Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey: an Islamist who is anti-Israel, anti-Communist; a dragonslayer of inflation and public deficits - as David Warren writes in his fine article "The man who could trigger a world war". Erdogan and the direction he is taking Turkey should put fear in the hearts of all Western nations and especially Israel. Turkey had been the first Muslim country to recognize Israel – in 1949. Now: Not a day passes without a Turkish threat/warning/challenge directed at Israel.
Turkey had been the first Muslim country to recognize Israel – in 1949. Ataturk had been dead a mere decade and the country was firmly launched on the path of secular modernity. Relations between the two countries have had their ups and downs – in 1980 Ankara downgraded diplomatic relations with only a Second Secretary left in charge. But trade exchanges amounted to 4.5 billion dollars yearly, half a million Israelis vacationed in Turkey each year and Israel supplied Turkey with sophisticated weapons and technology.
In other times, the flotilla episode – which would probably not have occurred in the first place – would have been settled easily. However, today’s ruler, motivated by religious fervor and the dream of restoring the country’s former empire, set himself on another path, with the active support of Davutulu, the minister for Foreign Affairs, author of a book in which he states that Turkey is on its way to reclaiming its authentic role and its hegemony in the Middle East.
The fact is that the present crisis has its roots in the election which in 2002 brought Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist party – well known for its hostility to the Jews – to power.
Erdogan dismantled one after the other the bulwarks built by Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, that ensured that the country would remain secular. Making use of an unlikely ally, the European Union, which saw in the strong army and its special powers a threat to democracy and an obstacle to Turkey joining the union, Erdogan started promoting officers who were faithful to him and threw 400 high ranking officers into jail without a trial on charges of plotting against the regime. When the commander in chief of the armed forces and the heads of the different branches resigned in protest, Erdogan happily accepted their resignation and put his men in charge. The army was thus effectively neutralized, which brought about an end to the cooperation with Israel. (--ZVI MAZEL, Analysis: Israel, Egypt, Turkey - shifting sands, Jerusalem Post, hat tip the Naive Abroad)
The "vision" of this politician, which he can articulate charismatically, is to combine efficient, basically free-market economic management, with a puritanized version of the religious ideals of the old Ottoman Caliphate.
The West is just watching, while Erdogan creates pretexts for another Middle Eastern war: one in which Israel may be pitted not only against the neighbouring states of the old Arab League, but also Turkey, and Iran, and Hamas, and Hezbollah.
This is what is called an "existential threat" to Israel, unfolding in live time. It could leave the West with a choice between defending Israel, and permitting another Holocaust. In other words, we are staring at the trigger for a genuine world war. With Recip Erdogan's twitching finger on it. (Ottawa Citizen, hat tip Marcus Wilder)
Erdogan visited Cairo Egypt, perhaps hoping for a Barack Hussein Obama speech moment, and said it was time to run the Palestinian flag up over the United Nations, in a rallying call to Arab states ahead of a Palestinian UN membership bid. This brought huge applause, but all was not upbeat in Cairo.
... the Egyptians ruined Erdoğan's visit. There is no nicer way to say it. In order to understand how true this is, one just has to hear what he was promised to meet his goals: to be hosted in Gaza, to visit Tahrir Square, and to give an historic speech to the Arab world from the Cairo Opera House. This was a perfect plan for a rising leader who has aspirations to unite the Arab world under Turkey's flag.
Erdoğan did indeed give the speech, but the Egyptians made sure that none of it was broadcasted on TV. They convinced him to cancel the visit to Gaza, for how dare he suddenly invade their own sphere of influence? The visit to Tahrir Square was meant to be the climax of Erdoğan's visit to Egypt. Erdoğan's sharp senses told him that he should speak to the people in the street, but his hosts politely explained to him that he should forego this too. Erdoğan capitulated once again. (Globes Online)
No doubt there have been changes in Turkey as well as Egypt and how this eventually turns out doesn't look good for Israel, the West, or for the Middle East.
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