Thursday, January 29, 2009

Turkey's Erdogan Blasts Israel at Davos

“When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill,” Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan told Shimon Peres, the President of Israel at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today. “Mr. Peres, you are older than me,” he said. “Your voice comes out in a very high tone. And the high tone of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience. My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone', Erdogan added before walking out of the stage. Leaving the conference, Mr. Erdogan said, “And so Davos is over for me from now on.”

Mr. Erdogan was dismayed at the applause for Mr. Peres by the Israeli supporters at Davos. "I find it very sad that people applaud what you said," Erdogan said. "You killed people. And I think that it is very wrong."

"You kill people," Erdogan told the 85-year-old Israeli leader. "I remember the children who died on beaches. I remember two former prime ministers who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks."

"I did not target at all in any way the Israeli people, President Peres, or the Jewish people," Erdogan told a news conference afterward.

"I am a prime minister, a leader who has specifically expressly stated that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity," he said.

In a news conference immediately after the panel discussion, Mr. Erdogan said he was particularly upset with the Washington Post's David Ignatius, the Jewish-American moderator, who he said had failed to direct a balanced and impartial panel, according to the New York Times.

Other panelists included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Amr Moussa, the Arab League’s secretary general, joining Mr. Peres and Mr. Erdogan. Participants said Mr. Peres was mostly alone in defending Israel’s role in Gaza, and for that reason he was given the final 25 minutes to speak.

Upon his return to his home country, the Turkish leader was greeted by a jubilant crowd of more than 5,000 supporters, many waving Turkish and Palestinian flags, who flooded Istanbul's airport when his plane touched down about 2 a.m. Friday, Istanbul time.

This incident should be a wake-up call to the Israelis. After all, secular and "moderate" Turkey has been one of the few countries in its neighborhood having friendly relations with Israel.

Israel has been on the defensive as the reports of alleged war crimes have been trickling out of Israel since its recent Gaza offensive.

In one reported incident in Zeitoun, Gaza on January 4, where the frightened members of an extended family were hiding from Israeli bombardment and ground assault as Attiyah, 46, (husband) and Zinad Samouni, 35, (wife) mother of eight children opened the door, the Israeli soldiers in cold blood shot Attiyah dead and then went on a rampage to massacre the other members of the Samouni clan in this small hiding place.

“So far dozens of bodies, mostly women, children and elderly, have been recovered, almost all from the same extended family. The 48th corpse – horribly decomposed – was found on Monday but there are fears others lie under the rubble and soil churned up by Israeli armoured vehicles,” reported Tim Butcher of The Daily Telegraph of London. Navi Pillay, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has already called for war crimes investigations against Israel for the massacre that took place in Zeitoun on January 4th and 5th.

Doctors at Al-Shifa hospital reported seeing unusual burns on their victims that most likely came from the use of white phosphorus against civilian targets in Gaza. The phosphorus burns get worse when water is poured on them, something the Palestinian doctors observed. Israel denies using phosphorous shells against people in Gaza, but at the same time Israel says it is investigating the allegations. Israeli government has announced the formation of a special legal team to defend Israeli soldiers against potential war crimes charges stemming from the recent three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip.

MSNBC cable channel is reporting that the Israeli move reflects growing concerns in Israel that officers could be subject to international prosecution for the large number of civilian deaths in Gaza, despite the army's claims that Hamas militants caused the casualties by staging attacks from residential areas.

The reported war crimes allegations against Israel must not be allowed to go un-investigated. Any attempt by Israel and its allies to resist independent investigations will be seen as cover up. If the investigations show evidence that war crimes have been committed, the Israeli soldiers and those who ordered this war must be brought to justice in an international criminal court. The US, UN and Europeans must pursue this process honestly with the same vigor as they did with the perpetrators in Germany, Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Here's a video of Prime Minister Erdogan speaking at Davos:

Here's a video about Israeli behavior in Zeitun, Gaza:

Related Links:

Transcript of Prime Minister Erdogan's Remarks at Davos

Israel's Gaza Attack is Criminal, Not Defensive

Gaza Killings-A spectator Sport for Israelis


Anonymous said...

What an example he has set for other leaders...if they all could get united..not for revenge but for a better tomorrow for all our children.

Atif Siddiqui said...

ALHAMDOLILLAH at least somebody has started to speak. May ALLAH give our leaders the courage to speak and take firm stand against israel.

Anonymous said...

sad to see no Arab leader would do that. If country like Turkey was located where Egypt or Saudi Arabia are, there would be no Palestinian issue.

Anonymous said...

Gr8 example set by Turkish PM. He is just back to his homeland and received a warm welcome.

I hope other leaders of the Muslim World has learnt something.

Anonymous said...

Modern era Arabs are cancer of the Muslim world. Whenever they act stupid, and they act stupid most of the time, entire Muslim world gets the blame. That is not fair.

Riaz Haq said...

You say, "Modern era Arabs are cancer of the Muslim world."

I disagree with you. The Arab people in general are good people who have suffered under colonial occupation followed by self-serving leaders left in charge by the colonial powers.

Turks are among the few Muslim nations that have not suffered under colonial occupation. In not too distant past, they were a great empire themselves. They have a lot of self-respect and assert themselves forcefully in accordance with their beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't Turkey outlawed any talk about their genocide of 6 million Armenians? The "war crimes" by Israelis pale into insignificance compared to what the Turks did to the Armenians - and what they continue to do to the Kurds.

But that's OK - selective memory is par for the course.

Riaz Haq said...

You say, "Hasn't Turkey outlawed any talk about their genocide of 6 million Armenians?"

Depending on how far back you choose to go back in history, you will find many examples of mass brutality and inhumanity. Colonization and settlements on new lands followed by genocide of natives by Europeans in many parts of the world including America, Asia, Australia and Africa are far more egregious than the reported Armenian massacres by Turks.

But are you suggesting that these historic injustices legitimize the continuation of it today? Do you not think it is possible for us to evolve into a better species?

Anonymous said...

One of the commentators above claimed "Turks killed 6 million Armenians" etc. When in fact the death toll during ww1 was 580 000 Armenians, and over 1.5 million Turks. The Armenians, subjects of the Turkish empire sided with the agressor states, and took arms against the Turkish state on side of the Russians, Turks fought off the Russians, while Armenians were buthering hundreds of thousands of Turks and destroying thousands of Turkish villages in the eastern borders with Russia. The Turkish empire, decided to relocate the Armenian populace in the east of the empire to southern regions, towards what is now Syria/Jordan/Lebanon, during this evacuation did the Armenians suffer death due to disease and bandit Turkish villagers who had been first attacked by the Armenians themselves.

Get your facts straight!

TallArmenianTale dot com

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons for the outcry of Armenian suffering is the large number of Armenians who are in this country and lobby hard for their sufferings... Actually, this White race, while cruel to its very core, when hurt will scream hell...
If history is any guide that is what has been happening.
Furthermore this 6 million seems to be a magic number invented to gain more sympathies as this number is almost ingrained with Jewish suffering - though it includes close to three million non Jews...

Anonymous said...

Its sad how some people, perhaps out of dark & twisted ambitions try to disregard and even hide the suffering of the Palestinian people by trying to "muddle" the events with such lies as "Turks killed Armenians".

Turks faced genocide by Greek, Armenians and imperial powers in Cyprus, Crete, West Thrace, East Turkey and died innocently, no one mentions that.

But when a Greek, Armenian or a citizen of an imperial power dies in a war while armed and fighting some people cry human rights, democrasy, injustice etc.

This double standard carried by some of humanity is the very disease that is killing all of humanity.

In regards to Palestinians, even now while we experiencing the tradegies, some would like to make it seem like its the Israelis suffering as a result of them, how twisted can reality be?!

Freedom to Palestine!

Anonymous said...

"One of the commentators above claimed "Turks killed 6 million Armenians" etc. When in fact the death toll during ww1 was 580 000 Armenians, and over 1.5 million Turks. The Armenians, subjects of the Turkish empire sided with the agressor states, and took arms against the Turkish state on side of the Russians, Turks fought off the Russians, while Armenians were buthering hundreds of thousands of Turks and destroying thousands of Turkish villages in the eastern borders with Russia. The Turkish empire, decided to relocate the Armenian populace in the east of the empire to southern regions, towards what is now Syria/Jordan/Lebanon, during this evacuation did the Armenians suffer death due to disease and bandit Turkish villagers who had been first attacked by the Armenians themselves."

Amazing how one of the commentators above claimed "6 million dead Armenians" when the whole Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was internationally verified, not by only Turks but, US, British, French, Russian, Italian AND Armenian professors of history/researchers as to been between 800 000 to 900 000, including the Armenian citizens of the Turkish empire on the west side of the empire lands who were NOT relocated, a great portion of the Armenians attacked the Ottoman state in their armed revolt and ethnic cleansing of Turks in the frontlines of the Turkish-Russian war on side of the Russians, ethnically cleansing and erasing the majority population of the eastern lands which were Turks, so the Russian invasion of Turkish lands could be successfull.

The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire lost lives because of the civil war they created and the ethnic cleansing they carried out, and only the Armenians creating terror and those in the eastern lands of the Ottomans hitting the empire from behind the lines to help the Russian invasion were relocated to other (southern) sections of the empire because they were ethnically cleansing and aiding the Russian invaders, they lost 580 000 souls due to the civil war and the hardships of the relocation, where as 1.5 million Turks lost their lives due to Armenian & Russian ethnic cleansing and war.

Even today we find many mass graves of thousands of muslim Turks in the eastern provinces that were buthered by Armenians of the time. The Armenians have even lied and used photos of these mass graves as belonging to them, when in fact those graves include islamically circumsized men and women with islamic/quranic artifacts.

And all the international research and professors of history from acclaimed universities prove this, but some have been even attacked by Armenian terrorists, had their houses bombed and their funds removed in since to our times, even 37 Turkish diplomats and emissaries in foreign countries (including US, France, Australia, Germany, UK) have been killed and many more injured by Armenian terrorists since 1970 to mid-1980, in their attempt to coherse and silence any information that presents the Armenian lies.

The Armenian political and media power due to their large population in western countries is enourmeous, US has about 3 million Armenians, and a considerable percentage of the Senate is of Armenian and Greek ethnicity, while there has never been a member of Senate of Turkish ethnicity, there are 900 000 Armenians in France, much more established and powerfull in lobbying compared to the fraction of Turkish workers there.

When ever a TV or a newspaper reports on the tradgic sufferings of ww1, the Armenians have a free playing field to drum their lies, have you ever heard the "Turkish view" in the media? ever? once?
How can justice be served if only one side of an event is always voiced and the other side is muted? It cant.

Ever heard a professor of history on tv or published media, provide proof that there were no Armenian genocide, but instead the Turks were the victims of the Armenian agression? most definatelly not.

Thats not because there are none, its because there is a censorship to the issue, where only Armenian lies are allowed o get through, there are hundreds of history professors from USA, UK, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, that say the opposite of Armenian claims, but their voices are not heard. The Armenians try to censor the media in relation to this and any other issue involving them, they even try to bring legistlations in various countries to punish people that may say "There was no Armenian genocide", history and science is been manipulated by legal force and cohersion.

The Armenian stance has been a continual lie and deciet because Turks have been silent and forgiven for so long, as a nation Turks would rather forgive and forget and live in peace, but the same can not be said of everyone who interact with Turks, especially in war where they try to twist the events to suit their national/racial agenda, like Armenians have been doing.

One needs to differentiate between propaganda of lies based on "his-story" and verified historical facts.

Ask your self why does Turkey continually request an international hearing with historical & scientific research to be done of the events, with archives of all involved nations to be opened, including Ottoman, British, American, French, Italian, German, Russian and Armenian archives.

The Turkish government has eve written to the Armenian government, to establish an independent international committee to conduct a research of the events of the past and reconcile and differences and bring about understanding and peace between the two people.

Ask your self why has Armenian government always rejected such research be done and an international hearing.

Ask your self why the "declaration of independence document of Armenia" a part of the Armenian constitution still has claims on internationally recognized borders of Republic of Turkey.

Ask your self why since the Ottoman times, even when the war was going on Armenian minority could and still do live in Turkish lands in peace and prosperity, even while the Turks were having a war with the agressor Russians supported by some Armenians on the east of the empire, ask your self why there were thousands of Armenians living in peace as members of the empire on other parts of the Ottoman Empire, and their decendants still continue to live in modern day Turkey.

Ask your self why Turkey still has an Armenian minority as Turkish citizens who benefit equally as all others been part of the country. Besides this, even in 2009 annually around 50 000 illegal Armenian immigrants come to Turkey to work and are granted working visas each year.

And ask your self why in early 1990s, why the international community did not prevent or speak out effectively against the Armenian agression towards Azerbaijan. Even today in 2009, 30% of internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory is under Armenian occupation and over 2 million Azerbaijani people have been ethnically cleansed and driven out of their lands, with close to 100 000 Azeris losing their lives due to the Armenian ethnic cleansing of Azeris in 1991-1992.

You probably did not know that? They dont want you to know that.

Could it be because they would rather ride on the popular misconception they have created based on lies and deciett?

They have something to hide?
Truth can only come through sincerity and justice?

Perhaps 100 years from now, the Iraqis will be blamed for killing 1 million Americans, and the US invasion of Iraq will be made to be forgotten and what will be remembered will be a misconception portrayed as an Iraqi invasion of USA, thats how twisted the Armenian lies are.

Even in our days, Israil is been presented as the victim and the Palestinians as the oppressors, when in fact those sincere know its the opposite.

Thats how some people change realities, thats how Armenians have also fooled the world into believing their manipulative lies for the past 90 or so years to fullfill their racial/nationalistic aspirations.

Both sides suffered, 580 000 Armenians and 1.5 million Turks (and many other souls from other countries that tried to invade the Ottoman Empire) perished during that war, but you cant be doing justice to history and humanity by closing your eyes to the reasons of the war (forced disintegration of the Ottoman Empire), the agressors (British, French, Russians, Italians, Americans and their proxies Greeks and Armenians), and you certainly cant be serving justice by lying and inflating only the losses of one side while closing an eye to the other sides suffering and pointing the finger on them and demonizing them and blaming them of an act which they were the victims of.

The Turks were under attack, they were been ethnically cleansed and faced genocide through a planned agression and war.

The Armenians were on the side of the agressors, planning and committing this ethnic cleansing of the Turks, the Turks, instead of doing what was been done to them, relocated only those who were involved in the armed violence and those who were located on the easter frontier helping the Russians advance towards the southern regions of the Ottoman empire, the relocated Armenians were given lands equating to what they had before, hence why the Armenian population in current day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan etc and everything was done to protect them against the civil war that they caused.

The Armenians lost lives while holding arms and in vicious assults on Turkish villages killing and fighting on the Russian side and later losing lives in the civil war they caused.

The Turks lost lives been the victims of the very same crime Armenians are blaming the Turks of.

The Armenians attempted genocide on the Turks and ethnically cleansed them and lost further more in the civil war as a result of the Armenian racial/nationalistic ambitions.

Check the documents, the proofs, the eyewitness details, the scientific evidence, the proven Armenian lies, deciets and forgeries. And see what the international professors of history say about the events. Dont rely on a one sided story to view history.

Get your facts straight!
Do your research, which calls for sincerity and objectivity:

Anonymous said...


Excuse me

Moderator: Mr Prime Minister…I would like to apologise to Mr Erdogan

One minute… one minute... one minute… one minute… one minute… one minute… this is unacceptable… one minute

Moderator: OK, I’m going to hold you to the one minute please.

Mr. Peres, you’re older than me. Your voice is coming out in a very high tone. The reason your voice is coming out in a very high tone is due to psychological guilt ( a guilty conscience). My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone.

When it comes to killing, you (Israel) know how to kill very well! I am well aware of how you shot and killed children on the beaches (ref. beachside picnic, Nth Gaza Strip, 9 June 2006).

Two former prime ministers from your country made some important remarks to me. You have prime ministers who say “When I enter Palestine on tanks, I feel a different type of joy… a great sense of happiness.” Your giving me numbers, I can give you names. …maybe some of you are wondering who they are.

I also condemn those people who applaud this cruelty because applauding those who kill children and innocent people, I think, is yet another crime committed against humanity.
Look, we cannot disregard a reality here by brushing the truth aside.

I have taken many notes (from Peres' talk), but I don’t have time to respond to all of them. But, I just want to say two things to you:

Moderator: Excuse me Prime Minister, we can’t start the debate again. We just don’t have time.

Firstly…firstly…firstly… excuse me…firstly… don’t interrupt me!
Moderator: With all apologies, we really do need to get people to dinner."

Firstly, the Old Testament says in the 6th commandment: "thou shall not kill!", but there is killing here.

Secondly, it is very interesting [to note] that the Jewish writer Gilad Atzmon has said “'Israel's barbarity is way beyond cruelty!”. Furthermore, Avi Shlaim, Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, who served in the Israeli army, writes in the English newspaper, the Guardian that:

“Israel has become a rogue state with an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders!”.

Moderator: Prime Minister, I’m going to have to ask you to defer to our host

I thankyou very much, too!, I thankyou very much, too! Davos is over for me, I don’t think I will come back to Davos again after this because your not letting me speak freely! He (Peres]) spoke for 25 minutes and you only let me speak for 12 minutes…this is unacceptable!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report from Time magazine on souring relations between Israel and Turkey:

... the relationship has officially soured. On Oct. 9, Turkey decided to exclude Israel's air force from participating in a routine NATO war-games exercise, code-named Anatolian Eagle, to be held just days later in the Turkish city of Konya. War games involving multiple countries take months to organize, and the last-minute decision was clearly unexpected. The U.S. and Italy pulled out shortly after they heard about the snub, with Washington calling the move by Ankara "inappropriate." Turkey's reason for barring Israel? Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country "was showing its sensitivity." "We hope that the situation in Gaza will be improved, that the situation will be back to the diplomatic track," he said.......................................

On a popular level, almost as worrying as the political brinksmanship being played out between Turkey and Israel is the speed with which official hostility has trickled down to the streets. Visitors from Israel to Turkey — formerly the second most popular travel destination for Israelis after the U.S. — have fallen 47% since January, compared with the same period last year. The Turkish government has also been less than careful in fanning the flames of anti-Semitism. Erdogan recently exhorted university students to take a page from "the Jews," whom, he said, "invent things and then sit back and make money off those inventions." Innocuously meant, perhaps, but dangerous nonetheless, particularly as Turkey is home to a Jewish minority.

Pragmatism is still likely to keep the crisis in check. Israel is involved in two major defense projects in Turkey that are worth more than $1 billion, and the prickly issue of Iran's nuclear program looms larger than anything else in the region. But the latest dispute signals that it is no longer business as usual between the two erstwhile friends.

Riaz Haq said...

If Israel were to violate Turkish airspace in order to conduct reconnaissance operations on Iran, Ankara's reaction would resemble an "earthquake," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huwaidi published Thursday morning.

Responding to a question concerning rumors that Israel had entered Turkey's airspace for espionage purposes, Erdogan said that such a thing had never happened, but that the consequences would be dire if it did.

"[Israel] will receive a response equal to that of an earthquake," he cautioned, urging Israel's leaders to refrain from "using the relationship they have with [Turkey] as a card to wage aggression on a third party."

Ankara would not be a neutral party and stand aside with its arms folded, he said.

Erdogan also alluded during the interview to last winter's Operation Cast Lead, saying that Israel could not reasonably have expected to participate in a joint military drill with Turkey after "sweeping" the people of Gaza.

He stressed that the Turkish government's policy on Israel was both derived from and backed by the country's voting public.

"We cannot challenge the feelings of the Turkish people, who were greatly affected by what happened during the aggression on Gaza," he said.

Anonymous said...

Ergoyan should first consider his own country's Genocidal past before criticizing Israel. How typical of the moron above to talk about "civil wars" and "armed resistance" as reasons that the Ottoman government during WWI went on to kill and murder more than 1.5 million Armenians.

Deny it all you want, your day in court is coming soon. And websites like "Tall Armenian Tale" with that whore Turkish author are great examples of Turkey's pathetic attempt to act as historical revisionists in the face of their crimes against humanity.

The United States owns Turkey, we sell you weapons, you say thank you and shut your mouth. Israel and the IDF would destroy you in less than a few weeks, don't let your ego get bigger than your head. If the United States and NATO did not fund Turkey or back you, all you Turks would be back to selling the Apricots that the Armenians gave your culture.

Your whole economy and weapon cache is all due to US support, you buy unmanned planes from Israel and your military weapons from US. Turkey should shut its mouth and first pay reparations to Armenians for their Genocidal campaign during WWI before criticizing Israel, all the civilized nations of the world know the truth, it's time Turkey educates its citizens also regarding their crimes against humanity.

Last but certainly not least, to the idiot above that was barking like a dog about "historical commissions", Armenians will never accept any commissions because the TRUTH is not up for debate. Filthy turkish animals.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent piece by Eric Walberg in Countercurrents:

A vital playing field in today’s Great Game is Palestine/Israel, where again there is a tentative meeting of political minds between Russia and Turkey. In defiance of the US and much of Europe, both endorsed the Goldstone report into atrocities committed during Israel's invasion of Gaza in December 2008, where 100 Palestinians died for every Israeli casualty. Neither government is captive to Israel in the way European and US governments are, though they both have important economic relations with Israel.

Israeli dissident writer Israel Shamir commended the Turkish leaders at a conference in Ankara in December: "Your president, Mr Gul, said a few days ago to our president, Mr Peres, that he will not visit Israel while the siege of Gaza continues. Turkey is no longer an American colony. You stopped joint air force exercises with Israel and the US. You expressed your clear anger over the horrors of Gaza. Now you pay more attention to the area where you live; you play an important role already and are destined to play an even greater role. So much depends on you! We feel it every day in Palestine."

He called on Turkey, as inheritor of the Ottoman-era responsibility for Palestine, to follow the lead of the Spanish and British judges who issued arrest warrants for Chilean General Pinochet and Israeli prime minister Tzipi Livni for murder, and issue an arrest warrant for the infamous Captain R, accused of murdering a Palestinian child Iman Al-Hams, but feted in Israel as a hero. "A Turkish warrant for his arrest should await him wherever he goes," just as "according to Israeli law, if a Turk does wrong to a Jew in Turkey, he may be snatched, arrested, tried and punished in Israel. Turkey should introduce a symmetrical law, covering offences against Palestinians who otherwise are not protected by law."

Though unlikely, this would be wildly popular in Turkey. Similarly, unlike brainwashed Westerners fed daily doses of pro-Israeli media, Turks and most Russians have no use for the Zionist project. True, over one million Russians took up the tantalising offer of instant Israeli citizenship in search of a better life, qualifying as Jewish merely via marriage or with as little as one grandparent racially Jewish. But, despite the chauvinism of the Russian-Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, many of these Russian Israelis, too, have no use for the Zionist project, with its innate racism, some even marrying Palestinians. Many are returning to Russia, bitter at the way they are treated by sabra (Jews born in Israel). The natural sympathy of these and non-Jewish Russians is for the Palestinians.

Riaz Haq said...

Neocons in Washington have launched orchestrated attacks against Turkey for its criticism of Israel and Security Council vote against Iran sanctions, according a report in Asia Times:

As the right-wing leadership of the organized United States Jewish community defends Israel against international condemnation for its deadly seizure of a flotilla bearing humanitarian supplies for Gaza, a familiar clutch of neo-conservative hawks is going on the offensive against what is seen as the flotilla's chief defender, Turkey.

Outraged by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's repeated denunciations of the May 31 Israeli raid, as well as his co-sponsorship with Brazil of an agreement with Iran designed to promote renewed negotiations with the West on Tehran's nuclear program, some neo-conservatives are even demanding that the US try to expel Ankara from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as one of several suggested actions aimed

at punishing Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.

"Turkey, as a member of NATO, is privy to intelligence information having to do with terrorism and with Iran," noted the latest report by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a hard-line neo-conservative group that promotes US-Israeli military ties and has historically cultivated close ties to Turkey's military, as well.

"If Turkey finds its best friends to be Iran, Hamas, Syria and Brazil (look for Venezuela in the future) the security of that information (and Western technology in weapons in Turkey's arsenal) is suspect. The United States should seriously consider suspending military cooperation with Turkey as a prelude to removing it from the organization," suggested the group.

Its board of advisers includes many prominent champions of the 2003 Iraq invasion, including former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey, and former United Nations ambassador John Bolton.

Neo-conservative publications, notably the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard and the National Review, have also been firing away at the AKP government since the raid.

"Turkey now represents a major element in the global panorama of radical Islam," declared the Standard's Stephen Schwartz, while Daniel Pipes, the controversial director of the Likudist Middle East Forum, echoed JINSA's call for ousting Ankara from NATO and urged Washington to provide direct support for Turkey's opposition parties in an article published by the National Review Online.

The Journal has been running editorials and op-eds attacking Turkey on virtually a daily basis since the raid, accusing its government, among other things, of having "an ingrained hostility toward the Jewish state, remarkable sympathies for nearby radical regimes, and an attitude toward extremist groups like the IHH [Insani Yardim Vakfi - the Islamist group that sponsored the flotilla's flagship, the Mavi Marmara] that borders on complicity."

On Monday, it ran an op-ed by long-time hawk Victor Davis Hanson that labeled the IHH "a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda", while an earlier op-ed, by Robert Pollock, its editorial features editor, called Erdogan and his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu "demagogues appealing to the worst elements in their own country and the broader Middle East".

Meanwhile, in an op-ed published by The Forward, a Jewish weekly, Michael Rubin, a Perle protege at the American Enterprise Institute, accused Turkey of having "become a conduit for the smuggling of weapons to Israel's enemies", notably Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Riaz Haq said...

George Freidman of Stratfor in his book "The Next 100 Years" says the Islamic World will recover from the current chaos imposed by the United States in its conflict with al Qaeda. He also argues that Turkey, not Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, or Egypt, will emerge as a great world power, and the leader of the Muslim world.

Here's how Friedman describes the four great powers of the twenty-first century:

"Japan, Turkey, and Poland will each be facing a United States even more confident than it was after the second fall of the Soviet Union. That will be an explosive situation. As we will see during the course of this book, the relationships among these four countries will greatly affect the twenty-first century, leading, ultimately, to the next global war. This war will be fought differently from any in history—with weapons that are today in the realm of science fiction. But as I will try to outline, this mid-twenty-first century conflict will grow out of the dynamic forces born in the early part of the new century."

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a description of documents leaked by WikiLeaks about Turkey as reported by pro-Israel Washington Post:

Davutoglu is something of an antihero of the WikiLeaks cables, described as "exceptionally dangerous" and "lost in neo-Ottoman Islamist fantasies." Having arrived in Washington a few hours after those descriptions were released, he accepted an apology from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, played down the damage - and embraced at least part of the embassy's analysis. "Britain has a commonwealth" with its former colonies, he reminded me. Why shouldn't Turkey rebuild its leadership in former Ottoman lands in the Balkans, Middle East and Central Asia?

It's fascinating to follow the emotional swings in U.S. analysis of this rapidly changing partner. Erdogan is acidly described by former ambassador Eric Edelman as having "an authoritarian loner streak"; Edelman's successor, James F. Jeffrey, concludes that Erdogan "simply hates Israel" and that his drive for regional authority "has not achieved any single success of note." Yet the dispatches also include admiration for Erdogan's political skills and for Turkey's role in Lebanon, Pakistan and even Syria.

In fact, as a would-be leader of the "Arab street," Erdogan looks much more attractive than competitors such as Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah. In the end Turkey depends on European trade and investment; it wants a democratic Iraq, a non-nuclear Iran and NATO's success in Afghanistan. It still recognizes Israel. It is, in essence, a genuine Muslim democracy - which means that it is both more difficult and, in a way, more of an ally than it used to be.

"At the end of the day we will have to live with a Turkey whose population is propelling much of what we see," Jeffrey wrote in a penetrating dispatch. "This calls for an issue-by-issue approach and recognition that Turkey will often go its own way." "The current cast of political leaders," he noted, have a "special yen for destructive drama and rhetoric. But we see no one better on the horizon, and Turkey will remain a complicated blend of world class 'Western' institutions, competencies and orientation, and Middle Eastern culture and religion."

No wonder Davutoglu was grinning. In the end, State's reporting had captured the new Turkey rather well.

Riaz Haq said...

Egypt is easing Gaza restrictions, according to a report in The Independent:

A declaration by Egypt that it will permanently open its crossing into Gaza to ease the blockade on the territory has fuelled concerns in Israel about the future direction of Cairo's foreign policy.

Nabil al-Araby, Egypt's foreign minister, told Al-Jazeera that his country would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come", and described Cairo's previous decision to seal the border as "shameful".

Egypt has already eased restrictions on movement across the Gaza border since the fall of the Mubarak regime. But free passage of goods and people into Gaza would be seen as a major security threat by Israel, which has argued that even with Egyptian co-operation on blocking arms shipments, Hamas was able to import weaponry into the territory and would do more without it.

It is not clear how comprehensive the opening of the crossing at Rafah will be, but Mr al-Araby's remarks follow a spate of others indicating a potential shift in foreign policy which is being closely watched in Israel.

A senior Israeli official told The Independent yesterday that the government had raised concerns with Egypt about a series of indications from Cairo that it was softening the more hostile policy maintained by the former president Hosni Mubarak towards Iran and Hamas. Both are seen by Israel as enemies.

The official said that Egypt, which on Wednesday said it had brokered a draft accord between the Palestinian party Fatah and its rival Hamas, had tended to respond by taking "account of public opinion now and some of that opinion is opposed to you [Israel]".

The Israeli official cited a more emollient tone in Egypt's pronouncements about Iran and a new "lenience" towards Hamas, exemplified in part by its apparent unconcern about Hamas prisoners who escaped from Egyptian jails during the uprising in February.

Although a recent poll indicated opposition to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel among a majority of Egyptians there have been no moves to annul it. But Egyptian analysts and officials say that the country is reassuming the pivotal role it once performed in the Arab world which had been hampered by the country's close diplomatic ties to Israel. "We are opening a new page," Menha Bakhoum, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry told The New York Times. "Egypt is resuming its role that was once abdicated."

Riaz Haq said...

How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

Last Saturday, after 22 days of war, Israel announced a halt to the offensive. The assault was aimed at stopping Hamas rockets from falling on Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hailed a "determined and successful military operation." More than 1,200 Palestinians had died. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.

Hamas responded the next day by lobbing five rockets towards the Israeli town of Sderot, a few miles down the road from Moshav Tekuma, the farming village where Mr. Cohen lives. Hamas then announced its own cease-fire.

Since then, Hamas leaders have emerged from hiding and reasserted their control over Gaza. Egyptian-mediated talks aimed at a more durable truce are expected to start this weekend. President Barack Obama said this week that lasting calm "requires more than a long cease-fire" and depends on Israel and a future Palestinian state "living side by side in peace and security."

A look at Israel's decades-long dealings with Palestinian radicals -- including some little-known attempts to cooperate with the Islamists -- reveals a catalog of unintended and often perilous consequences. Time and again, Israel's efforts to find a pliant Palestinian partner that is both credible with Palestinians and willing to eschew violence, have backfired. Would-be partners have turned into foes or lost the support of their people.

Israel's experience echoes that of the U.S., which, during the Cold War, looked to Islamists as a useful ally against communism. Anti-Soviet forces backed by America after Moscow's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan later mutated into al Qaeda.