Turkey’s Terrorism Problem, and Israel’s

The New Year’s Eve shooting in Istanbul is additional grim testimony to the upsurge of terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past two years. Behind most of these attacks have been the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, and Islamic State (IS), which has claimed responsibility for the most recent. Nimrod Goren explains Turkey’s vulnerability, and how its response might affect its relations with Israel:

The growing motivation of both [the PKK and IS] to carry out attacks against Turkey, alongside their easy access to the country in light of its long borders with Syria and Iraq, are the main reasons for the dramatic rise in terrorism in Turkey. Additionally, Turkey’s growing involvement in Syria, including in military operations that Turkey had avoided in the early years of the conflict, . . . increases the desire and the sense of urgency among its enemies to carry out attacks against it, on its territory.

The Turkish defense establishment has had difficulty responding to this phenomenon so far. The consequences of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July, including the arrests of military and police officers, are not making it any easier to deal with the problem. . . .

Turkey is dealing with these challenges at a time of ongoing tension with its traditional Western allies. While Turkey enjoys security cooperation with these countries by virtue of its NATO membership, it seems this is not enough.

Given Turkey’s reality, some expect that the reconciliation with Israel will help with the war on terrorism. Although the Israeli government is highlighting natural gas as the central factor in its decision to normalize relations with Turkey, Turkish interests [in reconciliation] were focused on renewed security cooperation with Israel.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: ISIS, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, Turkey

The State Department Seems to Be Covering Up Palestinian Incitement

July 26 2017

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on global terrorism in the year 2016, and, for apparently the tenth consecutive year, the report defended the Palestinian Authority in language identical or nearly identical to that used in years before. For example, the 2016 report notes that “The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” That same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013. Similar repetition of language from those years and years earlier can be found across the report.

What’s going on? “Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence,” Rafael Medoff writes, quoting the former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker:

[According to Baker], State Department officials seem to be “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant,” instead of objectively assessing the PA’s most recent behavior.

Baker said that not only has the PA failed to take “significant steps” against incitement, but “the opposite is the case—their own actions, statements and publications, naming streets and squares after terrorists, formally paying fees to terrorist families, all point to a distinctive step backward in violation of Palestinian commitments pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

The result, Baker said, is that “the Palestinians see it as a license to continue and as support for their struggle. If the State Department closes a blind eye, this is tantamount to giving a green light.”

[According to a second Israeli diplomat], the State Department slants its reports about the PA because the department “fears that its own words will be used to buttress congressional efforts to cut aid to the PA. . . . ”

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, State Department