Tag Archives: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
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December 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / CNN) — Officials from Israel and Turkey met in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday in an attempt to reduce tensions between the two nations in the wake of an incident earlier this year involving an aid flotilla to Gaza, representatives from both countries said.
The meeting came about after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sent two firefighting planes Friday to Israel to aid in combating a deadly wildfire, according to a Turkish foreign ministry official.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly thanked Erdogan, then called him to thank him again, the official said. While on the telephone, Netanyahu said he hoped the two countries could discuss the state of their relationship in a different context, according to the official.
Yosef Ciechanover, an Israeli representative on a U.N. panel established to review the May 31 flotilla incident, traveled to Geneva for the meeting at Netanyhahu’s request, according to an Israeli official.
“The two met in order to find ways to promote appeasement and diminish the tension between the two countries,” the official said.
Another Israeli official said, “We regretted the deterioration of the relationship between the two countries and we of course like to see an improvement of the relations.”
The Turkish foreign ministry officials said that Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu met with the Israeli representative.
Turkey was once Israel’s strongest ally among Muslim nations, but the relationship between the two nations has been chilly since May 31, when Israeli forces intercepted an aid flotilla headed to Gaza from Turkey. Violence broke out, and nine Turkish activists were killed.
In September, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded the Israeli forces committed serious violations of international law in the mid-sea interception. The 56-page report described the circumstances of the deaths of “at least
six of the passengers” as being “consistent with … an arbitrary and summary execution.”
Israel has maintained its troops used force on the activists after they were attacked by those on board one boat, but passengers on board that boat insist Israeli troops fired on them without provocation. (*)
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Turkish PM Erdogan says he still expects compensation from Israel over Gaza flotilla raid, calls Turkey’s aid in fire purely humanitarian.
December 05, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — Turkey still expects an apology and compensation for nine Turkish activists killed on a Gaza-bound ship this year, despite its offer of help to Israel in battling forest fires, its prime minister said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to thank him after Turkey sent firefighting planes to help battle forest fires in northern Israel that killed 41 people.
It was the first conversation between the two men since Israeli commandos killed the nine Turkish activists while storming their boat, the Mavi Marmara,that was bringing supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said Turkey’s gesture would be an opportunity to improve ties between the erstwhile allies. But Erdogan said the help on the fires was purely humanitarian.
“We would never stand by when people are being killed and nature is being destroyed anywhere in the world,” Erdogan said in comments broadcast live by CNN Turk. “No one should try to interpret this any differently.
“Now some are coming out and saying, ‘Let’s begin a new phase.’ Before that, our demands must be met … Our nine brothers martyred on the Mavi Marmara must be accounted for. First an apology must be made and compensation must be paid.”
Israel had enjoyed close military and commercial ties with Muslim but secular Turkey since the 1990s.
Netanyahu’s government has since accused Erdogan, a devout Muslim, of turning away from Western allies and embracing Iran and other Islamic states.
Erdogan criticized Israeli conduct during strikes on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, which followed Turkish efforts to mediate between Israel and Syria in failed peace talks. (*)
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‘Does Israel think it can enter Lebanon with most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, use cluster bombs to kill kids in Gaza, and expect us to remain silent?’ asks Turkish prime minister on visit to Beirut.
November 25, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Turkey will not remain silent if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Beirut on Thursday, as ties between the longtime allies remained at an all-time low.
“Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan said at a conference organised by the Union of Arab Banks.
“Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? “We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us.”
Turkey was once Israel’s closest military and diplomatic ally in the Middle East but ties began to deteriorate when Ankara criticised Israel’s December 2008 to January 2009 offensive against Gaza.
Relations then nosedived on May 31, 2010 when Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish-registered protest ship, the Mavi Mara, part of a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the operation.
Erdogan has said his country will not begin to restore relations with Israel until it apologizes for its “savage attack” on the vessel. Thursday was the final day of the Turkish premier’s two-day visit to Lebanon.
Hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent have clashed with army troops during a protest over a visit to Beirut by the Turkish prime minister.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a two day trip during which he met with officials and visited the north and south of the country.
He was inaugurating a hospital in the southern port city of Sidon Thursday as hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square. When demonstrators tore up a large poster of Erdogan and pelted troops with rocks, security responded by beating up a number of them.
There were no reports of major injuries.
Lebanon has 150,000 Armenians, or nearly 4 percent of its population, which harbors deep animosity toward Turks over the 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians. (*)
AFP and AP contributed to the story
Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Beirut amid soaring tension as Hezbollah fears UN indictment for Hariri killing.
November 24, 2010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Beirut on Wednesday for a two-day visit that would include talks on the tense political situation in Lebanon.
Erdogan is to meet Lebanese government officials and lawmakers from Hezbollah, according to a government source.
The Turkish premier, in remarks published Wednesday in the Lebanese daily As Safir, said his country would not allow Lebanon to deteriorate into a civil war.
Erdogan said that Turkey would “do the necessary to fight signs of a civil war in Lebanon.”
“Now is the time for unity in Lebanon,” he said.
His visit comes ahead of the release of the findings of an international tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Political tensions have mounted in Lebanon amid indications that some members of Hezbollah are to be indicted in the case.
The militant Shiite group has said it will not accept any accusation against any of its members, and warned of the repercussions of such an outcome.
During his stay in the country, Erodgan is also due to visit Turkish troops deployed with the United Nations Interim Forces in Southern Lebanon and inaugurate Turkish-built schools and a rehabilitation centre.
Turkey and Lebanon are also expected to sign a partnership agreement to establish a free-trade zone.(*)