Anti-Israeli rhetoric jeopardises Ankara's bid to broker peace



ISTANBUL // Drawing on its influence in the Middle East and new role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Turkey says it is working on a two-stage plan to end the bloodshed in Gaza and reach a new co-operation agreement among Palestinian groups in Gaza and the West Bank. In addition, Turkey is ready to send soldiers to Gaza if an international peace force for Gaza is created, Cemil Cicek, the deputy prime minister, said yesterday. "If it serves peace", Turkey would be ready to participate in such a force, Mr Cicek told reporters in Ankara after a cabinet meeting.

"We will think well about diplomatic steps, we will discuss them, we will negotiate," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, said in a speech on Sunday. Referring to Turkey's two-year membership of the UN Security Council that started with the new year, Mr Erdogan said Turkey would fulfil its obligations whatever they may be. "We started in the Middle East." Turkey, a Muslim nation with a secular structure, is one of the few countries in the region that have good relations with both the Palestinians and with Israel. Ankara has become more involved in Middle Eastern matters in recent years, facilitating indirect talks between Israel and Syria and participating in an international peace force in Lebanon.

But some analysts said it may be hard for the Turks to play a mediating role, especially as Mr Erdogan and leading ministers of his government have firmly blamed Israel for the violence in Gaza. "Israel has created a humanitarian tragedy by using disproportionate force," the prime minister said in his speech on Sunday. "The children killed by these bombs will haunt" Israel, he said. Earlier, he called the Israeli attack on Gaza "merciless" and also a "sign of disrespect" against Turkey, because Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, visited Ankara only days before the bombardment started, but left his hosts in the dark about the planned attack. Mehmet Ali Sahin, the justice minister, called Israel "the biggest provocateur of global terror in the world".

In recent days Mr Erdogan visited Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to win regional support for a two-stage plan his government is working on. The first step is to broker an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Mr Erdogan said. The second step of the Turkish peace plan consists of efforts to overcome the divisions between Hamas and the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. Mr Erdogan held talks with Mr Abbas last week. His government has also been talking to Hamas officials, Mr Erdogan confirmed. In addition, the prime minister has held talks with west European politicians who are trying to defuse the crisis, including Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Mirek Topolanek, the Czech prime minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency. Meanwhile, Ali Babacan, Turkey's foreign minister, spoke to Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and David Miliband, Britain's foreign secretary, the CNN-Turk television news channel reported.

Walid al Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister, arrived in Ankara yesterday for talks with Mr Babacan and Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president. Mr Erdogan, Mr Gul and Mr Babacan were to hold a meeting on Turkey's options in the Gaza crisis later in the day. The government's diplomatic initiative comes as public outrage about the Israeli attack in Gaza and a perceived lack of will by the West to stop Israel is growing throughout Turkey. Mr Erdogan's speech on Sunday was interrupted by shouts of "Down with Israel". Tens of thousands of people condemned Israel in demonstrations in several Turkish cities over the weekend. Riot police protected the Israeli consulate in Istanbul from angry protesters.

But while reflecting the emotions of many of his fellow citizens by lashing out at Israel, Mr Erdogan may have hurt his own diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis in Gaza. Turkey will not find it easy to play the role of an impartial mediator after the harsh public statements by Mr Erdogan against Israel, said Cengiz Candar, a veteran political analyst and columnist. "The reactions by the prime minister at the start of the operation have weakened a very important trump card in his hand," Mr Candar told the NTV television news channel.

Ortun Orhan, a Middle East analyst at the Centre for Eurasian Strategic Studies, or Asam, a think tank in Ankara, also said Mr Erdogan should make sure that his statements do not go beyond a certain threshold, even if there is worldwide condemnation of Israel. "One has to be careful with the dose of criticism," Mr Orhan said. So far however, Mr Erdogan had stayed within acceptable limits, he said.

According to Mr Orhan, Turkey's chances to play a mediating role in the Gaza conflict have grown, especially because Egypt, the traditional mediator in that kind of situation, has lost credibility in the eyes of Hamas. tseibert@thenational.ae

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Results

2pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m, Winner: AF Thayer, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,200m, Winner: AF Sahwa, Nathan Crosse, Mohamed Ramadan.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: AF Thobor, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mezmar, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

4pm: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup presented by Longines (TB) Dh 200,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Galvanize, Nathan Cross, Doug Watson.

4.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Ajaj, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mohamed Daggash.

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Messi at the Copa America

2007 – lost 3-0 to Brazil in the final

2011 – lost to Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals

2015 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

2016 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

All or Nothing

Amazon Prime

Four stars

Company profile

Company: Splintr

Started: May 2019

Founders: Mohammad AlMheiri and Badr AlBadr

Based: Dubai and Riyadh

Sector: payments / FinTech

Size: 10 employees

Initial investment: undisclosed seven-figure sum / pre-seed

Stage: seed

Investors: angel investors

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000