputy for Haifa Police (Ahuva Tomer) was interviewed earlier tonight, a few hours later she was caught in the flames and is now in critical condition in hospital with 80% burns to her body. Doctors are fighting for her life.
We are getting reports of several firefighters who are currently missing and some injured are being evacuated to the local Haifa hospitals. The current list of evacuated locations are:
UPDATE 11:02 PM 2/10/10
4 prisoners escaped tonight taking advantage of the evacuation of the local prisons in the area in a police vehicle (feel like the apocalypse yet?). They apparently took advantage of the evacuation of the Damun prison. The Prison Authority is now looking at the case and are checking the details. Damun Prison holds illegal aliens and petty crime offenders.
Interviews are showing the evacuees from local neighborhoods in the Carmel being moved to local hotels and hostels in the area. The forecast so far is that the fire will not end quickly and that the fire will continue to rage unhampered until the beginning of next week.
Another “interesting” announcement – Turkey our close “friend” has offered help. We should really check that they are not going to use this excuse as a way of landing equipment in Gaza as a way to “help”…
Barak has managed to get a commitment from the French government of approx. 40 tons of fire extinguishing materials.
Why are we asking for help from Azerbaijan?
Why doesn’t Israel “have the necessary tools to extensguish the fire” (Benjamin Netanyahu)?
How is a country like Israel, a supposedly advanced country, not have the capability to protect its citizens from a fire this size?
Is anyone going to be held responsible for this fuck up?
Will it be the right person (see above)?
UPDATE 8:02 AM 3/10/10
Planes from Bulgaria and Greece have landed in Ramat David airfield and with them a Bulgarian plane with 100 firefighters. There are so far 15,000 evacuees in the Carmel area. Kibbutz Beit Oren was 20% burnt down it was also the location of the bus that was burnt earlier. Additional towns that were evacuated include Osafia, Nir Etzion, and Tirat Hacarmel.
Ecologically this is the worst disaster ever in Israel. The Carmel woods were considered the most beautiful National Reserve in Israel and they are completely gone – 7.7 Square Miles of forest are gone and the fire is still raging.
The winds in the morning are intense and the fire is continuing to rage. Over night the fire reached highway 4 and it is now closed from Faradis Interchange in the North. So far there are 41 killed. Two Police officers and 2 firefighters are missing.
Tirat Hacarmel is being evacuated now and over the early hours of the morning Denia (a lucrative neighborhood) was evacuated as well.
Following recent events at sea, and especially Turkey’s reaction to these events, many Israeli groups are coming together in protest against the attacks on the IDF and its conduct.
One such demonstration is set to take place tonight in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tel-Aviv, for those intersted details in Hebrew are below.
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“Avrupa Birligine kabulde iyi sandor teror yandaslari!!”
it means: “good luck with the Europian Union, terror supporters”
“Erdo?an Kan senin Ellerinde!!” (emphesize “Kan”)
it means: “Erduan, the blood is on your hands!!”
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Turkey makes it clear that they are disturbed by Israel, but not THAT disturbed â€“ that is to say, when it comes to the threat of losing money, their attitude changes, fast!
So amidst inter-government turmoil, Turkey is trying to draw in the ultra-Orthodox community.
The sad part is that the Israeli tourism industry is letting the ultra-Orthodox be exploited.
A delegation of haredi journalists will be traveling to Turkey next week, to visit Jewish attractions. The delegation will ride courtesy of the Turkish Tourism Ministry. The brains behind the idea belong to one Aharon Lipner, owner of Club Kosher, a haredi tourism company.
While the haredi journalists are there, among other cool things to look at, they will find a brand new glatt kosher restaurant â€“ Turkeyâ€™s first in the resort town of Antalya. The restaurant will be called the King David, with kashrut under the supervision of Rabbi Moshe Nahshoni â€“ and the restaurant manager, none other than Lipner. The opening of the restaurant is the initiative of another Israeli tourism company, Eshet Tours.
So, why might we be angry?
These guys are totally disrespecting an unofficial Israeli tourism embargo on Turkey.
First Israel gets cut out of aviation training activities by Turkey â€“ with complete disregard for all of the favors that the IAF has done in training the Turkish air force.
Then, if that didn’t leave you offended â€“ your blood began to boil when Turkey for the second year in-a-row, aired the second television program, which slanders Israel and Israelis.
In 2009, Israeli tourism to Turkey plunged 44%.
“The idea is to clear the slate in the hearts of Israelis… Turks will continue to accept the Jews very respectfully. They have great confidence in the religious and haredi sectors, so they decided to finance the delegation.”
In other words, as long as my company makes money, so can an Israeli-bashing Turkey!
No they’re not as bad as some countries, but shouldn’t we make an example? We will not stand aloof while you spread lies about us!
Efraim Kramer, CEO of Eshet Tours, says that
the religious sector is a major â€œplayerâ€ in the tourism industry, and
â€œdesigning special resort packages to suit the needs of this sector will constitute a completing product for public of conservative, institutional and young customers of Eshet Tours as well.”
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 â€“ 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.”
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 â€“ 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.”
It’s now gone farther than Turkey banning Israel from a joint military exercise with the US and other EU countries, or Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan ripping Shimon Peres in public at Davos, or accusing Israel of aiming phosphorus bombs at civilian targets, or even staging war games with Syria, which Turkey did a few days ago. Now, they’re starting the blood libels.
Turkey’s new show, “Ayrilik”, broadcast on State television station TRT1, depicts a love story between two Palestinians that takes place during Operation Cast Lead. The IDF is portrayed as a bloodthirsty merciless band of murderers, shooting Palestinian children at point blank range and lining civilians up to the firing squad.
No time for a long post about this right now, but if any of you want to listen to Arabic with Turkish subtitles, then here’s a clip from the show.
On the one hand, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has done the expected, summoning the Turkish ambassador. On the other, Defense Minister Barak warns against breaking ties with Turkey. So once again, a confused stance.
I’d just like to add that I am not at all surprised, or really all that much offended by this. It may just be me, but recently, anti Semitic displays have only given me encouragement. In my estimation, Israel should continue to expect a tightening of international relations with all countries and a general increase in isolation. Life will get a bit more difficult, until some sort of breakthrough is made and the status quo is altered in the Middle East.
The good news in all this is that if history has shown anything about the Jewish people, it is that they persevere under severe pressure. After all, you can’t have perseverance without severe. So prepare for some rough seas, and look forward to coming out safe on the other side. The only question is how long and bumpy will the ride be?
The sharp exchange of words at the World Economic Forum between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Turkish Prime Minister Recep ErdoÄŸan over who started the Operation Cast Lead war in Gaza, is a sad and ominous message regarding the deterioration of relations between the two countries.
Prior to the recent 22 day war in Gaza, Turkey and Israel had enjoyed fairly decent relations with one another, despite the increase in terrorism against Jewish targets in Turkey and a rise in Islamic fundamentalism that begun to increase in this country despite efforts by Mr. ErdoÄŸan’s Justice and Development Party to create closer ties to the West, and his efforts to act as an intermediary in preliminary peace talks between Israel and Syria. All that has changed now, and relations between the two countries have sunk to such a low that many Israeli travel agents have cancelled tourism package bookings to Turkey and are considering canceling package tour trips to Anatoly and other Turkish resort locations popular with Israelis.
Prior to the economic forum conference, held in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. ErdoÄŸan was quoted at a news conference that it appeared that it was Israel, and not the Hamas organization, that broke the 6 month cease fire agreement, while not mentioning the rocket that were being fired into Israel by Hamas and other militants, despite the cease fire.
It is a bit strange, as well as frustrating, that Turkey P.M. ErdoÄŸan could make a statement that Israel broke the truce with Hamas, despite the fact that around 300 mortar shells and rockets were fired by Hamas militants into Israel. This statement, by a Turkish head of government, only re-enforces the ongoing changes occurring in a country that appears to be drifting further into Islamization, and away from the secular ideals so adamantly espoused by Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey.
When Kurdish rebels make attacks against Turkish villages and towns bordering on Turkey’s borders with Iraq or Iran, Turkish air and ground forces retaliate – sometimes fiercely. Some of these retaliations have resulted in large scale intrusions into Kurkish areas, on scales not unlike the IDF’s entry into Gaza. Yet, the U.N. and other international forums have condemned the Turkish government on a much smaller scale than Israel has been condemned. This truth was mentioned by Mr. Peres when he asked Mr. ErdoÄŸan what his government would do if missiles were to rain down on Istanbul.
The right of self defense must be the same for both countries; and Mr. ErdoÄŸan and his government should be well aware of this fact. As Israel and Turkey enjoy a goodly amount of trade with each other, it would be a real pity if this were to end or be sharply reduced.