May 2011

IHH Accepting Reservations for Jihadist Voyage of Mavi Marmara; They Target One Million Applications

The pro-Hamas, Islamist charity organization IHH is accepting reservations on its official website for Mavi Marmara’s second voyage to Gaza “to break the illegal blockade on the region”. They call upon individuals who want to take part in the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ to fill out a reservation form made available on the website. IHH’s bank account numbers are also provided for donations.

According to IHH ten thousand applications were filled during the first week, and that their target is for one million people to apply. Additional 250 thousand application forms have also been shipped to various cities in Turkey.

While spaces are guaranteed for the families of the ‘shahids’ of last year’s flotilla, IHH will make the selection among the applicants, based on the wording of the explanations the applicants provide in the form, about why they want to join the flotilla. A few samples demonstrate the applicants’ desire for martyrdom.

Source: IHH, May 14 – 23, 2011

Date Posted: May 23, 2011
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Turkish News Portal Asks, “Has Erdogan Jr. Become an Activist?” as PM Erdogan’s Son Participates at IHH Event

Turkish PM Erdogan’s son Necmettin Bilal Erdogan and his family participated in pro-Hamas, Islamist charity organization IHH’s “Kite Festival” organized to commemorate the anniversary of the raid on Mavi Marmara.

IHH organized the event in Istanbul as part of a program to commemorate the shahids of the ill-fated raid of the Israeli commandos on Mavi Marmara on May 31 of last year.

The kite festival was organized to be held in Istanbul and the shores of Gaza simultaneously.

More than 1500 special kites with the pictures of the ‘shahids’, Palestinian flags, and of Mavi Marmara that were prepared for the event by IHH were flown by the participants. PM Erdogan’s son flew a kite which had the picture of Mavi Marmara and the script that read, “Mavi Marmara Continues on its Voyage”.

The series of commemorative events will end on May 30 with a big march to Istanbul’s Taksim square, with the participation of many Islamist organizations under the leadership of IHH.

Source: DHA – Dogan News Agency, gazete5.com, IHH, May 21, 2011

Date Posted: May 23, 2011
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Leading Israeli Company Cancels Performance in Antalya Theater Festival, Due to Protests, Threats by IHH and Other Islamist Organizations

The Israeli Cameri theater company was invited by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture to participate in 2nd International Antalya Theater Festival and was to perform a comedy (Thrill my Heart) on May 22.

A few days earlier, the local branches of Islamist organizations (IHH, Ozgurder and others) protested the invitation, demanded the government to withdraw it, saying that “bloody handed savage Zionists” that martyred their “brothers” in Mavi Marmara would not be welcome in Antalya. They threatened that their members would protest and distrupt the showings both inside and outside the theater.

Cameri announced yesterday that it was canceling its performances and the group left Antalya under heavy security measures, to return to Israel.

(...)

Source: Anatolia News Agency, Dogan News Agency, Hurriyet Daily News, May 22, 2011

Date Posted: May 23, 2011
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IHH: “If Israel Has Any Brains It Will Not Interfere With ‘Freedom Flotilla II’; Much Bigger Surprise Being Prepared”

In a press conference in Istanbul on Friday, which was widely reported by Islamist media, the pro-Hamas IHH’s President Bulent Yıldırım said that ‘Freedom Flotilla II’ will set off to Gaza in June and warned Israel, saying: “Do not touch Freedom Flotilla II; let it go to Gaza. If you interfere again, we will make news by remaining on open sea for days”. Yıldırım also said that this flotilla is only a small piece of the process and that there is a much bigger work being prepared which he described as a 'surprise'.

After accusing Israel of war crimes, Yildirim said that Mavi Marmara and a cargo ship that would carry a thousand tonnes of aid, will set sail in the last week of June as part of a 15 vessel flotilla organized by 22 NGOs. He added that there will be about 1500 activists on board.

Yildirim said, “The big project I was talking about earlier is a big surprise apart from this. Do not blow this second flotilla out of proportion; it is only a small piece of the process. We have bigger projects. We suggest Israel to be smarter. Do not touch this flotilla! Let it go to Gaza. If you interfere again, streets will fill with demonstrators and the hatred for Israel will swell”.

(...)

Source: IHH.org.tr, May 20, 2011

Date Posted: May 22, 2011
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Turkish President Gul: “Hamas already ‘internalized recognizing Israel in its pre-1967 borders’ but wants to declare its recognition simultaneously with Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state”

The day after President Obama’s speech on the Middle East, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that he had pressed Hamas to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Gul said the fact that Obama called for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders was a very important step in itself, and that Obama “had a point” as he defended Israel for not negotiating with a party that rejects Israel’s “right to exist.”

Gul said Israel was right to put its security first and added, “But to do that effectively, it needs to understand the meaning of the democratic uprisings in the Arab world, namely that new elected governments would no longer be allowed by their voters to tolerate ‘humiliating’ Israeli policies”. He said “Israel should not focus on tactical issues but must look at the strategic side. They have to get rid of this fear".

Asked by WSJ if the president is willing to urge Hamas to recognize Israel, Gul said he has already advised Hamas “to be rational” (about recognizing Israel’s right to exist). He cited a 2006 meeting with Hamas’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal (who was invited to Ankara by the pro-Hamas AKP government of which Gul was the foreign minister) at which he urged him to recognize Israel.

Gul claimed that Hamas has already 'internalized recognizing Israel in its pre-1967 borders' but said Hamas wants to declare its recognition simultaneously with Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state.

Source: Today’s Zaman (Turkey), May 20, 2011

Date Posted: May 22, 2011
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Turkey Warns Israel: We will Respond Accordingly, if Israel Attacks the Aid Flotilla Again

In an interview with Turkish NTV television on Saturday, Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel against repeating a similar attack on the Gaza bound flotilla, as it did last year.

Asked whether Ankara had made any attempt to dissuade the group from the campaign, Davutoglu said: "It is known that we are against the blockade of Gaza. This blockade is illegal and turns Gaza into an open prison. We did not encourage any convoy. We have shared our views about the safety of our citizens with the organizers. That was the case last year and it is not any different this time. Our attitude has not changed". The minister insisted that the AKP government “cannot give instructions to civil society” and that Israel’s “unlawful” blockade of Gaza was at the core of the tensions.

"(Last year) Israel killed civilians. They committed a crime for which they have to pay. Let it be known that Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas," Davutoglu said.

(...)

Source: NTV, May 21, 2011

Date Posted: May 21, 2011
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Mixed Reactions in Ankara to Obama Speech: “Generally Positive”, but “Insufficient”

U.S. President Barack Obama’s far-ranging speech on the Middle East has drawn mixed reactions from Turkey, which expressed agreement with the U.S. strategy on Syria but strong criticism of its approach to Israel.

Turkish diplomatic sources expressed satisfaction that in his speech Obama did not cross out Syria’s al-Assad and did not ask him to step down, thus giving him a chance to reform his country. The U.S’s policy for Syria was seen as being in line with Turkey’s own.

Obama’s voicing of the pre-1967 borders (for the first time by a U.S. president) as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state was seen as a “positive window” by Ankara, but the omission in the speech of the subject of the illegality of the Jewish settlements on occupied lands was “disappointing”.

The U.S. should support the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation process (which Turkey played instrumental role to achieve) and pave the way for recognition of a Palestinian state if it wants peace in the region, Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu repeatedly says, following Obama’s speech.

“There is a reference to the 1967 borders. This is an important window of opportunity. They should not refrain from giving support to Palestinian reconciliation due to Israel’s unnecessary reservations,” Davutoglu said in an interview on Friday with the CNNTurk TV channel. He called on the U.S. to take a “more principled attitude” on the issue, noting that there was a commitment to establish a Palestinian state at the time when Israel was formed in 1948. “A Palestinian state should be found without delay,” he said.

On Saturday Davutoglu spoke to NTV channel and responded to U.S. requests for Turkey to stop the sailing of the Second Gaza flotilla next month, and said, “Let it be known that Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas".

Source: Zaman, Hurriyet (Turkey), May 21, 2011

Date Posted: May 21, 2011
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U.S. Urges Turkey to Stop Gaza Flotilla, Ankara Blames Israel

As the U.S. administration openly warned the Turkish government for the first time against allowing another aid convoy in an attempt to break the blockade on Gaza, Ankara responded by saying “Washington should first warn Israel to abstain from violence.”

In a move to avert a repetition of last year’s May 31 crisis on the Mavi Marmara aid ship, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon openly urged Turkey on Thursday to convince the Turkish organizations not to dispatch another aid flotilla to Gaza and to find other ways to get aid to the blockaded strip.

(...)

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, May 19, 2011

Date Posted: May 19, 2011
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FM Davutoglu: “Israel Should Respect Turkish Nation, Admit Its Crime and Pay Compensation for It”

FM Davutoglu told a Turkish TV program that Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Gaby Levy had been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and warned about recent developments. “What Turkey expects, to prevent the repetition of similar incidents to the Mavi Marmara attack, has been relayed to the ambassador,” he said.

Asked whether the low Turkish participation in celebrations to mark the anniversary of Israel’s founding, which no one from the Turkish cabinet attended, was the result of a diplomatic boycott, Davutoglu said that there had been no directive issued to government members to boycott the reception, and added, “It is very meaningful that nobody went there although there was not a boycott decision,” Davutoglu said, adding that Israel should take this into serious consideration. He urged Israel to review its stance and show respect to Turkish nation. “Normally, we are careful about the national days of other countries. If they (Israel) want our friendship, the criterion for this is clear: Israel should admit its crime and compensate for it” he said.

Asked about his reactions to the news reports that a second Gaza flotilla was preparing to set sail, that there are demands from the U.S. and Israel to stop this flotilla, and that Israeli Ambassador Levy had gone to the Foreign Ministry and said ‘stop the flotilla’, Davutoglu said that Levy could not have come to the Ministry to issue warnings. “Levy cannot come to the foreign ministry; no ambassador can come to the ministry in Ankara to make such a warning,” he said.

“On the contrary, Deputy Undersecretary Halit Cevik summoned the Israeli ambassador upon my directive, gave messages and made serious warnings over the recent developments,” Davutoglu said, calling again for Israel to first compensate for their mistake of last year..

Source: Anatolia News Agency, May 17, 2011

Date Posted: May 19, 2011
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Turkey Advises U.S. to Give Al-Assad More Time for Reforms

Despite growing international pressure on the Syrian leadership, Turkey believes Bashar al-Assad’s regime should be given more time to make reforms, giving a clear message to the United States that any untimely intervention would be unwelcome.

“We want a smooth transformation and an orderly transition,” a senior Turkish diplomat said, after a meeting between Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone.

The meeting came a day after U.S. Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Turkey. Cartwright held talks with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Isık Kosaner and visited the NATO Command in Izmir.

A Turkish diplomat said, “The number-one issue was Syria, but all the regional developments were discussed” but refused to give more information on the content of the Erdogan-Ricciardone meeting, which took place at a heliport in Ankara. He said that the ambassador conveyed messages to Erdogan from President Obama and that the PM also dispatched his messages to the U.S. president.

Damascus became the focal point of criticism by the international community amid the ongoing “Arab Spring” when it opted to suppress mass protests through excessive use of force that has left more than 1,000 people dead. Turkey has been advising Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s government to immediately implement reforms to calm the situation, but has recently become frustrated at its recalcitrance.

“Turkey’s, and in particular the prime minister’s, initiatives in the region are always very important for us. That’s why we are following them very closely. That’s why I came here [to meet],” Ricciardone told reporters after his meeting with Erdogan.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, Vatan (Turkey), May 18, 2019

Date Posted: May 19, 2011
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