Erdogan: Israel’s Newest Arch Enemy


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While Iran’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad has been commonly seen as the archetypical Jew-hater, having denied the Holocaust and vowing to “Wipe Israel off the map,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is inching his way to the top of the list of ‘Israel and Jew-haters.’

Although Erdogan is not alone within the Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led Turkish government to express negative sentiments about Israel, it is Erdogan who has publicly expressed the most visceral of anti-Israel statements.

The Israeli government approved “Cast Lead” operation against Gaza based Hamas, which had lobbed close to 10,000 rockets into Southern Israel, was the “match which lit the fire” of Erdogan’s rage against Israel.  Erdogan’s Islamist background and convictions and that of his political party which has received the votes of the largely religiously Muslim majority in Anatolia, makes his attacks on the Jewish state politically useful, and personally cathartic.

Bloomberg reported on 11/29/10 that “U.S. and Israeli diplomats agreed that the increasingly strained relationship between Turkey and Israel derived mostly from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hatred of the Jewish State, according to cables posted by Wikileaks.org.”  The article in Business Week goes on to say “Israeli ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy described Erdogan as a “fundamentalist” who “hates us religiously.”

This was revealed in a cable U.S. ambassador to Turkey James F. Jeffrey sent to Washington and now released by Wikileaks.

The row between Erdogan and Israel seems to have begun on January 29, 2009, when Erdogan walked off the stage during a World Economic Forum panel discussion on Gaza, in Davos, Switzerland.  Erdogan was upset that he was not given the last word, and shouted at Israel’s President Shimon Peres saying, “Mr. Peres, you’re older than me and your voice comes out in a very loud tone.  And the loudness of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience.”  Not satisfied, Erdogan added, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.”

On February 19, 2009, Current Affairs reported that, “Turkish Prime Minister says Israeli premier’s recent remarks about Gaza are inconsistent and create distrust among leaders.” Erdogan said that, “the comments made by Olmert are inconsistent. Which part of his remarks will you believe?”  Erdogan made these statements during a joint press conference with his Croatian counterpart in Ankara.  Erdogan was apparently upset with Olmert for not advising him on the impending Israeli operation in Gaza.

Olmert, for his part, pointed out that he didn’t tell Erdogan about the Gaza operation “because he didn’t know that he would order an offensive in a few days, and because he could not expect to inform any prime minister about Israel’s military plans.” Olmert added, “Quite frankly, I didn’t call the president of the United States, my good friend, George W. Bush, at that time, and say to him, I am going to attack Gaza …why should I say to any prime minister what the military plans of Israel are for defending its citizens? I don’t think it was the right thing to do…and I was quite unhappy with the feelings that were expressed by the Turkish prime minister.”

With Erdogan assuming the role of the protector of Hamas-led Gaza, it was only a matter of time before Erdogan would provoke a confrontation with Israel.  It came on May 31, 2010, when the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish boat chartered by the Islamist Turkish NGO IHH with ties to Hamas and Erdogan’s government, sailed to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli (and Egyptian) blockade of Gaza.  Told to halt their advance towards Gaza, the people aboard the ship refused and beat up Israeli naval commandos who boarded the ship.  Fearing for their lives, the outnumbered Israeli commandos opened fire on their Turkish attackers killing nine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the incident in an interview saying “This was not a love boat. This was a hate boat. These weren’t pacifists, they weren’t peace activists, these were violent supporters of terrorism.”  For Erdogan however, it was an opportunity to express his visceral hate for Israel.  “Israel cannot clean the blood off its hands through any excuse,” Erdogan said, “It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israeli lawlessness. This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse.”

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  • Dennis L.

    Once again Israel and the Jews are used as scapegoats for internal national politics. Turkish history is marked by Islamic dominance over non-Muslim minorities and ultimately culminated in the Armenian Genocide of 1915 under the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire and the continued killing of Armenians and Pontic Greeks under the auspices of the Republic of Turkey in the 1920s. Turkey's record of aiding Jews to escape from Nazi occupation is poor at best. One only has to recall the Turkish sinking of the Struma with Jewish refugees aboard. I would not be surprised if Erdogan and others are once again dreaming of Pan-Turkism and Pan-Turanism. Their support of terrorist states and groups demonstrates how far removed they are from Western concepts of democracy. Their support of Iran places their reliance as a member of NATO in question. Once again, it seems to the world that Jewish life is a cheap commodity. Before Turkey talks about Israel returning territory to the Palestinians perhaps Turkey should return the lands of historic Armenia and the Pontic region to their rightful owners.

    • Seth

      what a poor comparison? is this your line at dinner parties when people ask about the legnth of your nose?

      • MixMChess

        Truth hurts huh? I challenge you to show how his comparison is, as you say it, "Poor." Do you have any more intellectual capacity other than to just whine and cry that he is a liar? Don't worry, I won't hold my breath…

  • Mike

    He is the new hitler without a doubt, problem is the older jews who understand the value of eliminating a hitler before he gets out of control have died, seems like every generation must learn on their own, my prayers are with the innocent good jews in israel

    • Seth

      haha have you been to israel? there ARE NO innnocents. a antion of horrible peopel

      • MixMChess

        Have you ever been to Israel? I'm guessing not since your either a neo-Nazi or an islamofacist. Last I checked the only nation full of horrible people are the Palestinians whose entire culture is built from terrorism. What other people on earth actually takes pleasure in murdering their own children? Its sickening. The fact that Erdogen and the Turks would support these monsters speaks volumes, and the fact that you would defend them reveals your true nature.

      • dan

        hey seth, have you been here? also, i suggest you use spell-check or go to school or something…

  • Seth

    Maybe ISRAEL just isnt the poor jewish state everyone thinks? obviously they are hated for a reason….

    • MixMChess

      Nope, only irrational antisemites like you hate it. When did it become a crime for Jews to want to live in peace?

  • http://islamisationofturkey.blogspot.com fahad

    erdogan is changing turkey in such a cleaver way that western power and local secularists has no answer.If this way turkey continues after 30 years you will find new ottoman empire
    in middle east .http://islamisationofturkey.blogspot.com

  • http://islamisationofturkey.blogspot.com fahad

    islamisationofturkey.blogspot.com

  • David

    The first comment hit it right on the nose!! Turkey should return the lands that it STOLE first!

  • Dennis L.

    I guess Seth's retort, if I am correct in my opinion, is a reference to the stereotypic depiction of the anti-Semitic exaggerated portrayal of the Jewish nose. I guess he also assumes that I am Jewish. Perhaps if he became more versed in Middle Eastern and Turkish history he would have something more intelligent to offer.