Tag Archives: Erdogan

Israel Excellent At Losing Friends And Influence In World

Israel was born in violence when Arab nations refused to accept the United Nations partition plan and during its entire existence, the Israel government and people have reacted in the manner of a besieged mentality. Turkey has been the only Muslim nation which has maintained close relations with Israel even to the extend to conducting joint military exercises. Turkish leaders have paid the price in their relations with Muslims by refusing to end close contacts with Israel. But, the Turkish government finally gave up supporting Israel due to the disastrous IDF invasion of Gaza which led to the death of 1,300 (including hundreds of civilians) and the wounding of 5000 while Israel had ten soldiers and three civilians killed. Prime Minister Erdogan told Newsweek, “I’m not saying that Hamas is a good organization, and makes no mistakes. They have made mistakes. But, I am evaluating the end result.. the current Israel government should check itself. They should not exploit this issue for the upcoming elections.”

Erdogan confronted Israel President Peres at the Davos conference and stormed out of the room after an angry meeting. The Israel propaganda machine is trying to convey the message the European Union backs them and is angry at Turkey. Hogwash. The entire world is furious and after death and destruction, rockets still come. The solution was never military in nature but working with Arab nations to achieve peace. The Arab League offered a sensible compromise of returning to 1967 borders in exchange for peace, but Israel internal politics prevent such agreements. Erdogan was right on target– the Gaza invasion was linked to the upcoming Israel elections and Defense Minister Barak is now posing as a savior in order to get votes.

It is time for Israel to end the power of West Bank settlers and the religious right, and create a secular society that is centered in compromise and peace.

Fruit Of Gaza Invasion–Diplomatic Isolation!

During the past half century while Israel was being isolated by Arab nations, the Muslim nation of Turkey maintained close working relations and the military forces of both countries even worked on joint exercises. Israel last month decided to invade Gaza and end rocket attacks regardless of the diplomatic cost of such an operation. At the Davos conference, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Edogan clashed with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza invasion. The Israeli leader defended the invasion on ground it was done to halt rocket attacks. “What would you do, ” he asked Erdogan, “if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?” This incited within the Turkish leader an angry reaction, “I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches.”

The end result of the Gaza operation was to further isolate Israel from the world. It has become the greatest public relations disasters in the history of Israel. The issue is not so much about halting rocket attacks, but the METHOD USED TO END ROCKET ATTACKS. Firing heavy artillery into areas containing many civilians on ground that Israeli soldiers must be protected is a violation of international law which requires caution in such operations. To argue the life of one Israeli soldier is worth the death of ten children is not a morally defensible view.

The world agrees that Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Perhaps, the Gaza operation should have been focused on destroying tunnels being used to smuggle goods. Perhaps, the Israel government could have worked to have Turkish soldiers assume control of Gaza crossings in exchange for a guarantee that rocket attacks would end. There were many options and failure of Israel to utilize them has resulted in diplomatic isolation.

Turkish Prime Minister Urges Redefinition Of Terrorism

Perhaps, among the most serious mistakes after 9/11 was to cast American foreign policy in terms of a “war against terrorism.” The word, “terrorism” is vague and does not refer to any specific nation or entity that will be compelled to surrender in order to end the war. A “war against terrorism” can go on into infinity since there will always be terrorists and murderers in our midst. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has raised new issues concerning this war. ‘President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” he urged, “and based on this new definition, a new American policy must be deployed in the Middle East.” Erdogan most probably was referring to organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas which are defined as being “terrorist” in nature. The prime minister has played a key role in seeking to mediate the conflict between Israel and Syria, but after the invasion of Gaza he suspended this effort. However, he is now prepared to resume the role of mediator and pursue a path to peace.

Erdogan’s government for decades has been engaged in fighting Kurdish insurgents who want to break away from Turkey. Based on that experience, he argues, “we see there is a diplomatic side, a social-economic side, and a psychological side. So we must adopt a very comprehensive approach in order to find ways to fight terrorism.” He notes “because terrorism does not recognized borders, has no religion or creed, one cannot approach the problem by saying my terrorist is fine and yours is not.” An excellent insight and one America must grasp.

Turkish Prime Minister Goes Nationalist

During the past several years, the Justice and Development Party(AKP)of Turkey has attempted to reform the government and work to bring the nation up to a level that would lead to entry into the European Union. However, amid charges of corruption and stagnating reform, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is wrapping himself in the flag of nationalism and forming an alliance with the secular military which opposes his brand of Muslim government. A key point in Turkish reform was integrating its Kurdish minority, but the Erdogan government is taking an increasingly hostile approach to reconciliation efforts. Last week, the public prosecutor urged that six Kurdish youths between the ages of 13 to 16 be sentenced to 58 years in jail for throwing stones at police officers. The governor blamed their behavior on “terrorist parents” and cancelled their claims for pensions.

Erdogan had promised a new beginning in dealing with the Kurdish problem, but is now retreating into the military approach that only force will end dissent. In a recent speech to a Kurdish audience, Erodgan said:’One nation, one flag, one country” and anyone who doesn’t like it can leave it. Erdogan has even come down hard on journalists who attempt to present a balanced view about the Kurdish situation. If Erdogan continues on this path, he will discover he can take Turkey and keep it, but the European Union will not accept its membership.

Is Turkish AKP Losing Political Support?

The Justice and Development Party(AKP) swept into power on a platform that a centrist moderate religious centered political organization could govern Turkey in a manner that made the economy boom while protecting individual rights. There is great concern in Turkey among business and liberal leaders that the AKP is no longer representing its views. There is growing fear corruption is spreading within AKP ranks and Prime Minister Erdogan is not as popular because he has not moved quickly enough to make individual right reform become a high priority. The entire basis for being able to enter the European Union rests on instituting political reforms that foster democracy and individual rights.

The AKP moved too quickly on the headscarf issue for women in universities and would have been wiser to wait until entry into the EU. Erodgan has not reassured the Kurdish minority that its rights will be respected and he has lost considerable support among the Alevis who want true religious freedom.

Iran Sympathetic To Turkish Mediation With US

The Tehran Times indicated significant interest on the part of the Iranian government to a proposal by Turkey to serve as a mediator in the conflict between the United States and Iran. In a recent interview, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said the election of Barack Obama opened new opportunities for dialogue between America and the Iranian government and he would be happy to serve as a conduit for such discussions. Obama said during his campaign he was willing to engage in talks with Iran and Erdogan thought the note of congratulations sent by President Ahmadinejad to Obama was a positive step forward. “We watch the relations between Iran and U.S. with great concern,” said Erdogan. “We expect such issues to be resolved at the table. Wars are never solutions in this age.”

Turkey argues it is uniquely situated to be a mediator since it is a Muslim nation with good relations with Iran and is also a member of NATO. Erdogan currently is working as a mediator in an effort to revolve issues between Israel and Syria. Erdogan has high hopes Obama will assume a positive attitude to pursue peace with Iran.

Turkish Prime Minister Scolded By Court

The Constitutional Court of Turkey scolded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for undermining the nation’s secular principles although it stopped short of demanding his resignation. The court in July fined the Islamist -rooted Justice and Development Party(AKP) for fostering an anti-secular attitude in government. However, the Court ruled: “It was found that the head of the party(AKP)Recep Tayyip Erdogan, member of the party and former parliament speaker Bulent Arinc, Education Minister Huseyin Celik–were involved in determined and intense activities which were against Aricle 68 of the constitution.”

The Court decision focused on how Erdogan and other members of the AKP attempted to lift the ban on women being able to wear a headscarf in universities. It also mentioned statements made by Erdogan in which he said, “religion is the cement of Turkish society.” Erdogan argued he was simply trying to make clear there was freedom of speech in a religious society. The Court is sending a message to the AKP to be careful regarding which aspects of Turkish society they wish to change.

Coup Rumors Circulate In Turkey

The Turkish nation is experiencing extreme stress upon its governmental structures as rumors circulate in the capital regarding alleged plots by military leaders to overthrow the government. Last week, police arrested former generals, academics, journalists and even mafia bosses who belonged to the ultranationalist Ergenekan organization which they claimed was preparing a coup to overthrow the government and crush any movement that favors imposing religious practices. Even as the government moved to crush a potential coup, the Turkish Constitutional Court was hearing closing arguments in the case brought by the Public Prosecutor which seeks to close down the Justice and Development Party(AKP) on grounds it is trying to impose fundamentalist Muslim ideas on the nation.

It is clear there is a trust gap on the part of Turkish secular leaders regarding the intention of the AKP’s goals regarding fostering fundamentalist Muslim customs and beliefs on the population. Prime Minister Erdogan insists “the democratic system is working: but the evidence is overwhelming that distrust and fears are powerful emotions which are dividing secular forces from the government.

Turkish Government Awaits Constitution Court Decision

The Turkish government is experiencing turmoil and conflict as it awaits news from the Constitutional Court as to its decision of banning or not banning the ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP) as a legal political organization. The Court is reviewing a case brought by the Public Prosecutor who charges the AKP with seeking to undermine the Turkish constitution by working to end its secular base and institute a Muslim centered society which will govern on the basis of sharia law. In recent days, ultra nationalist leaders have urged Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, to stand down from politics if his party is banned in order to avoid further conflict in society. In parliamentary debate, Erdogan disregarded the request, and stated bluntly, “if a politician decides to stand down from politics, it will be due to the will of the people,” not because of a judicial decision.

Deniz Baykal, of the opposition Republican People’s Party, argued Turkey is fast approaching a decision if the Constitutional Court decides to ban the AKP. “Will Turkey remain a modern nation or become a weird Islamic state of the Middle East?”

However, there is a third option which Erdogan and many members of the AKP are urging– creation of a modern nation which respects the rights of its religious members while also respecting the rights of those who believe in secular principles. If this third path is taken, it offers a model for the entire Middle East.

Turkish PM Erdogan Mediates In Middle East

The presidency of George Bush has virtually lost all credibility in the Middle East due to its blatant one-sided support for Israel. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, of Turkey, is attempting to step into the American vacuum of power by presenting himself as a neutral mediator who has the respect and confidence of both Israel and Palestinians. He is currently working to establish dialogue between Israel and Syria and might be able to expand his role to embrace a broader agenda dealing with Middle Eastern peace. Israel has close ties with Turkey, and, since Erdogan represents an Islamic party, he has the ability to reach out to diverse Muslim groups in the region as an indvidual who will not enter negotiations with a set agenda but is willing to encourage compromise.

Anaka might be uniquely quality by dint of its acceptability to key players in the region to jump start the Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Israel political leaders trust Erdogan and might be willing to participate in discussions with Hamas if such talks were organized by the Turkish prime minister.

Perhaps, it is time for Condi Rice and Bush to step down and allow Turkey to step up in assuming leadership in the Middle East.