The Egyptian ambassador to Israel was recalled to protest against the killing of a Hamas leader during the strikes on Gaza, reports Reem Leila
A Palestinian man kisses the body of one of his children during their funeral in the northern Gaza Strip. Jumana Abu Sefan, 18 months old, and her brother Tamer, three and a half years old, were killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday (photo: Reuters)
November 18, 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Rajab Erdogan arrived in Cairo this morning to discuss with President Mohamed Morsi the Israeli assault on Gaza. Erdogan and Morsi met for 40 minutes to study all the means available to find a cease-fire in Gaza.
Last night, Erdogan also signed several investment contracts with Egypt, reflecting mutual economic cooperation between the two countries.
Smoke rises during an explosion from an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City, Saturday (photo: AP)
Meanwhile, “President Morsi made several phone calls to the leaders of the US, France, Italy, Britain, and Argentina to pressure Israel into halting its attacks on Palestinian territories,” presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said.
On Friday 16 November Prime Minister Hesham Kandil traveled to Gaza at the head of a high-ranking delegation in an unprecedented step to support the Palestinians against the Israeli onslaught. The delegation included Health Minister Mohamed Mustafa as well as a number of President Morsi’s aides. During the visit, Kandil discussed a possible cease-fire as well as a stop to the firing of missiles from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territories. Kandil, who visited Al-Shefaa medical centre in Gaza, condemned the Israeli attacks “against innocent Palestinians”.
An Israeli soldier prays atop a tank -- presumably to the God of War -- near the border with the central Gaza Strip, Sunday (photo: Reuters)
Israel and the Palestinians have been exchanging fire for close to a week, leading to the killing of 29 Palestinians and three Israelis. The number of Palestinians injured is over 270.
New order broadly permits CIA and other US agencies to support rebels seeking to depose Bashar al-Assad from power.
US and Western officials have noted improvements in the coherence of the Syrian armed opposition [AFP]
US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorising US support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, Reuters news agency said quoting sources familiar with the matter.
Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding", broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide aid that could help the rebels dislodge Assad from power.
The shift towards supporting Assad's armed opponents intensified following last month's failure of the UN Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined comment on the matter.
The White House has apparently stopped short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some US allies have been doing just that.
US and European officials have said that there have been noticeable improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks. That represents a significant change in assessments of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterised Assad's opponents as a disorganised.
Cemalettin Damlaci, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Turkey, said the administration of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is eager to develop trading partnerships with sovereign indigenous nations.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Think of Turkey, the country, and what images come to mind? Turkish delight – that exquisite powdery sugar-covered, pistachio-stuffed confection. Golden Zildjian cymbals with the crisp, clear sound favored by jazz drummers and percussionists in orchestras. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul with its six delicate minarets. Sweet succulent dried apricots.
Now there’s a cluster of other images for Turkey: World’s 16th largest economy and 16th largest manufacturer of cars and spare parts. A major world producer and exporter of steel, pasta, dried fruits and candy. A nation with a burgeoning tourism industry. A major donor of development aid to emerging economies. A potential investor and trading partner in Indian country.
Namik Tan, Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, and a delegation of officials from Turkey’s Ministry of Economy attended the Reservation Economic Summit and American Indian Business Trade Fair (RES 2012), seeking business partners among the tribal nations’ government officials. For enterprise-minded individuals, companies and countries, the annual business conference was the place to be. This year’s RES took place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from February 27 – March 1 and drew more than 4,000 participants, according to Margo Gray-Proctor, a member of the Osage Nation and chairwoman of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development (NCAIED), which organizes and hosts the annual RES conference.
Read more at at Indian Country Today Media Network
*Israel, not in war but in peace time, not in a military but a civilian convoy; killed civilians who participated in a peaceful event organized to bring aid to innocent people suffering under a cruel embargo.
*Moreover, it did so, neither in its territory nor territorial waters, but in international waters, where freedom of navigation prevails as the most fundamental principle of international law.
*...attacking civilians in a ship part of an aid convoy, firing multiple times at unarmed people at the back of their neck is a crime against humanity.
*Now, the Government of Israel must face the consequences of its unlawful acts, which it considers above the law and are in full disregard of the conscience of humanity. The time has come for it to pay a price for its actions.
*This price is, above all, deprivation of Turkey’s friendship.
*The only side responsible in reaching this stage, is the Government of Israel and the irresponsible act of the Government of Israel.
Press statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, regarding Turkish-Israeli relations, 2 September 2011
Distinguished Members of the Press,
You all know very well the reason why I will deliver this statement today.
Approximately 15 months ago on the 31st of May 2010, Israel carried out an armed attack in the international waters of the Mediterranean, against an international aid convoy in which hundreds of passengers from 32 countries participated to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.
During this attack, Israeli soldiers killed 9 civilians, 8 of whom were Turkish and 1 was a US citizen, they injured many passengers and also forcefully brought the ship and its passengers to Israel.
These people were subjected to all sorts of degrading treatment throughout their two-day captivity at the hands of Israel.
Firmly opposing the portrayal of the recent escalation of the crisis between Turkey and Israel solely as a bilateral affair which must be resolved between the two countries, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has warned that when dealing with Israel's lethal 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed, the international community should not ignore the fact that Israel's repeated breaches of international law and ethics lie at the core of the issue.
Davutoğlu made these remarks when he was called upon to answer various questions concerning a new set of Turkish measures against Israel from his European counterparts at an informal meeting of the European Union. The meeting on Saturday gathered together 27 ministers from EU member countries, as well as their counterparts from Iceland, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia, all nations aspiring to join the bloc, in the Baltic Sea resort of Sopot, Poland. Davutoğlu was the last minister to take the stage, where he answered questions apparently prompted by his announcement Friday in Ankara that Turkey has downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel to the level of second secretary, and giving the Israeli ambassador and other high-level diplomats until Wednesday to leave the country.
By Ali Abunimah on Sat, 09/03/2011
Last June, as the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2 was preparing its attempt to break the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza, many were dismayed when the Mavi Marmara was withdrawn from the flotilla. Why did this happen?
The Mavi Marmara is the Turkish-operated ship that Israel attacked on 31 May 2010 in international waters during the previous flotilla, killing 9 people and injuring dozens more.
Israel’s refusal to apologize for the attack, and to meet other Turkish demands led to yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions by the Turkish government.
In the wake of a deeply flawed, biased and non-credible UN report justifying the Israeli siege of Gaza and whitewashing the Israeli attack, Turkey has downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel to the lowest level, suspended all military agreements between the countries, and vowed to take other measures to seek justice for the victims of the Israeli attack and to challenge the Israeli siege.
Although the Mavi Marmara was operated by the independent charity IHH, it seems highly likely that the decision to withdraw from the flotilla in June was taken at the suggestion of the Turkish government. The reasons given publicly for withdrawing the ship were “technical.”
We cannot know what private communications may have taken place, but in early June Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu publicly suggested that the flotilla organizers should “rethink” their plan to break the siege by sea. Whether the decision was at the behest of the Turkish government or not, it suited its needs at the time. Why?
At the time many observers – myself included – feared that Turkey was softening its stance toward Israel and seeking to “mend fences” without Turkey’s demands being met.
The suspicions of many were encapsulated in a drawing by celebrated political cartoonist Carlos Latuff that showed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declaring “I love Palestine” to win votes in the Turkish general election, while his shadow shakes hands with Israel.
Many were convinced that the withdrawal of the Mavi Marmara meant Turkey’s policy was no different from the abject complicity of Greece, which worked hand in glove with Israel, to prevent the remaining flotilla ships from reaching Gaza.
It is now clear that this analysis was wrong. For one thing, Turkish-Israel relations featured little in the June Turkish election campaign, and if Turkey’s stance was about winning votes, the government would presumably have announced its measures against Israel before the election rather than months afterwards.
Read the full story at Electronic Intifada
By ABDULLAH GUL
THE wave of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa is of historic significance equal to that of the revolutions of 1848 and 1989 in Europe. The peoples of the region, without exception, revolted not only in the name of universal values but also to regain their long-suppressed national pride and dignity. But whether these uprisings lead to democracy and peace or to tyranny and conflict will depend on forging a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and a broader Israeli-Arab peace.
The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict in the region and is being used as a pretext for extremism in other corners of the world. Israel, more than any other country, will need to adapt to the new political climate in the region. But it need not fear; the emergence of a democratic neighborhood around Israel is the ultimate assurance of the country’s security.
In these times of turmoil, two forces will shape the future: the people’s yearning for democracy and the region’s changing demographics. Sooner or later, the Middle East will become democratic, and by definition a democratic government should reflect the true wishes of its people. Such a government cannot afford to pursue foreign policies that are perceived as unjust, undignified and humiliating by the public. For years, most governments in the region did not consider the wishes of their people when conducting foreign policy. History has repeatedly shown that a true, fair and lasting peace can only be made between peoples, not ruling elites.
Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay
Turkey says it will not attend a tourism conference in al-Quds (Jerusalem) in protest to Tel Aviv's aggressive approach towards the Palestinians.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay said on Tuesday that his country has boycotted the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gathering after Israel made the event a political issue.
"Regrettable statements have been made. We want tourism to take place, not politics," the Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted him as saying.
The OECD will hold its biannual conference on October 20-21 in West al-Quds in a district adjacent to several illegal Israeli settlements in the eastern part of the city.
Israel's Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov had earlier said the OECD conference in al-Quds was in fact a sign of worldwide recognition of city as Israel's capital.
The new Ottomans and the new Byzantines are poised for an intercept as the US stumbles in the current Great Game, reports Eric Walberg
The neocon plan to transform the Middle East and Central Asia into a pliant client of the United States empire and its only-democracy-in-the-Middle-East is now facing a very different playing field. Not only are the wars against the Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis floundering, but they have set in motion unforeseen moves by all the regional players.
The empire faces a resurgent Turkey, heir to the Ottomans, who governed a largely peaceful Middle East for half a millennium. As part of a dynamic diplomatic outreach under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey re-established the Caliphate visa-free tradition with Albania, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Syria last year. In February Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay offered to do likewise with Egypt. There is "a great new plan of creating a Middle East Union as a regional equivalent of the European Union" with Turkey, fresh from a resounding constitutional referendum win by the AKP, writes Israel Shamir.
Turkey also established a strategic partnership with Russia during the past two years, with a visa-free regime and ambitious trade and investment plans (denominated in rubles and lira), including the construction of new pipelines and nuclear energy facilities.
Just as Turkey is heir to the Ottomans, Russia is heir to the Byzantines, who ruled a largely peaceful Middle East for close to a millennium before the Turks. Together, Russia and Turkey have far more justification as Middle Eastern "hegemons" than the British-American 20th century usurpers, and they are doing something about it.
In a delicious irony, invasions by the US and Israel in the Middle East and Eurasia have not cowed the countries affected, but emboldened them to work together, creating the basis for a new alignment of forces, including Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran.
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
It is crystal clear that Israel, the arrogant, fanatical and belligerent Jewish state is trying hard to undermine Turkey. Israel feels that its hegemony in the Middle East is being challenged by Turkish efforts to reassert the country’s national interests by enhancing relations with Islamic neighbors and also by courageously opposing Israeli ethnic cleansing and other manifestly criminal policies against the Palestinians.
In recent days and weeks, Israel has been quite furious about the recent referendum in Turkey which granted the government additional powers to assert real democracy and prevent the recurrence of military coups.
The Turkish republic had witnessed three military coups against democratically-elected governments the last of which took place nearly 30 years ago, when the military introduced draconian constitutional amendments making the anti-Islam military establishment effectively above the people’s will.
In the mid 1990s, the Turkish military forced the popular Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign amid suspicions that the conservative premier was trying to re-Islamize Turkey.
The Israeli media has been quite vociferous about “losing Turkey” as if that country of 75 million people were supposed to be a banana republic subservient to Israel. Moreover, Israeli commentators, affiliated with fanatical Zionist circles, have urged the Israeli government to envisage ways and means to “overcome” the “growing Turkish threat”!
The Obama who spoke when in Cairo last year of a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world' has been revealed as an eloquent windbag.
Obama has backed down.
By Jeremy Salt – Ankara
The spectacle of an American sucking up to an Israeli Prime Minister is familiar but no less sickening every time it happens.
Not since Eisenhower has an American president had the guts to stand up to Israel. With this single exception, all of them have fallen over in their haste to give Israel whatever it wants and to hold it responsible for nothing, not even the murder of its own citizens. The recent meeting between Barack Obama, effectively apologising because his middle name is Hussein, and Benyamin Netanyahu surely marks the lowest point in this sick relationship. Obama has now thrown in the towel. That is what the White House meeting represented. He talked of a peace process which does not exist and Israeli 'concessions' which have never been made. Obama wants the non-existent peace process to be resumed with a Palestinian government that is not the Palestinian government and a Palestinian president who is not the president.
Everyone can see that the emperor is wearing not new clothes but no clothes. Can Obama see it himself? Almost certainly. He is a highly intelligent man, but with midterm elections coming up in November this is what he feels he has to say to appease the Israeli lobby. He has thereby gone the way of all American presidents with that single exception of Eisenhower. He has turned himself into a straw man before our eyes.
By Bülent Keneş
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was in Toronto for the G-20 summit, met with U.S. President Barack Obama on the evening the previous day.
The meeting, held at a critical time with respect to Turkish-U.S.-Israeli relations and developments in the Middle East, lasted for one hour and 15 minutes, exceeding the originally planned 45 minutes. All the recent issues on the agenda between the two allied countries were said to have been discussed in an open and clear manner. The news agencies reported, as expected, that Iran’s nuclear program, cooperation against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism and the Israeli attack against the Gaza flotilla and ensuing developments were discussed during the meeting. The U.S. delegation noted their uneasiness about the recent problems between allies Turkey and Israel, while the Turkish side voiced their demands for an apology from Israel and compensation for the attacks and lifting the blockade on Gaza.
Erdogan rejected claims that Turkey is shifting its foreign policy.
By Belen Fernandez – Istanbul
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently categorized as 'black propaganda' the claim that Turkey is shifting its foreign policy orientation away from the West, especially in the aftermath of the May 31 Israeli murder of 9 Turkish humanitarian activists on the Mavi Marmara.
Explaining that his administration’s policy of improved relations with neighbors—manifestations of which include the waiving of visa requirements for citizens of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Libya—has drastically increased tourism revenues, Erdogan has also reminded the West of Turkey’s application for European integration, pending since 1963, and has threatened the European Union with the label “Christian Club” in the event that Turkey is not admitted.
The denunciation of black propaganda is simply an effort to stave off domestic and international opponents keen to create the impression that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is abandoning the secular, Western-oriented legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. If permitted to generate enough momentum, such a propaganda campaign could ultimately result in an attempted military coup; as for Erdogan’s subsequent announcement that there are Turks who refer to their dogs as “Arab”, it turned out that this was not meant as further evidence of Turkey’s Western alignment but rather as a condemnation of those sectors of the population who continue to invoke the World War I-era “stab in the back” of the Ottoman Turks by Arabs in concert with the British.
Turkey is escalating its involvement well beyond Israel's comfort zone.
By Ramzy Baroud
'Even despots, gangsters and pirates have specific sensitiveness, (and) follow some specific morals.'
The claim was made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent speech, following the deadly commando raid on the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza on May 31. According to Erdogan, Israel doesn’t adhere to the code of conduct embraced even by the vilest of criminals.
The statement alone indicates the momentous political shift that’s currently underway in the Middle East. While the shift isn’t entirely new, one dares to claim it might now be a lasting one. To borrow from Erdogan’s own assessment of the political fallout that followed Israel’s raid, the damage is “irreparable.”
Countless analyses have emerged in the wake of the long-planned and calculated Israeli attack on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, which claimed the lives of nine, mostly Turkish peace activists.
In “Turkey’s Strategic U-Turn, Israel’s Tactical Mistakes,” published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Ofra Bengio suggested Turkey’s position was purely strategic. But he also chastised Israel for driving Turkey further and faster “toward the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
The international community must immediately take action.
By Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Today I do not only want to speak to my dear people but to all of humanity.
I want to call to the conscience and hearts and minds of the whole of humanity, I would like to share courageously my feelings.
Yesterday, in the darkest moment of the night two bloody attacks occurred.
The first of them was the terrorist attack against our military troop at the Iskenderun Naval Base. In this malicious, vicious attack six of our soldiers died, and they have become martyrs. Seven of our soldiers have been injured.
The second, at dawn in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history. The aid ships, from the humanitarian heart, these flowing aid ships have been hindered with guns, by violence, despotism.
They, who with mercy, compassion and humaneness, loaded onto these ships, they could not reach their place of destination, they were wreaked in carnage.
Yesterday, beginning in the morning hours, armed elements of the Israeli Army stopped humanitarian aid being brought to the Gazan people, from more than 32 countries, with 600 people inside carried by the Free Gaza Flotilla, in international waters, in an absolutely illegal way did they attack, spilling the blood of innocent humans.
Ankara seeks Israel's permission to send aircraft to transport their wounded, dead from Israel to Turkey.
By Barak Ravid
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Tuesday called Israel's naval commando raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel, which resulted in fatalities, a "bloody massacre," warning that "no one should test Turkey's patience."
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference at the international airport in Santiago, Monday May 31, 2010. Photo by: AP
Erdogan told lawmakers in the Turkish parliament that "this bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse."
He said the Israeli action was an attack on international law, the conscience
of humanity and world peace. Erdogan then called on Israel to immediately end its "inhumane" blockade of Gaza.
Brazilian-brokered deal obliges Iran to ship 1,200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey. The announcement followed a day of meetings between Iranian and Brazilian officials [AFP]
Iran has signed an agreement brokered by Brazil to ship low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for nuclear fuel for its power plant, according to official media.
The deal agreed on Monday would oblige Iran to send Turkey 1.2 tonnes of uranium under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), beginning next month.
In exchange, Iran would receive - within a year's time - 120kg of highly-enriched nuclear fuel rods through a still to be negotiated agreement with the so-called Vienna Group.
The Vienna Group refers to the four parties of the United States, Russia, France and the IAEA.
Iran would then - as per the terms of the agreement - use the nuclear fuel rods for its Tehran medical research reactor.
The move aims to ease Western concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, and stave off a possible new round of sanctions by the United Nations.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, signed the deal on Monday following a breakfast with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister.
After the deal's announcement, Ahmadinejad called on the permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as Germany, to relaunch dialogue over Iran's nuclear programe.
"It is time for the 5+1 countries to enter talks with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect," he said.
For the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, Erdogan is becoming a household name.
By Ramzy Baroud
Uri Avnery’s assessment of the recent Israeli-Turkish diplomatic and political row - that “the relationship between Turkey and Israel will probably return to normal, if not to its former degree of warmth” – seems sensible and daring. In my view, however, it is also inaccurate.
Simply put, there is just no going back.
In a recent article entitled “Israel Must Get Used to the New Turkey,” Suat Kiniklioðlu, Deputy Chairman of External Affairs for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wrote, “Israel appears to be yearning for the golden 1990s, which were the product of a very specific situation in the region. Those days are over and are unlikely to come back even if the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ends up no longer being in government.”