It amounts to ‘throwing region into a circle of fire,’ says Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Updated 08 December 2017
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It amounts to ‘throwing region into a circle of fire,’ says Erdogan

ANKARA: US President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has sparked strong Turkish condemnation. 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said the decision ignored UN resolutions and amounted to “throwing the region into a circle of fire.”
He added: “Hey Mr. Trump, what are you trying to do? If Trump is saying, ‘I am powerful and right,’ he is wrong.”
Erdogan is expected to speak with leaders of Western countries, including Britain, Germany, Spain and France, as well as Russia about Trump’s decision. 
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration that we learned with great concern, declaring that it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it will be moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”
The ministry added: “This decision is against international law and relevant UN Resolutions, as the annexation of Jerusalem by Israel has been rejected by (the) international community and the UN.”
Under Turkey’s chairmanship, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will convene an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul on Dec. 13 to present a coordinated response.  
While Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik called the decision a “provocation,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said it is “null and void” for Ankara, adding that it is ridiculous to define it “as a contribution to peace.”
Kalin said: “This is an attempt to legalize the current situation that would eliminate all peace initiatives, and it aims at opening deep wounds in the Middle East.”
Thousands across Turkey took to the streets on Wednesday night, and demonstrated in front of the US consular and embassy buildings. 
Galip Dalay, research director at Al-Sharq Forum in Istanbul, said Trump’s decision has further strained US-Turkish and Turkish-Israeli relations. 
“In particular, Turkish-Israeli relations are likely to deteriorate if violence breaks out in Palestine, and if Israel responds in a heavy-handed manner,” Dalay told Arab News.
“If the Turkish government had any intention of further improving relations with Israel prior to this decision, now it will face public sensitivity and pressure.”
Dalay said Turkey should manage this process via a multilateral framework, adding: “Given the wide international rejection of this issue, Turkey should build on this and not reduce it to a Muslim matter.”
Murat Yesiltas, a Middle East expert at the Ankara-based think tank SETA, said Trump’s decision may have various consequences. 
“It could throw the Middle East policy of the US into a profound crisis,” Yesiltas told Arab News.
“This decision will first and foremost derail the personal relationship between Erdogan and Trump, and create an opportunity for spoilers.”
Yesiltas said he anticipates a major change in Erdogan’s perception of Trump, adding that time will tell whether the latter’s decision will galvanize regional cooperation against it.
The day before Trump announced his decision, Ankara warned that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could prompt Turkey to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.
 


Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

A Turkish soldier is seen in an armoured personnel carrier at a check point near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 July 2018
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Turkish court rejects Australia’s request to extradite Daesh recruiter

  • Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia
  • Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained

SYDNEY: A Turkish court rejected an Australian request to extradite a citizen it believes is a top recruiter for the Daesh group, Australia’s foreign minister said on Friday, in a setback for Canberra’s efforts to prosecute him at home.
Melbourne-born Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in Daesh videos and magazines. Australia has alleged that he actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of militancy.
“We are disappointed that the Kilis Criminal Court in Turkey has rejected the request to extradite Neil Prakash to Australia,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“We will continue to engage with Turkish authorities as they consider whether to appeal the extradition decision,” she said.
Australia had been pressing Turkey to extradite Prakash since he was first detained there nearly two years ago.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported from Kilis that Prakash was initially ordered to be freed but was later charged under Turkish law with being a Daesh member.
A spokesman at Turkey’s foreign ministry in Istanbul had no immediate comment and the Turkish embassy in Australia did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Ties between Turkey and its allies fighting Daesh, particularly the United States, have been frayed by Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a militant group.
Canberra announced financial sanctions against Prakash in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
The Australian government wrongly reported in 2016, based on US intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an air strike in Mosul, Iraq. It later confirmed that Prakash was detained in Turkey.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
A staunch ally of the United States and its actions against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens were fighting in the region.