Monday, April 16, 2018

Erdogan's Twisted Visions - Joseph Puder

by Joseph Puder

Who he sees as terrorists and freedom fighters.

The international reaction to Hamas’ provocative “March of Return” had its predictable voices mired in typical hypocrisy.  The European Union (EU), and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for “an independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s use of live ammunition to quell the rioting.  The United Nations (UN), that “paragon of virtue,” called for an emergency Security Council meeting with the aim of condemning Israel.  France called on Israel to “show restraint.”  The most blatant attack on Israel came from Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  He called Israel’s Prime Minister “a terrorist.”

The EU seems to be interested in investigations only when Israel is involved and when the victims are Palestinians.  That is not the case when Israelis are murdered by Palestinian terrorists.  The UN, beholden to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is its most powerful component in the General Assembly and other UN institutions, is clearly a biased party. The UN has habitually devoted the lion’s share of its proceedings to condemn Israel.  Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN observed (12/10/2017): “The UN has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel.”

Turkey’s President Erdogan exceeded all others in his hypocritical righteous indignation.  At a Saturday speech (April 1, 2018) in Istanbul, Erdogan declared: “I strongly condemn the Israeli government over its inhumane attack.”  He was referring to the Hamas organized riot called the “March of Return,” in which 15 Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli soldiers.  Erdogan added on his social media page, “Israel will get trapped under the oppression it inflicts in Palestine. We will continue to support our Palestinian sisters and brothers in their rightful cause until the very end.”

The following day, Erdogan continued his attack, this time on Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally, calling him “a terrorist.”  In a televised speech in Adana, Southern Turkey, he shouted “Hey Netanyahu! You are an occupier.  And it is as an occupier that you are on those lands.  At the same time you are a terrorist.”  Reuters quoted Erdogan the same day as saying (referring to Israel)

“You are a terrorist state.  It is known what you have done in Gaza and what you have done in Jerusalem.  You have no one that likes you in the world.”  This last remark revealed Erdogan’s anti-Semitic disposition.

Netanyahu, on his part, responded to Erdogan’s attacks stating that, “The most moral army in the world will not accept the moral preaching from someone who for years has been bombing a civilian population indiscriminately.” It was a clear reference to Erdogan’s brutal attacks against unarmed Kurdish civilians in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.  Moreover, Turkish forces occupied Northern Cyprus in 1974, and a large number of Turkish-Muslim settlers from Anatolia, Turkey, have moved to Northern Cyprus.

Michael Totten in World Affairs, (March 1, 2018) wrote: “Turkey’s increasingly paranoid and deranged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that everyone involved with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, even peripherally, is a terrorist.”  Since the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, which might have been engineered by Erdogan himself in order to seize emergency powers, he has purged more than 150,000 people, including university professors, journalists, and novelists.  At the same time, Erdogan has mounted a bloody campaign against alleged Kurdish “terrorists” and their supporters inside Turkey.  In the process he has jailed thousands of Turkish citizens.  One such victim is a former Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament named Hasip Kaplan.  Erdogan’s terror against his Kurdish citizens includes the arrest of more than 11,000 members of the secular, and predominantly Kurdish party, (in the Turkish parliament) the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

The Washington Post (January 31, 2018) reported that under the ironic name of “Operation Olive Branch,” Turkish forces in January waged war against Syrian Kurds in the predominantly Kurdish populated enclave called Afrin. “Reports suggest Turkish air and artillery strikes have damaged villages, and killed civilians there, in addition to killing dozens of Syrian Kurdish fighters.”

Erdogan’s hypocrisy is transparent and outrageous.  Erdogan supports Hamas’ terror against Israel, but labels all Kurds as terrorists.  Unlike Israel, whose sovereignty and the lives of its citizens are threatened by Hamas’ terror - Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish civilians are not threatening Turkey’s sovereignty.  And while the Kurdish PKK has been engaged in terror, most Kurdish civilians in Turkey, Syria and Iraq reject PKK’s terrorist methods.  Erdogan’s army bombed and killed innocent Kurdish civilians in their sleep, while Israeli soldiers exhibited extra caution to not harm the innocent protestors.

“The March of Return” as the Hamas instigated riot was labeled, was a long planned campaign on which the terrorist organization has spent $15 million, according to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.  Despite the dire economic situation in Gaza, (a CIA estimate of unemployment for 2017 at 26.7%, and in reality closer to 40% unemployment), and major dependency on international welfare, Hamas used funds at its disposal to recruit “protesters” from mosques, schools, and randomly on the streets of the Gaza Strip.  Hamas used social media, as well as radio and television to promote what is meant to be the “March into Israel.” On the ground, not far from the border crossing into Israel, Hamas prepared embankments, water pipes, portable toilets, and tents.

It is clear to everyone that Hamas is in utter desperation, and it is attempting to rouse the Gaza populace to be its “sacrificial lambs” for its selfish quest to get headlines and deflect attention from the misery it has inflicted upon the people of Gaza.  Hamas seeks to mobilize the international community to act against Israel, counting in particular on the United Nations, and the European Union for political and financial support.  Hamas can no longer provide economic sustenance to the Gazan people, nor is it willing to hand over governance of the Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA).  The PA has in turn cut down payments to civil servants (particularly following the attempted assassination of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah) in Gaza, putting further constrains on Hamas.

The Gulf Arabs have more pressing issues than supporting the Palestinian Authority intransigence, and Hamas’ adventurism.  (Jordan is constrained by its majority Palestinian population, and is compelled to express support for Palestinian victims in Gaza). They are preoccupied with countering Iran’s hegemonic ambitions and its attempts to overthrow the pro-Western Sunni regimes.  Gulf Arabs view Iran, not Israel, as a major existential challenge.  Saudi Arabia likewise considers Turkey’s Muslim Brotherhood oriented dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a major challenger to its leadership position in the Islamic world.  For Hamas’ Sunni-Muslim leadership, Iran’s Islamic Republic is a reliable source of support, albeit, it is a Shiite regime.  Turkey’s Erdogan is however, Hamas’ major political and economic supporter, and Hamas is banking on him for both political support, and financial relief.

The megalomaniacal Erdogan sees himself as the Sunni-Muslim Caliph, and the Sultan of the Muslim world, much like his Ottoman predecessors.  He has threatened to attack the U.S. troops imbedded with Kurds in Northeastern Syria, and calls ordinary Kurds “terrorists.” Yet he fully encourages and supports Hamas’ terror against Israel.  That is simply blatant hypocrisy.

Joseph Puder


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