Israel frees Turk after charging her with aiding Hamas

Ebru Ozkan (L), arrives in Istanbul Ataturk Airport on July 16, 2018 after she was released by the Israeli court. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Israel frees Turk after charging her with aiding Hamas

  • Israel releases Ebru Ozkan, accused of helping Hamas
  • Turkey threatened retaliation after Ebru Ozkan’s detention last month

JERUSALEM: Israel has released a Turkish woman who had been arrested while visiting on a tourist visa and accused of helping the Palestinian group Hamas, in a case that angered Ankara and Israel, her lawyer said on Monday.
Turkey threatened retaliation after Ebru Ozkan’s detention last month. The ex-allies have long been at loggerheads over Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and Jerusalem’s status.
Ozkan’s lawyer, Omar Khamaisi, said she flew to Istanbul on Sunday, a week after an Israeli military court indicted her. An appeals court had ordered her freed and returned her passport, he told Reuters, adding: “The indictment still stands, but I think that will be canceled too.”
The Turkish news agency Anadlou quoted Ozkan, upon landing, as thanking President Tayyip Erdogan for having been “kind enough to be very interested in my case.”
Commenting on the decision to release Ozkan, an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There are a number of factors behind this decision, including the amount of time she had already spent in detention and the fact that the charges weren’t especially grave in the first place.”
The official declined to be drawn on whether Turkish diplomatic pressure might also have been a factor.
Ozkan was held at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport last month while trying to board her original flight home after a visit that took her to Jerusalem, whose Al-Aqsa Mosque draws pilgrims from the few Muslim countries that have relations with Israel.
She was charged with helping smuggling money and packages to Hamas, which is classed as a terrorist group in Israel and the West, but not by NATO-power Turkey. Ozkan’s lawyer dismissed the charges as baseless and, potentially, politically motivated.
Hamas did not comment on the case.
Turkey’s government had cited Israel’s treatment of Ozkan and several other detained Turkish visitors as among “inhumane policies” that were souring bilateral ties.
Turkey vocally opposed a US decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinians want a state with a capital in eastern parts of the city where Al-Aqsa, as well as major Jewish and Christian shrines, are housed.


OIC foreign ministers to meet in Abu Dhabi

Updated 19 February 2019
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OIC foreign ministers to meet in Abu Dhabi

  • The meeting will be held in UAE’s capital from March 1
JEDDAH: The foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states will meet in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2 to discuss the OIC’s role in promoting development in member states.
Secretary-General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said reaching higher levels of development and prosperity for member states, and strengthening economic and trade relations between them, are among the most important pillars of the OIC’s economic program.
“Economic cooperation between OIC member states is based on the established connection between development and peace, security and stability,” he added.
Al-Othaimeen cited the number of member states (57), and the diversity of their natural sources, as positive factors in terms of economic cooperation.
To improve economic and social cooperation between member states, he called for the implementation of joint programs to mobilize resources and maximize opportunities.
The foreign ministers will discuss the effectiveness and adoption of the OIC’s various programs and measures.
They will also highlight their national priorities for economic development, and areas of convergence with the OIC’s objectives, plans and programs.
The ministers will discuss activating different financing mechanisms, and the development and marketing of Islamic financial products and other innovative financing tools.
They will also explore the active participation of community-based organizations in developing the rural sector; promoting employment of the youth, women and vulnerable people; promoting economic best practices; improving the quality of human resources; and providing appropriate institutional frameworks for national economic development strategies.