Israeli Deputy Prime Minister: “Turkey is a superpower.”

Israel needs to come to terms with Turkey’s superpower status in the Middle East, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said during a recent speech at the Washington Institute.

Mofaz underlined the importance of mending ties between Israel and Turkey, defining it as “necessary for the strategic goals of Israel and for the strategic goals of Turkey.”

Mofaz called on leaders of both nations to put their differences behind and work toward better relations, according to the Washington Institute.

The former allies have become foes as a result of Turkey’s objections to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

In its lowest point, Israeli commandos killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American in a 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara ship that was leading a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip.

Turkey last year downgraded diplomatic relations and cut all military ties with Israel as a result of the raid.

Hürriyet Daily News / 20.6.2012

İsrail Başbakan Yardımcısı Şaul Mofaz, herkesin, Türkiye’nin artık bölgesinde bir süper güç haline geldiğini anlaması gerektiğini belirterek, ”Türkiye ile geçmişte olduğu gibi stratejik ilişkilerimiz olmalı. Artık geçmişi geride bırakıp geleceğe bakmalıyız” dedi.
Mofaz, Washington Institute adlı düşünce kuruluşunda verdiği konferansta, ”Türkiye-İsrail ilişkilerinin düzeltileceği yönünde İsrail tarafında bir umudun olup olmadığı” şeklindeki soruyu yanıtladı.
Türkiye ile ilişkilerin çok önemli olduğunu vurgulayan Mofaz, ”Özellikle İsrail’de olmak üzere hepimiz, Türkiye’nin bölgesinde bir süper güç haline geldiğini anlamalıyız. Türkiye’yi bölgemizde bir süper güç olarak görüyorum, bunda hiçbir şüphe yok” dedi.

Vatan / 20.6.2012

Activists Prepare New Gaza Flotilla

Pro-Palestinian activists are in the final stages of organizing a sea convoy to Gaza that will likely be much bigger than a similar flotilla that was raided by Israeli forces last year, according to organizers. The campaign sets up the possibility of another showdown with Israel, which eased its land blockade of Gaza following the international furor over last May’s raid that left nine activists dead, as it gears up to thwart any attempt to breach its blockade off the Gaza coast. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the botched commando operation on a Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, which was part of the flotilla in May 2010. The incident drew world attention to the humanitarian situation in Gaza and sent ties between former allies Israel and Turkey plummeting to a new low. Activists on the boat said they acted in self-defense in international waters during the melee, but Israel said troops opened fire after coming under assault by men with clubs and axes as they rappelled from helicopters during the nighttime raid onto the ship’s deck. Seven Israeli soldiers were wounded.

Hüseyin Oruç, a spokesman for İHH, an Islamic aid group that operates the Mavi Marmara, said an international coalition of 22 non-governmental groups hope to send 15 vessels with up to 1,500 people in this year’s flotilla. Last year, six ships and about half that number participated. The target date for the departure of the new flotilla is the first anniversary of the raid, May 31, but it could be delayed, partly because it clashes with campaigning for Turkey’s election on June 12. Organizers said the new effort included activists from Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Canada and the United States. The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or IHH, conducts many of its regional missions to help Palestinian refugees. Israel has accused the group of terrorist links, though it is not on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

hurriyetdailynews.com / 27.4.2011

İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri İnsani Yardım Vakfı (İHH) Genel Başkanı Avukat Bülent Yıldırım, düzenlediği basın toplantısında, Gazze Şeridi’ne uygulanan İsrail ambargosunu delmeyi amaçlayan ikinci Gazze filosunda, Mavi Marmara dâhil 15 geminin bulunacağını söyledi.

Filonun 22 kuruluş tarafından organize edildiğini, 20 bin kuruluş tarafından da desteklendiğini belirten Yıldırım, gemilerde 100’den fazla ülkeden 1500 aktivistin bulunmasının planlandığını ifade etti. Yıldırım, gemideki aktivistlerin tamamen sivil olacağının altını çizerek, “Gemide bir çakı bile bulunmayacak” dedi. Kendilerine Yahudi gönüllülerden hatta İsrailli milletvekillerinden çok fazla başvuru geldiğinin altını çizerek, bu başvuruların tamamına olumlu yanıt verseler, gemilerde başka kimseye yer kalmayacağını söyledi.

Yıldırım, “Bu kez sadece Gazze için değil uluslararası hukuku yeniden tesis etmek için gidiyoruz, insanlık için gidiyoruz” dedi. İsrail’e bu kez geçen seferkinden daha akıllı olmasını ve filonun yolunu açmasını tavsiye eden Yıldırım, “İzan sahibiyseniz ilerlememize izin verirsiniz. Bizi durdurmak için yapacağınız her şey size zarar verecektir. Bu filoyu en az zararla atlatmaya bakın, hiç dokunmayın. Bir kez daha müdahale ederseniz, yine günlerce haber olursunuz” uyarısında bulundu.

Taksim’de 30 Mayıs günü saat 21.00’da geçen yılki Mavi Marmara baskınının yıldönümünde yapacakları mitinge 100 bin kişinin katılması beklediklerini söyleyen Yıldırım, Türkiye’den yola çıkan gemilerin diğer ülkelerdeki gemilerle hangi noktada ve ne zaman bir araya geleceğini ve daha sonraki sürecin nasıl ilerleyeceğini de bu mitingde duyuracaklarını ifade etti. Yıldırım, filonun durdurulmasını isteyen ABD’ye “Bu bir sivil toplum girişimidir. Biz karışamayız” diyen Başbakan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ve Dışişleri Bakanı Ahmet Davutoğlu’na da teşekkür ederek, “Bu yanıt Türkiye’de özgürlüklerin ABD’den ileri olduğunu göstermiş oldu” dedi.

Gazze’ye geçen sene yardım götüren filodaki Mavi Marmara gemisine İsrail askerlerinin düzenlediği baskında dokuz Türk hayatını kaybetmişti. Operasyon nedeniyle uluslararası tepkilerin hedefindeki İsrail ise yeni filoyu durdurmak üzere diplomatik kampanya başlattı.

Hürriyet / 20.5.2011

Turkish Foreign Minister: “From Libya to Turkey the will of the people has revived a sense of common destiny. This is now our region.”

“The wave of revolutions in the Arab world was spontaneous. But it also had to happen. They were necessary in order to restore the natural flow of history. In our region – west Asia and the south Mediterranean – there were two abnormalities in the last century: first, colonialism in the 1930s, 40s and 50s that divided the region into colonial entities, and severed the natural links between peoples and communities. For example, Syria was a French colony and Iraq a British one, so the historical and economic links between Damascus and Baghdad were cut.

The second abnormality was the cold war, which added a further division: countries that had lived together for centuries became enemies, like Turkey and Syria. We were in Nato; Syria was pro-Soviet. Our border became not a border between two nation states, but the border between two blocs. Yemen was likewise divided.

Now it is time to naturalise the flow of history. I see all these revolutions as a delayed process that should have happened in the late 80s and 90s as in eastern Europe. It did not because some argued that Arab societies didn’t deserve democracy, and needed authoritarian regimes to preserve the status quo and prevent Islamist radicalism. Some countries and leaders who were proud of their own democracy, insisted that democracy in the Middle East would threaten security in our region.

Now we are saying all together: no. An ordinary Turk, an ordinary Arab, an ordinary Tunisian can change history. We believe that democracy is good, and that our people deserve it. This is a natural flow of history. Everybody must respect this will of the people.

If we fail to understand that there is a need to reconnect societies, communities, tribes and ethnicities in our region, we will lose the momentum of history. Our future is our sense of common destiny. All of us in the region have a common destiny.

Now, if this transformation is a natural flow of the history, then how should we respond? First, we need an emergency plan to save people’s lives, to prevent disaster. Second, we need to normalise life. And finally, we need to reconstruct and restore the political systems in our region, just as we would rebuild our houses after a tsunami.

But in order to undertake that restoration, we need a plan, a vision. And we need the self-confidence to do it – the self-confidence to say: this region is ours, and we will be the rebuilders of it. But for all this to happen, we must be clear about the basic principles that we have to follow.

First, we need to trust the masses in our region, who want respect and dignity. This is the critical concept today: dignity. For decades we have been insulted. For decades we have been humiliated. Now we want dignity. That is what the young people in Tahrir Square demanded. After listening to them, I became much more optimistic for the future. That generation is the future of Egypt. They know what they want. This is a new momentum in our region, and it should be respected.

The second principle is that change and transformation are a necessity, not a choice. If history flows and you try to resist it, you will lose. No leader, however charismatic, can stop the flow of history. Now it is time for change. Nobody should cling to the old cold war logic. Nobody should argue that only a particular regime or person can guarantee a country’s stability. The only guarantee of stability is the people.

Third, this change must be peaceful – security and freedom are not alternatives; we need both. In this region we are fed up with civil wars, and tension. All of us have to act wisely without creating violence or civil strife between brothers and sisters. We have to make this change possible with the same spirit of common destiny.

Fourth, we need transparency, accountability, human rights and the rule of law, and to protect our social and state institutions. Revolution does not mean destruction. The Egyptian case is a good example: the army acted very wisely not to confront the people. But if there is no clear separation between the military and civilian roles of the political institutions, you may face problems. I am impressed by Field Marshal Tantawi’s decision to deliver power to the civilian authority as soon as possible.

Finally, the territorial integrity of our countries and the region must be protected. The legal status and territorial integrity of states including Libya and Yemen should be protected. During colonialism and cold war we had enough divisions, enough separations.

This process must be led by the people of each country, but there should be regional ownership. This is our region. Intellectuals, opinion-makers, politicians of this region should come together more frequently in order to decide what should happen in our region in the future. We are linked to each other for centuries to come.

Whatever happens in Egypt, in Libya, in Yemen, in Iraq or in Lebanon affects us all. Therefore we should show solidarity with the people of these countries. There should be more regional forums, for politicians and leaders, for intellectuals, for the media.

Usually the “Middle East” – an orientalist term – is regarded as synonymous with tensions, conflicts and underdevelopment. But our region has been the centre of civilisation for millennia, leading to strong traditions of political order in which multicultural environments flourish. In addition to this civilisational and political heritage, we have sufficient economic resources today to make our region a global centre of gravity.

Now it is time to make historic reassessments in order to transform our region into one of stability, freedom, prosperity, cultural revival and co-existence. In this new regional order there should be less violence and fewer barriers between countries, societies and sects. But there should be more economic interdependency, more political dialogue and more cultural interaction.

Today the search for a new global order is under way. After the international financial crisis, we need to develop an economic order based on justice, and a social order based on respect and dignity. And this region – our region – can contribute to the formation of this emerging new order: a global, political, economic and cultural new order.

Our responsibility is to open the way for this new generation, and to build a new region over the coming decade that will be specified by the will of its people.”

Ahmet Davutoğlu

Guardian.co.uk / 15.3.2011

Dışişleri Bakanı Ahmet Davutoğlu, Guardian’daki yazısında Arap dünyasındaki halk hareketlerini yorumladı ve ‘Hakarete maruz kaldık ve aşağılandık. Ama sonunda tarih bize itibarımızı iade ediyor’ dedi.

“Şimdi artık tarihi doğal akışına bırakmanın zamanı. Arap dünyasındaki devrimleri Doğu Avrupa’da olduğu gibi 1980’lerde doksanlarda yaşanması gereken gecikmiş süreçler olarak görüyorum. Gecikti çünkü, bazıları Arap toplumlarının demokrasiye layık olmadıklarını, statükoyu korumak ve radikal İslamcılığı önlemek için onların otoriter rejimlere ihtiyacı olduğunu söyledi. Kendi demokrasileriyle gurur duyan bazı ülkeler ve liderler, Orta Doğu’da demokrasinin bölgede güvenliğe tehdit oluşturacağında ısrar ettiler.

 “Ama şimdi hep birlikte hayır diyoruz. Sıradan bir Türk, sıradan bir Arap ve sıradan bir Tunuslu tarihi değiştirebilir. Demokrasinin iyi birşey olduğuna ve halkın bunu hakettiğine inanıyoruz. Tarihin doğal akışı budur. Herkes halkın bu iradesine saygılı olmalı.” 

“Toplumların, aşiretlerin, farklı etkin grupların yeniden birbirleriyle bağ kurması gerektiğini anlayamazsak, tarihsel ivmeyi kaçıracağız. Bölgenin kaderi ortaktır. ”

Davutoğlu yazısında bundan sonraki aşamada yapılması gerekenler konusunda ise şunları söylüyor: 

“Öncelikle insanların hayatlarını kurtaracak, felaketi önleyecek acil durum planlarımız olmalı. İkincisi hayatı normale döndürmeliyiz. Üçüncüsü de tsunamiden sonra evlerimizi yeniden yaptığımız gibi siyasi sistemleri yeniden yapılandırmalı ve tesis etmeliyiz. Ama bunun için bir vizyona ve özgüvene ihtiyacımız var. Bu özgüven de şu demek: Bu bölge bizim ve yeniden inşa edecek olan bizleriz. Bunun için de izlenecek temel ilkelere açıklık getirmeliyiz. Bölgemizde saygı ve itibar isteyen kitlelere güvenmeliyiz. Onlarca yıl boyunca hakarete uğradık. Onlarca yıl aşağılandık. Tahrir meydanındaki gençlerin dile getrirdiği gibi itibarımızı istiyoruz.

“İkinci ilke, değişim ve dönüşümün bir tercih değil bir zorunluluk olduğunu kabul etmektir. Üçüncüsü bu değişim barışçıl yollarla gerçekleşmeli. Güvenlik ve özgürlük birbirlerinin alternatifi değildir. İkisine birden ihtiyacımız var. Dördüncü ilke, şeffaflık, hesap verebilirlik, insan hakları, hukukun üstünlüğü son olarak da bölgemizde ülkelerimizin toprak bütünlüğünün güvence altına alınmasıdır.” 

“Oryantalist bir kavram olan Orta Doğu’nun adı şimdiye kadar hep gerilim, çatışma ve az gelişmişlikle özdeşleşti. Ama bizim bölgemiz binlerce yıl boyunca, medeniyetin merkezi oldu. Bu medeniyet ve siyasi kültür mirasımıza ek olarak, bölgemizi küresel çekim merkezine dönüştürecek ekonomik kaynaklarımız da var.”

Hürriyet / 17.3.2011

Israeli Disinformation Challenged: New Smuggled Clip Shows Israeli Commandos Kicking and Apparently Shooting American Victim

The false narrative initially put out by the Israeli government of hapless IDF commandos severely threatened by hardened “terrorists” on the Mavi Marmara has fallen apart, amid revelations of doctored photos, dubbed voices and other deceptions and the patent absurdity of the claim that the commandos had boarded the ship armed only with “paint guns” and low-caliber pistols. Now the Big Lie stands further exposed, thanks to a smuggled-out video showing IDF commandos kicking a prone, helpless victim and then apparently executing him with semi-automatic rifle fire at almost point-blank range.

This smuggled video, showing IDF commandos brutally kicking their captive, who is clearly posing no threat to them, and then firing four shots downward, shows these commandos were on the ship with intent to kill and injure, and that is what they did. They were certainly not kicking and shooting here to protect their lives. This looks more like a Rodney King moment than self-defense.

Update: My colleage Linn Washington, who is knowledgeable about firearms, says that the gun in the video appears to be a pump-action Remington 870 shotgun–a potent and lethal firearm used widely by police for “riot control,” that could cause the types of wounds found in the Turkish autopsies of victims if fired at close range, and one that is in the Israeli arsenal.

There are claims from Turkish sources that this clip depicts the 19-year-old American-born Furkan Dogan being executed. Dogan’s autopsy showed he was shot four times in the face, and at least once in the back.

IDF defenders are claiming that the video doesn’t actually show the victim, but unless you think the first commando is kicking soccer goals on the deck, and the shooter is firing at the deck for sport, there can be no doubt that the target of both acts of violence is being first pummeled with kicks, and then peppered with bullets.

So far, the President Obama and the White House and State Department have made no condemnation of Israel’s illegal and murderous attack in international waters on a civilian ship flying the flag of a NATO ally.

This video is, for me, reminiscent of the video from the Tet Offensive in the 1968 in the Vietnam War, which showed a South Vietnamese officer executing a captured Viet Cong fighter with a pistol shot to the head, and also of the 1979 video of a soldier in the army of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza executing the ABC newsman Bill Stewart (which came across a monitor in a local ABC newsroom I happened to be visiting in rural North Carolina, causing absolute pandemonium and outrage).

Both those earlier videos of military atrocities by soldiers for regimes backed by the US significantly turned American public opinion against the US puppet regimes and the wars they were fighting. Hopefully this latest video of another atrocity by a client regime’s stormtroopers will have the same effect.

To help make sure that happens, send this page link to your local newspaper editor and to your local TV news stations, and demand that they air this video. No more censorship of this story! And by the way, kudos to Counterpunch, to Rense.com, to Smirking Chimp and to Public Record for having the guts to run this story and the link when most other alternative and progressive sites have been afraid to, or have pulled it when attacked.

Dave Lindorff

http://www.thiscantbehappening.net / 12.6.2010

U.S. Jewish Student Loses Eye at Roadblock Protest

An American Jewish art student lost an eye when she was hit by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops at a pro-Palestinian demonstration. Emily Henochowicz, 21, of Maryland, was hit in the eye on Monday when she joined a protest at a Jerusalem roadblock against Israel’s deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip, which killed nine people. Spokesmen at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, where she underwent an operation, confirmed Tuesday that she lost an eye in the disturbance. The military did not comment. Witnesses told media outlets that Palestinian boys were throwing rocks at troops but said Henochowicz was standing aside and not participating in the violence. Henochowicz, a student at Cooper Union in New York who is currently studying at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy, had participated in other nonviolent protests against Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

JTA / 3.6.2010

US seeks probe as American student hurt in anti-Israel demo

Washington has asked Israel to investigate an incident where a US student lost an eye after she was hit by an Israeli tear-gas canister during a West Bank protest, the US embassy said on Monday.

AFP / 7.6.2010

ABD’nin İsrail’den, Ramallah’ta Türkiye Bayrağı ile gösteri yapan bir Amerikalı kadının gaz bombası yüzünden gözünü kaybettiği olayın soruşturulmasını istediği bildirildi. Tel Aviv’deki ABD Büyükelçiği sözcülerinden Kurt Hoyer, elçiliğin, bu konudaki ayrıntılı bilginin “mümkün olan en kısa sürede” kendilerine iletilmesini istediğini söyledi. Hoyer, ABD’nin İsrail’den resmi bir cevap beklediğini açıkladı.

Emily Henochowicz adlı 21 yaşındaki kadın, Mavi Marmara’ya yapılan saldırıdan sonra geçen hafta Batı Şeria’nın Ramallah kentinde düzenlenen gösteride, İsrail polisinin attığı bir göz yaşartıcı gaz tüpünün yüzüne isabet etmesi yüzünden sol gözünü kaybetmişti. Olayın ardından İsrail ordusu, göz yaşartıcı bombaların doğrudan protestoculara atıldığı suçlamalarını reddederek, Henochowicz’in duvardan seken bir mermiyle yaralanmış olabileceğini iddia etmişti.

Anadolu Ajansı’nın haberine göre, bir Rus televizyon ekibince çekilen görüntülerde, genç kadının Türk Bayrağı ile yürüdüğü görülüyor. Taş atan gençlerden uzakta olduğu anlaşılan genç kadının yere düştüğü ve kanlar içindeyken bir kadın protestocu tarafından sürüklendiği görülüyor. İnsan hakları grupları, İsrail askerlerini gaz tüplerini doğrudan protestoculara atmakla suçluyor.

Hürriyet / 7.6.2010

Jewish People March to Protest Israeli Ship Attack

Israeli assault boats attacked Mavi Marmara (Blue Marmara), a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, in early hours of Monday, and killed at least 9 and injured more than 50 who were aboard. The country has been the focus of an international condemnation, and the most interesting demonstration against Israel took place in New York. Scores of Jewish people attended the demonstration to protest Israel, holding banners wrote “Israeli Police! Jewish blood is not water; Stop brutality!” These Jewish people were amongst the thousands of Muslim, Catholic and other believes’ members protesters who gathered at New York’s Times Square to protest the Israeli ship intervene.

DHA / 1.6.2010

Humanitarian Aid and Israeli Permission

List of Items Prohibited/Permitted into the Gaza Strip