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The American Voice Institute of Public Policy Blogs the Issues!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Terrorists Use Phony “Humanitarian” Mission to Try and Break Israeli Blockade of Gaza

 By Joel P. Rutkowski, Ph.D., President

Part III

Turkey and the Gaza flotilla 

The media, global leaders and the Obama administration should not be concerned about Israel's legal right to board the Mavi Marmara but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to position Turkey as the leading Muslim state in the Middle East and his penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel and sympathy toward Islamic terrorists groups which are unacceptable actions for a NATO member. Consistent with Mr. Erdogan's public support for Iran is his embrace of IHH. 

The argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the "European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor" who were aboard the flotilla was made by Turkish ambassador to the U.S. Namik Tan in a June 5, 2010,  Washington Post op-ed on June 5, 2010.  However, there was no violence on five of the six boats in the flotilla.  The Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara which is owned by the IHH was where all of the violence occurred and all of the individuals killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic "charity." 

The 15-member UN Security Council should not be calling for an independent investigation into the incident against Israel but focus on the relationship between IHH and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the "humanitarian" supplies on the boats to Gaza in discussions prior to the flotilla departure.  And insisted that Turkey had no control over what it described as a non-governmental organization (NGO).

On the other hand, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is proudly acknowledged by IHH for his efforts. IHH Chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza, in 2009, "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” The Turkish prime minister seems to share that notion as he did his best in the days after the incidence that the IHH admits it provoked, to compete with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's terrorist leader Hasan Nasrallah in attacking Israel.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that “the heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history.” Israel's actions were called by the prime minister as "state terrorism" and a "bloody massacre."  And he described Israel itself as an "adolescent, rootless state."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made a foolish and asinine comparison when he said on June 1, 2010, in Washington "this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey" in which more than 2,900 truly innocent individuals were murdered.  

Turkey's current leadership has a delusional fantasy to create a twenty-first-century version of the Ottoman Empire. Quietly Turks speak about the caliphate that the Turkish sultan headed for centuries.  Turkey accomplished a strategic and domestic goal when it supported the terrorist-linked Turkish non-governmental NGO mission to Gaza.  From a standpoint of foreign policy, the Turkish Islamists' leadership is looking to position Turkey as the new champion of the “Palestinians.” The reason for this is it solidifies the Islamist base of the Justice and Development Party and is the tool of choice to receive praise in the Middle East.  For example, Turkey's red flag has flown across the Arab world, from Cairo to Kuwait, in a show of support for its response to the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara . 

 For decades, despite it faults the Turkish military defended the secular constitution.  However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's domestic agenda is to further isolate and reorient Turkey's military. Mr. Erdogan  has feverishly  worked since becoming prime minister in 2003,  to weaken the military by trumping up charges to arrest popular generals and casting private conversations as coup plots. An opportunity to sever the long-standing ties between Turkey's military and Israel was seen by Prime Minister Erdogan in an upcoming Turkish-Israeli-U.S. naval exercise.

Currently, the Islamists have the controlling position in Turkey.  And it is understood by Prime Minister Erdogan that the Mavi Marmara incident for sealing the fate of strategic cooperation with Israel is a custom-made tool in his hands.

The timing of the “humanitarian” flotilla sailing towards Gaza was not by chance. Israeli mishandling of the situation was anticipated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  And the naval exercise between Turkish-Israeli-U.S. was immediately cancelled by Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkey recalled its ambassador and all further cooperation with Israel became forbidden.

On arrival of the flotilla in Gazan waters, the Erdogan government coordinated with Hamas to crowd Gazan waters with small craft to surround the blockade runners.  To avoid a spectacle and the needless loss of life, Israel was forced to apprehend the ships in international waters.

Turkey Is No Model of a Westernized Muslim Democracy

In 2009, President Barack Obama made his first stop abroad in Turkey, where he told his hosts that "Turkey and the US can build a model partnership." For more than a year the Obama administration has been genuinely courting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has overlooked among other things his antidemocratic behavior at home, catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide, and helped combat the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) .  Also, Prime Minister Erdogan has recently joined Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions against Iran.  And now Mr. Erdogan staged a cynical public-relations debacle for Israel because of the misjudgments of President Obama and the blatant disregard of U.S. interests.

The delusional ideology that Turkey is a "westernized Muslim democracy” is hopelessly clung too by the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.)  As fast as the Islamist leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can, they are  moving Turkey to the East.

On May 21, 2010, Islamic Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told the parliament that “today is a turning point in history. Nothing will ever be the same again.” This statement indicates that the Israeli incident with the sixth ship alleged “humanitarian” flotilla, specifically the Mavi Marmara, is more about Turkey and less about the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict.

For virtually all of Israel's existence Turkey and Israel have had good relations which include economic, military and strategic cooperation which is most important.  Limiting Soviet ambitions in the Middle East was the common cause that linked Turkish leaders to Israel.  However, with the decline of the Soviet Empire, this relationship ended.   

Seven years ago, when he became prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan began to shift Turkish ideology away from a secular state that looks westward to a  religious one that looks to the East.   Prime Minister Erdogan has been accused of leading Turkey toward establishing an Islamic state by his domestic critics. Mr. Erdogan told the Guardian in October 2009, that “Iran is our friend.”

The U.S. recognizes Hamas as a terrorist organization. However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 4, 2010, while continuing his harsh accusations against Israel over its raid on the Mavi Marmara said he does not see Hamas as a terrorist organization, but as a resisting group struggling for its own land.  At a rally held in Konya, a central Anatolian province he said, “They [Hamas] won the election. You are always talking about democracy. You'll never let Hamas rule. What kind of democracy is this?” Thousands of people gathered at the rally exhibiting very strong anti-Israel sentiments and listening to the prime minister's   address when he stated, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. I said the same thing to the United States. I am still of the same opinion. They are “Palestinians” in resistance, fighting for their own land.”

At the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland in early 2009, Prime Minister Erdogan stormed out telling Israeli President Shimon Peres that “I know well how you hit and kill children on the beaches.” 

A significant change occurred in April, for the second time in as many years, Turkey and Syria held joint military exercises.  One should be alarmed by this because  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1998 was mediating to keep Turkey and Syria from going to war with each other.

Since  Mr. Erdogan  became prime minister, a new alignment in the Middle East has been in the making.  Prime Minister Erdogan is focused to the east, specifically the Islamist east.  The shift in Turkish ideology since Mr. Erdogan became prime minister has generated questions that rival in scope and magnitude to the questions that have arisen in Iran since the Islamic revolution. For example would a friendly understanding between Turkey, Iran, and Syria lead to a strategic alliance? Would these rogue nations increase their support for Hamas? And would an increase in support for Hezbollah by these nations end Lebanon's existence as a buffer state on Israel's northern border?  What does this axis of evil mean for Russia, Communist China and India? Also, how would this axis use its influence throughout Central Asia to spread Islam?  How would the Kurds that control the northern third of Iraq as well as Iraq be effected by this extremely unfortunate cooperation between Turkey and Iran? Should NATO allow Turkey to be a member nation when it supports Islamic terrorist groups and has Iran and Syria as allies? And other than trying to prevent a war with Greece, is there any reason for Turkey to be a member of NATO?  Turkey has been a Trojan horse, not an ally, since Prime Minister Erdogan initiated his Islamization of Turkey.  For example, the supposed ally of the U.S. denied U.S.  troops their planned routes into Iraq through Turkey on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party supported the anti-blockade campaign of the Mavi Marmara that tried to breach Israel's Gaza blockade on May 31, 2010.

The Turkish “charity” IHH organized the antiblockade operation.  Fundamentalist Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi supported IHH which has been designated by both Israel and the U.S. as a supporter of Hamas.  The Swiss-born Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan is al-Qaradawi, a leading Western partner.

President Barack Obama has done his best to make friends of both Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Tariq Ramadan in his effort to define a new U.S. policy toward Muslim nations.  Prior to President Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, he made a point of visiting Turkey in April 2009. The President appeared to desire a closer relationship with the Erdogan regime as he met with the prime minister and addressed the Turkish parliament.

Also, the visa ban on Tariq Ramadan, which was based on his financial contributions to Hamas was lifted by the Obama administration.  And with excessively complimentary speeches by administration officials, Farah Pandith (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's “U.S. representative to Muslim communities”) and Rashad Hussain (U.S. representative to the Saudi-based Organization for the Islamic Conference) Tariq Ramadan was welcome in April 2010, to Washington, D.C.

It would be foolish for one to believe that the Obama administration did not pay attention to the many warnings about the anti-Israel direction of the Erdogan government, and to the radical, Jew-baiting views of the AKP's leaders, no less than to the extremist views of Tariq Ramadan Ramadan.  And since President Obama did not respond to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's support for the antiblockade operation and the administration's decision to abandon Israel at the U.N., one wonders if the President is shifting alliances away from Israel and towards Muslim nations

The U.S. should be deeply concerned with the movement of the Erdogan government away from Turkey's long-standing alliance with Israel and its new alignment with Iran and Syria. The revival of Turkey's expansive role in the region of its former empire, which until the beginning of the twentieth century ruled from the Balkans in Europe through the Middle East, including Libya, the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq is the ambition of the countries' current ruling AKP party.  Also, within the Turkish culture area are the five former Soviet republics speaking Turkic languages--Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzia--and the Muslim-majority of western Communist China.

Turkey Imperial Pretentions Preceded  Erdogan

These resuscitated imperial pretensions preceded the election of Erdogan in 2002, and the alliance of the AKP government and Hamas can be seen as one of many expressions of this.

After gaining power in the 1920s, the Turkish Republic and its “state party,” the Republican People's Party (known as the CHP) were strictly and even fanatically secularist.  However, using the spiritual practice of Sufism as a cover, an Islamist opposition penetrated the state and society.  Leading figures in the establishment of new Turkish Islamist parties were members of some Sufi groups. And former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan was included in this group.

A governing coalition between secular conservatives in the True Path party and Islamists in the Welfare party, headed by Erbakan resulted from the 1995 Turkish elections. Notable, in calling for an orientation away from the West and Israel and toward the Arab countries, and for his Jew-baiting was Erban, who was named prime minister.

In 1997, the Welfare party was banned and Erbakan was removed from power. However, the Welfare party is a direct antecedent of Erdogan's AKP and Erbakan is the political mentor of Erdogan.  And considerable influence through a transnational network called Milli Gorus (MG) or “National Vision” is maintained by Erbakan. Through the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research (ECFR) headed by al-Qaradawi , MG cooperates with al-Qaradawi and Tariq Ramadan.

Necmettin Erbakan's vulgar hatred for the Jews cannot be overstated.  For example, a television interview with Erbakan in which he alleged that Jews had sought world domination since the delivery of the Torah was rebroadcasted in 2007, by MEMRI.  Erbakan claimed that, “the safety of Israel . . . means that they will rule the 28 countries from Morocco to Indonesia. . . . All the Crusades were organized by the Zionists.” Although Erbakan insisted that “racist imperialist Zionism organized 19 Crusades just to reach its goals, it should be noted that the Crusades came long before the Zionist movement, and often among the victims of Crusaders were Jews. He also claimed that the Jews used the Christians to organize the Crusades.  Additionally, Erbakan clamed the Jews who he referred to as bacteria invented Protestantism.  Erbakan in a particularly notable flight of paranoia declared that a scheme for world conquest was originated by a Jewish man named “Kabbalah.”   And drawn from the most disreputable precedents in Tsarist Russian defamation and persecution of Jews is the last reference, which Erbakan insistently repeated.

An early proponent of a Turkish alliance with Iran was Erbakan.  And among the three million Turkish Muslims living in Germany, his Milli Gorus (MG) movement has gained influence where it claims 200,000 members and control of 400-600 “prayer spaces” which are often private homes and storefronts rather than mosques.  Also, active among Turkish Muslims in the Netherlands is MG.  Noticeably, in Erdogan's administration MG members have risen.  Erdogan's government exercises extraterritorial authority over 900 major mosques on German soil through the Turkish state religious office or Diyanet.  The mosques were alleged to serve as centers for political monitoring of the Turkish Muslims in Germany although in the past, preaching in Turkish state-controlled mosques in Germany was moderate.  A turn toward radicalism within them cannot be ruled out under the Erdogan government.

Turkey now represents a major element in the global panorama of radical Islam as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is linked to Erbakan, al-Qaradawi, Ramadan, Hamas, IHH and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Badly mistaken is President Obama's belief that extreme Muslim ideology is a product of social ills rather than of official support in nations such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and Syria.

Part II

Terrorists Use Phony “Humanitarian” Mission to Try and Break Israeli Blockade of Gaza

Part I

Terrorists Use Phony “Humanitarian” Mission to Try and Break Israeli Blockade of Gaza

Next: Part IV

Gaza Does Not Have a Humanitarian Problem

End Notes

  1. Rowan Scarborough, “Israel Right To Stop Terrorist Ship,” Human Events, June 2, 2010.
  2. Flotilla passengers: Go back to Auschwitz,” Ynetnews.com, June 4, 2010.
  3. The Freedom Flotilla fraud,” The Washington Times, June 1, 2010.
  4. Cori Chascione . “Massacring the truth,” Ynetnews.com, June 1, 2010.
  5. “ 'Guns may have been thrown overboard, ' ”The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2010.
  6. Spengler, “No Israeli good deed goes unpunished,” Asia Times, June 1, 2010.
  7. John Perazzo, “The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda,” FrontPage Magazine, June 2, 2010.
  8. Thomas Joscelyn, “The Muslim Brotherhood's Flotilla,” The Weekly Standard, June 3, 2010.
  9.    Terrorists at the helm,” New York Post, Wednesday, June 2, 2010.
  10. Aviel Magnezi, “3 flotilla fatalities 'dreamt of martyrdom' ,” Yetnews.com, June 2, 2010.
  11. Namik Tan, “Israel owes Turkey an apology for flotilla attack, The Washington Post, June 5, 2010.
  12. Turkish PM describes Hamas as fighting for own lands,” Hürriyet Daily News, June 4, 2010.
  13. Seth Cropsey, “Turkey Slouches Toward Iran,” The Weekly Standard, June 1, 2010.
  14. Ralph Peters, “DC's Turkish denial,” New York Post, June 3, 2010.
  15. Ralph Peters, “Turkish (blood)bath,” New York Post, June 1, 2010.
  16. Stephen Schwartz, “Erdogan, Qaradawi, Ramadan, Hamas, and Obama,” The Weekly Standard, June 3, 2010.
  17.  Hillel Fendel, “UN Envoy to Peres: No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza,” Israelnationalnews.com, February 24, 2010.
  18.  Ulrike Putz, “The Problem With Aid,” Spiegel Online, June 4, 2010.
  19.  Yaakov Katz, “IDF: Mercenaries to blame for violence, ” The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2010.


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