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Israel braces for Turkish, Hizballah, Hamas reprisals. Greece halts joint drill
DEBKAfile Special Report May 31, 2010, 1:45 PM (GMT+02:00)Tags: Israel-Greece Pro-Hamas flotilla Turkey
Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basburgdebkafile's military sources report Israeli concerns that Turkey may not confine itself to strong diplomatic retaliation for the Israel Navy's seizure Monday, May 31, of the Marmora, the Turkish vessel leading the flotilla for breaking the Gaza blockade and resort to military action along with the Iranian-backed Hizballah and Hamas. A statement from Ankara threatened "unprecedented and incalculable" reprisals, following which the Turkish chief of staff Gen. Ilker Basbug was recalled urgently to Ankara from a visit to Egypt. Greece has since halted its joint exercise with Israel in protest against the naval action.
debkafile reports from Ankara that the Turkish government is planning to continue pounding the Israeli blockade with more flotillas and have them escorted by Turkish warships and fighter jets. Israel merchant vessels moored outside Ashdod port have been instructed to sail into port and take shelter in case of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip against Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Monday morning, Israeli warplanes headed west over the Mediterranean in support of the still ongoing Israeli commando operation aboard the Turkish Marmora, the scene of violent clashes between Israeli troops and the 600 "peace activists," some of them armed. Ankara later reported 15 dead aboard the vessel.
Israeli army spokesman, Col. Avi Beneyahu, called the incident "an act of terror on the high seas." Far from being a humanitarian mission, the flotilla was sponsored personally by Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and permit arms supplies and terrorist to reach the Strip unrestricted. It aimed at provoking a widely publicized international incident with fatalities and showing Israel using strong-arm tactics against unarmed peace-lovers.
Its leaders and the nations involved therefore refused to heed warnings that the vessels would be prevented from entering Gaza Port and rejected Israeli offers to ferry their aid cargo overland to the Gaza Strip. Population within missile range of Gaza advised to take shelter in secured areas.
An estimated 19 activists were killed battling with Israeli troops, and dozens injured. Official sources cite 10 fatalities, although by Monday afternoon, there were still no official confirmed figures. Ten Israeli soldiers were wounded, two critically. They were all ferried to Israeli hospitals by helicopter.
The pro-Hamas passengers were described as mobbing the Israeli commandos as they were dropped onto the Marmara's deck, using knives and iron bars to beat them and shooting with a sidearm snatched from a soldier and at least two other pistols recovered empty from two of the bodies.
Israeli security forces are preparing for the Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian Hamas to go back to shooting missiles and rockets against Israeli towns, in support of the seaborne attack on Israeli commandos. The police are also on special alert in and around Israeli Arab communities, after Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyah called them out on a general strike, and the Holy Places, especially in Jerusalem.
Egypt will face pressure to end its joint embargo on Gaza with Israel at the Arab League Council meeting urgently Tuesday, June 1. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded the session.
Demonstrations against Israel were staged in Syrian and Lebanese towns. Jordan hands stiff complaint to head of Israeli diplomatic mission in Amman.
Originally posted by BLV12
Well Paraphi, at least now you are starting to realize the Turkish-Israeli-US alliance in the region is gone.
Five planes flew out of Israel Wednesday night, June 2, carrying hundreds of foreign passengers and nine bodies from the Turkish-led flotilla Israeli commandos raided and prevented from breaking the Gaza blockade two days ago. After surrendering to Turkey's ultimatum to release all the passengers, including the seven members of Islamist terrorist groups who assaulted the Israeli boarding party, debkafile reports the Netanyahu government faced a fresh ultimatum from Ankara: Lift the Gaza blockade at once.
Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US
Turkey's demands for international inquiry blocked at meeting of United Nations security council
Originally posted by BLV12
Paraphi, the Turkish government is involved, simply because they allowed the flotilla to leave a Turkish port, when Israel has a blockade in place, and when Turkish-Israeli relations have collapsed.
Relations have collapsed because of the Turkish governments behavior and actions.
It was a stunt to allow the flotilla to go for domestic reasons(as well as external reasons). Internally, Erdogan and the AKP are being challenged. What better way to deflect attention and destroy your opponents momentum then with an international incident?
And I didn't say they will definitely "draw swords". I was answering someone with a hypothetical what if situation. I've already pointed this out, so stop talking bs.
And so what, they are continuing with the military contracts they had in place from previous years? What, you think either side is stupid enough to lose money? Politically, thing's are dead. Once the current deals are completed, unless something changes, there wont be any more.
As for US-Turk relations. The fact the US gave an ultimatum that Turkey must back its UN sanctions against Iran or there will be consequences, should spell it out for you.
But apparently not.
Ok, let's recap.
Lead up to Iraq invasion. USA wanted to open a northern front, by sending troops in through Turkey to Iraq's north. Turkey said no, not without billions in payment. I think the figure was 8 or 10 billion. I cant remember the exact deal they wanted, but it may have been debt right off(ie, IMF, which the US controls).
US troops and hardware were ready to go in through Turkey, nobody in the US expected Turkey to say no and then try and extort the US government.
The US was then forced to send troops back around to the Gulf, costing money and time, and ultimately, lives as they were not able to secure the country. Basically, the Turkish refusal, forced the US to backpedal with it's invasion plans and go to a contingency.
During Iraq war, Turkish special forces/agents crossed into northern Iraq to conduct operations against the Kurds. US troops caught them and put bags over their heads and photographs made it to the media.
A Turkish movie is produced and released, about the Iraq invasion which demonizes the USA and Israel, something about organ harvesting.
US senators and congressmen begin to see Turkey as anything but a friend and ally, and there's actually several speeches and statements and what not indicating this.
Turkey then goes and invites the Hamas leadership to Turkey for formal meetings with the Turkish government.
Turkey then pursues closer relations with Syria and Iran, and by defacto Hamas and Hezbolah.
Turkey, rather then support the US sanctions against Iran, and thus support the hand that has fed it for over 30 years, goes against the US and does a deal with Iran and Brazil, claiming to have solved the issue, while the western powers couldn't. Thus taking a public swipe at the US and extending it the middle finger.
USA then says Turkey must support sanctions or there will be consequences.
So relations might not be destroyed, yet, but they are headed that way. Especially as Turkey continues to get closer and closer with Syria and Iran and their cronies in the region.
And if you think what happens between Turkey and Israel has no impact on US-Turk relations, you are very wrong. One thing you seem to forget is the Israeli/Jewish lobby.
Turkey-US ties face breaking point over vote
By Daniel Dombey in Washington and Delphine Strauss in Ankara
June 8 2010
The turbulent relationship between the US and Turkey allies for more than half a century is about to reach a decisive moment when the United Nations Security Council votes on whether to tighten sanctions on Iran.
Tensions between Ankara and Washington have increased after last weeks Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship, which claimed nine lives, but US officials say that Iran is the bigger issue.
Turkey, a temporary member of the Security Council, is leading the case against sanctions. US officials say the most they can hope for is that Ankara might finally abstain. Even that would greatly complicate Washingtons efforts to highlight international unity against Iran.
The moment when the Turkish ambassador at the UN fails to raise his hand in support of the Iran sanctions vote may be a breaking point, said Bulent Aliriza of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank.
Kremlin stance draws fire
Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, clashed with Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Irans president, on Tuesday over the Kremlins support for tightening United Nations sanctions against Tehran, writes Delphine Strauss in Ankara.
During a summit in Turkey, Mr Putin said a fourth round of sanctions had been practically agreed. A resolution imposing these measures could be voted on by the UN Security Council as early as Wednesday.
But Mr Putin signalled that Russia had sought to moderate the sanctions. I hold the opinion that this resolution should not be excessive, should not put Irans leadership, the Iranian people in a tricky situation that creates barriers on the way to development of Irans peaceful nuclear energy, he said.
Mr Ahmadi-Nejad was attending the same summit in Istanbul. Iran had previously hoped that Russia would delay the imposition of any sanctions.
Mr Ahmadi-Nejad took the opportunity to warn Russia that they must be careful not to be on the side of the enemies of the Iranian people.
Yet both men avoided the harsh rhetoric used last month, when Iran warned that Russian support for sanctions could make it a historic enemy and the Kremlin responded with accusations of demagoguery. Instead, Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said there was no big problem with Moscows position.
The Asian security summit is usually a low-key event, but this year it has become a parade of world leaders as Turkey seeks to rally international support behind its push to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Mr Ahmadi-Nejad warned that any further UN sanctions would put an end to a nuclear deal that Tehran agreed last month, after a diplomatic push by Brazil and Turkey, under which Iran would export 1,200kg of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in return for nuclear fuel for a civilian reactor in Tehran.
Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said this deal remained on the table.
We hope and still hope they will be able to use this opportunity, but we say this opportunity will not be repeated, he said.
He argues that Ankara has failed to take account of the Obama administrations shift from emphasising engagement with Iran last year to the current push for sanctions, which overshadows US relations with Russia, China and other countries. US officials describe what they say is constant pressure from the White House to secure a sanctions resolution and put something in the win column.
A rift with Turkey on such a crucial issue would be a heavy blow to what Mr Obama described last year as a model partnership. On a trip to Turkey, he hailed the countrys potential as a bridge to the Muslim world, as well as its status as a democratic, secular Nato ally.
Since then, the US has grown uneasy over the direction taken by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister.
He has strengthened relations with Middle Eastern countries, including Iran and Syria, and echoed some of their criticisms of western foreign policy. While Turkey says it is grateful for the USs help in convincing Israel to return pro-Palestinian activists, Ankara has voiced disappointment over the fact that Washington declined to condemn Israels attack on the Gaza aid convoy.
Washingtons immediate response to the Gaza raid was to forestall a UN investigation, amid a climate in which elected US politicians have emphatically stated their support for Israel.
Meanwhile, the US has signalled that it considers Turkeys reaction to the incident overblown. The day that Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkeys foreign minister, said the Israeli raid was the psychological equivalent for his country of the September 11 attacks, Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, called for careful, thoughtful responses from all concerned.
But Mr Erdogan leads a country where anti-US feeling is comparable to levels in nations such as Pakistan. A BBC World Service survey in April found that 70 per cent of the Turks polled held a negative view of the US.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser, said: The American-Turkish relationship, sad to say, has been gradually deteriorating for some time, going back to the abortive efforts by the Bush administration to get Turkey to facilitate the American action against Iraq.
Within Turkey, opinion is split between those who praise Mr Erdogan for standing up to Israel, and critics who worry that he is trying to win popularity in Arab and Muslim nations by exploiting anti-Israeli feeling.
In the US, officials have expressed concern about Mr Erdogans domestic policies, identifying a $2.5bn (2.1bn, £1.7bn) fine imposed on the countrys biggest media group, which has been critical of the ruling AK party, as a possible sign of creeping authoritarianism.
Mr Brzezinski, meanwhile, criticises the US for neglecting a wider geopolitical perspective that could take advantage of a more assertive Turkey. I would say, on the whole, a more active Turkish role in the region would be very constructive, he said.
Mr Aliriza argues that the US-Turkish partnership was a product of the cold war, when the two countries had a common enemy, rather than any deeper affinity.
He said: What was unthinkable during the cold war is happening now: divergence between Turkey and the US to a point where we can ask if they are really allies.
78 percent of Jewish Israelis view Turkey as enemy, poll shows
Thursday, June 10, 2010
JERUSALEM — Agence France-Presse
Some 78 percent of Jewish Israelis now view Turkey, once Israel's only Muslim ally in the Middle East, as an enemy nation, according to a poll published on Thursday.
The sharp switch in public attitude toward Turkey comes in the wake of a May 31 raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, which left eight Turkish activists and one Turkish American dead.
The poll, published in the pro-government Yisrael Hayom daily, asked participants: "Do you believe that in light of recent events Turkey has become an enemy state?"
It said 78 percent of those surveyed answered yes, while 22 percent said no.
Turkish aircraft to replace Herons in intelligence gathering
Following Israel’s withdrawal of officers who were training Turkish military officers on Heron unmanned aircraft after a diplomatic crisis with Turkey over the May 31 bloody Israeli attack on an aid flotilla, the Turkish army has decided to use Turkish aircraft in intelligence gathering.
Israel withdrew its operators from Turkey last week after Turkey’s strong reaction to the flotilla raid, which resulted in the deaths of nine civilian peace activists. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) put plan B into operation after the Israeli response and are using authorized unmanned aerial vehicles (İHAs) produced by the Turkish Baykar Company to gather intelligence. The aircraft have already begun gathering intelligence in the Southeast, where tension is currently high because the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has increased attacks.