World View: Erdogan Turns Turkey Even More Against Israel and Egypt

World View: Erdogan Turns Turkey Even More Against Israel and Egypt

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Turkey will send new flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza
  • Gaza war further splits Israel’s relations with Turkey and U.S.
  • Turkey gets closer to ISIS and Qatar and splits further with Egypt

Turkey will send new flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza

Turkey broke off diplomatic relations with Israel after the deaths ofnine Turkish citizens on May 31, 2010, in a confrontation betweenIsrael’s navy and the boat Mavi Marmara in a flotilla headed for Gazain violation of Israel’s Gaza blockade. Since then, Israel’s primeminister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to find a way to meet thedemands of Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restorerelations. He’s apologized to Erdogan for the incident, and he’snegotiated monetary payments to the families of the victims. ButErdogan’s third demand, fully ending the blockade of Gaza, has notbeen met.

The 2010 flotilla was sponsored not by Turkey, but by a Turkish NGO, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Now the IHH hasissued a statement saying that activists from twelve countries met inIstanbul and will send a new flotilla “in the shadow of the latestIsraeli aggression on Gaza.” Daily Sabah (Istanbul) and Jerusalem Post

Gaza war further splits Israel’s relations with Turkey and U.S.

Relations between President Barack Obama and Israel’s prime ministerBenjamin Netanyahu have always been extremely frosty, but never moreso since the start of the Gaza war. In the past, Obama has demandedthat Israel stop building settlements and unilaterally accept areturn to Israel’s 1948 borders. According to reports, White Houseofficials view Netanyahu as “reckless and untrustworthy,” and Israeliofficials regard the Obama administration as “weak and naive.” Lastmonth, US Secretary of State John Kerry submitted a proposed ceasefireagreement based on private discussions with Hamas’s allies, Qatar andTurkey, that gave Hamas everything it wanted. Since then, Israel hasshut the U.S. completely out of peace negotiations, and Egypt hasassumed the role that the U.S. used to have as chief mediator.

Israel is particularly disturbed by the Obama administration’sincreasingly close ties with Iran, whom the Israelis consider to be anexistential threat because of potential nuclear weapon development.Israel is forming increasingly close alliances with Egypt, SaudiArabia, and the Palestinian Authority, while Hamas has close relationswith Qatar and Turkey.

Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always had a fairlyhostile attitude towards Israel, but it became extremely vitriolicfollowing the 2010 flotilla incident. Erdogan has equated Zionismwith racism and compared Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahuto Hitler.

This attitude has spread to the public. Turkish Jews and Jewishtourists are experiencing increasing anti-Semitism. According to onebusinessman, Turks swear at Jews in the street, and one hotel warnedin response to an email message requesting to book a room that “foryour further safety concerns it is our duty to inform you that thePalestine embassy is our next door neighbor and we do not have privatesecurity within the hotel.” Jewish tourists are being warnednot to visit Turkey.

Erdogan has been prime minister of Turkey since 2003, having beenelected for three terms. Last month, Erdogan won election aspresident of Turkey. Ironically, the president has been little morethan a figurehead in the past, but Erdogan plans to expand the powersof the president so he’s more powerful than the prime minister in thefuture. He’ll be sworn in as president on August 28. Zaman (Istanbul) and Fox News and Algemeiner and Debka

Turkey gets closer to ISIS and Qatar and splits further with Egypt

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi returned from a visit in Sochiwith Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Relations between Egypt andTurkey have gotten so bad that al-Sisi felt that it was unsafe totravel over Turkey’s airspace. His plane also avoided Ukraine’s airspace because of the recent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flightMH17. So al-Sisi’s plane took a hugely circuitous route from Sochi toEgypt, graphically illustrating how much distance there is betweenal-Sisi and Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan is angry that al-Sisi last year ousted Egypt’s formerpresident Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government, andthen violently cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood movement,declaring it a terrorist organization, and killing or jailingthousands of its members. Erdogan’s own AKP party is close to theMuslim Brotherhood, and Hamas is an offshoot of MB, leaving himabsolutely furious at the current Gaza war. Erdogan has evenfuriously blamed Israel for the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, presumablybecause it’s more politically correct to criticize Israel than tocriticize Egypt.

Turkey, Qatar, and Hamas are strengthening their alliance versusIsrael, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia. However,Turkey is also developing cordial relations with the Islamic State. This is partly because IS isfighting against Turkey’s enemy, Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.Another reason is that IS is holding as hostages 49 Turkishdiplomats, including Turkey’s consul general in Mosul, whose consulateserves as ISIS’s headquarters.

Summary: Turkey + ISIS + Qatar + Hamas VERSUS Egypt + Saudia Arabia +Palestinian Authority + Israel.

Iran is playing a schizophrenic role in all this. Iran is Turkey’senemy with regard to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and ISIS, but Iran isTurkey’s ally, along with Hamas, in the Gaza war. As I’ve writtenmany times, when Iran is forced to choose sides in the coming Clash ofCivilizations world war, it will be allied with the west. This isnot simply because Mideast alliances, however. It’s because Iran isclosely allied with India and Russia, and they will be enemies ofChina and Pakistan. Hurriyet (Ankara) and VOA and War on the Rocks

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