Good ol’ Beeb are at it again.
It seems even the most simple message is spun against Israel, lacks context and distorts intentions.
This was the headline in an article posted earlier this week:
Israel risks Middle East isolation, warns US official
The BBC News website has long touted lies and half-truths which have become accepted ‘facts’.
Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has warned.
Didn’t anyone notice that, apart from Turkey, it has always been isolated despite two cold peace treaties. ‘Isolated’ should really be ‘threatened’, but no-one will say that. It’s not diplomatic. So they have to put the blame on Israel.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did, indeed, say this but here is what he said verbatim:
“It’s pretty clear that this dramatic time in the Middle East, where there have been so many changes, that it is not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated, and that’s what’s happening,” Mr Panetta told journalists aboard a US Air Force plane en route to the Middle East
As reported later in the article. But the BBC has to editorialise, of course.
He said Israel should restart peace talks with the Palestinians and restore good relations with Turkey and Egypt.
Can you see what they did there? The verbatim quote states a fact and provides the reason for this isolation; the BBC spin on this puts the entire onus on Israel to initiate diplomatic procedures.
But what is the reality?
1. He said Israel should restart peace talks with the Palestinians
Yes, and Israel has repeatedly stated that they are willing to negotiate without preconditions. Prime Minister Netanyahu said so at the UN. It is the Palestinians who are refusing to talk because they want Israel to stop building settlements, the convenient excuse provided to them by the same President Obama who came out, at last, (nothing to do with re-election, of course) on Israel’s side on the question of a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN last month.
But wait, the BBC acknowledges…
Israel has agreed to participate in such talks, but the Palestinians want Israel to stop building more homes for settlers in the occupied territories.
Israel announced last week it planned to build 1,100 more homes in a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem
So it is Israel’s fault because they are building homes. In fact the ‘settlement’ in question is Gilo which is a contiguous suburb of Jerusalem and would remain part of Israel in any final settlement agreement. Everyone knows that.
In fact there have been no new settlements, just additions to existing ones. And, as I have always wondered, if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas genuinely believes that settlements will one day be part of Palestine, then surely Israel is building his future state for him. The whole idea of settlements, love ‘em or hate ‘em, is a complete red herring which was never an impediment to ‘peace talks’ previously.
It’s also a convenient one – for the Palestinians. If Israel were indeed to stop building, why should we believe that Abbas won’t do what he did last time; Israel had a 10 month moratorium on settlement building on the West Bank (but not Jerusalem, granted) and in the 9th month Abbas said he would agree to talks only if that moratorium were extended.
So who’s stopping the talks? You judge.
The argument is ‘how can we negotiate with someone who is building on our land?’ But the point of the negotiations is to decide whose land it is. And wouldn’t you want to negotiate sooner rather than later if you believe that ‘facts on the ground’ are being changed.
2. …and restore good relations with Turkey
I have dealt with Turkey on previous occasions. Turkey wants Israel to apologise for the deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara, pay compensation to the families of the IHH terrorists who tried to lynch Israeli soldiers, and lift the maritime blockade of Gaza. Only then will Turkey restore relations with Israel.
So not only does Turkey want Israel to apologise for its soldiers’ attempt to save their own lives, they also want Israel to commit suicide by allowing Iranian missiles free passage to Gaza.
And Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan continues to try bully Israel and provoke Israel into an action which will provide him with his apparently sought-after military conflict.
So it is Israel, then, according to the BBC spin, that must mend the fences with a country which not only severely downgrades diplomatic, military and economic co-operation but does so because it, Turkey, failed to protect its then ally, Israel, from assault by its citizens planning to break a legal maritime blockade (Palmer Report conclusion).
With friends like this…
3. … restore good relations with … Egypt.
Eh? Who’s responsible for this cooling of relations then?
Was it Israel who allowed the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel to be blown up six times?
Was it an Israeli politician who said that the treaty between the two countries is not necessarily valid for all time?
Was it Israelis who attacked Egypt’s embassy and almost lynched six Egyptian nationals?
Was it Israel who allowed its citizens to carry out a terrorist attack near a southern Egyptian town?
Was it Israel who childishly prevented the sale of palm leaves for a religious festival (subsequently sourced from Gaza, ironically)?
Who is it that has Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elder of Zion freely available, widely read and almost universally believed?
However Panetta did say:
As they take risks for peace, we will be able to provide the security that they will need in order to ensure that they can have the room hopefully to negotiate
Now that could be read as putting the onus on Israel. I read this as an Obama-ese way of saying “If you halt settlement building, we’ll ensure the security of the state post final settlement agreement”. The ‘how’ is moot.
It could mean, as the BBC spins it:
Mr Panetta said the US would make sure Israel maintained its military superiority in the region, but should use this advantage to press for peace.
It is rather ignorant to believe that military superiority will stop missiles and suicide bombers.
So it’s Israel who should make the first move, right? Israel has to make the concessions whilst it is obvious to anyone of any intelligence that the Palestinians just want one concession from Israel: Israel.
As long as that does not change, Israel will have no security and every concession strips it of another layer of protection.
This week we witnessed Mahmoud Abbas presenting his bid for recognition of a state of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.
We heard the rapturous applause he received entering the UNGA.
We heard the rather less rapturous greeting received by Israel Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu whose few supporters in the UNGA tried desperately to raise the decibels of applause.
It was clear that whatever the outcome of the Palestinian bid, there is no doubt it was a PR success for Abbas and has highlighted Israel’s growing isolation.
So let’s first look at Israel’s standing in the popularity stakes versus Turkey’s; once good friends, now anything but.
Israel’s support from the US was bolstered by President Obama’s speech where he signalled his country’s intention to use the veto in the UN Security Council, if necessary and a strong affirmation of the need to settle the conflict via negotiations. Canada has also come out strongly on Israel’s side.
The Europeans are fence-sitting, but Spain’s unexpected declaration confirming Israel as the Jewish national home was a welcome plus for Israel.
The UK is waiting to make its decision in the UNSC but will probably abstain whilst making the usual noises about Israel’s right to security. Other European countries, including France, have made similar declarations.
Any vote in the UNGA to enhance the Palestinian status from observer to non-member state will clearly demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of UN member states recognise the State of Palestine.
In short, the UN shennanigans of the PLO have further highighted Israel’s isolation and its reliance on the USA.
Recently, in Egypt, as a result of the Arab Spring, the long-standing peace agreement with Israel, a legally binding agreement, has been questioned. The pipeline which provides Israel with 20% of its gas has been blown up for a sixth time.
A terror attack near Eilat a few weeks ago was launched via Egypt and some of the participants may have been Egyptian. The subsequent tragic death of Eagyptian border police during the Israeli pursuit of the murderers of eight innocent people further enflamed sentiments in Egypt.
The attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo which almost resulted in the lynching of six Israeli security officers has emphasised an undercurrent of anti-Israel anti-Jewish sentiment in Egypt which is bubbling to the surface as new freedoms materialise.
Egypt will not even sell palm leaves to Israel for the Succot festival which comes immediately after Yom Kippur. A mean and childish act which pretty much tells you what ‘Cold Peace’ means.
In Jordan, King Abdullah appears to be keen to bolster his popularity in a country which is 80% Palestinian and whose people are also making noises about their own peace treaty with Israel.
And, most importantly, Israel’s long-standing friendship with Turkey is not only in ruins, but Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pursuing a series of belligerent measure against Israel politically, economically, juridically and militarily.
Turkey’s actions are ostensibly in response to Israel’s refusal to apologise to Turkey for the death of nine Turkish passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara when Israel intercepted their boat in order to enforce its blockade of Gaza. But relations have been cooling for some time. The national affront which Turkey cites as its reasons for punishing Israel may be covering its drift away from Ataturk secularism toward a form of democratic Islamism.
However, Israel’s loss of Turkish friendship may have released it to forge other friendships which highlight Turkey’s growing isolation.
On the principal, it seems, that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, Greece, a country not previously known for its affection for Israel, has strengthened ties.
The forty-year-old festering European sore that is the division of Cyprus, which somehow remains firmly under the world’s radar, is an important issue for Greece and Turkey.
Israel has signed agreements with the (Greek) Cypriot’s to co-operate on gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, angering the Turks who have made more belligerent noises about Turkish Cypriot rights to the potential bonanza in the seeming belief that only Turkey has any rights in this field.
Israel’s gas exploration is at a juncture of Lebanese, Israeli and Cypriot waters which Lebanon is disputing and Turkey, naturally, supports Lebanon’s position against Israel.
Israel has also been active in the new state of South Sudan quickly establishing diplomatic and commercial ties.
In West Africa there is a surprising rapprochement with Nigeria, a country with a large Muslim population and sectarian divisions.
Israel is a major trade partner with Turkey’s neighbour Armenia and has recently supported moves for recognition of the Armenian genocide, a move which Turkey cannot be expected to approve given its 100 yer denial of being the perpetrator of that genocide. Israel’s break in relations with Turkey have released it from the fear of causing offence to its former friend.
Moves by Prime Minister Erdogan to pressurise Azerbaijan to cut ties with Israel have, so far, not succeeded. Azerbaijan is an important link in the oil pipeline to Israel. Any moves to cut off that oil would be in contravention of international law and would have to be seen as an Act of War by Israel if Turkey should pursue that particular enterprise.
Israel remains one of only two countries whose citizens do not require visas to visit Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile the perceived thuggishness of Erdogan and his attempted bullying of Israel have done him no favours.
He has threatened the EU should Cyprus take the chair of the EU next year; a somewhat hollow threat coming from a country which still has plans to join the EU.
Turkey’s relationship with Iran is strained as both vie for power in the region and disagree about policy toward President Assad in Syria.
Recently, Turkey agreed to the placing of a NATO radar system as part of the West’s defence against, presumably, Iran furthering that country’s suspicions of its neighbour.
Erdogan’s visit to Egypt had a mixed reception once he berated them about democracy.
Turkey’s new policy to actively patrol the Eastern Mediterranean will send warning signs to Greece and Cyprus as well as Israel. The UK and Italy may also be nervous.
Incidents at the UN between Erdogan’s body guards and UN security as well as an attempted attack on Erdogan by an unknown assailant have all shored up the impression of his being part Mafioso part head of state.
So Turkey still has one foot in the West and one in the East and is playing the game well to the extent that the US and NATO seem unfazed by Turkey’s belligerence toward Israel and have asked the two countries to patch up their disagreement.
The US has agreed to drone sales to Turkey to replace its Israeli ones and NATO is shtum when it comes to the problematical membership of a country which has ties with Islamist regimes inimical to NATO.
But how many real friends does Turkey now have? Not Syria, not Iran, not Israel or Greece. If it carries on it will soon alert the Europeans and the US to pressurise it further to tone things down.
Turkey’s new-found nationalist pride which presents itself in the form of sabre-rattling and muscle-flexing on the international scene is a direct result of America’s and Europe’s perceived weakening due to financial disasters, low growth, potential inflation and increasing civil unrest. And you can add to that two pretty disastrous excursions in Iraw and Afghanistam which make further military adventures improbable.
Countries like Turkey and Iran sense a growing power vacuum and are testing the waters, literally, to see how far they can push before they meet resistance.
Any economic recovery in America and Europe would be a severe blow to countries waiting in the wings to pick the bones of Europe and the USA.
If Turkey sullies its good relations with Russia by trying to punch above its weight, then isolation would become a reality. However, recent commercial deals and mutual interests in the Caucasus make this a remote possibility. Nevertheless, Russia has sent warships to the Eastern Mediterranean to protect Cypriot gas exploration. Turkey will not want to confront Russia.
Turkey also has problems with Kurdish separatists, the PKK, and tensions with Iran or even Iraq could be problematical.
Turkey is in a unique position geographically and is seen and behaves as a conduit between the West and the Muslim world.
But if you judge each country by its real friends (whatever friend means in international relations) then it’s pretty even between Israel and Turkey.
It is a tragedy that a great country like Turkey seems to be determined to make waves in the Mediterranean as well in diplomatic circles rather than nurturing its ties with Israel, mending fences and performing an important role as a bridge between the West and the Islamic world.
Erdogan’s behaviour is anything but statesmanlike. His recent speech in the UN stating that Israel is still trading off the Holocaust as well as claims that Israel has killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians place him as borderline antisemitic.
Although he may be a hero to those who like bashing Israel, to the rest of the world he is a dangerous man who could light the fuse of a new war in the Middle East.
It will be interesting to see how the two countries fare over the coming months as things develop in the Middle East, Europe and in the USA where President Obama’s hoped for second term looks to be in serious trouble.
Are we are seeing the beginning of a new polarised alignment of powers as the former hegemonies of the US and Europe are diluted?
A period of dangerous instability with Israel at the epicentre may be upon us.
This is a cross post by Dr Rivka Shpak Lissak
A group of So- called “independent experts’ criticized the conclusions of Palmer’s Report on the legality of the Israeli naval blockade.
First, these So- Called “independent experts” are not independent at all. A member of the expert group, Richard Falk, a former UN official on human rights, is famous for his biased attitude towards Israel. He has a long history of anti- Israel policy.
Second, the so – called “independent experts” report deals with the blockade as a human rights issue of the Palestinian population and totally ignore the war against Israel conducted by the terrorist government of Gaza. They totally reject Israel’s right to defend its civilians against the rockets on its villages and towns.
Israel civilian population has been under constant attack of rockets from the Gaza Strip since 2006, despite of the fact that Israel destroyed all the settlements and removed all its citizens and soldiers from Gaza Strip in 2006. There was no naval blockade before 2006.
Third, the so- called “independent experts” totally ignore the statements made by the terrorist government of Gaza on its determination to eliminate the Jewish state by terror. This terrorist regime is closely connected with Iran, whose president declared of his policy to eliminate the Jewish state. Iran sends rockets, weapons and ammunition to Gaza by land and by sea. Israel has captured Iran’s consignment of arms by land and by sea. The naval blockade is the only way to prevent Iran from sending weapons and ammunition to kill Israeli civilians.
Gaza can get all it needs through its border with Egypt.
Why the so- called expert” don’t demand Egypt to open its border. They deal in their report only with Israel.
Also, Gaza gets daily shipments of food and other needs from Israel on a daily basis.
The Gaza terrorist government can put an end to the naval blockade by declaring change of its policy and by stopping targeting Israeli civilians with rockets.
According to the so- called “independent experts” Israeli civilians have no human rights. Their lives are not the concern of the experts.
In short, the real issue is not the human rights of the Palestinian population, but the human rights of the Israeli population. The terrorist government of Gaza is responsible for the Israeli naval blockade and it can bring an end to the blockade by stopping its war against Israeli civilians.
The way to deal with the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is by negotiations. The problem is the terrorist government of Gaza does not recognize the right of Israel to exist and is no interested in solving the conflict but in the elimination of Israel.
P.S: Britain bombed Dresden upon a daily base during Second World War. The people of Dresden were short of food, water, medicine and shelter.
Would the so-called “independent experts” blame Britain for the same accusations against Israel?
Germany could stop the suffering of the people of Dresden by stopping the war.
The same goes for Israel. The Hamas can stop the war against Israeli civilians and the naval blockade will be removed.
It looks like the Middle East has found a new Nasser for the 21st century.
Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, has announced a series of military and civil measures and sanctions against Israel since the publication of the Palmer Report enquiry into the Mavi Marmara incident over a year ago.
Even before the report Erdogan was making bellicose noises.
It appears that Erdogan is using the incident and Israel’s refusal to apologise as an excuse not only to withdraw from his country’s long and happy friendship with Israel, but to promote himself as a champion of the one cause that unites the Arab and Muslim worlds – the Palestinian grievance with Israel.
Erdogan came to power with a decidedly Islamist agenda. Turkey has been a secular state ever since Kemal Attaturk established the new Turkey in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. For decades Turkey was an example of how Islam can be a national religion and identity whilst retaining secularism.
Turkey’s record on human rights has not always been without blemish, but it is a member of NATO and would like to join the EU.
In April 2010 a so-called Freedom Flotilla of pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist groups announced their intention to beat Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza and deliver ‘humanitarian aid’.
As it turned out, there was little aid of any use on the boats and it was not only clear but also admitted that the true reason was confrontation with Israel and to promote the anti-Zionist agenda.
What is also clear is that the lead boat, the Mavi Marmara, registered under the flag of the Cormoros, was owned and led by the Turkish Islamist group the IHH.
Despite worldwide outcry and condemnation before the facts were known Israel always maintained that its soldiers fired as a last resort and in self-defence. This was the conclusion of a BBC documentary. This was broadly the conclusion of the Palmer Report whose main conclusions were reported by Honest Reporting here:
1. Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal.
The fundamental principle of the freedom of navigation on the high seas is subject to only certain limited exceptions under international law. Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.
2. The Turkish IHH, which organized the flotilla, was looking for trouble with the IDF.
The majority of the flotilla participants had no violent intentions, but there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH. The actions of the flotilla needlessly carried the potential for escalation.
3. The IDF used excessive force.
Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable . . . .
The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable. Nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded by Israeli forces. No satisfactory explanation has been provided to the Panel by Israel for any of the nine deaths.
4. IDF commandos defended themselves from pre-meditated violence.
Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.
5. Gaza aid should be delivered by land.
All humanitarian missions wishing to assist the Gaza population should do so through established procedures and the designated land crossings in consultation with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Despite this, Prime Minister Erdogan said that the report is worthless and ‘null and void’.
Erdogan knew what was in the report. He knew that both Israel and Turkey would be criticised and he knew that the criticism would be mainly against Turkey.
Well before the report was published Erdogan was demanding an apology for the killing of 8 Turks. If this apology were not received by the time the report was published he threatened a tsunami of measures against Israel and he is, if nothing else, true to his word.
But Erdogan has form, as it were.
Here he is walking out on Israeli President Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2009.
He accuses Israel of hypocrisy. He cites firstly the death of children (it’s always children) on a beach in Gaza supposedly from Israeli fire. Yet the ‘crime scene’ was quickly cleared by Palestinians and the IDF asserted that it did not shell the beach. There was a strong suspicion that this might have been a misdirected militant shell. But Erdogan does not give his supposed friend the benefit of the doubt.
Second he mentions two previous Israeli Prime Ministers saying they were happy when they entered Palestine in tanks. It is not clear which Prime Ministers he refers to or what he means by Palestine, but it was probably the Six Day War. Of course they were happy to force back the Jordanian armies from the West Bank and reunite Jerusalem. The notion of ‘Palestine’ that we have now did not exist in those days. The West Bank was occupied illegally by Jordan. I don’t recall the Palestinians complaining too much about that. Or maybe he is referring to tanks entering Gaza. Whatever he means, he is implying that Israelis are joyful aggressors rather than defenders fighting an existential threat.
He is angry with the crowd applauding Peres who spoke about peace but the willingness to defend against aggressive neighbours. He criticises the audience for applauding, in his interpretation, killing. He goes on to remind Peres of the commandment not to kill.
Hypocrisy appears to be writ large for Mr Erdogan. I’m sure the Kurds,the Armenians and the Cypriots know a thing or two about Turkey and killing. Only Israel is not allowed to defend itself.
This is not a very impressive performance from Erdogan who comes over as aggressive and claims that the chair of the meeting won’t let him speak.
This incident was the first clear indication that Erdogan did not much like his ‘friend’. As a result of this incident Erdogan was lionised across the Arab world and in the Palestinian territories for standing up to Peres.
Nevertheless, Turkey and Israel maintained relations, shared military manoeuvres, enjoyed mutual trade. Thousands of Israelis holidayed in Turkey.
But the die was cast.
Erdogan soon embarked on his project of being number one man in the Muslim world. He began cosying up to tyrants such as Ahmadinejad and Assad and making nice with Hugo Chavez.
His finest moment was a humanitarian award from Muammar Gadaffi.
He also sent envoys to Hamas in Gaza to tell them that Turkey was on their side and to enhance his reputation in the Arab world.
The European powers and the United States saw him, and, presumably, still do see him as the very embodiment of the Turkish nation which has a toe in Europe and the West, and a large land mass in the East.
Erdogan is a useful middleman, a secular Muslim, who could speak on equal terms with Israel and Iran. He was a key player, the perfect go-between.
Israel was not happy with some of the conclusions of the Palmer Report but feels, overall, vindicated by it.
As to the legalities or otherwise of the blockade, that would require a separate post on its own.
Suffice it to say that, lo and behold, as soon as Israel is in any way vindicated in its actions, up pops a new UN statement telling us it’s all wrong after all; the Blockade is illegal. And the perpetrator is none other than Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights (there doesn’t appear to be one for Israeli human rights), and also Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, who also happens to be the author of a recent article which included a crude anti-Semitic cartoon, later withdrawn.
Falk is really likely to be unbiased, I guess, given his dual roles on behalf of Palestinians and a long track record of anti-Israel rhetoric and writing.
But back to Erdogan.
What the Turkish Prime Minister did and continues to do, on a daily basis, having failed to get Israel to apologise, is truly amazing.
Even the Palmer Report did not require an apology of Israel. Should Turkey not also apologise to Israel for more or less sponsoring a terrorist organisation to confront and provoke its supposed friend? Turkish nationals planned and executed a lethal, suicidal attack on IDF soldiers, and he believes Israel should apologise. No-one was harmed on any of the other boats where there was no violent resistance.
If these two nations were supposed friends, surely they can sort out their differences, admit mistakes and work to avoid future incidents which would endanger lives, innocent and otherwise.
But no, Israel’s ally and friend has unleashed a torrent of sanctions against Israel and here is this tragic litany which is unprecedented in the relations between states supposed to be allies:
- Downgrading diplomatic status of Israeli embassy and expelling the ambassador
- Saying that Turkey will now patrol the Eastern Mediterranean to protect shipping from Israeli aggression
- Threatening Israel’s gas drilling agreements with Cyprus
- Pursuing the prosecution of supposedly named Israeli soldiers in the Mavi MArmara incident whose identities were revealed to him by the IHH (how they would know any names apart from the ones of the soldiers they stabbed, battered and shot and dragged below decks, I have no idea)
- Humiliating Israel tourists at Istanbul airport by having them strip searched
- Threatening to escort Gaza ‘aid’ convoys and confront the Israeli navy
- Calling the Palmer report on the Mavi Marmara ‘null and void’ and worthless
- Confronting a tourist cruise ship headed for Greece which is childish and provocative
- Changing its jet fighter software to identify Israeli navy and air force as ‘hostile’
- Claiming the Mavi Marmara incident was a casus belli
- Saying he is prepared for war with Israel
- Says that Israel must ‘pay’ for its ‘terrorism’
- And the latest atrocity – requiring Israeli citizens have visas to enter Turkey
This is the behaviour of megalomaniac more reminiscent of the last century than this. It is the behaviour of a child having a tantrum, not a serious politician.
How can Turkey remain a member of NATO when it is clearly trying to provoke Israel into a reaction it can use as an excuse to ‘punish’ her.?
What would happen if Turkey attacked Israel on some pretext? What would the US do?
What will the Greeks’ and Cypriots’ reaction be to Turkey’s sabre-rattling? What about the Italians?
Turkey has the second largest fleet in NATO after the US. Israel is no match for this navy. In the air Israel may have an advantage but who even wants to contemplate such a ludicrous scenario.
If you ignore bullies sometimes they just go away, but often they will ramp up the aggro to assert themselves. Erdogan is asserting a new Turkish nationalism.
Such a situation was hardly imaginable in the Bush era. But the US and the Europeans have economic problems whilst Turkey is booming. There may be frantic activity behind the scenes; many statements coming out of Ankara are often ‘clarified’.
If Erdogan is playing a game of brinksmanship it is not a very wise course of action given the volatility of the region.
What’s also certain is that some of the countermeasures mooted on the Israeli side, if they are true, such as supporting the PKK, the Kurdish separatist party which is designated a terrorist organisation, would be even more damaging to Israel and morally reprehensible.
There is no way Israel can give any succour to a terrorist organisation. This would be terribly wrong. If this is just Foreign Minister Lieberman’s rantings then he needs to be controlled or sacked.
Israel should avoid provocation, use the opportunity to cement ties with Greece and even Armenia and maybe think about counter-prosecution of the Turkish government for sponsoring the breaking of a legal blockade. Is that not also a casus belli?
It may even be worth the risk for Israel to pre-empt Turkey and go to the International Court and seek a ruling which no-one could then gainsay.
Let’s hope the Turkish people have enough sense to get rid of Erdogan at the next election. They deserve better.
If Erdogan pushes too far he may end up being cut off from Europe like his Ottoman predecessors.
If he’s not careful Turkey may well end up cooking its own goose.
UPDATE: Apparently Israeli jets and ships are being identified as ‘neutral’ not ‘hostile’ and not as I stated above.
Also – an interesting analysis in the Daily beast by Owen Matthews gives a less dramatic view than me.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Turkey plans to send five ships and a submarine to join a naval operation to enforce an arms embargo off Libya.
You couldn’t make it up, as they say.
This is the same Turkey that condemned Israel for intercepting the so-called ‘humanitarian’ flotilla last year which resulted in the death of 9 IHH Islamist activists.
This UN blockade is OK because NATO is enforcing UN resolution 1973.
Israel’s blockade is deemed illegal by all those for whom it is convenient to believe this fantasy.
Israel has about as much chance of having a UN Resolution in its favour to protect it from murderous rocket fire as Ahmadinejad converting to Judaism
So Libya is to be prevented from receiving arms.
Israel is criticised and demonised for trying to prevent Hamas from receiving arms by, inter alia, stopping ships such as the Mavi Marmara and, more recently, the Victoria.
I now keenly await the IHH and other humanitarian organisations that are so keen on breaking the Gaza blockade to send a flotilla with humanitarian aid to Tripoli and refuse to comply with orders to stop and be searched. And should they attack and attempt to kill the Turkish or other coalition naval personnel who try to board their boats?
Won’t happen will it.
There was an almighty row with Turkey and the UN and almost universal condemnation because Israel exercised its right to search ships intent on breaking its maritime blockade, redirect them to an Israeli port, inspect them and then ship the aid themsleves.
Nine jihadi ‘activists’ were killed when the Israelis boarded the lead vessel, a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara. The activists had laid a well organised ambush and were killed when they attacked the Israelis with lethal force.
The accusations were many, but one was that because Israel had intercepted in international waters they were ‘pirates’ and had no legal right to do so. This is just plain false; any country has a right to intercept ships where there is a genuine belief it may be smugglings arms to its enemy or breaking a legally declared blockade.
The legal niceties were of no concern to those who rushed to judge the Israelis who later admitted operational mistakes.
Those who criticised and pilloried Israel already judged that Israel had no rights to intercept the Mavi Marmara – period.
The fact that the Mavi Marmara was ostensibly a lead ship carrying humanitarian aid proved to be convincing evidence that Israel is a rogue state that attacks innocent humanitarians.
I have already dealt with the incident at length last year. However, I’ll repeat one interesting point that went all but unnoticed internationally and it was this: on board were dozens of battery-powered wheelchairs. Innocent enough? But no, Hamas were disappointed that these were the wrong type of wheelchair with the wrong type of battery. Why? Because the right type of battery could be used to lay explosive devices.
The above proved to me that even innocent items of aid can be a cover for nefarious ends.
Today, the IDF intercepted the Victoria, a Liberian-flagged container ship which had set sail from Latakia in Syria, sailed to Turkey and was then bound for Alexandria in Egypt.
Someone, or good intelligence, had tipped off the Israelis and they boarded without incident 200 miles off the coast of Israel, much further from Israeli waters than the Mavi Marmara.
On board they discovered a huge cache of arms from Iran. Who would have guessed, eh?
You can see the photos on Flickr here http://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/sets/72157626272235856
The ultimate destination of these arms was Gaza and Hamas.
This is not the first time Israel has intercepted illegal arms destined for a terrorist group.
So I ask you: where is all the outrage this time that Israel has boarded a vessel in International waters? If it was piracy with the Mavi Marmara, then it’s piracy with the Victoria, no?
But here’s the difference: the Mavi Marmara had huge publicity behind it, was bent on directly challenging the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and had people on board intent on confronting and killing Israelis.
The captain of Victoria did not object and stopped to allow inspection. Result: no violence, no inuries, no death and tonnes of illegal arms.
Iran is in clear breach of international law, but no-one will censor her in the UN.
Why is there such silence and indifference to the Israeli boarding? Answer: the culprits were caught in flagrante delicto there were no representatives aboard from numerous anti-Israel or anti-Zionist groups, no cameras, no TV, no opportunity to demonise Israel and no propaganda victory to be won.
A couple of weeks ago Iranian war ships penetrated the Mediterranean for the first time since the Islamic revolution. They passed through the Suez canal and ended up… yes, you guessed it, in Syria.
It does not take much more than simple arithmetic to come to the conclusion that one or both of these ships were bringing the very arms which were aboard the Victoria.
This time, Israeli intelligence was spot on, and maybe they had some help from the Turks, who knows, because the Israeli government were at pains to make it known that Turkey was not involved in any way.
This whole incident exposes why Israel has the right to intercept shipping, as our own Prime Minister prophetically (or was he tipped off) declared last week. Maybe he was aware that it was coming and so prepared the way to be able to say that the UK was, this time, in support of the action in a ‘humanitarian’ free zone.
It also shows very clearly that Israel had the exactly identical right to intercept the Mavi Marmara rather than to trust virulently hostile passengers and jihadis intent on confrontation.
Such is worldwide hypocrisy and cant when it comes to Israel’s right to defend itself.
Trade links between the UK and China are very important. Why? Because China is emerging as the superpower and economic giant of the 21st century whilst the United States is in deep financial difficulties.
The Chinese market is huge. EU countries are falling over themselves to make deals with China.
The BBC today announced:
Mr Li, tipped to become China’s next premier, has also been pressing to get EU trade bans against China lifted.
The EU has an arms embargo in place that limits high-technology sales to China which could have a dual military use.
Elsewhere, BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corp signed a deal on deep-water exploration in the South China Sea, while Jaguar Land Rover committed to sell 40,000 vehicles in China in 2011.
Agreement has also been reached to bring two giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, the first to live in the UK for 17 years.
Now hang on. Remember Tibet. Remember the destruction of Tibetan culture and the suppression of its religious and cultural heritage. Remember that Tibet is being swamped with Chinese and that the ethnic and cultural heritage of Tibet is being destroyed. remember that Tibet is more or less closed to the outside world.
The two men had not shirked from discussing “difficult” issues such as human rights, Mr Clegg added, acknowledging that “persistent differences” remained between the countries.
Hmm, Yes. This is the soft pedal approach. Heaven forfend we offend the Chinese by being too heavy-handed. Widening cultural and trade links will hasten democracy. And Edinburgh zoo gets a breeding pair of Giant Pandas into the bargain.
Personally, I see this as realpolitik. I don’t actually blame the UK government for doing this. Maybe this approach will work.
Now look at Cameron on Israel in Turkey last year which I wrote about last year here.
“Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza can not and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he said.
Cameron has no problem dissing Israel to an Islamist regime. Cameron has no problem with saying:
I have. Unlike a lot of politicians from Britain who visit Israel, when I went, I did stand in occupied East Jerusalem and actually referred to it as occupied East Jerusalem. The Foreign Office bod who was with me said, most ministers don’t dare say. So, yes, I thought I had quite an argument when I was in Israel with Tzipi Livni about settlements and I think Obama is right to take a robust line. I think we have to but it is depressing how little progress is being made right now.
Yet he is so mealy-mouthed about China.
The sad fact is that foreign policy is not about truth or principles, it’s about getting what is best for your country, for the UK. It’s about being liked by the nice Americans. It’s about showing how important and influential the UK is.
Israel is dispensable. Israel is an easy target. The UK has little to lose by calling East Jerusalem ‘occupied’ whilst ignoring Tibet’s repression and loss of autonomy within China.
I’d like to see Cameron in Taipei criticising China’s Tibet policy. I’d like even more for Cameron to go and stand in Lhasa.
In 2008, the Dalai Lama criticised the then Labour government for not speaking out against a “cultural genocide”. (See TimesOnline here.)
Mr Brown has been accused of kowtowing to Beijing by refusing to invite the Dalai Lama to Downing Street for formal talks. Instead he will meet the spiritual leader at Lambeth Palace on Friday enabling the Prime Minister to claim that he is receiving the 72-year-old monk in a spiritual rather than political capacity
Successive governments have tip-toed around the Tibet issue so as not to offend almighty, rich, big-spending China.
But Israel gets the big stick. It’s small, not as powerful as you have been led to believe, it doesn’t spend big in the EU, it cannot harm anyone’s economy.
Yet how many academic, trade union, student or cultural boycotts or calls for such have you seen lately?
Maybe we could say that the UK government is panda-ing to the Chinese
At last!! The Israeli government has seen sense and decided to show that it has nothing to fear from a UN enquiry which appears to be unbiased – for a change.
Israel Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, released the following today:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 2.8.10, informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Israel would participate in the panel that he is establishing in the wake of the 31.5.10 events regarding the flotilla.
The announcement to the UN Secy.-Gen. was delivered following consultations with the seven-member ministerial forum earlier this morning and in the wake of diplomatic contacts that have been held in recent weeks in order to ensure that this was indeed a panel with a balanced and fair written mandate.
The panel will receive reports on the Israeli investigation by the Independent Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31.5.10 chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said today, after speaking with the UN Secy.-Gen., that, “Israel has nothing to hide. The opposite is true. It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing.”
Having initially refused to co-operate, Israel set up its own internal enquiry which concentrated on exposing a group of Turkish activists with links to the IHH who led a flotilla intent on breaking the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza.
This ‘humanitarian’ organisation has been shown to have links with terrorist groups, even Al Qaeda. 8 of 9 activists killed had links with dubious IHH activities and most had left evidence that they were determined to reach Gaza or become martyrs. Such an attitude itself reveals a hatred for Israel that is so great that they were prepared to die, and kill, for it.
Despite much documentary evidence taken by the Israelis and by many people on board the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla, there has not yet been a clear and detailed account of how and under what circumstances the 9 men were killed. All we know from the Israeli account and video evidence is that the commandos who landed on the Mavi Marmara were met with lethal force and a mob of about 50 men attacked a much smaller number of commandos whose main ‘weapon’ was a paint gun.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a web page dedicated to the events of 21 May 2010 here.
The terms of the Israeli commission are detailed here.
The main objectives were as follows:
1) Consideration of the security circumstances for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law;
2) Conformity of the actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade on 31 May 2010 to the principles of international law;
3) Consideration of the actions taken by those who organized – and participated in – the flotilla, and their identities.
The Commission will also consider the question of whether the inquiry and investigation mechanisms vis-à-vis complaints and claims regarding violations of the laws of armed conflict, as followed by Israel in general and as implemented with regard to the event in question, conform with the State of Israel’s obligations under the rules of international law.
Yes, it’s about time that Israel fought more pugnaciously to restore its reputation in the UN and find a platform to expose the hypocrisy of its enemies and critics.
Israel has already admitted operational errors. That doesn’t excuse those who would commit murder because they oppose an ideology. The would-be murderers were those killed who were intent on killing Jews/Zionists/Israelis – it was all the same to them.
Let’s see what the UN comes up with this time.
Update: Anne Bayevsky clearly does not agree with me and her opinion is too valuable to be ignored, so, for balance, here is a link. http://opinion.foxnews.mobi/quickPage.html?page=23976&external=394248.proteus.fma&pageNum=-1
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has completely lost it. He is campaigning for Turkey’s entry into the European Union and thus for placing a growing Islamist country, that has strong ties with the enemies of the West, at the heart of Europe.
All this might have been acceptable in the past when Turkey was recognised as a secular Muslim country sitting between the West and the Islamic world, a democracy with a mixed Western and Eastern culture and an honest broker between the West and Islam.
But Cameron seems to have overlooked completely Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist program.
At the same time that he shows little understanding of the threat posed to Europe by the regime of Erdogan, he attacks in an unwarranted, ill-informed and just plain ignorant way the EU’s only real friend in the Middle East, and its only democracy, Israel, by declaring Gaza to be a ‘Prison Camp’.
His speech in Turkey mirrored President Obama’s in Cairo with its cringing agenda of appeasement instead of confronting Turkey with the manifold reasons as to not only why it should currently be shunned by the EU but also suspended from NATO, as I wrote earlier this year after the Turkish flotilla incident.
As the BBC reports:
Mr Cameron said he wanted to “pave the road” for Turkey to join the EU.
Maybe this road should be called the Islamic fundamentalist highway.
“When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a Nato ally, and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan, alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.
Yes, the old Turkey, the secular Muslim state with democratic values, not THIS Turkey.
“So we need Turkey’s help now in making it clear to Iran just how serious we are about engaging fully with the international community,”
Cameron recognises that Erdogan has the ear of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad, but for what purpose?
What has happened to the secular, democratic, Muslim state created by Kemal Attaturk and so lauded for decades as a blueprint of what a modern Islamic nation should look like, (despite many issues of human rights)?
A telling analysis by Andre Mozes reveals:
Before entering Turkish national politics, Erdogan served as Istanbul’s mayor. In this colorful city… one learns to speak the languages of all; of moderate Muslims, of cosmopolitan and of Islamist Turks alike. Erdogan learned them well, but in his deeds he always belonged to the third group. In earlier Turkish elections fundamentalist Islamic parties were banned, according to the secular laws and tradition of Turkey, preserved successfully since Ataturk turned Turkey from a backward Muslim monarchy, into a progressive secular modern nation.
In the elections of 2002, however, Erdogan’s Islamic party succeeded in changing its appearance - including by its beautiful name: Justice and Development Party (AKP) - sufficiently to circumvent the ban. They won a convincing election victory, primarily in the less developed rural regions, where most votes were controlled by the local imams. The army – the traditional watchdog of Ataturk’s legacy – decided, after difficult arguments only, not to veto the election results, and so Recep Erdogan came to power.
Mr Cameron appears blissfully unaware of this history; the erosion of Attaturk’s values by craft and deceit.
While praising Turkey’s secular and democratic traditions, Mr Cameron stressed that Turkey must continue to push forward “aggressively” with economic and political reform to maintain momentum towards EU membership.
The only thing that Erdogan is aggressively pursuing is an alliance with radical left-wing regimes (Chavez in Venezuela), Islamists (Ahmadinejad in Iran) and dictators (Assad in Syria).
As the Guardian* reported in October last year with the headline “‘Iran is our friend’, says Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan”:
Erdogan’s partiality towards Ahmadinejad may surprise some in the west who see Turkey as a western-oriented democracy firmly grounded inside Nato. It has been a member of the alliance since 1952. It will be less surprising to Erdogan’s secular domestic critics, who believe the prime minister’s heart lies in the east and have long suspected his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development party (AKP) government of plotting to transform Turkey into a religious state resembling Iran.
Erdogan vigorously denies the latter charge, but to his critics he and Ahmadinejad are birds of a feather: devout religious conservatives from humble backgrounds who court popular support by talking the language of the street.
But all this came to a head in May with the infamous Freedom Flotilla incident in which the Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and, when boarding the lead ship, ‘Mavi Marmara’, were attacked. In the ensuing melee 9 ‘activists’ were killed. An outraged Erdogan condemned Israel, demanded an apology, threatened to break relations, demanded a UN enquiry and made huge political capital of the incident.
This led to Erdogan’s being lionised across the Islamic world; Israel’ s best friend in the Near East, and the only Muslim country which had good relations with Israel, was distancing itself from the Zionists. The dictators and the terror groups were jubilant. Erdogan’s star was in the ascendant in the Muslim world. He appeared to be bidding for leadership of that same world. But some believed he was over-reaching. Had he revealed his Islamist hand too soon?
It was only a little later that the facts came to light about the nature of the IHH, which organised the Freedom Flotilla, a humanitarian organisation with links to terror, including Al Qaeda.
A decidedly anti-Western and virulently anti-Israeli group took over the Mavi Marmara and announced that their aim was to reach Gaza or to die as martyrs. They then meticulously prepared a reception for the Israeli commandos who rappelled on to the ship’s decks to be met by lethal force. Subsequent Israeli investigations have revealed that all but one of the fatalities had ‘form’ which linked them to Hamas and Islamic terror groups. The IHH is an organisation formerly recognised and supported by the Turkish government. This links Erdogan’s regime indirectly to anti-Western, and that includes anti-European groups. But nice Mr Cameron doesn’t see that. All he can muster is, and I repeat:
Turkey must continue to push forward “aggressively” with economic and political reform
Mr Cameron has thus joined the legions of the politically blind. Blind to the fundamentalist threat which he responds to with:
“Those who wilfully misunderstand Islam, they see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the problem is Islam itself. And they think the values of Islam can just never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.”
But it is Erdogan who is cavorting with these extremists and who is leading his country down the same path.
The Italians certainly know what the IHH is all about as MP Fiamma Nirenstein is seeking to outlaw the group in the very EU that Mr Cameron wants Turkey to join:
I just presented a parliamentary question to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requiring to evaluate the possibility to insert the Turkish organization IHH (“Insani Yardim Vafki”), one of the main promoters of the Mavi Marmara and responsible for its violent implications, in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union.
Several investigations and reports testify the involvement of IHH in global terrorism and many videos and documents attest its jihadist attitude finalized at “martyrdom in the name of Allah”. Because of its connection to Hamas and the “Union of Good” (an Islamic umbrella organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood that was put in the US’ terror list in 2008), Germany has recently banned IHH and in the USA, a bipartisan group of Senators appealed to President Obama with a request to enter the IHH in the US’ list of terrorist organizations.
You can read below the entire interrogation.
And here’s the link http://fiammanirenstein.com/articoli.asp?Categoria=5&Id=2412
Is this the group we want a member country of the EU to be supporting, Mr Cameron?
But it is on the situation in Gaza that Cameron was at his egregious worst.
“Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza can not and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he said.
As Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle amusingly points out:
What exactly are the humanitarian goods that will flow from Gaza to Israel and Egypt?
Will Cameron lobby President Mubarak of Egypt to open the Rafah crossing?
What humanitarian aid is NOT getting into Gaza?
All humanitarian aid has always been allowed through into Gaza; only the Egyptians have actually blocked aid both from Viva Palestina and, more recently, Jordan.
And Gaza doesn’t need humanitarian aid any more. The shops are full. What it needs is rebuilding and jobs. But what is holding it back is the Islamist, anti-Semitic, Hamas regime which Erdogan actually supports. On the 6th April this year Mr Erdogan declared that Hamas is not a terrorist group. Mr Cameron should remember that the EU has designated Hamas a terrorist organisation. So why does Mr Cameron want to support a country which condones terror?
The Jerusalem Post reported Erdogan as saying:
“I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. … They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”
And that ‘land’ is, of course Israel which Hamas wants to call Palestine, from the river to the sea.
Is this Mr Cameron’s idea of the type of leader Europe, and particularly Mr Cameron, should be embracing?
In his address Friday, he said the Ten Commandments should have deterred the soldiers from killing the nine passengers who died on board the ship. “If you do not understand it in Turkish I will say it in English: You shall not kill,” he reportedly said – repeating the phrase in Hebrew.
But Mr Erdogan’s forces kill Kurds almost daily in their fight for their own independent state. On June 20th 2010 the BBC reported :
Turkey has vowed to fight Kurdish rebels until they are “annihilated”, after attacks killed 11 soldiers.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday’s “cowardly” assaults would not end Turkey’s determination to fight the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) “to the end”.
Is this the sort of hypocrite that Mr Cameron wants to fast-track into Europe? Imagine if Israel said this about Hamas.
Cameron seems to be stuck with the idea that Erdogan is an important link between Europe and the Islamic world, so he conveniently glosses over the Kurds, Northern Cyprus – which Turkey has occupied and populated with its nationals against International Law since 1974; he conveniently glides effortlessly over Erdogan’s support for Hamas and, therefore, implicitly, the destruction of Israel.
Is this the Turkey which, as Mr Cameron says, is “vital for our economy, vital for our security and vital for our diplomacy”?
Mr Cameron’s characterisation of Gaza as a prison-camp uses the overblown rhetoric of Israel’s enemies not because Cameron believes it, but because it is politic and ‘even-handed’ just to throw it in there as a sop to his audience. He also forgets that the only real prisoner in Gaza is kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, who has been in captivity, without access to the Red Cross, for four years, contrary to the Geneva Convention and the laws of conflict.
He is therefore willing to lie and twist the truth for diplomatic reasons. He really believes that risking an Islamist state in Europe, as well as NATO, is good for the UK’s, the EU’s and the West’s security. He really believes that giving Israel a good kicking will, Obama-like, make the Islamic countries see him as fair and rush towards his outstretched hand?
They must be be rolling about in uncontrollable glee and laughter.
How is it that Conservative Cameron has caught the Obama appeasement bug without realising it. Too much kissy-kissy in the White House, perhaps.
Like the previous government, Cameron is strong on diplomacy and weak on statesmanship; like those who have gone before him he is prepared to be Abraham to Israel’s Isaac and hope that someone shows up with a ram before he has to do the dirty deed.
And what of the euro-sceptics in the Conservative Party? Indeed, what of Cameron’s own scepticism on Europe? The same David Cameron who wants a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Why should his party europhobes agree to an expansion of the EU they wish to dismantle?
Or is this Con-Dem Frankenstein’s monster of a government just lurching about calling out “Friend, friend” in the desperate hope it can find one, even if he’s an Islamist in a sharp suit with an even sharper knife tucked behind his back?
Brilliant article at the IPT website wherer an American-Turkish citizen wipes the floor with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Congratulations, Mr. Prime Minister. You have accomplished in eight years what no other contemporary Turkish politician could achieve. You have successfully entered the final stages in your efforts to transform Atatürk’s Turkey into an Arab-style Islamist dictatorship. Some people had warned the world 20 years ago about the likely Islamist outcome of the September 12, 1980 military coup—a momentous point in Turkey’s history that “masterfully crushed” the Turkish left. They were right. You are here. Today.
How proud you must feel. After all your hard work, some of the Islamist Turks that you encouraged to sail to Gaza have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces. You and your fellow Islamists have been celebrating this like nothing I can recall. You have immediately declared them as şehitler (shuheda, the martyrs). With this Arab-style “martyrdom” discourse, you have surely strengthened your image in the entire Arab world and among the Ahmadinejad followers in Iran. Not surprisingly, you have even managed to nourish most of your citizens’ anti-Jewish and anti-American sentiments. Your fellow Turkish Islamists, the great majority of the Turkish liberals, and, unfortunately, the many manipulated but otherwise ordinary, beautiful, innocent Muslims joined you and your not-so-strategically-deep brothers.
Erdogan is painted as a demagogue vying to be the leader of the Muslim world, intoxicated by his successes in turning the only Muslim democracy towards Islamism and, at the same time, turning on one of its best friends, Israel.