Mosques told to quiet down 5am call to prayer

Nov 18, 2015

Social media was still trending over the weekend over a ‘court’ decision in the occupied areas to ban three mosques from using a speaker for the call to the 5am prayer.

Although the decision was taken earlier this week, the news which travelled to Turkey was not greeted well by some users and was reported by Turkish media outlets.

According to reports, Feza Guzeloglu a lawyer in Lefka has been complaining for years over the sound that the three local mosques were making since the 1990s when making the call to prayer early in the morning.

Read more by clicking on the name of the source below.


33 comments on “Mosques told to quiet down 5am call to prayer

  • Algerians have been complaining about the call to prayer over loud speakers for decades. It’s not noticeable when it comes from the next neighborhood or a mile away but in dense construction zones like city and town centers, that loud speaker is definitely blasting the families that live right next to it at top volume.

    Our friends in the capital city of Algiers live next to a mosque and when their children were young they would no sooner get them to sleep and then sure enough a loud blast of monotonous singing jolted them awake and crying. They were all at their wit’s end over it.

    It’s worse now that neighborhood mosques are sprouting up like mushrooms. Now it’s not only one call to prayer in the distance, it’s ten coming from streets all around the neighborhoods, all competing for air space. They are never synchronized and the singing tones are all grotesquely out of tune. It’s an auditory horror show. Someone needs to pull the plug (literally) on these perpetrators of the public 5X daily dose of torment.

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  • First of all, I object to North Cyprus described as being occupied…Then again it is the ‘Cyprus Mail’ which is Greek owned (lol)
    Feza Guzeloglu is a lawyer who has been chasing this decision for years. Most people were surprised it happened considering the seemingly muslim takeover of North Cyprus and the outspoken muslim leader in Turkey. Apart from the mosques being right in the middle of the villages and blasting people out of their beds, there has been a ongoing objection to recorded call to prayer and a demand for actual people to do it without amplification. I do have something inside me that is actually activated by the call and tolerate it regardless but there is an electronic ‘bleep’ at the end, that spoils the whole experience 🙂 , when the amp is switched off. I think that if these people are going to call to prayer in the manner set thousands of years ago then they should maintain that with real voices and authenticity. (Tongue in cheek)

    That part aside the disturbing part of all this is the way this woman was treated. The community think, and say, she is a loon. I have never met her so don’t really know but doubt it. She definitely is outspoken and that justifies the ‘loon’ title for a woman in the religious community at least. The religious zealots are mainly from mainland Turkey so when she was verbally attacked she responded in kind and told them to ‘fuck off back to Turkey” and a few more unsavoury words were exchanged. This hit social media and a frenzy began. I persuaded a few people I know, and a few I don’t, to drop the abuse and the sharing of the page copied from FB. A few more people who could converse in Turkish, as I can’t very well, started posting that people should be ashamed at what they are doing to this woman and it is her right in a democratic country. Things seem to have died down and she still lives.

    I won’t go on too long but there is much more to this than meets the eye. There is a solution on the cards next year and everything the big powers need, have been put into place to get a yes vote, one of them being a fantastic new technology to supply water from Turkey to Cyprus (But its not about water 😉 ), regardless of the ordinary people losing out big time.

    So, one little court case against a noisy mosque is being used for religious and political ends.

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  • I was not aware that Algerians complained about the mosques. A friend of mine taught stage combat in Cairo and was there (this was some years ago) the week before Ramadan and the week after; he had many amusing stories, but his description of the unsynchronized quacking from the loudspeakers in the early morning (and I happen to like the call to prayer–acapella) made me cringe! He thought it quite novel, but it apparently did not grate on anyone but the Coptics.

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  • The first time I set foot in North Africa I was utterly charmed by the call to prayer along with narrow streets, donkeys, squawking vendors and the traditional clothing worn by adults there. The smells, the noises, everything. If the calls are done by guys who don’t use electric loud speakers and if they have a half way decent singing voice I doubt there’d be complaints but the situation I described above is beyond that completely.

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  • A lovely rendition, I just listened to – Gregorian chant sems to be the Western equivalent, in a basic way.

    Church bells ringing at the crack of dawn infuriate some; be careful what you wish for, a loudspeaker (damn those things, noise pollution makers) might be installed across the street.

    Atheists don’t have no song!

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  • Have you ever seen the X-Factor style Ezan competition LaurieB? If so, what did you think?

    For me it was weird to have a competition in a religious sense but then religion doesn’t make sense. It got weirder when the winner was applauded by the audience and were at once told off for doing so.

    Oh and the worst! A Muslim women’s beauty pageant.

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  • I can’t seem to appreciate that Ezan competition and their vocal talents. It’s lost on me. I can’t block out the religious baggage that it’s all tied up with. What was once a component of an exotic place has now been replaced in my mind with imagery of millions of brainwashed downtrodden people bowing up and down in worship (hate that word) to Allah the complete asshole. That guys would compete to be the best at rounding up the brainwashed masses to get down on their knees is some barf worthy imagery that I hope doesn’t stay in my mind for very long today.

    It’s funny about the applauding. There have been times when I thought applause was deserved by church soloists at Christmas church services, weddings and even funerals. It felt strange to just remain still and silent after hearing an emotionally moving x-mass carroll or a eulogy that was delivered with poise and eloquence that leaves the mourners twisted in grief all together as one.

    It’s interesting how these songs or musical vocalizations with all the context all around them can zap us right back to a time or place that was emotionally loaded and the minute we hear that call to prayer in the dirty narrow streets of the casbah in Algiers or the organ music soaring to the heights of the Notre Dame in Paris- We’re right back in that emotional place.

    Every time I find myself in Paris I attend the Sunday morning mass at Notre Dame. When the organ music booms out I feel my face twisting into an emotional mess and it’s a struggle not to cry. What the hell is this?!!! It’s a conglomeration of the past rushing out. I’ve seen the same thing happen to my sister in law when she was here in the States for some months and then heard the call to prayer on a movie we were watching. She had the same emotional melt down in that moment that I had in Notre Dame several times before.

    This is some deep, dark emotional shit that we’re dealing with. When I see pictures of the vast scores of muslims bowed down in Mecca and those mega evangelical churches filled to capacity, it’s disturbing on the face of it but I have some fleeting understanding of that feeling they have. For me, it’s just shoved far back in a dusty, dark, cobwebby corner and that’s how I want it to stay.

    Muslim women’s beauty pageant is repulsive. I already hate American beauty pageants and the Muslim versions must be absolutely worse. I can’t bear to even look for them.

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  • Maybe its just that keeping in the chemicals that bring us joy makes them last longer and just like the religious buildings and music, designed to play on human emotion. Just like the feeling you described on the mountain, although being alone is wonderful, sharing that feeling makes an appearance somewhere in the mind.

    If you can bring yourself to watch it, the video below is wonderful. It is not that it makes the young lady question her faith but she is wonderful and funny and feisty. There are moments that are disturbing and controlling but her Britishness comes through and annoys those trying to control her which is wonderful. I fell in love with her but am no match for her handsome fella (not to mention being too old and married :-0 ) I don’t really know why the video has been darkened with a hotspot in the middle but assume its so you pay to view properly?

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  • Music has its own purpose and reality apart from the religions that have hijacked it for their purposes. Of course you feel emotion upon hearing the organ swell. It has nothing to do with the arbitrary assignment of religious dogma to the music.

    I love Bach. When I was in Paris we attended numerous free organ recitals. I particularly like high Gothic architecture – it is the mathematical proportions that make it beautiful, not the hogwash preached from the pulpits.

    I have always had a deep connection to music, including (and in fact, due to my education, especially) religious music without feeling touched by its religious aspect. I don’t feel connected to the prostrating masses or those stuffed megachurches (whose music is actually abysmal) because I consider what they worship a distraction and a fraud when they could be enjoying the art.

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  • Of course you feel emotion upon hearing the organ swell. It has
    nothing to do with the arbitrary assignment of religious dogma to the

    For me it does i the Ezan Kristine. I think linked with memory of childhood, safety and warmth with family and probably the full on belief you could have as a child of magical things. It is a feeling I know have to fight as disgust, suspicion and logic take over.

    it is the mathematical proportions that make it beautiful, not the
    hogwash preached from the pulpits

    Of course but it also frames the preacher and gives emthesis to the hogwash.

    I don’t feel connected to the prostrating masses or those stuffed

    That actually fills me with fear and loathing. It makes me angry when religions segregate the women from the men but then I feel hopeless when the women are involved because, something deep again for me, I feel the last chance for sanity has also gone. I hate seeing female soldiers for the same reason. Violence is a male thing in my mind, stupidly.

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  • If I could hear that shit at 5am I would be playing imagine at 500 hundred decibels, then I would plaster the worlds best cartoon on every lamp post ; “We don’t want your prayers, we’ve had enough religion” Paris !

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  • Dear Olgun,

    I am delighted by some of the things you have written, specially about women rights etc. Based on your picture, I believe you are a Kemalist or at least think highly of Ataturk. I do, too, to a certain degree. However, I have noticed that your debate has gone a bit astray, therefore I would like to question a few of your points before we go on.

    Firstly, you said that you object to the north being called occupied. Why is that? What does the word “occupied” mean to you? Please elaborate. The reason I am asking is because, based on your comments, I see that you are quite educated and articulate. Therefore, it baffles me when people like you insist on denying the fact that the north is occupied. What, in your eyes, must happen to a country for it to be called occupied? I am asking this with the utmost respect, I really want to know.

    I am of Turkish Cypriot descent and frequently meet people who are completely deluded when it comes to Cyprus. Even well educated people, presumably, like yourself. I say deluded because some opinions fly in the face of well established facts. You and many like minded people in Turkey often take issue with the word “occupied”. Let us look at the facts for a second:
    – Turkey has a dominant military presence in the North of Cyprus (NC)
    – The population in NC comprises roughly 30% Turkish Cypriots and 70% mainland Turks who settled without any immigration restrictions after 1974 (these are the “official” figures, the real ones based on energy consumption etc paint a far more severe picture)
    – 220 thousand Greek Cypriots were forcibly pushed out of the north and their properties were given to the new settlers after 1974.
    – The ministry of justice in NC is administered by the Turkish army, in other words, NOT by democratically elected officials
    The list goes on. How on earth is this not an occupation and please tell me what the correct word for this status is?

    As for the article above, the whole point of it is again the fact that the rights of Turkish Cypriots ( who are mostly very secular) are being undermined by the citizens of Turkey whether at home or in Cyprus. How many Turkish Cypriots have you personally seen practise Islam in any form? How many of us go to the newly built shiny mosques which adorn every single Turkish Cypriot village these days and were sponsored by Turkey instead of more urgently needed infrastructure?

    I believe that the main point of this website and the RDF is the importance and value of facts above beliefs. When we deal with political issues, religious matters, sociology, human rights etc. all that matters is the truth, whether we like it or not, whether it fits our perception of the world or not, whether it is comfortable or not, all that matters is what is true. And the truth is that North Cyprus is being ruled by a foreign country which is slowly turning it into an Muslim state with absolutely no regard to the native population’s culture or religious identity.


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  • Hi Alper,

    Thank you for your thoughts. By your remarks I can only assume you think I am a mainland Turk but I too am a Turkish Cypriot ousted in 1965.

    I am sure we are on topic with this discussion because the Ezan is at the heart of the takeover from religion and I totally agree with you on that.

    The “occupation” I object to is, regardless of what you describe above, is in pure terms not right because of the guarantee status of Turkey and no elected (whether you feel they are or not) government of the TRNC has asked Turkey to leave. To explain further, The 1959 Zurich agreement and the 1960 constitution of the Cyprus Republic have two founding partners, the TC and the GC. IN 1963 the TC were no longer part of that agreement (the reasons I am sure we can argue over for years) or the government. Up until 1967 we were held in camps and by 1974 we were to be exterminated ( I won’t give you a further history lecture as I know you will already know this) and at the same time a coup in Greece was to see both as communist countries. Turkey intervened to stop the bloodshed of both GC and TC AND her own interests, there is no doubt about that. Now! The GC contingent that accept that part of history, and not all do, then go on to say that Turkey should have then given the country back to the government. I ask the question, “What government”? The UN recognised the GC government as a temporary government until talks could provide a solution for the return to the 1960 constitution. We have had many agreements turned down for that to happen. Fifteen in all, as Nicos Rolandis has listed very recently. To that effect then Turkey is a peacekeeping force not an ‘occupying force’. When we have a settlement and we, and the international community, agree on a legitimate government, then Turkey should leave and has agreed to.

    The other objections you have to mainland Turks I partly agree with. The religious aspect is one in which we are at one. I feel more and more threatened by it each time I visit. The Turkish settlers are pawns just as much as the rest of us. In the beginning it was action by Denktas to help us survive under siege. It was a long and short term fix as so many TCs had been ousted, like my entire family, by a Greek regime that used every trick to make it happen. In order to survive those on the island needed more numbers and the easy option were from the mainland. Further immigration has been more political and out of our control so I tend to share your concerns.

    Whether or not Turkey is controlling the TC involvement in the talks has to be balanced with the GC side. I hope you are up to date with the big players in the area that include Israel, Russia, America (of course) with the British playing dumb but manoeuvring for a place in a European power struggle. I have no time for Erdogan or his religious and Ottoman dreams and yes I am a Kemalist and a secularist but i have to say, with respect, you are muddling everything together, it seems, and finding Turkey as the guilty party and throwing the baby out with the bath water. Nothing is clear or simple in this affair and we must act intelligently and see where our strengths lie and of course, resist the weaknesses. So, ‘occupation’ is wrong but you can say we are being used. That is a whole other affair.

    Recently we have launched a platform for voting rights of the diaspora. It is not only our right but a way of reconnecting our people together. Those that ‘escaped’ can help with the numbers you and I are concerned with. There is money and expertise waiting at the gates but opposition from politicians is as expected. Unexpectedly we have had positive results from Turkey so it SEEMS only our own are keeping us out regardless of the positive responses we have been getting. It IS early days yet but the referendum is imminent and very important.

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  • Hi Olgun,

    I agree with most of what you have said, but we still have some fundamental differences when it comes to Turkey’s involvement and Denktash’s intentions. I do not think it is fair to bore people here with the details. Let’s brake the stereotype of; whenever 2 Cypriots meet, regardless of the circumstances, they end up discussing the Cyprus problem 🙂

    As for the topic at hand, I do not personally know the lady but I admire her courage. My father tried the same in the 80s. He wrote up a petition against noise pollution. His main target was the mosque but in order not to look like he was attacking religion, he included the honking of morning buses, too. The petition went all the way to Denktash who responded by sending a new megaphone to the village mosque. My father was left with an even louder mosque and disgruntled bus drivers who would not talk to him. That was the last time he got involved in anything resembling politics on the island.

    Are there any updates regarding the case? Has the mosque turned down the volume or is it still a hot topic?

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  • Hehe, most of what you have described was tried at least once when we were teenagers. One of my childhood friends whose house was close to the mosque would shoot at the megaphones with his BB gun on a regular basis. All we achieved was to get the mosque furnished with better audio systems, so we stopped.

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  • You are right Alper but it is a thread on Cyprus and religion combined with politics. I can’t separate them. Maybe people will be interested to see how a very secular people are being made religious by two people who are said to be at odds with each other, Erdogan and Gulen.

    About your fathers story. with utmost respect, are you sure about the ending? It sounds very Cypriot, if you know what I mean. Harmless snakes are still being beaten to death because of urban myths of snakes whipping people and donkeys to death when no such snake exists on the island 🙁

    I don’t know if this lady is still getting harassed but the mosque has turned down the volume, for now, and a few influential people have spoken up about this not being a case against religion but noise polution. Not read any responses from the clergy themselves and suspect they are hiding behind the people as usual.

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  • On a different note, Morning noise comes in all forms. Years ago I kept Derby Reds and Blood Wings (Game fowl) and the cockerel announced his presence with great effect every morning at sunrise. Only one neighbour mentioned it and claimed that his relative a few doors away had complained to him about it but not directly to me.

    I also worked in the black country drop forges at the same time. In Old Hill and Cradley Heath there were at least a dozen large forges with drop hammers of up to 25 tons. Every forge in a radius of 2 miles struck up at 6am every week day for decades. It must have sounded like an air raid to the inhabitants of the terraced houses only yards away. Not all of them worked in the forges though no doubt a fair few did.

    It’s surprising what people get to live with.

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  • A relative used to own a peacock and peahen – was told their “screams” sounded like help! help!. Ahhh, country life.

    Verdi’s ‘Anvil Chorus‘.

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  • When sailors first go out for long periods on boats, they complain they cannot sleep because of the noise of the great engines. The brain soon blocks out this noise with all the other noise pollution and the only time they remember the boat has engines is when they stop for whatever reason. Sailors have reported waking up if the engines stop suddenly whilst asleep. The brain has to tune out these everyday constant noises so the problem is that the Ezan is not constant so can disturb each and every time if too loud.

    Last time I was in Cyprus, there was a cockerel that woke me every time not because it crowed but because it sounded funny. It started off like a cockerel should but then it finished sounding like a child’s toy whose batteries were running out and crackled to an unsteady stop.

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  • Wait a minute, loud speakers are among the fruits of western education, science and technology; what are they doing employing the product of such a decadent culture?

    Oh, I was forgetting the use of planes and buildings on 9/11, and the subsequent use of phones as detonators, and cars as bombs, etc.

    And while I’m about it, what sort of culture produces nations with factories which manufacture suicide vests and belts?

    And when is blaming the victims going to stop?

    Here endeth my rant of the day.

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  • LaurieB, Place Jema el Fna was my first taste of North Africa, and it was intoxicating; but that was in the eighties, and in light of certain subsequent world changing events I’m somewhat less enamored now.

    The gilt has been knocked off the ginger bread.

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  • Kristine,

    I have just read on the other thread that you write for Skeptical Inquirer and have another article forthcoming. Congrats on all of this. So glad you’re coming around here. I’d love to get a heads up on the upcoming article. Thanks. Laurie.

    fist bump

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  • Olgun
    Nov 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Last time I was in Cyprus,

    Some of the issues you raised are going to get more politically complicated!
    The EU will give fresh impetus next month to Turkey’s bid to join the 28-nation bloc by opening talks on economic policy, Turkey has announced.

    Turkey’s new Europe Minister Volkan Bozkir said the EU had agreed to open a new chapter in stalled negotiations.

    Turkey’s long-running dispute with EU member Cyprus, and the EU’s concerns about human rights in Turkey have made progress in the talks extremely slow.

    But the EU wants to encourage Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

    The whole idea of Turkey joining the EU is very controversial. Many European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are unenthusiastic.

    Such a large, mainly Muslim country with many rural poor could change the whole character of the EU, critics argue.

    Turkey’s EU negotiations began in 2005, but so far only 13 chapters have been opened and only one – science and research – has been provisionally closed.

    The European Commission has urged Turkey to strengthen democracy and human rights, underlining the need for deeper judicial reform.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on political opponents has drawn much criticism in the EU.

    Shooting down a Russian military jet which was attacking ISIS, is not a clever diplomatic move, and is not helpful in restoring peace or tackling the refugee crisis!

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  • First the jet issue. The Russians were attacking the Turkmen of Syria and not ISIS. The Russians, being pro Asad, are targeting any opposition to Asad whether ISIS or not. Turkey is supplying arms and help to the Turkmen. This has been the main difference between western forces and Russia. I believe the compromise is what is being reported today in that, Asad will stay for the short term but ISIS will be eliminated. This gives Russia a way out of the crisis and will stop it attacking non ISIS targets. As I have said before, I am no fan of Erdogan but commend him for being able o hold the country together whilst America, after a fall out, have been trying to oust him for ages from one side and Russia from the other. The threat of a civil war has been there since Gezi Park. Erdogan first words to the world after his recent election victory was, “I ask the international community to NOW accept me as Turkeys’ ELECTED leader”. Spoke volumes to me. The hand shaking and the signing of a gas deal with Putin did nothing to repair damaged relations with America and some in Europe. The shooting down of the Russian jet could not have happened without Americas say so and the recent G20 meeting showed renewed relations with America are at a new stage. Putins ‘Shooting in the back”, remark shows this.

    The EU membership has been stepped up because the ‘water project’ from Turkey to Cyprus is complete and is a success. The EU power problem is fast running out of time and the gas from Israel, originally designed to go through Syria, Turkey and then to Europe, has now got a new route, tried and tested, through Cyprus. The original objections to Turkey joining the EU was from Greece and her allies, albeit with their own agendas in their struggle with dominance in Europe with the UK, i.e.; Germany and France, UK being a major partner in the “water project”.

    I hope that the EU will stick to their demands on the reforms needed in Turkey but fear they will compromise for power. When Greece was to join the EU it had not met many of its obligations and was a complete mess. A last minute dash from America and they were allowed in regardless of rules and concerns. Cyprus being allowed in was an even bigger joke with rules clearly stating that a divided island with border issues and conflict cannot join. This was got around by ‘suspending the acquis” in the North until a solution is found leaving Turkish Cypriots in limbo. So rules seem to be there to be bent or ignored even in a system as heavy with laws as the EU.

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  • Oh and by the way, as was said by a reporter the other night, it was Turkeys’ way of saying to both America and Russia, ‘I am the biggest power in the region and any agreements in Syria involves me a Nato member’, which I totally agree with.

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  • Shooting down a Russian military jet which was attacking ISIS, is not a clever diplomatic move, and is not helpful in restoring peace or tackling the refugee crisis!

    As was to be expected there is now an additional complication.
    Russia is preparing wide-ranging economic sanctions against Turkey after Turkey downed one of its military jets on the border with Syria.

    Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the measures would be drafted within days, and could hit joint investment plans.

    Also on Thursday, Russia’s military suspended all communication channels with the Turkish military, including a “hot line” to help avoid air accidents.

    Turkey says the plane violated its airspace – charges Russia denies.

    Russia has sent troops and aircraft to Syria to back up the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.

    Turkey and Russia have important economic links. Russia is Turkey’s second largest trading partner, while Turkey is the biggest foreign destination for Russian tourists.

    He said the focus would be on “the introduction of bans and restrictions with respect to the activities of Turkish economic structures on Russian territory” such as “shipments of goods including food” and “on works and services provided by Turkish companies”.

    “The same rules may apply to a whole range of investment projects,” he also said. “Co-operation on them with Turkey was determined by a high level of trust with that country.”

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  • Olgun
    Nov 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

    First the jet issue. The Russians were attacking the Turkmen of Syria and not ISIS. The Russians, being pro Asad, are targeting any opposition to Asad whether ISIS or not.

    It seems the two issues may have been mixed!

    Both Russia and Turkey say the Russian Su-24, an all-weather attack aircraft, was shot down by Turkish F-16s in the Turkey-Syria border area on 24 November.
    Russia has accused Turkey of shooting down its warplane near the border with Syria in order to protect its oil trade with the Islamic State (IS) group.

    Speaking at international talks on climate change in Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the plane a “huge mistake”.

    Turkey has denied any ties to IS and is part of a US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the militant group.

    ISIS does seem to be flush with funds from oil sales, so someone must be buying it from them, and there have been air-strikes on tanker wagons.

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  • I have read that Turkey were buying oil from ISIS before but am not sure, but shooting down the jet attacking Turkmen suggest they are buying from them. Turkey is getting closer to America and Europe on a daily basis now and even Greece and the Greek side of Cyprus are no longer objecting for new chapters to open. The one major event that seems to underline all the recent movement towards the west seems to be, as I mentioned before, the success of the water pipe from Turkey to Cyprus. It means the technology works for gas and oil to be pumped in the opposite direction.

    Arms sales, oil sales, all going on under the noses of the world and no one knows anything about it. Just too hard to believe.

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