EU, Russia in double threat to Erdogan

Moscow responding to Erdogan’s assertion of power in the South Caucasus. (AFP)
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Updated 15 October 2020

EU, Russia in double threat to Erdogan

  • Sanctions loom over eastern Med
  • Moscow downgrades Ankara ties

ANKARA, BRUSSELS: Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced isolation on two fronts on Wednesday as European and Russian diplomats moved to rein in the Turkish president’s adventurism in the eastern Mediterranean and the Caucasus.
EU officials admitted their strategy to defuse tensions with Turkey was unraveling only two weeks after it began. Despite an EU summit deal in the early hours of Oct. 2 aimed at persuading Ankara to stop exploring for natural gas in Greek and Cypriot territorial waters, Turkey has redeployed a survey vessel with an armed escort.
Three European diplomats said this gave the impression that Ankara was toying with Brussels.
EU leaders had failed to come up with a solution to the gas dispute, instead proposing a “carrot-and-stick” approach — offering benefits but also threatening sanctions — that had failed, the diplomats said.
“EU leaders kicked the can down the road by saying they would come back to the issue in December. Now it is coming back with a vengeance,” one diplomat said.
Greece and Cyprus will raise the gas dispute again when EU leaders meet on Thursday and Friday, arguing that the latest escalation has demonstrated the need for more urgent action, including sanctions. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas canceled a trip to Ankara in protest at the deployment of the Turkish exploration ship Oruc Reis.

HIGHLIGHT

Greece and Cyprus will raise the gas dispute again when EU leaders meet on Thursday and Friday, arguing that the latest escalation has demonstrated the need for more urgent action, including sanctions.

Meanwhile, Russia downgraded its relationship with Turkey on Wednesday amid growing concern in Moscow over Ankara’s role in the conflict in Nagorny-Karabakh.
“Russia has never considered Turkey as its strategic ally, only a partner,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. He also warned that Turkey’s involvement in the conflict should be transparent.
“We disagree with the position which has been voiced by Turkey and which has also been expressed by Azerbaijan’s president,” Lavrov said. “We cannot agree … that a military solution to the conflict is possible and admissible.”
Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Studies Center in Yerevan, said Moscow was responding to Erdogan’s assertion of power in the South Caucasus, which Moscow saw as part of its sphere of influence.
“Lavrov’s statement … is a direct message and warning to Turkey, driven by a responsive Russian posture to push back and push out Turkey from encroaching in the region and challenging Russian interests,” he said.
“Apart from Azerbaijan’s decision to deceive Moscow by rejecting the cease-fire, Turkey’s determination to defy the Kremlin poses a real obstacle to regional security.”
 


Court orders authorities to reveal Israeli citizenship criteria to Palestinian Jerusalemites

Updated 26 November 2020

Court orders authorities to reveal Israeli citizenship criteria to Palestinian Jerusalemites

  • Without Israeli citizenship, residents of East Jerusalem could not obtain an Israeli passport, vote in national elections, or work in state government jobs
  • Vast majority of Jerusalem’s 330,000 stateless Palestinians have not applied

AMMAN: An Israeli court has forced state authorities to reveal the criteria that need to be met for Palestinian Jerusalem youth to become citizens of Israel.

The judicial order will mean that approximately 20,000 Palestinians aged between 18 and 21 living in East Jerusalem will now know the requirements when petitioning for Israeli citizenship, which is not automatically granted to them as residents of the city.

The vast majority of Jerusalem’s 330,000 stateless Palestinians have not applied, nor have the desire, to become Israelis. But the court decision should in future make the application process easier for those interested in carrying an Israeli passport and having the protection of the Israeli government regarding their legal status.

Jerusalem attorney, Mohammed Dahdal, who has practiced civil and human rights law for more than 30 years, noted that without Israeli citizenship, residents of East Jerusalem could not obtain an Israeli passport, vote in national elections, or work in state government jobs, among other things.

However, they did pay taxes to Israel and received social benefits such as national insurance, unemployment payments, and healthcare coverage.

Dahdal told Arab News that after 1988, when Jordan disengaged from the West Bank, which included East Jerusalem, Jerusalemites became stateless citizens. He said the ruling had come about after a Palestinian from Jerusalem had appealed to the court after revealing a loophole in the law.

He noted that the court decision, published by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, made four conditions to ensure receipt of an Israeli passport. “That the applicant has no other citizenship, that they were born in Israel (for Israel, East and West Jerusalem are both parts of Israel), that the applicant is between 18 and 21 years old, and has lived continuously in Israel during the five years preceding applying for citizenship.”

The lawyer added that the Israeli government had fought in court to have the criteria for citizenship kept under wraps.

Former Jordanian member of parliament, Audeh Kawwas, who was on Wednesday appointed as a member of the Jordanian Senate, told Arab News: “If the aim is to solve the statelessness issue of Jerusalemites, I am for it and I have spoken about it (as a committee member) in the World Council of Churches.

“However, if this is an attempt to disenfranchise Palestinians and to make the city more Israeli, then I am totally opposed.”

Hazem Kawasmi, a community activist in Jerusalem, told Arab News that many young Palestinian Jerusalemites were in a desperate situation, as no government or institution was taking care of them and their needs.

He said: “They are living under occupation with daily harassment from the police and Israeli intelligence and face all kinds of racism and enmity.

“Israeli citizenship helps them get high-skilled jobs and it is a prerequisite for many jobs. It helps them travel for tourism or work to Europe and the US without the cumbersome, complicated procedures of getting visas, that is if they get it at all.

“Finally, Israeli citizenship makes the youth feel safe not to lose their residency in Jerusalem and movement and work in Israel,” he added.

Khalil Assali, a member of the Jerusalem Waqf and an observer of Jerusalem affairs, told Arab News that he was doubtful that Israel would speed up the process for granting Israeli citizenship. “They have made this move to show their newly established Arab friends that they are acting democratically.”

Hijazi Risheq, head of the Jerusalem Merchants’ committee, told Arab News that the Israelis were looking for ways to turn the city into a Jewish one. By giving citizenship to youth between the ages of 18 and 21, Israel was aiming to deter them from carrying out hostile acts against Israel and keep them away from the Palestinian National Authority and its security forces, he said.

Jerusalem-based human rights activist, Rifaat Kassis, said: “The idea that Jerusalem is Arab has become an empty slogan. Meanwhile, Israeli racism has become the overriding power that forces Jerusalemites trying to have a dignified life with their families to live under difficult conditions.”