Turkey renames US embassy street amid row over Syria operation

A woman walks in front of the United State Embassy in Ankara. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
0

Turkey renames US embassy street amid row over Syria operation

ANKARA: The street in Ankara where the US embassy is located was renamed after Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia on Monday, just days after the two sides agreed on the need to normalize relations.
Already tense ties were strained further when Ankara started a ground and air offensive dubbed “Olive Branch” last month against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in its enclave of Afrin in western Syria.
Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an insurgency in Turkey which is listed as a terror organization by the US and the European Union.
But in Syria, Washington has been providing arms to the YPG against the Daesh group, much to Ankara’s chagrin in a dispute that has ignited the biggest crisis in bilateral ties since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
The US has previously called on Ankara for restraint and said operation “Olive Branch” risked becoming a distraction from the fight against jihadists in Syria.
The renaming of the street follows a visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara last week when he met Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the two sides agreed to cooperate in Syria.
“We are not going to act alone any longer, not US doing one thing, Turkey doing another,” Tillerson said after talks with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The two sides said they would set up working groups to solve key issues affecting relations.
Ankara mayor Mustafa Tuna mooted the plan to change the name from Nevzat Tandogan (a former Ankara governor) to Olive Branch avenue before Tillerson arrived on Thursday.
City workers switched the actual signs on Monday.
Although the American embassy is located on what is now Olive Branch avenue, the mission’s official address is given as the street behind the building, which is named after Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic.
Renaming streets has become a favored diplomacy tool for Ankara.
Tensions with the UAE flared last month when the emirate’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan retweeted a post on Twitter critical of the former Ottoman rulers of the region.
In response Ankara renamed the street where the UAE embassy is located after the Ottoman governor of the time.


Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
0

Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

  • Tatour posted a video of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.
  • The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July

An Arab Israeli woman jailed for five months for incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization in online poems and other social media posts was released from prison on Thursday.

Dareen Tatour posted a video clip of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in October 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks.

The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July.

She was released on Thursday due to time served before her conviction, she and a prison spokesman said.

“Freedom is something so sweet that I can’t even describe it,” Tatour said after her release.

She added that she planned to publish a collection of poems and a novel on her experience in prison.

International writers’ group PEN defended Tatour’s actions.

She was “convicted for doing what writers do every day — we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice,” the group said.

The offending verses were quoted in Hebrew in the charge sheet, but according to an English translation on the Arabic literature site ArabLit, they contained the following:

“For an Arab Palestine, I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land, Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

Prosecutors said that on Oct. 4, 2015 she also quoted a statement by Islamic Jihad calling for “continuation of the intifada in every part of the West Bank,” alleging it showed her support for the outlawed militant group.

Tatour, from the Arab village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested a week later.

Arab Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

They account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population and largely support the Palestinian cause.