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Turkey Uses Israel As Springboard to Power

Can anything bring the two nations to détente?

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(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Controversial The Israel Lobby co-author John Mearsheimer has come under justified fire for blurbing a book by Gilad Atzmon, a guy who, among other things, has accused the Jews of unduly exploiting the Holocaust. “The Israeli people are only resorting back to the issue of genocide in history,” he has written. “And using that genocide, they are always acting as if they are the victims all the time.”

Oh, that wasn’t Atzmon, who is decidedly small potatoes (although he has written some very objectionable things). That was Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on CNN this weekend. It’s the basis for the latest tiff between his country and Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has angrily accused Erdogan of incitement. That’s the pattern: Erdogan provokes, to play to his base; Bibi bites, to play to his base; and all of a sudden, it’s another brouhaha between what were, not too long ago, two steadfast allies. If anything, the next to-do has already begun: yesterday, a Turkish paper, citing military sources, published names of Israeli soldiers and officials allegedly involved in the 2010 boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. Erdogan also called for sanctions on Israel.

The Times’s Anthony Shadid explains Erdogan’s situation. He is the non-Arab hero of the Arab Spring, the real McCoy: a genuinely Islamist and genuinely democratic leader of a large, successful, and respected country, unafraid to play with the big boys and unembarrassed by more local causes—chiefly, that of the Palestinians. His Kissinger-esque foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has yet broader plans for regional cooperation. On a recent trip to Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt, Erdogan “brought his populism to the Arab world, where he displayed an intuitive sense of the resonance that the Palestinian issue still commands,” Shadid reports. “In speeches, he catered to the West and his domestic critics by embracing a secular state, even as he prayed in suit and tie in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.”

There are so many “material,” for lack of a better word, reasons why Turkey and Israel should be friends. Their interests align in worrying about Syria’s future; in securing energy supplies; in countering Iran; in letting their two robust economies trade with each other. But if the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it is that all leaders—and especially democratic ones, like Erdogan and Netanyahu—are beholden to their people. And each one’s people are demanding ideological brinksmanship. The big-minded politician who figures out how to make his or her constituents see where their true interests lie will merit the thanks of both sides.

Turkey PM Erdogan Says Israel ‘Shows No Mercy’ [CNN GPS]
Israeli PM Accuses Turkish Leader of Incitement [AP/WP]
Turkish Paper Lists Israelis It Said Were in Flotilla Raid [NYT]
In Riddle of Mideast Upheaval, Turkey Offers Itself as Answer [NYT]
Related: John Mearsheimer Ready for Rosh Hashanah in Style [NYMag Daily Intel]

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Netanyahu it should be noted used the Mavi Marmara for target practice. Nice job Mr. PM.

He deserves the nobel price for peace

Why do you assume that Edrogan is merely posturing for populist appeal and doesn’t honestly hate Israel and believe the things he says?


Erdogan told Shimon Perez that he should listen to Gilad Atzmon back in 2009

Atzmon is a nasty racist who is certainly “small potatoes”. However, with Mearsheimer and Erdogan as fans, he has some powerful followers!

In answer to DRW: Erdogan clearly does believe what he says. He is a deeply ideological politician. Atzmon is an influence on him.

You should do a story on what Atzmon really has to say about The Jew. The quote given here is mild as milk – watch what happens when you engage him on the topic of Holocaust denial.

Erdogan is no democrat. He is rapidly turning Turkey into an Islamist dictatorship by holding show trials of army officers and journalists. I hold no brief for Bibi, but he was elected in a REAL democracy.

• Erdugan leads Turkey Islamic evolution!
Erdugan violates international laws–supports terrorists and claims to be human rights champion!
*Erdugan said that HAMAS is a sister party!
Erdugan recognized that terrorists are his family.
1:”We condemn the assassination of Osama Bin Laden,an Arab holy warrior”
Palestinian Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. –
2:Hamas charter:”The day of judgment will not come until Moslems fight killing the Jews.
The stones and trees will say O MOSLEM, THERE IS A JEW BEHIND ME, KILL HIM”
3:”Hiding among civilians prevents armies with western values the ability to fight. We impose a new non conventional equation in wars”
Said by Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al on Al-Jazeera.

*Turley and Iraq are in peace.
However, Turkey bombs and conducts military actions across the border in Iraq against the Kurds.
The Kurds fight for cultural rights.
They don’t fight to destroy Turkey.
NATO and the UN is silent.I wander why?
*IHH the operators of Marmara ship-protected by Erdugan- is a Turkish Islamic movement part of the global Jihad network.
*IHH was connected to the Islamist terror attack attempt at Los Angeles Airport
*Danish and French intelligence Institutes wrote:
1:IHH is connected to Al Qaeda.
In IHH offices Explosives, terror instruction manuals, weapons and Improvised explosive documents have been founded
2:IHH supports Jihadist groups in: several EU countries, Syria-Afghanistan-Iraq Falllujiah- Chechnya-Algeria.
3;Erdugan is frequently funded by IHH.

Islamist Erdugan- not Ataturk legacy!

So is Binyamin Natanyahu a deeply ideological politician, in case one did not deeply notice.

More extreme stupidity from Jules I see. Israel has the right to intercept ships to ensure they aren’t carrying weapons. There was no “aid” on board the Mavi Marmara. According to no less than the ship’s captain, there was, however a contingent of IHH “activists” hopped up to be on jihad who armed themselves and set upon the Israeli boarding party with the intent to kill.

Eredogan’s “concern” for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation is beyond hypocritical when you look at Erdogan’s record on a range of matters, from jailing Orhan Pamuk for daring to write about Turkey’s extermination of its Armenian population, its current day oppression of its Kurdish minority or its hegemony in Cyprus.

Some journalists like the Globe & Mail’s Doug Saunders like to call Erdogan an “ex-Islamist” simply because he left Milli Gorous to form the AKP, but the distinctions are more a matter of Erdogan being cagier than his former Milli Gorous mentor. Erdogan is very much a supporter of Hamas. The Mavi Marmara’s use for the Gaza floptilla was brokered through Erdogan’s office.

Re: Shadid’s article in the Times — how can you be both Islamist and democratic at the same time? Islamists will certainly use the ballot box to attain power, but once in power, they institute measures to stay in power. At this time, the AKP is popular enough not to fear defeat in an election, but if the tide of public sentiment were to change, undoubtedly, he and his party would not act much differently from the powers currently in control in Iran did two years back when Ahmedinejad clung to power by rigging the election and arresting his opponents.

I do not see where “each one’s people is demanding ideological brinkmanship.” Having been in Turkey several times in the past few years, I would lay the blame for this break in relations entirely at the foot of Erdogan.

He is an Islamic and is trying to push his secular country in that direction. I would call his actions incitful and as causing a divide in his country as well. Marginalizing the army and jailing publishers who disagree with his policies is one way of promoting and ensuring the progress of his agenda.

He is using Israel as a scapegoat and portraying his argument as a religious clash in order to bring in those who will always side with their fellow Muslims. This is a gamble on his part which is both incindiary and reckless.

No extremes by any means. Your perception is clearly warped.

“But if the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it is that all leaders—and especially democratic ones, like Erdogan and Netanyahu—are beholden to their people. And each one’s people are demanding ideological brinksmanship.” Huh? How are Israelis demanding ideological brinksmanship? I’m not sure that even most Turks (as distinct from just Erdogan’s supporters) are demanding it, but I’m certain most Israelis aren’t. ..Unless, that is, every case of not apologizing for things you shouldn’t apologize for falls under “ideological brinksmanship.” ..That’d probably require making “ideological brinksmanship” too broad a category to be analytically useful.

“So is Binyamin Natanyahu a deeply ideological politician, in case one did not deeply notice.”

Ha! He’s a chancer, busking it!

There needs to be a madman in the region, lets see Israel commit state terror now. There is a very strong build up against Israel, peace comes with a price tag!


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Turkey Uses Israel As Springboard to Power

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