Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why Did Turkey Really Cross the Road?

Ahmadinejad and Davutoglu

In Hurriyet Daily News, my favorite secular commentator, Burak Bekdil wonders if Turkey's leaders' hysterical ravings about Israel finally expose Islamist tendencies at the center of their hearts: 

"No doubt, Turkish government officials sincerely feel sympathy for the Mavi Marmara victims and their families. But this is not precisely why they are acting like big angry Turks. If Mr. Davutoğlu is keen for an honest explanation, he can first listen to his own speeches which, in “I-have-a-dream” fashion, boast that his dream is to 'pray one day at the al-Quds mosque in the Palestinian capital al-Quds.' Yes, it’s all about the militantly Islamic sacrosanct symbolism about an 'Arab-only Jerusalem.'"

"Placards are important. If his own speeches fail to convince Mr. Davutoğlu, he can look at the footage of demonstrations after Friday prayers often ornamented with placards reading 'Now I understand Hitler!' Still not convincing? Let’s have a look at the visual material from the annual al-Quds day celebrations in London and in Istanbul for which thousands of Muslims gathered sporting their yellow Hizbullah flags with the famous gun emblem.
The placards at the Trafalgar Square had this assortment: “Death to Israel,” “Israel your days are numbered,” and “For world peace Israel must be destroyed.” A common Trafalgar-Beyazıt placard was “We are all Hizbullah,” and an only-Beyazit placard read “The army of Muhammad is returning/coming.”
"And here is how a speaker at Beyazıt spoke about peace: 'The world is moving closer to a great day to settle scores [with Israel/Jews]... Israel’s demise is near... If we are going to talk of liberating al-Quds, we must first talk about the annihilation of Israel.'
"One may argue that these are radical Islamists and that Turkey’s rulers are not. Then answer two questions, dear optimist (and you can do this silently). Did Turkey’s current rulers carry, or did they not, the same placards years ago before they decided to become the chameleons of political Islam? Do they, or do they not, even this day talk about the 'liberation” of al-Quds? They may no longer be carrying the placards, but the same words are engraved on their hearts.'" Read the whole article here.
Yet in Haaretz today we learn that Turkey is treading a fine line with their new friends: "Iran on Thursday warned Turkey that plans for a NATO radar station on its territory would cause tension, the ISNA news agency reported.'We expect our friend and neighbor (Turkey) to be more careful and not prepare the ground for policies which would lead to tension and, beyond any doubt, to complicated consequences as well," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.' How will Turkey reconcile this with wanting to have it both ways: leadership in the Muslim world with participation in NATO?
Perhaps Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu isn't as great a Machiavellian strategist as he and Prime Minister Erdogan believe he is. Edward Luttwak certainly doesn't think so. Here is what he said in his Tablet interview:
"Q: What do you make of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close diplomatic alliance with Turkey? There seems to be this effort to build up the Turks as an alternative hegemon to Iran in the region, even as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, is trying his best to create an Islamic one-party state.
"A: Hillary Clinton and her staff are not fools. Therefore, they must know that the Turkish foreign minister is a fool. I know him personally. The man is an idiot. Hillary Clinton and her advisers are not idiots. No advantage would be served for the United States to recognize where Erdogan is really going. It’s much better to pretend that he’s a member of NATO and North Atlantic Alliance and all the rest of it."

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