In an interview published by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet on the 19th of December 2010 US President Barack Obama urged Turkey and Israel to ‘do everything they can to repair their relations.’ He underlined US – Turkish relations as vital, referring to mutual interests and shared values. In fact its former interest is solely geopolitical while the latter values do not exist in reality.
In May 2010 Israeli Navy commandos raided a Gaza bound flotilla flagged with a Turkish flag and organized by a Turkish Islamist group (The IHH) with close ties to the Islamist ruling party. The IHH had been banned in various Western Countries as a terrorist group and has been implicated over a number of decades in atrocities committed in the furtherance of an Islamic agenda. The nine activists who died in the assault on the Mavi Marmara were casualties of an Islamic war against the West to which Turkey is now a partner.
Ankara has now attempted to dictate to Israel the direction of its Foreign Policy thus questioning its sovereignty. This is hardly surprising; in late November 2010 Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu held meetings with journalists and academics in which he repeatedly laid out his vision for Turkey to become a dominant force in the Middle East. Davutoglu, a professor of international relations, and the ruling Justice and Development Parties (AKP) principal ideologue stated that “Israel will disappear as an Independent Country.”
Given this paternalistic and imperial attitude by the Turkish political elite it is hardly surprising that indignation with Israel was precipitated by the signing of an international maritime agreement between Israel and Cyprus.
The demarcation of territorial exploration rights between the two sovereign nations is in fact a given between independent nation states. Any challenge to that right is a challenge to the sovereignty of both states, not just Israel.
Turkey demanded that Israel cancel the territorial treaty between the nations because it was a challenge to Turkeys renascent regional interests (read hegemony). This, like the Mari Marmara incident tells us much about the way Turkey views itself.
Words like megalomania and superpower pretensions, imperialism and theological militancy are the way we should perhaps be viewing this. It is scary. Perception is important. If Israel cannot stand its ground against an enemy that until recently was an ally then it cannot resist the demands of its Palestinian enemy whose theologically prescribed demands are no different to Turkeys. The victim-hood that Palestine portrays can only be theologically assuaged by the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of its Jewish population.
Turkish sovereignty demanded that the Mavi Marmaras' anti-Jewish fundamentalists be prevented from boarding the vessel and that the ship be prevented from leaving from a Turkish port. Members of the Turkish government were not simply complicit but actively involved in an Islamic charity that remains fundamentally racist. The IHH was openly intent on inciting a violent incident. The Turkish government must therefore be seen as being complicit in challenging Israeli sovereignty; Israel’s right to self-defense was challenged by the Turkish government, not just the IHH.
If Israel is therefore persuaded to pay compensation to these self-styled Islamic ‘martyrs’ then Turkey must pay compensation to Israel for the cost of preventing this assault. It must also apologize to Israel for its failure to muzzle its dogs of war and for the racist mutterings of its religious fanatics before, during and after the incident. Turkey must apologize for the religious bigotry it has permitted to be waged from its shores and it must apologize to Israel and to the Jewish people for the incitement in its press.
After all, sovereign nations have obligations towards their neighbours as well as responsibilities to control the rabid bigots in their midst.
And yes, it is time that Israel muzzled its increasingly vocal, home-grown fundamentalist bigots.
Both nations need to free up debate and to focus on the internal threat to their national souls. I think the difference is that Turkey has in its soul, a taste for blood and conquest while Israel’s bigots have arisen because the voice of history has scarred its racial memory. It is now in the process of silencing the majority whose disaffection with Israel’s Jewish mullahs has made them ignorant of the tolerance that is at the heart of Jewish history. People do not respond to hate and bigotry with love and kindness. The deafening choir of Islamic prejudice is the proximate excuse for greater bigotry in Israeli society; the distant cause is an absence of political will to crush it.
In 1948 Arab League Chief Abdul Rahman Azzam, declared that the Arab invasion to Israel would be a mass war of extermination to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mongolian and Crusader massacres. This is the essence of HAMAS and Israel’s erstwhile friend and now interlocutor, Turkey.
Civility in public debate is about being able to demonstrate that differences even when they are deep will be handled without histrionics. This civility was publicly absent at the Davos summit in 2009 when Erdogan exploded with anger on a stage he shared with Israeli President Shimon Peres. It proved Islamic Turkey’s inability to accept that infidel nations have the right of self defense. No other explanation is possible when compared to the brutality of Turkeys treatment of its own Turkish minority, its ongoing championing of Islamic regimes of irredeemable brutality (such as the Sudan, Somalia and Iran to name but a sampling of tainted Islamic regimes) and its continuing denial of the Armenian genocide.