Turkey and Russia to conduct joint patrols in northern Syria; reaction and analysis from retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis. UNITED NATIONS – Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon on Monday accused Turkey of being a hub for regional terrorism while saying its recent incursion into Syria has resulted in the strengthening of the Islamic State terror network. Speaking during a United Nations Security Council debate on the Middle East, Danon said the council spent too much time on Israel and called on its members to do more to thwart the ambitions of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Erdogan has turned Turkey into a safe haven for Hamas (terrorists) and a financial center for funneling money to subsidize terror attacks. Erdogan's Turkey shows no moral or human restraint towards the Kurdish people. Erdogan has turned Turkey into a regional hub for terror," Danon said.
Through years of Turkish-Israeli estrangement, little love seemed lost between leaders of the two countries. Then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan branded Israel a "terror state" and accused it of carrying out war crimes in the Gaza Strip. In equally caustic terms, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the Turkish leader as an "anti-Semitic neighborhood bully.'' On Monday, the two eastern Mediterranean powers sought to move past the emotionally charged dispute over Israel's blockade of Gaza and Erdogan's support for Hamas, as they unveiled a deal to normalize diplomatic relations. The pact arrives six years after nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli naval forces on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, a boat that challenged Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.
ASHDOD, ISRAEL – A Turkish ship carrying aid for Gaza arrived in Israel Sunday, a week after the two countries agreed to restore ties that soured over a deadly raid on an aid flotilla. The Lady Leyla container vessel docked at Ashdod port in the afternoon after departing on Friday, an AFP journalist reported. Its contents were to be unloaded, inspected and sent on to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, hit by three wars with Israel since 2008 and under an Israeli blockade. The Panama-flagged ship was carrying 11,000 tons of supplies, including food packages, flour, rice, sugar and toys, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Turkey had initially pushed for a lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza as part of the negotiations to normalize ties, but Israel rejected this.
JERUSALEM – Israel and Turkey exchanged diplomatic barbs Wednesday as the spat between the former allies continued to escalate following deadly violence along Israel's border with Gaza. A day after it expelled the Israeli ambassador, Turkey asked Israel's consul general in Istanbul to leave as well. Israel, in turn, summoned a top Turkish diplomat to be reprimanded for the humiliation of Israel's ambassador as he was kicked out of the country. The exchanges came less than two years after the countries reconciled and exchanged ambassadors after six years of animosity. Once close allies in an Arab-dominated neighborhood, Israel and Turkey's ties began to decline after now-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey's Islamist movement, first came to power as prime minister in 2003.