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Thread: Turkey News

  1. #21
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    Turkish minister claims 'holy wars will soon begin in Europe' after Geert Wilders beaten

    Minister claims there is no difference between liberal politicians and 'fascist' far-right leader

    by Lizzie Dearden - 16 March 2017

    A Turkish minister has claimed "holy wars will soon begin" in Europe, in spite of the defeat of far-right leader Geert Wilders in the Netherlands elections.

    Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, did not welcome the victory for Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

    "Now the election is over in the Netherlands...when you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist Wilders,"
    he said according to a translation by Hurriyet.

    "All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe."

    Mr Wilders attempted to capitalise on an ongoing diplomatic row between the Netherlands and Turkey during his election campaign, leading a small protest outside the country's embassy and calling Mr Erdogan a "dictator".

    His anti-Islam Party for Freedom came second in the Dutch election with 20 seats, compared to 33 for Mr Rutte's VVD, and is likely to be excluded from coalition talks.

    French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron hailed the result as a victory for "progressives", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Mr Rutte to congratulate him overnight.

    The dispute over political campaigning for a constitutional referendum in Turkey has intensified since a rally to be held by Mr Cavusoglu in Rotterdam was cancelled on Saturday.

    Dutch authorities withdrew permission for the foreign minister's plane to land when he vowed to visit the country regardless, sparking a series of tit-for-tat sanctions.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and prominent ministers have called the Dutch government "fascists" and "Nazis", while EU leaders have called the allegations offensive and "detached from reality".

    Turkish hackers spread the Nazi accusations across high profile Twitter accounts on Wednesday morning, posting pro-Erdogan messages and a link to the President speaking from accounts including Unicef USA, Amnesty International, BBC North America, Forbes and Justin Bieber's Japanese account.

    "A little bit of an Ottoman Slap to you, see you on 16 April," read the identical tweets, using the hashtags #NaziGermany and #NaziHolland.

    The dispute has sparked protests in Turkey and across Europe, while Turkish-backed rebels in Syria put out a video accusing the Dutch government of being swayed by the ideology of Mr Wilders' "xenophobic and racist" Party for Freedom (PVV).

    A protester scaled the Dutch consulate in Istanbul and replaced the national flag with the Turkish banner during demonstrations on Sunday, while Turkish protesters have been photographed stabbing oranges and holding signs reading "fascist Holland".

    Ankara also halted high-level talks with Dutch government officials on Monday and closed its airspace to the country's diplomats, while repeating threats to scrap a deal struck with the EU last year to slow the flow of refugees to Greece.

    Nazi allegations were initially leveled at the German government by Mr Erdogan after several cities cancelled planned rallies.

    At least four German local authorities have withdrawn permission for pro-Erdogan campaign events, as well as areas of Austria and Switzerland.

    Allies of the Turkish President are targeting more than a million Turkish voters living in Europe who will be eligible to cast a ballot in the vote on 16 April.

    The referendum could see Turkey's parliamentary system replaced with an executive presidency using constitutional amendments that have alarmed human rights groups by granting sweeping powers to Mr Erdogan.

    All rally cancellations have cited safety and administrative issues but were linked to concern over a crackdown seeing thousands of people detained in Turkey following an attempted coup in July.


  2. #22
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    UAE paid $3bn to finance coup attempt in Turkey: Report

    Tue Jun 13, 2017

    The United Arab Emirates financed a high-profile coup attempt last year in Turkey and paid about three billion dollars to the putschists, a columnist in a Turkish daily has claimed.

    Mehmet Acet, a columnist for Yeni Safak daily, said on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meant the United Arab Emirates when he recently hinted at a Muslim country that spent billions to topple the Turkish government in the coup in July 2016.

    Cavusoglu said in recent remarks that a foreign country funneled money to the putschists while making efforts to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    “We know that a country provided $3 billion in financial support for the coup attempt in Turkey and exerted efforts to topple the government in illegal ways. On top of that, it is a Muslim country,” said the Turkish foreign minister
    , as quoted by Acet.

    Acet elaborated on his claims in an interview to the Turkish media, saying sources in the Turkish Foreign Ministry had confirmed that the country behind the coup was indeed the United Arab Emirates.

    “The minister did not name the country. However, sources from the foreign ministry have confirmed that it was the UAE,”
    Acet told Daily Sabah newspaper.

    Other sources have also claimed that a media magnet close to the government in Abu Dhabi had indeed transferred money to Turkey weeks before the coup was carried out. They said the money had been funneled to elements loyal to Fethullah Gulen, a cleric based in the United States who is accused by Ankara of masterminding the coup attempt.

    Right after the coup was declared over on July 16 last year, Turkey launched a massive crackdown to hunt the plotters. The widening action then led to more than 40,000 arrests. More than 100,000 people have also been discharged from their jobs.

    Turkey has not directly accused a country of having a role in the coup, which killed over 250 people. However, Cavusoglu’s remarks come amid a widening diplomatic standoff in the Persian Gulf region. Turkey has been defending Qatar against allegations of terrorism by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates while it has repeatedly endorsed Qatar’s support for senior officials from the Muslim Brotherhood, a popular party outlawed in Egypt since three years ago under pressure from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

    Ankara and Abu Dhabi are also at odds over the situation in Libya, where the two countries support different sides of the conflict.


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    'Israeli flags won’t save you': Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with famine over referendum

    26 Sep, 2017

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Iraqi Kurds will “not be able to find food” if Ankara decides to halt the flow of trucks and oil into the region, adding that all military and economic sanctions are on the table.

    “[They] will be left in the lurch when we start imposing our sanctions,” Erdogan said in a speech broadcast live on television on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters.

    “It will be over when we close the oil taps, all [their] revenues will vanish, and they will not be able to find food when our trucks stop going to northern Iraq.”

    The Turkish president then warned that Israel’s support would be insufficient to sustain the Iraqi Kurds’ drive for independence and would not save them from international isolation.
    Erdogan added that Tel Aviv does not exercise sufficient leverage over the world community.

    “Who will recognize your independence? Israel. The world is not about Israel. You should know that the waving of Israeli flags there will not save you,” he said, as quoted by Hurriyet.

    "If the only support for the KRG’s referendum is given by Israel and if the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK starts celebrating [the results] even before the polls close then there can be neither innocence nor legitimacy,” Erdogan said.

    The Israel reference comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support for an independent Kurdistan earlier this month, while taking aim at Ankara's support of Hamas.

    “Israel opposes the PKK and considers it a terrorist organization, in contrast to Turkey, which supports the terrorist group Hamas,” Netanyahu said during a state visit to Argentina. “While Israel is opposed to any kind of terrorism, it supports the legitimate means of the Kurdish people to obtain their own state.”

    The Turkish leader said Iraqi Kurds are incapable of creating their own state. “They don’t have an idea on how to be a state. They think that they are a state just by saying it. This can’t and won’t happen,” he said.

    He also called the Iraqi Kurds’ decision to hold an independence referendum “a betrayal to our country [Turkey] in an era where our relations were at their best level in history,” adding that the referendum would be “null and void” regardless of its results.

    If the Kurdish Regional Government that does not backtrack on their decision concerning the referendum “as soon as possible,” they will “go down in history with the shame of having dragged the region into an ethnic and sectarian war,” Erdogan added.

    The Turkish president warned that all options – from economic sanctions to military measures – are on the table.
    Although the Turkish president has repeatedly warned of sanctions, he has so far provided few details.

    A halt in Ankara's supply of oil to the region would be welcomed by Baghdad, which has asked foreign countries to stop direct oil trading with the region.

    However, retaliatory moves following the referendum may have already begun, according to a Turkish broadcasting official who told Reuters that Turkey has pulled Kurdish TV channel Rudaw from its TurkSat satellite service.

    The Turkish president's comments come just one day after the KRG held an independence referendum, prompting Erdogan to accuse the KRG's president, Massoud Barzani, of “treachery” over the vote.

    “Until the very last moment, we weren’t expecting Barzani to make such a mistake as holding the referendum, apparently we were wrong,” the Turkish president said in his Tuesday speech.

    “This referendum decision, which has been taken without any consultation, is treachery.”

    Barzani has stressed, however, that the vote is not binding. Rather, it is aimed at prompting negotiations with Baghdad and neighboring countries over a peaceful breakaway of the region from Iraq.

    KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani expressed a similar sentiment on Monday.

    “The referendum does not mean independence will happen tomorrow, nor are we redrawing borders,” he said. “If the ‘yes’ vote wins, we will resolve our issues with Baghdad peacefully.”

    However, Baghdad has said it will not hold talks with the KRG on the results of the “unconstitutional” referendum.

    “We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a speech broadcast on state TV on Monday night.

    Turkey, Iran, and Syria are also against the secession of the region
    , fearing it will inflame separatism among their own ethnic Kurdish populations.

    Meanwhile, Ankara and Baghdad banded together in a show of force on Tuesday, with their militaries holding joint military exercises in southeast Turkey, near the border with Iraq's Kurdistan Region.

    Although official results of the referendum are expected by Wednesday, initial results indicated that 72 percent of eligible voters had taken part in the referendum, and that a huge majority – perhaps over 90 percent – had voted ‘yes’ to independence, according to Rudaw.


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    Turkey to block anti-China media to dismay of Uighur activists

    Uighur leaders fear Turkey's growing security cooperation with China will see the minority's plight forgotten

    by AreebUllah - 3 August 2017

    Turkey's Uighurs community has voiced fear and concern over plans to impose a media blackout on reports critical of China, following a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Thursday.

    Uighur activists fear a media blackout could lead to their plight "being forgotten" by the Turkish people after Cavusoglu agreed to stronger cooperation on security and counter-terrorism with China during the meeting in Beijing.

    He said: "We take China's security as our security. We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China," he added.

    The Uighur minority comes from the predominantly Muslim autonomous province of China, known officially as Xinjiang and locally as East Turkestan. Beijing has placed a series of restrictions on religious practice in the region and many have settled across the Middle East.

    China used the meeting with Turkey to express its fears about ethnic Uyghurs fighting with militants in the Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

    A Chinese media blackout

    Speaking about plans to ban anti-China reports in the Turkish media, a Uighur activist based in Istanbul who did not want to be named, said: "It could be a big problem for the Uyghur community inside Turkey."

    "There are few countries in the world where protests about the plight of people inside East Turkistan makes the front page," said the Uyghur student activist, who declined to be named citing safety concerns. "We can't rely on Chinese press to tell us what is really happening to the Uighurs."

    They added: "Activities to support Uighurs was once banned in Turkey with the demand of China but it was a time which Turkey was weak. I believe both the politicians and the nation will keep doing what they have been doing which is supporting Uighurs' cause."

    Nuzugum, who also studies in Istanbul told MEE that Turkish reports help undermine Beijing's blackout on reports about discrimination and violence against Uighurs in China.

    "China tries to hide all the news about Uighurs. So we have to rely on reports in the international press about the situation in East Turkistan,"
    said Nuzugum. "If they stop reports that are against China, no-one will know what is happening to the Uyghurs."

    Loss of human rights

    Beijing's growing relationship with Ankara has created further concern among activists as it comes after hundreds of Uighurs inside Egypt were arrested and forced to leave the country at the behest of the Chinese authorities.

    Erkin Emet, who is the assistant general secretary of the Uighur World Congress, told MEE that many within his community were "anxious" about plans for Turkey to work closely with China on counter-terrorism.

    "As Uighurs, we are not happy with this
    , we are anxious because China sees all Uighurs as potential militants," said Emet. "We are more uncomfortable with the situation as the Chinese have taken all our rights away from us, and this could be an alliance that could limit us (as a community) inside Turkey."

    He added: "There are a lot of East Turkistanis in Turkey, most of which have come here due to the political pressure and oppression. About 320,000 Uighurs live in Turkey and they are uncomfortable with Turkey coming close to China, but we don't believe they would hand us over.

    "This is because the [ruling party] has a political discourse which upholds justice and we, therefore, don't believe they will go against it. Also, Uighurs share a sort of religious and ethnic brotherhood with Turks."

    Arrested Uighur students in Egypt

    Fears continued to mount for Uighurs living in Cairo after Amnesty International reported that a further 10 students were forcibly removed by the Egyptian authorities and deported to China on Wednesday.

    In 2015, Turkey angered China by expressing concern about reports of restrictions on worship and fasting by Uighurs in Xinjiang during the holy month of Ramadan. Turkish protesters have marched on China's embassy and consulate in Turkey over the treatment of Uighurs.

    The two countries have also quarrelled over Thailand's deportation of Uighur migrants back to China.

    Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, successive Turkish governments, to the annoyance of China, continued to welcome Uighurs who had fled persecution and discrimination in China.


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    Erdogan rejects ‘moderate Islam’ as a Western tool to weaken Muslims

    11 Nov, 2017

    The idea of ‘moderate Islam’ was invented by the West and is being used to weaken the ancient religion, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan has said in reference to Saudi Arabia’s reforms, while also lashing out at the EU’s “discrimination” of Muslims.

    Last month, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, vowed to restore “moderate” Islam to the kingdom considered to be "home" of the religion. The Gulf monarchy currently follows a Salafist or Wahhabi version of Islam [Hanbal school of though] that is often described as being "ultraconservative" and administered through Islamic Sharia law. In what appears to be a direct reference to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Erdogan denounced a “moderate” interpretation of Islam in a speech delivered at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Women’s Advisory Council on Friday.

    “The term ‘moderate Islam’ is being lathered up again. The patent of moderate Islam belongs to the West. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam; Islam is one. The aim of using such terms is to weaken Islam,”
    Erdogan said in Ankara.

    “Perhaps the person voicing this concept thinks it belongs to him. No, it does not belong to you,” he added, recalling, that he was “asked about ‘moderate Islam’ at meetings in the European Parliament many years ago.”

    The thrust of Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030, is to socially transform the Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam, which bans gender mixing, concerts and cinemas. Starting in the summer of next year, women in Saudi Arabia will be permitted to drive. In the new year, women would also be allowed to attend sporting events as the monarchy continues to usher in its liberalization reforms.

    Last month the Prince unveiled a plan to construct a $500-billion state of the art city across its borders into Jordan and Egypt. The new mega-city is to be erected with the aim of diversifying the Arab country’s economy and reducing its dependency on oil.

    Riyadh’s reforms have been accompanied by a massive anti-corruption drive, which saw a purge of the kingdom’s political and business elite, including 11 princes. The kingdom’s closest ally, the US, has welcomed the campaign, with President Donald Trump saying those arrested had been “milking their country for years”.

    “They say we will return to moderate Islam, but they still don’t give women the right to drive. Is there such a thing in Islam? I guess they will give this right when they turn to the moderate one,” Erdogan noted Friday.

    The Turkish president also lashed out against the EU for approving a series of so-called “burka bans” introduced in recent years, calling it a “discrimination against Muslim women.”

    "Headscarves are gradually being banned in EU states with the public - personal space trick, attempting to bar Muslim women from entering social life. Attempts to incarcerate Muslim women in their homes is spreading like a virus,"
    Erdogan said.

    Traditional Islamic head and face coverings have long been controversial in Europe, where they are often seen as incompatible with secular values. France became the first European country to impose a ban on full-face coverings in 2011. Belgium followed suit shortly thereafter. German MPs approved a partial ban on full-face veils this April, saying it’s the country’s duty to present itself “in an ideologically and religiously neutral manner.” Austria’s parliament also endorsed a package of measures that outlaws distribution of the Koran and wearing traditional Islamic full-face veils in public.

    "Those who are teaching us lessons on human rights are unfortunately applauding as the most basic human rights are being trampled in their countries,"
    said Erdogan.



    There is no "moderate Islam", "radical Islam", "extremist Islam", or "liberal Islam". There is only Islam and Islam is a religion of moderation as already explained in the ahadith. Anyone who says there are these other forms of Islam is a liar and anyone who follows these other forms of "Islam" follows a deviant ideology they are trying to pass off as Islam.

    Music, free intermixing of men and women, and alcohol are banned in Islam. The prohibitions can be found in the Quran and the ahadith. So, the Saudi are not following "wahhabi", "extreme" Islam but the real Sunni Islam.

    This new Saudi puppet is also building a beach resort where women can wear bikinis in his "moderate" Islam. This is how they allow prohibited things in Islam by labeling it "moderate" or "liberal" and ban the things allowed in Islam by calling it "extremist", "wahabi", etc.

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    Turkish capital Ankara bans all gay rights functions

    19 November 2017

    The Turkish capital Ankara has banned all gay festivals, screenings, forums and exhibitions on security grounds.

    The governor's office said on Sunday that it also wanted to protect public order and sensitivities.

    The announcement follows a move last week to ban a festival of German-language gay films also due to have been held in the city.

    Homosexuality is legal in Turkey but activists say homophobia is rampant.

    ["From Saturday] 18 November until further notice, all film and theatre events, screenings, panels, colloquium, exhibitions, etc... have been banned," the city administration said on its website.

    It argues that such functions in Ankara and its surrounding province are likely to "provoke reactions within certain segments" of society and are also at risk of being targeted by "terrorists".

    The announcement is likely to increase concern among gay activists in Turkey that their rights are being curtailed under the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is rooted in conservative Islam.

    Gay activists says they have been subjected to various forms of discrimination including harassment, abuse and rape.

    The popular annual gay pride rally in Istanbul has been blocked for three years by the authorities, who cited security concerns. In 2003 Turkey became the first Muslim majority country to allow a gay pride march.

    The perceived erosion of civil liberties in Turkey has caused concern in the West following the failed military coup of July 2016. More than 50,000 people have been jailed since then, many accused of having links to the plotters. About 150,000 people mostly working for the government have been sacked or suspended.

    In a statement announcing the German film ban last week, the office of Ankara Governor Mehmet Kılıclar said the festival's content "could incite grudges and enmity toward a part of society".

    Intelligence suggested that "terror organisations" were seeking "to attack dissident groups or individuals" and that the screening "could have been provocative".

    The event's organisers said the festival had already been attacked on social media before it was banned.



    The same hypocrites crying about "human rights" over spreading homosexuality among the Muslims are the ones raping and killing Muslims, and banning Hijabs.

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    Turkey to open embassy in East Jerusalem

    Turkey is considering opening diplomatic missions in East Jerusalem in response to President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of the city as the capital of Israel.

    Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), asked the government to open Turkey’s Embassy in Palestine in East Jerusalem.

    Engin Altay, the CHP’s parliamentary deputy group chairman said: “Turkey should immediately, without wasting time, open its embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem.”

    Altay said his party would support the move without any condition.

    He called on the Arab world to be more sensitive on the Palestine issue.

    He said: “The Arab countries failed to pass the exam in expressing solidarity with Palestine.”

    Altay said the CHP is pleased with the decision made by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday in recognising East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital city.

    The OIC, which was established during a historic summit in Morocco in 1969 following an arson attack on Masjid Al-Aqsa in occupied Jerusalem.

    The announcement came following the emergency meeting of the bloc in Istanbul called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

    Altay said that the ruling and opposition parties are united when it comes to address national and regional issues.

    The Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey opened in 1925 following the declaration of the Republic, and has the privilege of being one of the oldest diplomatic missions abroad directly linked to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    After Israel declared Jerusalem as its “eternal and indivisible” capital in 1980, Turkey closed its Consulate General in Jerusalem as a sign of protest.

    Following the positive atmosphere created by the Madrid Peace Conference, the Consulate General resumed its activities in September 1992 and has remained open so far.



    Erdogan slams Israel as ‘terrorist state’ that ‘kills children’

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Israel Sunday, calling it a ‘terrorist state’ that ‘kills children.’ Erdogan promised to fight to the bitter end against Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

    “Palestine is an innocent victim… as for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!”
    Erdogan said at a congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) in the Turkish city of Sivas on Sunday. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children,” he added.

    As for the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, despite the Palestinians viewing the eastern part of the city as the capital of its future sovereign state, Erdogan promised to use “all means to fight” it, according to AFP.

    Violent clashes have continued in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for several days after Trump’s announcement on Wednesday. Two Palestinians were killed and over 1,000 people injured on Friday, with a further 230 wounded on Saturday, as Israeli security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon at the protesters.

    Erdogan blasted Israel as an “oppressive, occupation state,” calling the response of the police and military to the protests “disproportionate,” Hurriyet reported.

    “The US ignored a 1980 UN Security Council ruling regarding Jerusalem which the US itself signed at that time,” Erdogan said as cited by the Daily Sabah. “A system in which the stronger one is regarded as being right can’t constitute justice, peace and stability,” he said, adding that the American approach could lead to more tragedies.

    In response to Erdogan’s remarks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retorted that that his Turkish counterpart was hardly one to talk.

    “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists” said Netanyahu, adding that Erdogan “helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.”

    “That is not the man who will lecture us.”

    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    Trump’s announcement faced widespread international condemnation and was backed only by Israel, which has been pushing for Jerusalem to be recognized as its capital for decades. The leaders of France, Germany and other European nations have all agreed that the US move is dangerous and harmful to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, urging the US to abide by international agreements. The Arab League also rejected the American decision, saying on Saturday that it amounted to recognition of the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel, and ipso facto had no legal basis.


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    Turkey and Israel’s deep trade ties expose the emptiness of Erdogan’s rhetoric over Jerusalem

    Without a shift in Turkey’s economic connections to Israel, Ankara's fiery words amount to very little, writes Joseph Dana


    More than a decade ago, Turkey set out to rebrand itself as an international tourism and trade hub. A crucial part of this transformation was Turkish Airlines. The national flag carrier now flies to more destinations than any other airline in the world and has remade Istanbul into a global city. Given the airline’s reach, it is surprising that one of its most popular and lucrative routes is Tel Aviv to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines is the second most popular carrier out of Tel Aviv after Israel’s national carrier El Al.

    With more than 12 flights a day from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, divided between Turkish Airlines and the low-cost carrier Pegasus, Turkey is a dominant force in the Israeli aviation market. But this is only one aspect of a deep economic partnership between Turkey and Israel. Despite fiery rhetoric in support of Palestinians from Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country stands alone in the Muslim world as one of Tel Aviv’s dependable partners.

    In the fallout following US president Donald Trump’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel there have been condemnations across the Arab world. Turkey has been a loud voice in this process. Mr Erdogan hosted an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul. At the end of the conference, Turkey announced it would recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and open an embassy there. Mr Erdogan’s attempts to lead the defence of Jerusalem have caused tension with Arab leaders over broader regional affairs.

    There was, however, something missing from Turkey’s verbose proclamations of support for the Palestinian people: a plan to cut economic ties with Israel. Beyond the popularity of the Tel Aviv-Istanbul flight route, Turkey enjoys a vibrant economic relationship with Israel crowned by shared attempts to upend the European natural gas market.

    In 2009, Israel discovered large reserves of natural gas off its Mediterranean coast. While the exact size of the gas fields is unknown, they are rumoured to contain at least 150 years’ worth of reserves. The problem is how best to export the gas to European markets keen to wean themselves off Russia’s supply. Instead of working with Cyprus and Greece or investing in liquefaction units, Tel Aviv has been partnering closely with Ankara to create a pipeline into Turkey. The prospect of this energy partnership has helped smooth the political tensions between the two countries that had bubbled to the surface in the past seven years.

    As part of its attempts to make itself an international energy trading hub, Turkey has worked closely with Israel and Iraqi Kurdistan to create pipelines that bring hydrocarbon resources into Turkey and then export them to European markets. In July, Bloomberg reported Turkey was pushing Israel to lean on Cyprus in the hopes of persuading the Cypriots to allow a pipeline connecting Israel and Turkey to pass through their territory. The economic partnership is not limited to natural gas. As a result of the Syrian civil war, Turkey has been using Israel’s Haifa port as an important gateway to landlocked countries such as Jordan. Turkish goods used to flow through Syria but now they go through Israel.

    The economic relationship aside, Mr Erdogan has made support of Palestinians a key part of his domestic populist appeal. With his fervent support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot in Gaza, Hamas, Mr Erdogan has used the issue of Palestine to maintain relevance after the Arab Spring. Turkey used its stable position at the outset of the uprisings to push for a complete transformation of the Middle East. Ankara had hoped the Muslim Brotherhood would come to power and Turkey would emerge as a neo-Ottoman regional superpower.

    This strategy failed. Mr Erdogan found himself under attack at home from protesters of all stripes and fighting to solidify his regional power after betting on the wrong side in the Arab Spring. As a result, the logical solution for Mr Erdogan was to wholeheartedly embrace the Palestinian struggle.

    Mr Erdogan saw himself as the leader who would liberate Palestine and succeed where the Arab world had failed before him. While this persona played well for the home crowd, the economic relationship between Israel and Turkey was never in danger, even at the height of the diplomatic impasse following Israel’s attack on a Turkish aid ship to Gaza in 2010. Political relations strained but, through it all, Israelis kept flying Turkish Airlines and the natural gas partnership advanced. Without a shift in Turkey’s deep economic connections to Israel, fiery words about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amount to little more than hollow rhetoric.

    It is hardly surprising that Mr Erdogan would use the US decision on Jerusalem to drape himself in the Palestinian colours and proclaim himself a true friend of the Palestinians. The words uttered by Mr Erdogan are ultimately a sad reminder of regional division, which Israel has used to its own advantage.

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    Erdogan Hits Back: Netanyahu Is a ‘Terrorist’ and Israel Is a ‘Terror State’

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/YeniSafakEn...90252637839731

    Netanyahu blasted Erdogan earlier for criticizing Israel over its response to the Gaza protests ■ Netanyahu responded: Anyone who occupies northern Cyprus, invades Kurds, massacres civilians in Afrin shouldn't lecture

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was "a terror state" and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "a terrorist" on Sunday, after Netanyahu hit back at Turkish criticism of Israel's response to protests on the Gaza border over the weekend. Fifteen Palestinian protesters were killed during clashes with Israeli forces.

    "I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem," Erdogan said, according to the Daily Sabah newspaper. "Israel has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist."

    Erdogan on Saturday condemned the Israeli government for its "inhumane attack," referring to 15 Palestinian protesters killed on Friday. “Israel will imprison Palestine under its oppression. We will continue to support our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” he said.

    Erdogan attacked his critics as well. “I have not heard worthy opposition to the Israeli massacre in Gaza from those who criticized the operation in Afrin,” he said, referring to Turkish actions in the Kurdish enclave in Syria.

    The European Union criticized the Turkish offensive on Afrin two weeks ago, while the Kurdish militia called the assault an “occupation.” A top member of the Kurdish civil authority told Reuters that civilians still in Afrin town were facing threats from the Turkey-backed groups.

    On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths and injuries along Gaza's border with Israel, his spokesman said in a statement.

    European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on Saturday for a probe into the Israeli military's use of live fire during the mass rallies at the Gaza-Israel border.


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    Turkish religious authority launches drive against terrorists exploiting Islam

    Apr 13, 2018

    Religion dominates the daily life of millions in Muslim-majority Turkey, yet it is also a useful means for terrorist groups to enlist new recruits to their warped view of Islam.

    To counter the false religious propaganda by Daesh and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), state-run Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) has launched a new initiative. Through imams and other staff in mosques and offices across Turkey, the religious authority wants to raise awareness against the threat of exploitation or abuse of religion by the terrorist groups.

    Clerics and theologians will be enrolled by DİB for the campaign that will organize conferences and produce TV and radio programs. The matter will also be included in the weekly sermons at mosques all across Turkey.

    Detailing the projects at a press conference in Ankara yesterday, DİB President Ali Erbaş said that the administrators of the authority along with Islamic scholars will attend events to raise awareness this month and the next in 40 cities across Turkey in the first leg of the initiative. He said they would also attend programs on local TV and radio stations to inform the public about the issues.

    "We want citizens to ask [DİB] if they need advice on religious education and knowledge, so as not to heed those abusing the religion," Erbaş said.

    The religious authority had released detailed reports before on what impact Daesh and FETÖ had on the image of Islam.

    Turkey is among the countries branded "infidel" by the terrorist group Daesh, which adheres to a warped version of Islam that justifies acts of terror. Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to thwart Daesh terrorism.

    The country's efforts against Daesh made it a primary target of the terrorist group, which carried out a number of gun and bomb attacks targeting Turkish security forces and civilians. The terrorist group has managed to attract radicalized youth from Turkey as well as al-Qaeda sympathizers to its ranks. Several Turks, including one individual wanted for plotting some major Daesh attacks, are among the members fighting for the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.

    Like Daesh, FETÖ recruited its followers by brainwashing them through religious messages before exploiting them to for the group's benefit. The members did not question leadership or orders, a DİB report says.

    FETÖ, which operates around the world through a large network of schools, institutions and unions, is recognized as a terrorist group in Turkey. The government blames it for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in the country that killed 250 people and wounded more than 2,000. The government says that the group's self-exiled leader Fetullah Gülen masterminded the coup attempt.

    In the 1970s, FETÖ emerged as a religious group and then a "peaceful" movement that advocated interfaith dialogue and worldwide education for the poor and needy. However, FETÖ's decades-long attempts to infiltrate the police, judiciary, military and other state institutions returned in last year's coup attempt. The DİB report suggested that Gülen's followers have been turned into robotic militants who do not question his leadership or orders.



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