Mavi Marmara Sequel: Knife-Wielding 'Aid' Ship Goes to Court
Does political posturing pass as an indictment in Turkey’s judicial system these days? Is Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan using a page from the old Arab League, post-Shah Iranian playbook again? Will Turkey’s poorly-written sequel about an “aid” ship with “peaceful humanitarians” carrying rice and beans (i.e., provocateurs with terrorist ties wielding metal crow bars and tons of knives) tank?
Turkey’s recent allegations are not surprising or even shocking but expected and predictable given the current quagmire Iran faces regarding its nuclear program. May 23, 2012 not only marked the day Iran resumed nuclear talks with the P5+1 group (consisting of Chinese, French, German, Russian, British and U.S. negotiators), it was also the day that Turkey turned its judicial system into a laughingstock by leveling baseless allegations at top Israeli officers for their response to the Turkish Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara.
Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz reported that Turkey’s chief prosecutor is expected to charge several top Israeli officers “for ordering the intentional killing of activists during the 2010 Israel Defense Forces raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.” Photos of the “peaceful activists” wielding iron rods, a stockpile of weapons confiscated onboard, and Israeli officers who were beaten and stabbed paint a completely different scenario.
Haaretz stated The Turkish Daily Sabah reported Ankara’s prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya is filing a 144-page indictment that oddly enough includes historical regarding Turkey and Spanish Jews in the 15th century along with German Jewry in the Second World War. O.k., I think the word baseless can be emphasized again.
Leave it up to the New York Times to add insult to injury after naming a different prosecutor and rubbing sandpaper on it by adding:
The indictment further recommended that the four receive additional prison terms totaling 18,000 years for what it called other crimes committed by the Israeli side during the flotilla raid.
A correction is in order. A military response in self-defense, and to protect a country's sovereign border can hardly be construed as “crimes.” It is also worth noting the crimes committed by the Turkish side are noticeably MIA.
The root of this problem lies in Turkey’s position that Israel’s counter-terrorism blockade is illegal, even though Israel’s Turkel Committee Report along with the UN’s Palmer Report both have deemed the blockade is legal. Given the fact that the Turkish government knowingly and willingly sent armed IHH members – a known terrorist group – to break Israel’s counter-terrorism blockade yet refused to allow Israeli naval officers aboard the Mavi Marmara to inspect its cargo is hugely suspect. Turkey constant finger-pointing while refusing to take responsibility for their crimes and reckless actions makes Turkey’s judicial system a joke. These new allegations will likely be viewed as groundless all while serving as yet another diversion for BFF Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he attempts to convince Western powers that his nuke program is for “peaceful” purposes.
To understand Turkey’s role in this sadistic game of “we did it and now Israel has to pay for it”, you first have to understand how the relationship between these former allies deteriorated way before the Mavi Marmara sailed on May 31, 2010.
While most media outlets are reporting that the Mavi Marmara incident led to the chill in Turkish-Israeli relations, the deterioration between Turkey and Israel came about because of Erdogan's rise to power and his deliberate left turn away from once close Western allies towards Islamist countries. Once you understand how Erdogan’s influence rose by distancing himself from democratic countries while schmoozing the likes of Ahmadinejad and Syrian President al-Bashar Assad, it’s not hard to recognize desperate measures like Turkey’s latest “indictment.”
Incidentally, some IHH members are intertwined with Turkey’s government and have even participated in some UN efforts, tainting the allegations even more.
More claims may surface that Israel offered to pay millions to the families of the “activists” who died aboard the Mavi Marmara like this one. It’s important to keep in mind that paying for someone's tragedy doesn’t unanimously equate to guilt. Plenty of “victims” threaten celebrities with lawsuits unless they “settle” out of court. Bottomline remains that Israel has never accepted blame for the deaths of the provocateurs on the Mavi Marmara and likely never will.
If Turkey wanted to help Gazans, they would have delivered “aid” in an entirely different way. Each week Israel ships tons of goods into Gaza. Israel offers open crossing to any country that wishes to deliver goods to Gazans as long as the aid is checked ahead of time to prevent arms smuggling to Iranian proxies (i.e., terrorist groups) like Hamas and Hezbollah. If Turkey wanted to deliver aid they would have worked through any one of the designated Israeli channels to deliver it. They instead wanted to create an international incident, delegitimize Israel, break its legal counter-terrorism blockade and turn public opinion against the Jewish state.
All the while, we can no longer let Turkey’s fictitious allegations take our minds off over 10,000 butchered Syrians, and Iran’s attempt to pass off nukes as a “cure for cancer”. This is where astute freedom-lovers must read between the lines. Erdogan talks publicly about creating “a buffer zone” for the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians at the hands of his buddy Assad, though I have yet to hear him green light military action to stop his BFF from slaughtering Syrians. Still think Erdogan is tired of hearing about the Armenian genocide? I wonder.
Jennifer Hanin is executive editor and founder of Act For Israel and author of Becoming Jewish.