OIC Summit Stresses Rejection of US Decision on Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

OIC Summit Stresses Rejection of US Decision on Jerusalem

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 – 10:45
Asharq Al Awsat

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed Muslim leaders on Wednesday stressing that a US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a crime which showed that Washington can no longer be an honest broker in Middle East peace talks.

During an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey, Abbas said President Donald Trump was giving Jerusalem away as if it were an American city.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” he said, adding Trump’s decision was “the greatest crime” and a flagrant violation of international law.

Wednesday’s summit was hosted by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who has piercingly slammed the United States for its stance on Jerusalem.

“I invite all countries supporting international law to recognize Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine. We cannot be late any more,” Erdogan told leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries.

He described Trump’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli actions including occupation, settlement construction, land seizure and “disproportionate violence and murder”.

“Israel is an occupying state (and) Israel is a terror state,” he said.

Jerusalem, cherished by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Ahead of the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Muslim nations should urge the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state within its pre-1967 borders.

He said this week Turkey was not seeking sanctions in response to the US move, but wanted the summit to issue a strong rejection of the US decision.

Trump’s announcement last week prompted an outpouring of anger in the Muslim and Arab world, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the Jewish state and show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The decision sparked protests in Palestinian territories, with four Palestinians killed so far in clashes or Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza and hundreds wounded.
US ‘BIAS’

The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status.

It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.

Abbas told the leaders in Istanbul that Washington should no longer play a role in the peace talks.

“It will be unacceptable for it (the United States) to have a role in the political process any longer since it is biased in favor of Israel,” he said. “This is our position and we hope you support us in this.”

King Abdullah of Jordan told the Istanbul summit that he rejected any attempt to change the status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The summit was also attended by leaders including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. Rouhani tweeted that Trump’s decision showed the United States had no respect for Palestinian rights and could never be an honest mediator.

Jerusalem, Israel, And The Palestinian People

Jerusalem, Israel, And The Palestinian People

 

So, tomorrow December the 6th President Trump is supposed to say whether or not he is going to officially recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and if the U.S. is going to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So, this article this evening is simply my thoughts on this issue, I am not consulting other writers nor any pre-written documents. I am only going by articles that I have already read during my lifetime, up to this point in time. I know that no matter what I say, I am going to get a lot of people angry simply because I don’t agree with them.

Today the President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan threatened to cut relations with Israel if Mr. Trump goes ahead with the Jerusalem Capital issue. To me, this is a fraudulent concept, if Mr. Erdogan wants to cut relations with any country it should be the U.S. not Israel. Israel cannot control what comes out of the mouth of Donald Trump, no one can. It is said that the whole of the ‘Arab League’ will cause many deaths if Mr. Trump goes through with this announcement. These type of threats help show the ‘low road’ of the Islamic leaders, not their intelligence. It is also because of threats like this that would cause a narcissists like Trump to not bow down to such a threat because it would/will make him look weak and in this case, that is actually true.

Now, for my personal thoughts on how to make the Jerusalem Capital issue work for all sides, yet at the same time not make any side totally happy. Isn’t that pretty much what the definition of what a compromise is? My idea is for Jerusalem to be declared the Capital of Palestine, all of Palestine. This would encompass all of Palestine and all the people of Palestine, Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, the people of Gaza and of the West Bank. This way it is everyone’s Capital. All people of this region, no matter if they are Israeli Jews or residents of the ‘so called’ Palestinians of the West Bank can prove that they are capable of recognizing each others right to exist, in peace with each other.

Because of the current security issues raised by terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and the PLO plus the fact that Jerusalem was the Capital of Israel at least 1,600 years before Mohammad was even born, Israel would have to have control of the security issues within all of the city. Maybe in time these folks who are hell-bent on violence will mature into civilized human beings and the ‘walls’ of security can be let down. Israel on their side would need to allow the Palestinian people to have such things as their Embassy in Eastern Jerusalem once there is a two State agreement in place. All sides of this issue should be allowed to call Jerusalem their Capital. Jerusalem is the ‘City of God’ and it should be able to be an ‘International’ City. Yet the only way for this to come about is if groups like Hamas who refuse the existence of the State of Israel to lay down all of their weapons. Israel can not allow its citizens to continue to be fodder to murderers, so until all Islamic groups in the Palestine region agree to commit no violence, there can not be a safe and secure two State compromise.

Another reality is that even though Mr. Trump seems to think that he decides if Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel, he actually has no say so in the matter. Jerusalem is and has been the Capital of the people of Israel for more than 2,600 years. It is God who decided that Jerusalem is His City. The world can call Tel Aviv Israels Capital, but it has never been Israels Capital, Jerusalem is. But there is no reason that all of the people of Palestine can not call Jerusalem their Capital as it is the Capital of all of Palestine.

 

 

Israel Hits Back At Turkish Leader Over Threat To Sever Ties

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel hits back at Turkish leader over threat to sever ties

Officials dismiss statement by Erdogan saying American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be a ‘red line’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during the Justice and Development (AK) Party's provincial heads meeting in Ankara, November 17, 2017. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial heads meeting in Ankara, November 17, 2017. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Israeli officials blasted Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday for his threat to sever diplomatic ties should US President Donald Trump recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Diplomatic officials said in a statement that Jerusalem has been the “capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and Israel’s capital for 70 years, regardless of whether Erdogan recognizes this or not.”

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not yet commented formally.

Earlier, the Turkish president had said that his country, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move on Wednesday, and would “set the entire Islamic world in motion.”

“Mr. Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Turkey, Erdogan said, would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Education Minister and head of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on November 27, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, blasted Erdogan for his comments.

“Unfortunately, Erdogan does not miss an opportunity to attack Israel,” he said in a statement. “Israel must advance its goals, including the recognition of United Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel. There will always be those who criticize, but at the end of the day it is better to have a united Jerusalem than Erdogan’s sympathy.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said that Israel did not take orders from Turkey.

“Israel is a sovereign state and Jerusalem is its capital,” Katz tweeted. “There is no more historically justified and correct step now than recognizing Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years, as the capital of Israel. The days of the sultan and the Ottoman Empire have passed.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz attends a press conference at the Transportation Ministry in Jerusalem on March 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) added his voice, saying that Turkey had enough of its own problems to worry about.

“Turkish rule in Israel ended 100 years ago,” he tweeted. “Erdogan, you have enough troubles in Turkey — worry about your own issues and don’t threaten us.”

MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, also said Israel must not cave to Turkey’s threats.

“Turkey’s president, the man who calls our soldiers by disgusting names, threatens once again to cut off relations with us,” Lapid tweeted. “The Israeli government must send a clear message to Erdogan — you do not threaten us. Jerusalem is our capital, and it is time for the world to recognize that fact. The US embassy and also the embassies of the rest of the countries of the world must be in Jerusalem.”

Last year, Turkey and Israel ostensibly ended a longstanding rift greatly exacerbated by Israel’s storming of a Gaza-bound ship attempting to beat the blockade of the coastal strip in 2010. That incident left dead 10 Turkish activists who had attacked Israeli soldiers and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

The two sides have since stepped up cooperation, in particular in energy, but Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

Donald Trump placing a note in the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel gained control of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and extended its sovereignty there in 1980, an effective annexation that remains unrecognized by the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

All foreign embassies in Israel are located in Tel Aviv, with consular representation in Jerusalem.

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem in a major policy speech Wednesday.

He was supposed to decide Monday whether to sign a legal waiver delaying by six months plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, but missed the deadline.

The mercurial president has yet to make his final decision, officials said, but is expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem outright, a central campaign pledge that has been postponed once already by the new administration.

Illustrative image of US President Donald Trump signing the Education Federalism Executive Order during a federalism event with governors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, April 26, 2017. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

In 1995, the US Congress passed the so-called Jerusalem Embassy Act recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stating that the US embassy should be moved there.

But an inbuilt waiver, which allows the president to temporarily postpone the move on grounds of “national security,” has been repeatedly invoked by successive US presidents, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush and Barack Obama — meaning the law has never taken effect.

Several peace plans have unraveled over disagreement on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee sites in the city that are holy for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

READ MORE:

Turkey Could Sever Ties With Israel If Trump Recognizes Capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Erdogan says Turkey could sever ties with Israel if Trump recognizes capital

Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Arab League and European Union warn changing Jerusalem’s status could scuttle peace efforts

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he gives a speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, on December 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he gives a speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, on December 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

The status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and changing it could prompt Turkey to cut its ties with Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump reportedly geared up to recognize the city as the Jewish state’s capital.

Erdogan said Turkey, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move on Wednesday, and “set the entire Islamic world in motion.”

“Mr. Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Turkey, Erdogan said, would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Officials in Jerusalem rejected Erdogan’s threat.

Nabil Shaath, the Commissioner for External Relations of the Fatah movement, seen in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 18, 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Nabil Shaath, the commissioner for external relations of the Fatah movement, seen in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 18, 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official warned that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would spell the end of Trump’s nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace push.

“That totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker,” Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told journalists on Tuesday.

“That takes away… the deal of the century,” he added, referring to Trump’s pledge to clinch the long-elusive peace deal.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit also warned of the “danger” of the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or relocating its embassy there, calling on Washington to reconsider.

Abul Gheit told Arab government delegates that they had decided to meet in Cairo “given the danger of this matter, if it were to happen, and the possible negative consequences not only for the situation in Palestine but also for the Arab and Islamic region.”

US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, May 22, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Saudi Arabia, a major partner to the American efforts to revive the peace process, added its voice, expressing “grave and deep concern” over the possible US plans.

If Trump decides to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital it would reverse years of US policy, even if he did not move the US embassy.

“Saudi Arabia (expresses) grave and deep concern over reports that the US administration intends to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a foreign ministry source.

“This step will have serious implications and will further complicate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will also obstruct the ongoing efforts to revive the peace process.”

The European Union also noted possible “serious repercussions” of the move.

Above: EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini

The EU, which supports a two-state solution to the conflict, warned against doing anything that would jeopardize the peace process.

“Since early this year, the European Union was clear in its expectation that there can be reflection on the consequences that any decision or unilateral action affecting Jerusalem’s status could have,” EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini’s office said in a statement.

“It might have serious repercussions on public opinion in large parts of the world,” it added. “The focus should therefore remain on the efforts to restart the peace process and avoiding any action that would undermine such efforts.”

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem in a major policy speech Wednesday.

The mercurial president has yet to make his final decision, officials said, but is expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem outright, a central campaign pledge that has been postponed once already by the new administration.

Facing dark warnings of a historic misstep and widespread unrest, Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The White House said the president would miss a deadline on the decision, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel gained control of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and extended its sovereignty there in 1980, an effective annexation that remains unrecognized by the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

READ MORE:

Erdogan protesters beaten and ejected from New York speech

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Erdogan protesters beaten and ejected from New York speech

Media captionAnti-Erdogan demonstrators are punched as they are removed from a New York hotel

Violence erupted at a New York hotel after protesters heckled a speech by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with chants of “terrorist”.

Mr Erdogan was addressing supporters in Turkish at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square when he was interrupted by several demonstrators.

“You’re a terrorist, get out of my country,” one protester shouted before he was punched and dragged away.

Mr Erdogan is in New York for the UN General Assembly.

A protester is removed from a New York room during a speech by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip ErdoganImage copyrightVOA

In footage from the speech on Thursday, protesters are seen being pushed and punched in the head as they are ejected from the venue by suited men.

It is not clear at this stage if they were pro-Erdogan attendees, presidential bodyguards, or guards providing security at the hotel.

The demonstrators, who later posted images of the clashes on social media, said their aim was to publicly condemn the president’s policies in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Some protesters carried flags and banners in support of the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Mr Erdogan sees the YPG as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades. He has repeatedly said that he will never accept a US alliance with Kurdish forces fighting in Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a thumbs up to supporters outside of The Peninsula hotel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, U.S. September 20, 2017.Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPresident Erdogan is in New York for the UN General Assembly

Supporters of Mr Erdogan can be heard shouting the president’s name in the footage, in attempts to muffle the protesters’ chants.

One protester, Meghan Bodette, wrote on Twitter that she had been “thrown out” of the hotel.

“Yes. I stood up with YPJ flag… was pulled from chair and removed,” she wrote, adding: “I got escorted out and ran, some friends were briefly questioned.”

The YPJ is an all-female Kurdish military group – the women’s equivalent of the YPG.

Another Twitter user, Gissur Simonarson‏, posted images taken from amateur video footage showing a number of protesters being violently attacked.

One eyewitness, Halil Demir, said he saw a man being pushed to the ground after interrupting Mr Erdogan’s speech. Mr Demir said he later saw a second man outside the hotel in handcuffs on the floor, the New York Times reports.

Mr Erdogan was speaking at the invitation of the Turkish American National Steering Committee.

The New York Police Department said that about five protesters had been “briefly detained” but that no arrests were made.

In May, eleven people were injured and two arrested outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC, after a brawl broke out between supporters and opponents of Mr Erdogan.

The US summoned the Turkish ambassador over the incident, which Washington police called a “brutal attack on peaceful protesters”.

The Turkish embassy denied that, saying the demonstrators had aggressively provoked Turkish-Americans gathering to greet Mr Erdogan, and that they had responded in self-defense.

Turkey accuses German politicians of ‘bowing down to populism’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Turkey accuses German politicians of ‘bowing down to populism’

Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, on June 13, 2017.

(CNN)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her election rival Martin Schulz of “bowing down to populism and prejudice” after both candidates called for an end to Ankara’s European Union membership talks in a live TV election debate Sunday night.

In a series of tweets posted Monday morning, presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said that the two candidates chose to attack Turkey and Erdogan “while ignoring Germany and Europe’s fundamental and critical issues” and accused Germany of embracing the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that the Turkish government has branded a terrorist organization.
Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Sismek, also reacted on Twitter. “EU never had a credible commitment to let Turkey in,” he wrote Monday. “Merkel isn’t only shooting herself in the foot but also jeopardising the future of Europe.”

EU never had a credible commitment to let Turkey in. Merkel isn’t only shooting herself in the foot but also jeopardising future of Europe! https://twitter.com/katipiri/status/904428499192217600 

In the debate Sunday night — three weeks before Germany’s federal election — Merkel called for accession negotiations to be stopped in an apparent change of stance on Turkey’s bid to join the EU.
“Turkey should not be a member of the EU,” Merkel said. “I will discuss with colleagues again to see if we can come to a joint position and end these accession negotiations.”
But she insisted that it was important for the two countries to keep talking, especially in light of the Germans currently being held as political prisoners in Turkey.
“I have no intention of ending diplomatic relations with Turkey,” Merkel said.
More than 10 Germans are being held. Two were arrested Friday, according to German authorities, but one has since been released, according to CNN affiliate N-TV.

The comments about Turkey came during a live TV debate between Merkel and Schulz on Sunday night.

Her Social Democratic rival also said he would seek to end membership talks. “We would be accepting someone who is now visibly calling into question all of the basic values of European cooperation,” Schulz said.
Turkey has “overstepped all red lines.”

Deteriorating relations

The exchange of blows marks a further escalation in tensions between the two countries.
Relations between Berlin and Ankara have been in a downward spiral since last summer, when a failed coup against Erdogan sparked a crackdown on civil liberties and mass arrests of the political opposition, activists and journalists, including German citizens.
Speaking at her annual summer news conference last week, Merkel said Turkey’s jailing of Germans was further damaging already fraught ties between the two countries, saying their imprisonment was “unjustified.”
Among the prisoners is German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who was arrested in Turkey in February on charges of terror propaganda, and human-rights activist Peter Steudtner, held since July with nine others and charged with “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member.”

Journalist Deniz Yucel has now been held in Turkey for more than 200 days, according to German authorities.

Germany threatens trade and travel restrictions

Germany has changed its tactics over Turkey in recent months, threatening to impose travel and trade restrictions if journalist Yucel and activist Steudtner aren’t released from prison.
In July, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned Germans against traveling to Turkey and suggested that the German government would review corporate investments in Turkey.
“Someone who detains law-abiding visitors to their country on the basis of outlandish, indeed absurd, accusations and throws them into prison has left European values behind,” Gabriel said, calling for Steudtner’s release. “We cannot continue as before.”

Nobel laureate on Erdogan's Turkey

Nobel laureate on Erdogan’s Turkey 06:45
A few weeks earlier, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry criticized an art installation in Berlin depicting Erdogan as a dictator that coincided with the G20 summit in Hamburg, calling it “a new example of rising racism and xenophobia in the country.”
Soon after, the Turkish government blocked German lawmakers from visiting German troops stationed in Turkey participating in NATO operations in Syria.
Earlier this year, German officials prevented top politicians, including Erdogan, from addressing Turkish rallies in Germany in the lead-up to an April referendum that handed Erdogan sweeping new powers.
In response, Erdogan likened the German government to that of Adolf Hitler. “I thought that Nazism was over in Germany, but it turns out that it is still going on,” he said. “It is still going on, it is clear.”

Merkel warns Erdogan over election

Germany heads to the polls in September

Germany heads to the polls in September 02:22
Relations with Turkey are a key issue in the days leading to federal elections in Germany, where there are some 3 million people with Turkish roots.
Earlier this month, Erdogan called on voters of Turkish origin to boycott the two biggest parties — Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats — along with the Green Party in the election, describing them as “enemies of Turkey,” according to CNN affiliate NTV.
The call drew a fierce rebuke at the time from Merkel, who warned Erdogan against interfering in the election.
Germans go the polls September 24, with Merkel widely expected to secure a fourth term.

Turkey promises to eliminate anti-China media reports

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

Turkey promises to eliminate anti-China media reports

BEIJING (Reuters) – Turkey regards China’s security as akin to its own and will move to stamp out any anti-China reports in its media, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, after meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

China and Turkey have repeatedly vowed to step up cooperation on security and counter-terrorism, amid Beijing’s concerns about ethnic Uighurs from its restive far western region of Xinjiang fighting with militants in the Middle East.

“We take China’s security as our security,” Cavusoglu said, speaking through a Chinese translator during a joint news briefing with Wang in Beijing.

“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, but did not give details.

Uighurs are a largely Muslim, Turkic-language speaking minority from China’s western Xinjiang region.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, keen to escape unrest in Xinjiang have traveled clandestinely via Southeast Asia to Turkey, with which many see themselves as sharing religious and cultural ties.

Beijing says some Uighurs then end up fighting with Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria. It denies accusations that it restricts the Uighurs’ religious freedoms.

European leaders have been alarmed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on opponents since a failed coup attempt last year, and what critics see as his attack on free speech.

About 150 media outlets have been shut and around 160 journalists jailed, the Turkish Journalists’ Association says.

Turkish authorities say the crackdown is justified by the gravity of the coup attempt, in which rogue soldiers tried to overthrow the government, killing 250 people, mostly civilians.

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 quarreled over Thailand’s deportation of Uighur migrants back to China.

But Ankara is keen to tap into Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure investment plan to link China with the rest of Asia and the world. Erdogan visited China in May when President Xi Jinping hosted his first Belt and Road summit.

“China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance the ancient spirit of the Silk Road, … and in jointly promoting the Belt and Road plan unlock new cooperative potential,” Wang added.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

The Real Picture Of Israel Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM A COMMENT TO ME FROM THE BLOG ‘SEELISTENUNDERSTAND’)

 

Leave Muslims. It is a waste of time to read about them. This is the real picture of Israel today.

  1. Friday evening, when all Jews around the world meet at home for “Kabalat Shabat” (welcoming the Shabat) a Palestinian broke into a settlement in the West Bank and killed 3 unarmed people. He was shot, not killed, by Israeli soldier that was at home on Friday evening vacation. This event reflects the different between Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian terrorist came to kill. The Israeli soldier although he could kill, he never did it. Why? This is because of the difference in Education. The Quran instruct to kill every time everybody who is not Muslim. The Bible is human and he restrict/prohibits the killing. Even when a murderer, like in Friday, came to kill Jews the Jew didn’t kill him. This behavior of the Israeli soldier should be add to the Quran and in parallel the story of 72 virgins are waiting to the Killer in the sky must be deleted. This new/different/changed/updated Quran must be learned in all Arab/Muslim’s schools in order to take out the mood of killing/murdering. Taking it out will contribute to better world. Don’t you, Muslims, want such one?
  2. If the Quran’s instructions to kill every none Muslim in the world, the mother of the murderer came into the picture and, in a TV interview, she praised her son for doing it, meaning to kill the 3 Jews. If this is the face of a typical Muslim mother-what can be expected from the Muslims. If the hope education is such, and we know that children get their education at home not in schools, the situation is very bad.
  3. The situation is bad all over the world as they, the Muslim murderers, imitates each other. The fact that French people were killed encourages Israeli or any other state’s citizens, Muslims, to attack in other places as well. This is the Muslim’s live style that they were used to for many years. The results are that the habits became a norm. Norms are good as long as t6hey help the society. In this case it makes the opposite.
  4. The more funny/peculiar/strange thing is how the murderer purred himself before the murder. He must be pure for the sky after he murders Jews. So, he brought with him a bottle of water which he poured on his hands. Can you, clever people, how come a man is purifying himself after a murder. As from my point of view, there is no forgive nor such a crime, for a murder. If the Quran allows it, please think of the values of the Quran. I know where it stands.
  5. This event is a follow up of the last week’s events when 3 Israeli Muslims killed 2 Israeli Druze policemen. This was one of the acts that were instructed by the Turkish emperor, Mr. Erdugan. The story is very complicated, but, the matter the fact is that he wants to become the regional leader of the Muslim world. In order to implement it he must present some activities. His activity is by supporting the Muslims. His support is expressed by money and to be present in the places of conflicts. So, he is financing a vast system of people that their aim is to spread the Turkish influence in the world. The demonstrations in Mailazia, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen, Palestine and more are just a sample of the demonstrations worldwide. All these will burst, sooner or later. Then it will be very hard/impossible to extinguish the fire. The problem is that each country has its own problems/difficulties/hardship. None is examining the entire of the situation and nobody wants to solve it. The Iranian and N. Korea nuclear advance endanger the world. But nobody takes care of it.
  6. Coming back to Israel, on Friday the Palestinians announced of abeyance of the relations with Israel due to the installation of the magnetometers in all gates to the Al Aqsa. They didn’t mention the security measures. Same Jordan. Both of them, Abu Mazen and King Hussein, know that they will lose their positions without the assistance of Israel. In other words: They exist because of the interest that Israel has in their presence here.
  7. All Arab countries know that without Israel all Arab countries will burst in flames not due to Israel’s activity.
  8. The UN Security Council held discussions concerning the violation of Hezbollah of the UN resolution 1701. The Israeli ambassador to the UN listed 421 violations in May/June 2017. How can Israel trust the Arabs and the UN and rely on them if nobody takes care/fulfill their very clear resolutions. Israel is not going to hand its throat to this bunch of killers.
  9. PM Netanyahu is back in Israel from his visit to Europe. In his successful meeting he met also with the Hungarian PM who said the following: “The Hungarian and the Israeli states have very good politic ties. It consists on mutual understanding and trust. Israel is helping the world to stabilize the political situation in the Middle East and in Europe. If Israel will not fight the militant terror groups by cooperation’s with the moderate Arab states, a new wave of immigrants will flood Europe. Israel is a natural partner to achieve stability and order in the world. We, Hungary, understand your position and we will help you in your fight/efforts for security, having/opening export markets, and stand with you concerning every problem that you will face”. Let’s wish, all of us, that there will be many more people the Hungarian PM that will fight for balancing the world.
  10. I was asked why do you spend that much time to send your daily posts. The reason is that we, Israel, are in the headlines only when we have fights with our enemies and the world hear only the Arab side while the Israeli side is silent as because of 2 reasons: we are, naturally, silent and we are small state and the world like big ones as from them the vast money is coming, not from small ones.
  11. Here is the story of an Israeli product that lead the world. It is Avocado. But, to differ from the S. American one, the Israeli Avocado nutritional values are much beyond the ones that you buy from other sources. Because of it the people are ready to pay, for the Israeli product, much more than for any other. Israel is short of Avocado, for export, although its price jumped to E1.5/unit. Does anybody thinks that the markets can ask for this price if the quality does not justifies it? No, they will never ask/pay for lousy product that much money. The Israeli Avocado is considered today a super food due to its healthy non saturated oils The Israeli Avocado is almost organic. The reason is that the Israeli is not sprayed as much as in S. America. Israel is using the Israeli development of biological pest control. This includes birds, bees and other creatures. All of them are live and they “clean” the crops of pests. Last year the tiny Israel exported to Europe 65000 tons of Avocado, valued $160 million.
  12. So, this is what Israel export. But, there is no good without bad. The bad part is the stealing of the Avocado. Due to its sky high prices, too many people want to share the success. There are professional groups, I don’t want to say from which sector, but you can imagine, that are working during night. “Cleaning” the orchard of its fruits. In the morning yo9u come and it looks like after bombardment. Everything, trees, irrigation systems, agricultural machines etc, all of it completely ruined. One day, after I heard about it, I asked a friend of mine, to inform me when it happens. Sometime later, in the afternoon he called me told that the trees in his orchard was “cleaned” but they found the fruits hidden under a tree, covered with grass. I came there and put an ambush. Sometime late night/early morning a partially loaded truck, stopped nearby and the employees started to load “our” avocados. Just before the finished loading, my friend and myself called them to put their hands up. Some of the escaped in the darkness. But 5 were captured. They were from non Jewish nearby village. We called the police and this group, after paying their penalties, they stopped this work. But, there is no vacuum in this business. Another Arab groups replaced them. We caught them and another group, many times from the same family, as it is a profession, emerge on the stage.
    So, although of the popularity of the Israeli avocado keep buying other Israeli products.
    In friendship
    Amir

Erdogan’s Post-Evolutionary Turkey Floods School Classrooms, Threatens Universities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES.ORG)

Erdogan’s Post-Evolutionary Turkey Floods School Classrooms, Threatens Universities

Photo of Recep Tayyip Erdogan taken from r4bia.com. Creative commons.

While the earlier education reforms of Turkey’s socially conservative AKP (Justice and Development Party) pointed towards inclusiveness, the current ones have a far more troubling direction.

Not content with removing around 45,000 education ministry staff from the government payroll following an abortive coup in July last year, Turkey’s ruling party is now looking to take down Darwin.

Last month the government announced that the theory of evolution would be removed from the teaching curriculum at Turkish schools until students reach university.

The announcement adds to evidence cited by concerned secularists who suggest Turkey’s education system is being remodelled in line with President Erdogan’s bid to raise “pious generations” and forge a “New Turkey”.

Efforts to rejig the country’s teaching curriculum along more religious lines are not new, dating back at least as February 2012.

What has changed since is President Erdogan’s seemingly unassailable position in post-coup attempt and post-referendum Turkey.

‘New Turkey’

Despite its shrunken majority and the ever-increasing polarization of the Turkish electorate — or perhaps because of these things — AKP is pushing its policy agenda more aggressively than ever before.

Along with the ban on evolution in the classroom, the AKP educational reforms will see the government’s narrative on the 2016 coup attempt embedded in school syllabi, while class time dedicated to modern Turkey’s secular founder Kemal Attaturk will be reduced.

Forced enrolment of some school-age students into controversial religious imam-hatip state schools is another feature of the new education agenda.

The AKP government won praise from both liberals and conservatives for managing to reverse the country’s repressive ban on headscarfs in universities back in 2010. The move allowed women from observant Muslim families to receive further education.

But the imam-hatip schools have faced criticism for discouraging girls from doing that very thing. Secularists see the schools growing role in Turkey’s education system as yet another sign that AKP is trying to recast the country in its own traditionalist image.

An evolving threat

According to the head of curriculum for the Turkish education ministry, teaching evolution in schools is “controversial”, but opponents of the ban were quick to side with science.

Evrim müfredattan çıkarıldı, biyoloji ders saati %33 azaltılırken din dersi saati % 100 arttırıldı. İran’ı kısa zamanda geçeriz İnşaAllah!

They have removed evolution from the curriculum, biology class hours have been reduced by 33%, while religion class hours have been increased by 100%. God willing, we are going to get ahead of Iran soon.

Evrim teorisi dersi kalkıyormuş arkadaşlar, arttık neyin dersini verecekler çocuklarımıza onu merak ediyorum 😠😠😠

They are removing evolution theory class. I am not wondering what they are going to teach our children.

Okullarda evrim dersleri okutulmayacak ama şeriat ceza hukuku din dersi okutulacak # işte yeni Türkiye anlayışı

There won’t be any classes on evolution. But there are classes on Sharia criminal law and religion. This is the meaning of ‘New Turkey’.

Biyoloji dersi ilk ders ilk slayt; evrim bir gerçektir, tartışılamaz. 29 yıldır aklımda. Hoca haklıydı.

Biology class, first class, first slide: evolution is real, and cannot be argued against. I have remembered this for 29 years. The teacher was right.

The international response has also been critical:

 continues to change ‘s identity by erasing evolution from the country’s education curriculum.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/world/europe/turkey-evolution-high-school-curriculum.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Feurope&_r=0 

Schoolchildren in Istanbul. Turkey’s decision to stop teaching evolution in high schools has deepened concerns that the president, a conservative Muslim, wants to radically change the identity of the secular country.

Turkey Drops Evolution From Curriculum, Angering Secularists

A chapter on evolution will no longer appear in ninth graders’ textbooks because it is considered too “controversial” an idea, an education official said.

nytimes.com

Currently the evolution ban only applies to schools, but many fear that universities are being targeted for a serious government-led overhaul, too. Thousands of academics were dismissed from their jobs following the military coup, while out of 180 universities currently operating in Turkey, 15 were shut down.

Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish Fingerprint

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Opinion

Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish Fingerprint

We reap what we sow. Many countries did not pay attention to the fact that maps need constant maintenance to prevent them from aging and rotting, and that relations between entities should be continuously repaired as well.

The first condition of maintenance is to prioritize the notion of citizenship and to build a state that deserves to be called as such; which means a state of law and institutions, a state that guarantees equal rights and duties.

Discrimination against citizens creates a hole in the map; a hole that allows the infiltration of winds and foreign influence. The ruler believes that power can silence the people forever. He has forgotten that the balance of power can be distorted and twisted and that the oppressed can grab any opportunity to take revenge. Grievances can make them jump out of the map.

The ruler commits a fatal error when he gives power the last say and when he refuses to listen to people’s complaints or demands. He believes that he has an endless ability to silence them and that fear can make the wounded and the disadvantaged forget their injuries and the injustice against them.

The worst scenario of all is when the ruler regards a group of citizens as a foreign body that was planted by destiny inside the map, and when he believes that the solution is to abolish the features of this group, separate it from its heritage, weaken its language and force it to gradually relinquish its identity.

The call for holding an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region on September 25 has ignited the Kurdish issue. Baghdad opposed the call. Iran rejected it. Ankara saw it as a huge mistake. The reactions of those parties are not surprising. Countries that have scattered Kurds across their maps following World War I, including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, can disagree over anything but on the necessity to abort the Kurdish dream of having an independent state.

Masoud Barzani is aware of this truth. It is clear that the referendum will not lead to immediate measures. Lessons have taught Barzani to differentiate between dreams and illusions. He understands that rushing to completely leave the Iraqi entity could make the province an easy prey for major players in the region.

It is widely believed that Barzani is hopeless over the future of Iraq as a whole, especially in the wake of the ongoing rivalries between the Sunni and Shiite entities.

However, Barzani knows well that reviewing the borders involves major risks unless it is achieved under an international umbrella that sponsors a process of such size and nature.

ISIS’ invasion of Mosul has accelerated the dismantling of the Iraqi entity. It has intensified conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shiites. It has also increased the distance between Erbil and Baghdad.

ISIS attempted to invade the Kurdish province to fortify its presence in its mountains and take advantage of its location on the border of three countries. The Kurds engaged in a fierce battle to defend their region. They paid heavy prices. The Kurdish leader has once again concluded that the Sykes-Picot entities are artificial and not endlessly viable. He considered that “new maps are drawn with blood.”

Barzani knows that a Kurdish state in northern Iraq is a quasi-impossible dream. Yet, perhaps he is trying to consolidate the right to independence, even if it was not possible to be achieved in the near future. Some people believe that he is ready to accept a less-than-a-divorce formula. A formula that is based on confederate states that would save Erbil and Baghdad from being entangled in complex relations.

However, such formula needs a dance partner. It needs a realistic partner in Baghdad. Without the presence of such collaborator, Baghdad might be pushed towards a new conflict following the fall of ISIS: a conflict that can be triggered in “disputed areas”, beginning with Kirkuk. Some people do not exclude an upcoming confrontation between the Peshmerga and the Popular Mobilization Forces, with all the consequences that may imply on the Iraqi and regional levels.

While talking about Iraq, one should not neglect the deep transformations taking place in Syria. Syria’s Kurds today are different from those who were living there six years ago when the war broke out. Syria’s Kurds did not rush to engage in the country’s uprising. They took the role of spectators and were preparing for the worst. ISIS’ insistence to target their areas has offered them several opportunities. Their victory in Kobani has given them a much longed-for legitimacy. The Democratic Union Party, led by Saleh Muslim, succeeded in militarizing a society that felt threatened.

It was widely believed at the beginning that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has not cut its relations with the regime, and that the latter was able to manipulate it at the right time to suit its own interests. Nonetheless, the Kurds proved to be coherent forces at a time when the Syrian opposition was being struck on several sides. Syria’s Kurds have found a major role in fighting ISIS. They received training and arms. Washington was betting on their role, despite Erdogan’s anger and warnings.

It is true that the Turkish Army succeeded in preventing geographic communication between Kurdish areas, but this did not keep the YPG from changing the landscape in several Syrian regions.

Saleh Muslim says that the Syrian regime has practically collapsed. He means the single-party regime. He also says that it was impossible to revert to the pre-war situation in 2011. He notes that the Kurds will live in self-administered zones. The role of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa reinforces the belief that the Kurds will not have a marginal role.

In the past century, maps were sketched on the detriment of the Kurds. It looked like they were confined inside the borders. Abstaining from treating the Kurds with equity while preserving our maps has led us to the explosion.

It is clear that the Kurdish fingerprint will be seen when drawing the future of Iraq and Syria, which raises the fears of Turkey and Iran.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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