Skip to comments.Erdogan's Hypocrisy Exposed
Posted on 10/15/2012 6:56:45 AM PDT by bayouranger
Escalating tension between Syria and Turkey has exposed the blatant hypocrisy of Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when it comes to terrorism and a country's right to self-defense. Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky makes that clear in a column published Friday at the Algemeiner website.
Turkey has intercepted arms shipments headed for Damascus and even fired into Syrian territory last week after a mortar landed on Turkish soil killing five civilians. No one should doubt Turkey's resolve to protect its people, Erdoğan said.
"This situation has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security," Erdoğan said. "Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country."
That's understandable, Ostrovsky writes. But this forceful reply came after one mortar apparently missed its target and landed in Erdoğan's country. The same man all-but-severed diplomatic relations with Israel after Israel invaded Gaza in 2008 after 8,000 Hamas rockets had been aimed at Israeli civilian communities.
"Israel must pay a price for its aggression and crimes," Erdoğan said.
He continues to demand Israel apologize for storming a Turkish ship that tried to run Israel's blockade on Gaza, which is in place to try to deny Hamas with more weaponry. Nine people died after the passengers carried out an orchestrated attack on Israeli soldiers as they boarded the ship.
A United Nations report found the blockade was legal and "a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea."
But Erdoğan still called for sanctions. "Israel's cruelty cannot be continued any longer," he told Time Magazine last year.
Erdoğan supports Hamas and the Turkish charity, IHH, which led the intercepted flotilla in 2010. But if Turkey is duty-bound to protect its people from outside attacks, so too is Israel, and Erdoğan ought to acknowledge that.
"Instead of demanding an Israeli apology over the Flotilla, it is Mr Erdoğan who is the one that should be apologizing to Israel for his entirely unjustified and vitriolic attacks in light of his government's recent actions," Ostrovsky writes. "Anything less, would be completely hypocritical."
In the past week, the government of Turkey understandably launched military action against Syria in response to mortar fire by the Assad regime, which killed five Turkish civilians in the town of Akcakale. In retrospect, this represents an opportune time for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan to consider apologizing to Israel for some of his vitriolic attacks against the Jewish state following their response against Hamas rocket fire from Gaza in late 2008.
Responding to Syrias unprovoked attack against Turkey, Erdoğan said Turkey is a country which is capable of protecting its people and borders. No one should attempt to test our determination on the issue.
Further, in tabling his motion in Parliament on October 4th, seeking approval for military action, Erdoğan added:
This situation has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security. Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country.
Every sovereign nation has the primary duty, and responsibility, to protect its citizens from foreign agression and acts of terror.
Erdoğans decision to send Turkish troops into Syria came after a single mortar attack, which the Syrian authorities claim was accidental, but nonetheless killed five Turkish citizens.
Yet, Israel endured something in the vicinity of 8,000-plus rockets, and many more casualities from Gaza, before retaliating against Hamas in Operation Cast Lead in December 2008. Rocket and mortar fire still continues from the Gaza strip today.
At the time of Israels response, Erdoğan unleashed a barrage of vitriol against Israel, the likes of which were unprecedented in the history of relations between the two states, calling Israels actions against Hamas terrorists in Gaza a crime against humanity and saying that Israel must pay a price for its aggression and crimes. He even went to so far as to call for Israel to be barred from the United Nations.
At the now infamous Davos conference in Switzerland in January 2009, before storming off stage, Erdoğan, very undiplomatically, scolded Israels President Shimon Peres, saying you are old, and your voice is loud out of a guilty conscience, adding when it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.
This diatribe immediately followed a question by President Peres, in which he asked Erdoğan, almost prophetically now: What would you do, if rockets fell on Istanbul every night?
Well, only one mortar fell on Turkey, and we know the response: an immediate artillery counter-strike and authorization of Turkish ground troops into Syrian territory.
Perhaps now Erdoğan may have a slightly better appreciation of the threat of rocket fire faced by Israel and the need to respond against such acts of aggression and terror against your civilian population.
Only a few days ago, during an official visit to South Africa, Erdoğan again accused Israel of state terrorism. This came in response to comments from an Israeli diplomat, saying the Jewish state had the right to defend itself and its citizens from the Hamas terrorist organization, who continue to launch rocket attacks into Israeli territory.
Yet, if Turkey can call its actions against Syrian mortar fire self defense necessary to prevent threats and risks to its national security, it is then the height of hypocrisy to accuse Israel of state terrorism, in circumstances where by any objective measure, the threat it faces has been more persistent, violent and larger scale.
Likewise, one may apply a similar analogy concerning Turkeys ongoing dispute with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whom the Turkish government consider terrorists. Only today, Erdoğan proclaimed we do no cry for the death of terrorists, in response to Diyarbakir police chiefs recent expression of sympathy over the deaths of PKK militants.
In this context, it would also be advisable for Mr Erdoğan to consider dropping his persistent demands for an Israeli apology over the 2012 Gaza Flotilla, which resulted in the tragic death of nine Turkish citizens after passengers on the boat viciously attacked IDF soldiers.
Perhaps he ought to be reminded that the Flotilla, which left with the blessing of the Turkish government, under the direction of the IHH terror group, was designed to breach the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Hamas as a launching pad for rocket attacks against Israel.
Instead, Erdoğan refuses to acknowledge that Hamas, a group that does not recognize Israels right to exist yet still seeks its destruction, is a terrorist organization, embracing their leaders on frequent visits to Ankara.
Just as Turkey has the inalienable right to defend its citizens against acts of aggression and terror from Syria, so too does Israel have the right to defend its citizens from terror attacks by Hamas and those seeking to support them.
Instead of demanding an Israeli apology over the Flotilla, it is Mr Erdoğan who is the one that should be apologizing to Israel for his entirely unjustified and vitriolic attacks in light of his governments recent actions. Anything less, would be completely hypocritical.