Thursday, February 05, 2009

Erdogan is no hero

The prime minister of Turkey returned home recently from the world economic forum to a hero’s welcome. His “marvelous” feat was the act of walking out of the summit after a heated exchange with Shimon Peres regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza.

Erdogan has also made some fiery statements regarding Gaza and is slowly being viewed as one of the harshest opponents of Israels’ aggression. Erdogan, speaking at a municipal election campaign rally in Anatolia, said Israel was:

“perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.”

If you look past these statements and his “walkout” at the summit, it’s very clear that Turkey is Israel’s greatest ally in the region.

  • Turkey has a long history of close ties with Israel. It was the first Muslim country to recognize it in 1949.
  • In 2006 the Israeli foreign ministry characterised its relationship with Turkey as “perfect”.
  • Turkey is Israel’s 8th largest trading partner and their annual trade is worth around 4 billion dollars.
  • Turkey and Israel have a military alliance. Their militaries have conducted joint exercises particularly their navies. Israeli pilots even trained in Turkish air space, flying training sorties from a Turkish base near Ankara. Israel has supplied unmanned air vehicles to monitor Kurdish rebel activities in Turkey’s southeast.
  • The Erdogan government appointed General Buyukanit’s as Chief of Staff of the armed forces, he is known to be pro-Israeli and one of his jobs has been to weed out anti-Israeli sentiment among Turkey’s senior military brass.
  • In 2006 the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel and Turkey were negotiating the construction of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel.

So we shouldn’t be duped by these empty symbolic acts, Turkey and Israel might be having a lovers tiff, but that’s all it is.

One last point to mention is that if the Turkish people can give Erdogan a hero’s welcome for walking out in protest, imagine the welcome he’d get if he used his resources as a deterrent to end the conflict once and for all. It just takes one brave man and the whole Ummah will be behind him, inshAllah.


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