Losing Turkey

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


The most significant outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident is that there can no longer be any doubt that Turkey has joined the anti-Western bloc that includes Hamas, Iran and Syria. The Muslim country was once devotedly secular, an ally of Israel, and remains a member of NATO, but under the direction of Prime Minister Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (often referred to as the AKP), Turkey has gone in the completely opposite direction with enormous strategic consequences.

“Unfortunately, the AKP government of Mr. Erdogan and the oil-rich regime of Qatar joined the regional bloc opposing the more traditional governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco,” Dr. Walid Phares told FrontPage.

Erdogan’s turn to the other side is not the result of a single incident such as Operation Cast Lead or the Israeli raid on the flotilla, but is the culmination of an agenda long held by Erdogan and the AKP.

“In fact, it is not secular Turkey that we see moving against the U.S., West, Israel and Arab moderates. It is the AKP Islamist cabinet which is uncovering its long-term ideological agenda. The West should have projected this since 2002,” Dr. Phares said, referring to the year in which Erdogan’s party won a majority in the Turkish parliament.

Erdogan was imprisoned in 1998 for his involvement with the banned Welfare Party, which the Turkish government considered Islamist. Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy describes the Welfare Party as the “motherboard of Turkish Islamists since the 1980s,” saying it was inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan was specifically punished for reading a poem at one speech with the lines, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.”

In 2001, he founded the AKP, which took a more moderate line, portraying itself as committed to separation of mosque and state but “faithful governance,” as Dr. Essam El-Erian, the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political bureau, described the AKP’s “moderate Islamist” ideology. There was no anti-Western rhetoric and the party strongly supported membership in the European Union. The group won a large victory in the 2002 elections, resulting in Erdogan taking the post of Prime Minister.

Dr. El-Erian praised Erdogan’s victory, saying that it was the result of the “exposing of the failure of the secular trend.” El-Erian confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood had close ties to the AKP, but the West treated Turkey as if nothing had changed. It wasn’t until Turkey steadfastly refused to allow U.S. soldiers to transit their territory to overthrow Saddam Hussein that the West began questioning the allegiance of Erdogan’s government.

The Erdogan government soon began a concerted effort to fuel anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment, knowing that such feelings help the AKP politically and hurt its opponents in the secular military that have long ties to the West. The Turkish media consistently reported alleged U.S. atrocities, fanning the already massive anti-war sentiment. The outrageous claims can only be compared to the anti-Israeli propaganda seen in the Arab world and Iran, echoing similar themes such as the use of chemical weapons against civilians and the harvesting of organs from killed Iraqis.

The AKP won an even larger share of the vote in the July 2007 election and had even more dominance over the government. Since then, the ideology of Erdogan has become more apparent as Turkish opinion has become less hostile to anti-Western Islamism.  Shortly after the victory, Turkey’s moves towards Iran and other enemies of the West became more visible and aggressive.

Turkey began entertaining the prospect of Iran’s natural gas being delivered to European markets through its territory, and the two countries launched joint military attacks against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq. The Party of Free Life for Kurdistan, or PJAK, claimed it actually saw Turkish officers working alongside the Iranian military. Newsmax.com reported that eight Turkish officers were in Iran coordinating the attacks with the Revolutionary Guards.

In the spring of 2009, Moqtada al-Sadr, the Iranian-backed militia leader whose followers killed dozens of American soldiers in Iraq, met with Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul for “political consultations.” Most recently, Turkey has opposed sanctions on Iran and helped put together a deal with Brazil meant to delay any United Nations measures despite Iran’s lack of cooperation on the nuclear issue.

Erdogan’s government simultaneously became more anti-Israeli, particularly once the Israeli military offensive into Gaza began in response to the rocket attacks of Hamas. Erdogan went so far as to predict that Israel’s actions “would bring it to self-destruction,” saying “Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.” He accused Jewish-controlled media outlets of “finding unfounded excuses to justify targeting of schools, mosques and hospitals.”

On January 29, 2009, Erdogan publicly confronted Israeli President Peres at the World Economic Forum over the Israeli offensive. When he was denied extra time to continue his criticism of Israel, he stormed out. Erdogan was a hero overnight in the Muslim world.

Soon after, an exhibit opened in a major state-controlled metro in Istanbul that included many viciously anti-Israeli and anti-American cartoons, portraying Israeli soldiers as massacring innocent people with American weapons. The AKP won the March 29 local elections, further cementing their hold and convincing Erdogan that he was politically safe to follow the agenda he held from the beginning. Later that year, Israel had to confront Turkey over anti-Israeli propaganda on prime-time state-controlled television.

In October, Turkey refused to allow Israel to participate in annual military exercises also involving Italy and the U.S. Instead, Turkey and Syria announced that they would hold their own joint exercises. The Turkish-Syrian alliance began shortly after Erdogan came to power, with Syrian President Bashar Assad visiting Turkey and a free trade agreement being signed.

Turkey has also moved closer to Sudan, refusing to describe the situation in Darfur as a genocide. Erdogan’s government also opposes the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir for human rights violations. His defense of Bashir is that “no Muslim could perpetrate a genocide.”

Now, Turkey is taking center stage in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey is openly considering cutting off all diplomatic ties with Israel and is saying that its warships will escort future convoys to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. There are reports that Erdogan himself may actually join a convoy. Erdogan now openly says, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization…They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”

He was among the first to accept Hamas after it was elected in Gaza, and he is calling their rule a “democracy” based on elections alone. Democracy is much more than elections, but Erdogan, like the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, want to equate democracy with elections so as to give themselves legitimacy as they move against the other pillars of democracy. Professor Barry Rubin says that as the AKP won election victories, the Erdogan government “repressed opposition and arrested hundreds of critics, bought up 40 percent of the media, and installed its people in the bureaucracy.”

Today, the government has begun the country’s “largest-ever crackdown” on the military, prosecuting 33 current and former military officers for allegedly planning a coup to overthrow the AKP government in 2003 including the former head of the special forces. Those arrested have been accused of planning to carry out acts of terrorism including the bombing of mosques, which they deny. Given the military’s pride in acting as the guardian of Turkey’s secularism, it isn’t surprising that elements of the military would desire to see the AKP overthrown. However, this could be an Islamist attempt to weaken the military and paint them as dangerous and anti-Muslim.

Erdogan’s defense of the vessel owned by the IHH, a Turkish Islamist group tied to Hamas and other terrorist activity, is particularly insightful. Any true opponent of terrorism and radical Islamism would ban the group or at least officially investigate them. In 1997, the Turkish authorities raided the IHH’s office in Istanbul and made numerous arrests. IHH operatives were found with weapons-related materials and the French counterterrorism magistrate said that they were planning on supporting jihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.

“The essential goal of this Association was to illegally arm its membership for overthrowing democratic, secular, and constitutional order present in Turkey and replacing it with an Islamic state founded on the Shariah,” the French magistrate’s report said.

If the goal of the IHH is to establish Sharia Law in Turkey, and Erdogan’s government is describing them as a “charity,” what does that say about Erdogan’s plans? The Washington Post has raised alarm over this connection, noting the IHH leadership’s praise for Erdogan.

The West’s loss of Turkey has frightening strategic consequences. They are so frightening that the West refused to acknowledge the trend until it became undeniable in recent weeks. Professor Juan Cole, who already was a strident critic of Israel, bluntly states, “Strategically, if the U.S. had to choose between Turkey and Israel, it would have to choose Turkey.” The pressure on the U.S. to restrain Israel so as to court the stronger bloc has now become greater than ever.

The situation is even more precarious for other countries in the region previously bonding together to oppose Iran. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that are hostile to Iran’s ambitions now face an even more threatening bloc that has been enlarged by the defection of Turkey. The temptation for them to surrender the mantle of leadership to the Iranian-Syrian-Turkish bloc in order to save themselves will now reach unprecedented levels, regardless of whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons or not.

To make matters worse, Erdogan’s prestige as the preeminent challenger of Israel will lead to competition with Iran, sparking an escalation where each side tries to establish superior anti-Israeli and anti-Western credentials. Israel is now in its most isolated and dangerous situation since its birth in 1948.

  • Jeff Marinatos

    This topic have been discussed on many other links but this one by far the most exaggerated. Turkey maybe became nationalist rightfully having their citizens attacked by Israel and Turks united like the most nations would. You have to remember Erdogan and his party represents about 35% of the voters. Half of these 35% who voted for him did it because of the economic reasons, not because Turks rediscovered Islam last few years.

    • yosef bender

      you might want to recall the Nazi party accounted for only 15% of the German people when it went into power, tyrants are always in the minority .

      and why did Hitler get in office because of economic reasons, not because the nation wanted to rule the earth and kill all Jews.

      ahh see a pattern here

    • ajnn

      There is a conflict going on inside Turkey. islamic extremism versus a secular republic.

      Right now the Islamists have a great deal of power that they are using to transform the country and the secular people are responding.

      The Israel conflict is intended to drum up support for the Islamists at this important time.

      We must note that we do not know the outcome. we do not know which side will win. We do know that Turkey's secular traditions run deep and we also know the Islamists are very well organized and currently in power.

      We do not know the outcome and this is incredibly important to the security of the United States.

  • Nimrod Stackhouse

    Come on, your credentials speak for themselves. This piece definitely shows that you know Turkey only through a few blogs and sites such as Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and NPR. You should read a bit Haaretz, or Al Jazeera, or even RT. While I believe Erdogan is talking too much and diluting the significance of the blunder of Israel with his demagogy, I don't think the reality is remotely as bleak as you lay it out here. Turkey and Israel are both democracies, and over time they will overcome their differences.

  • Stale Urbye

    No islamic country is a democracy. That includes Turkey, which at best might be described as a quasi-democracy. Islam and democracy just do not seem to be compatible. Turkey seem to have been at the point of mobilizing its military forces against Israel, which is the only democracy in the Middle East and a bolewark against further islamic expansion. The question that ought to be asked is: Do Turkey really qualify as a member of NATO?

    • French teacher

      My dear friend isn't it a little bit late asking that question…Because such question was answered way back in the 1950's when Turkey became a member of NATO then. Or let me ask you this. Would you have asked the same question back in 1963 during the Cuba Missile crisis when Turkey, as a front post, was readily protecting your ass against the Soviet nukes!

      And just to clarify your quasi mind….Turkey is a secular democratic republic with a population that is predominently moslem.

      • New Yorker

        What you are describing was true a half a century ago. No longer though. It is fairly obvious though very unfortunate.

        And it also looks increasingly unfounded to view Turkey as a secular democracy at a time when the current Turkish government uses (or abuses) the power it has been given to incite the population and fan out its feelings into a nationalist and religious frenzy by engineering dangerous provocations abroad resulting in the loss of life. Where are the loud voices in Turkey who would protest this state of affairs? This is far from democracy. Erdogan shamlessly uses his position to empower the mob to enhance and entrench his own grip on power, just like it has always been done throughout history. Hitler's takeover of Germany is great example of how these things are done.

    • merimeri

      If you say Turkey isn't democracy and Israel is a democratic state, then you know absolutely nothing about these two countries unless you are an Israeli.

    • Contrarian

      Oh, really? What does that say about Bush's "victory" where he "won' the election on the strength of a few hanging chads and High Court intervention? Incidentally, the word is "bullwark", which fits in nicely with your other inaccuracies.

  • Pierre

    Turkey ? a "faux ami"…
    Turkey in European Union ? An addition of 80 millions muslims…
    Turkey, during WWI and WWII: ? an abettor of the Kaiser, then of Hitler…
    Turkey a real friend of democracies ?

    • ze-ev ben jehudah

      You are so right. It will not be long before Turkey will be ruled by a mullah.

    • French teacher

      Pierre my dear frog…Refreshen your history knowledge. Turkey declared war on Germany during WWII and was ready to fight if Hitler had decided to occupy the country. We do not let other people fight our wars like you have done during WWII.
      And by the way…with the faltering economies of Europe, I'm not sure whether you will manage to hold the union together…Quelle dommage!!!

  • Northwind

    Polls show that Turks are extremely anti-American. In fact, they are one of the few countries where Obama's election didn't slow the increase in anti-Americanism. This column is completely correct – the loss of Turkey (and before that Iran), is a colossal disaster.

    • French teacher

      Turks are not anti-American. People to people relations have always been good and healthy.Turkish people are against the foreign policy implemented by the US governments and are well aware of the fact that this policy does not change with the change of Presidents. I have no doubt that once the US gets rid of the habit of interferring to other countries affairs way across from the Atlantic, the polls will show a quit shift from anti to pro….

    • merimeri

      Unlike most of the western countries, Turks distinguish acts and people. When someone from Pakistan bombs somewhere, somehow we also get the burden just because we are Muslims. We don't think that way. Turks and Erdogan made that distinction very well, we are not against Jewish people or Israeli people, we are against its government and its acts. How could 600.000 Israeli people chose Turkey as one of the most popular holiday destination? Just couple of years ago we had 600k visitors from there and it is now 200.000. In that regard Turks have nothing to do with Americans, they are against its politics because every unthoughtful action destabilize the region and that effects us most as we are the largest economy in the region.

    • Hakos3d

      Can you show me other nations that are pro-American? The whole world is having problems with the US.

  • jim

    Turkey is a turkey!

    • French teacher

      Jim be real…You know that's not the case…

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

        Tell that to the 4th ID.

  • A secular Turk

    The AKP won the March 29 local elections???? Actually they lost many local regions. And they are still losing while our leftist party is on the rise. Not only Islamic population but also seculars voted for AKP for their political agenda concentrating on EU accession, democracy and so forth. Our elections will be in 2011 and Erdogan is using demagogy, trying to get votes from devouted Moslems. But even the majority of Moslems turned their back to his party. And just one more information. TURKEY IS NOT AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY, IT IS A REPUBLIC. Could you please use the right terms?
    Currently our unemployment rate is above %12. MAny people are jobless. We give martyrs everyday for PKK terrorism. But Our PM only talks about Gaza, Iran and Israel. Turks are not fools. Real problems are not being discussed so when time comes, we will give our answer through elections. That is all about it. Why this cry?

    Stale Urbye: Does ISrael qualify for NATO for attacking a NATO member? Don't think that I agree with this aid ship but it does not change the fact that Turkey was attacked by a NATO member first. Does it?
    Northwind: Extremely….This is very strong word yet I think you are extremely anti-Turk.
    Pierre: How do you know that 80 million people are Moslems. Is everybody in Europe Christian just because they were baptised when they were born? This was a very ignorant statement.

    • Northwind

      From Northwind:
      You may not be in touch with your fellow citizens. "extremely anti-American" seems to fit the polls. For instance, this article (http://www.e-ir.info/?p=2198) on the internet says:
      "One poll conducted in 2007 emphasized that the most Anti-American nation is Turkey with only 9% of the surveyed population favoring the USA.[viii] Another study shows that in Turkey, where favorable views of the USA have declined markedly over the past seven years; opinions of Americans have fallen sharply as well. In 2002, this research indicates, positive opinions of Americans declined 19 points in Turkey.[ix] A final study highlights that Turkey is the nation which most dislikes the American ideas of democracy and liberal capitalism.[x]"
      You say Turks are not fools. But they seem to believe the propaganda in crazy movies like "Valley Of the Wolves". I've heard that "Mein Kampf" is a best-seller in Turkey, as is a lot of other nonsense. I personally have a horror of being a passionate believer in things that are not true. So should the Turks.

    • New Yorker

      It did not take 100% of the population in Germany to turn Germany into a Nazi dictatorship with the horrible consequences for those inside and outside of their country. Same is true for Turkey.

      It's not Israel who attacked Turkey. This had been – unmistakably – an act of aggression by Turkey against Israeli sovereignty, a dangerous provocation and an attack masquaraded as a "peace mission" instigated by the Turkish government, whom Israel had no choice but to repulse. Turkey is no longer being taken seriously as a NATO member – those in NATO command are not stupid even though they may not shout their reservations out loud for all the world to hear. It's not even worth discussing any longer so obvious it has become.

      Erdogan is playing a reckless game for whatever reason. It all looks like a disaster in the making. The balance has shifted.

    • New Yorker

      The danger is that Erdogan, foolish, bruital and shameless in his amitions as he is, may overreach the next time he concocts his next outrage outside the Turkish borders, with the Turkish military at his disposal and the jolly gang that comprise the new allies of Turkey to name Syria, Iran and an array of assorted terrorists, and with Israel with her back against the wall, weary of all the provocations and incessant verbal and political attacks publicly launched against her around the world, there will be a huge conflagration which may not end happily for everyone around, including Turkey. After all the dust is settled, there may or may not be new Nurembergs for the likes of Ahmadinejads, Nasrallahs and Erdogans, or public outcries over despicably cowardly actions of the European and American governments whose appeasement policies will have made a huge contribution to the unfolding of the catastrophe, but there will certainly be smoldering ruins and no uninhabitable contaminated places all around teh Middle East and perhaps beyond.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bteacher99 bteacher99

      How long will you be a "secular Turk"? What does your ID card list as your religion? I suspect it lists Islam, because only in the last few years have Turkish citizens been able to choose any other religion on their official paperwork. Northwind is correct: some Turkish citizens are perfectly accepting of Americans, but as a nation, Turks do not like the nation of America.

  • Peter E. Coleman

    Will Turkey still be a member of NATO when Israel starts sinking Turkish escorts?

    History is about to repeat itself. This time it will be Jewish blood on American hands.

    God will show his displeasure with 1.2 Billion "peaceful Muslims" rioting and celebrating everywhere they are.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/darkmorrow darkmorrow

    Question is, as it pertains to the Military, how long will the military allow its own to be railroaded? They have sworn an oath to maintain secular balance of the State. These folks generally take their oaths serious. Kind of surprising there hasn't been a full on revolt yet.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/CanadConserv CanadConserv

    For an interesting view that Turkey's defection may be for the better…
    http://article.nationalreview.com/435866/is-the-t

  • Jay

    I have just returned from a trip to Turkey and am impressed with its secular foundations and vision of its founder, Ataturk. There is no doubt Turkey is a great nation and Turks should be genuinely prod of their diverse heritage as a melting pot of cultures, religions and civilizations over the centuries.
    All eyes, esp. in the Muslim world are on Turkey in expectation to maintain its success as a secular nation to provide a model for a modern democratic nation for its Muslim popuations and become respectabile members of international community.

    Jay

    • merimeri

      Thanks, we know, we are Pandora's box. I have not seen anybody who did not shock (in a good way) when see Turkey and its secularism. Their view towards Turkey and Turkish people completely change when they see us (if it was bad of course :) )

      How come we could get 30 million visitors every year?

      • New Yorker

        This may be becoming history.

        • merimeri

          That's not possible, it is even increasing. We are 7th most popular destination in the World, and while most of the countries' visitor number were dropping in 2009, we increased it. So, maybe in your dreams.

          • New Yorker

            Nothing is impossible. Once the perceived risks and uneasiness about being among the increasingly radicalizing population ouweighs the perceived benefits tourists will quickly find other destinations. I am not a regular dreamer when it comes to Turkey. I harbor no ill will toward its people. But the signs of its radicalization and turning into a fascistic regime with militant population are there for all concerned to see. So good luck in your future endeavors.

          • merimeri

            Turkey can never be a radical state. If you would know how strong our secularism, you would not say that. Turkish people are emotional about middle east as they ruled hundreds of years these region, including much of the eastern Europe and some part of Africa. Mediterranean sea was a Turkish sea. They are not only emotional to that region, also emotional about Balkans etc. These emotions effect Turkish people of course but can never be a radical state. Even USA cannot apply our secularism. You cannot go to school or uni if you wear any religious symbols including headscarf,, you cannot work in the government as well, you cannot be a police, teacher etc, if you wear them while working. All the religious symbols are banned from schools, hospitals, government. But of course you can get service from them while wearing.

            We adopted it from France 80 years ago. It is the same in France as well. So, you think that we will be a radical state.

            Secularism is the most important element but there are more elements as well. Turkish economy is growing %6, IMF's expectation for 2010 is %6.4, I don't know now but before economic crisis we were the fastest growing economy in the Europe. You cannot be radical while getting richer. This is the same story everywhere, even in Iran we have seen some movement last year, because of its economic development. If you get richer you will want more rights, you will not sacrifice from them.

          • New Yorker

            Turkey can never be a radical state? Is this a joke? Just ask teh armenians, or the greeks, or the bulgarians, or the serbs. There are some historical facts one has to deal with which point quite to the contrary of your assertion.

            Any attributes of secularism that you have described in your post can be gradually changed. Again, who would have thought that they would witness the bonfires burning books in the streets of the civilized and enlightened Germany, who gave the world Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse, 70 years ago? Go figure.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/CanadConserv CanadConserv

            From what I understand changing demographics are behind the decline in secularism and the rise of radicalism. Turks from the western region are western oriented, and they have a declining birthrate. Those from the east, increasing in numbers, are less well educated, poorer and oriented towards a religious state, which becomes in whatever form Islamism.

          • cochavi1

            So it appears. The secular Turks posting here remind me a little of Tel Avivi's who hate the rise of the national/religious parties but can't do anything about long term trends because they have fewer babies and emigrate much more often. It looks more and more like Ataturk is being buried in the soil of the new, Islamist turkey.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

        Location, location, location, as they say.

        • crazyhorse

          When rusian war ships sail into the med.sea you will know who might be behind all this political/emotional manipulation of another backward,child like people with one of the the worst histories of any on earth..except the mongols,but they adopted many of their methods.Balkan countries remember the slave trade,Jannisarie armies…Kurds have a story to tell about turkey and a couple other countries as well.

  • Susanna

    Mein Kampf is a best seller in Turkey. The rural people, the vast majority, as very ignorant, provincial and easily manipulated by rumors and conspiracy theories. I am sure the educated, sophisticated and secular Turks are lovely people–but their day is past. Mark my words, Turkey has gone Islamist and is lost to the West. Those who don't see this are living in a fantasy.

  • DeadReckoning

    A party of convienance? Turkey is predominately Sunni, Iran Shia, this is like mixing oil and water. On top of that, Turkey is a democracy, a governance dispised by the Iranian leadership. Then plunk the neculear cherry on top of this relationship, and Turkey has more to fear of Iran than to embrace. Throw in the Kurdish issue which is present in Iran, Iraq and Turkey and you really have a self eating watermelon.

  • Michael Petek

    The nightmare future no-one seems to have noticed is this.

    Hizbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards deployed on the border with Greece and Bulgaria and ready to roll to Berlin..

  • Martin K.

    Act of Piracy, Attack etc. etc, are some of the buzzwords thrown around in connection with the “flotillia”Incident involving Israel and Turkey. It can bee seen this way, but is it fact? Fact is, the Blockade was in place and known. A Blockade could be also understood as a military “no go zone”. Civil Ships have then no business whatsoever trying to enter the zone. The Captains and Crew were repeatedly told, that they approach a “no shipping” zone. In fact they knew it from the outset. But that didn't stop them. Then after the ships were stormed by the Israeli soldiers, they didn't take the people as “hostages” (like so many real Muslim Pirates do), the ships could return to their home countries, and the cargo well it was checked for weapons (which was the sole intention of the Israeli operation) and was delivered to Gaza via trucks on land. Again I fail to see in this action, “Piracy” or “attack” on Turkey. Yeah of course nine People lost their lives, if the Israeli Soldiers really had lived up to their “Nazi-Image, I'd bet my bottom Dollar, MANY more people would have died on these ships, not just on the Turkish Vessel. Just my ¢.

    • MixMike

      Martin, you're gut instinct is pretty much right. That said, opponents of Israel like to throw out the word piracy, but it's just a red herring. The laws of piracy really have no application to this scenario and are irrelevant. Other international Laws and precedent regarding blockades are more appropriate. Israel had implemented an entirely LEGAL blockade against Gaza. The flotilla's were trying to ILLEGALLY break the legal blockade. Israel acted in full compliance with international law when it boarded the ships in order to maintain its legal the blockade. What no one wants to talk about is the fact that Turkey, in sponsoring the flotilla's, was the only "state" party breaking international law.

      More news is coming out on passengers on the flotilla every day. Apparently there were approximately 40 members of the IHH terrorist organization and they were trained as mercenaries to attack the Israeli soldiers. Depending on Turkey's knowledge of the passengers they may have been complicit with sponsoring terrorism against Israel, which again is in violation of international law.

  • ReconRambo

    The end-time events are transpiring very quickly these days and Turkey is one of its key players. She is one of the aligned nations, that will, in the very near future, surrond Israel and the city of Jerusalem. As the Holy Scriptures dictate, the Whole World, (i.e. the U.N) will be in battle array against Israel and their massive armies will be surrounding Jerusalem. And all these nations armies will be cut to pieces, with the blood flowing like a river. It's going to take seven years to collect all the dead mens bones for burial. Yes, two thirds of the people of Israel will be killed, but one third will be rescued by the Lord of all Lords and the King of All Kings.

    • ViewPoint

      I think you might find this interesting… if not, I hope you will excuse me.
      Revelations 2:12, 13.. "To the Angel of the church of Pergamum write: These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne— where Satan lives." (I shortened the scripture a bit, but did not change the content or spin the point.)

      Pergamum is smack in the middle of Turkey. It appears that Turkey is where Satan will sit on his earthly throne. So, Turkey will certainly be a key player.

      • Guest

        What a load of babble. You two should check into a clinic

  • badaboo

    Israel has not survived at the whims of West , nor by grace or tolerance of it's arab muslim neighbors . The will to survive is stronger than any politics or ideology . 10,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza , Hamas controls Gaza , therefore those rockets were launched under the auspices of hamas . This is an act of war , and since those rockets can only be poorly aimed at best , therefore removing any argument that their targets were of a military nature , that also makes it a War Crime .
    So a defacto war exists between Gaza and Israel , giving Israel every right in the world to have and enforce a military sea blockade on Gaza .
    Thus the alleged "peacefull humanitarian flotilla " after being given a reasonable alternative to accomplish their so called mission of delivering supplies to Gaza , chose instead to run a military blockade , making the flotilla in fact a miltary operation .

  • traeh

    Turkey was not so long ago the seat of the universal caliphate and the Ottoman empire. While many Turks are secular-minded, a growing number surely consider it an aberration and a perversion that the caliphate was abolished and Turkey taken down the secular road by Ataturk. The belief among a growing number surely is that their normal path was interrupted and what they must do is get back to it, that is back to Islamic leadership of the Muslim world, back to the caliphate. Turkey can most easily claim that role, with least need of pretension, insofar as they were fairly recently, in historical terms, the seat of the caliphate. They are also perhaps the most economically developed Muslim nation, and because of Western influence, they are in a number of ways the most advanced Muslim nation. All of this makes Turkey perhaps the leading contender for the reestablishment of the caliphate. That is surely in Erdogan's mind, and in the minds of many leaders of the Muslim world who look for a caliphate one day in Turkey again.

    According to Robert Spencer, Islamic law says that only the caliph can call an offensive jihad. That is why, Spencer says, jihadists today always bring up pretexts for their attacks, and claim their jihad is defensive. The West, the jihadists believe, is injuring them, attacking them, insulting them, etc., so they attack the West in self-defense. Now, if you thought that Islamic "self-defense" was monstrously aggressive, you'd be right; but wait till you see what happens when the caliph calls a jihad. Then you'll see aggression. Then the Muslims will need no pretext of self-defense. The caliph can go to war simply to conquer non-Muslim lands and bring them under the rule of Islamic law, regardless of what those lands have done or not done to Muslims. Offensive jihad is not carried on in order to force non-Muslims to convert at the point of a sword, but rather to subjugate and humiliate them as third-class citizens under the discriminatory rule of Islamic law. That subjugation does force conversion, of course, but in a subtler way than the point of a sword.

    • George T.

      You bring up an interesting point that the West is not aware of yet. If Turkey reinstates the Caliphate, only Turks can reinstate it since it was them holding it until Ataturk abolished it, and it fals in the hands of aggressive leaders, then West might see the agression at scales it has neverseen before. Once Islam declares a holly war at that scale, it would be very different than today's aggression in the hands of few terrorists. A call for arms at that scale would surely lead to a global disaster whatever the side you are with.
      Turks are by no means West's enemies here. In fact, a stable Turkish Republic is what West needs to be friends with. Right now, everybody needs to use their head and educate themselves about greater dangers.

    • Mat

      The Caliphate *did* make a World-wide call for Jihad against the Western imperialist powers when they made their last move to dismantle the Ottoman Empire in its last days right at the end of WW1… Let's remember, what was the result of this call?
      Thousands of Turkish soldiers were killed by "Muslim" troops from India (brought by the British). Turkish civilians were killed by thousands by "Muslim" Arabs provoked by the British.
      Where was the "powerful" caliphate?
      Let's be realistic.

  • deleted2965848

    Just a thought, Turkey may be subconsciously longing for the days of the Ottoman Empire an hoping for it's reemergence. Maybe Iran is standing in the shadows to assist.

  • http://theglow.110mb.com Jacques

    I say create a Kurdish state out of half of Turkey and Iran. The Kurds have been relatively decent to us in Iraq.

  • Secular Turk

    Hi ,
    I've readen all comments, You are (not all) right. Because our prime minister is really islamist , I hate him , He hates Ataturk (founder of secular turkey) too. I live in Aegean region , Here is %100 secular . We chosed CHP (Secular party) but inner anatolian people chosed AKP kurds too…We will clean him in 2011 election ;)

    By the way I'm waitting you in Smyrna (Izmir) You'll see my secular city!…

    • Mat

      Dear Secular Turk,
      I understand your sentiment but keep this in mind:
      If you study the history carefully, you'll see that Turks have never been fanatic about Islam and are somewhat "secular" in nature even from their days in Central Asia. There hasn't been a time period in history when Turkish women were forced to wear burkas in Turkish villages. On the contrary, women have always played significant roles, leading the society in which they lived. There's also a big difference between Turkish and Arabic way of interpreting the religion.
      What you wrote in your message –perhaps without knowing it- helps the powers who try to "divide and conquer" the country. So, don't do it…
      I sincerely hope that the people of Turkey will see this government for what it really is and "clean him" once and for all in the 2011 elections.

      • Hakan

        Dreams, dreams, dreams … You do not see what has been done to this country for years! This government is one of the best ever came to power. Look at the corrupted system that is getting much better. Look at those ranked soldiers supporting the terrorists! Look at the ranked prosecutors and judges working in favor of the corrupts and even the terrorists! What Islamist move have you see of this government? And what Westernist move have you seen, as well? Check out the new laws in effect that moved Turkey towards democracy, or the "West". All the information you are getting about Erdogan is through the Anti-Erdogan media. They only scare everyone that he has a hidden agenda and moving the country towards an Islamist state. Have no worry. He will not do that. Worry, because he will won 2011 for sure. "At least", he will be the leading one.

  • Eyal

    To all the Jewish extereme racists hiding behind this site and supporting it:
    You know when your real identities surface, you will be doing the greatest harm to Israel. Plus, once the so called Christian action people done with killing all the Muslims, you know they will come after you to put 'you' in new and improved gas chambers, just like they did in 20 th. Century, not that long ago… So, go ahead, feed the hatred for the time being. As far as I know, Muslims were your best friends against the Spanish Inquisitions and against the Nazis.

    • Mat

      Perhaps you should say "Turkish Muslims were your best friends"…
      It's time you have started differentiating yourselves, especially from Arab Muslims.
      You have nothing common. Even your religious days fall on different dates, because you Turks prefer using spherical trigonometry and astronomy in determining those holly days….
      Be fair to yourselves.

  • Mat

    Dear Alexander,
    My Turkish grandparents were subjected to "ethnic cleansing" in Balkans decades before yours were…. Your family was lucky to have been able to grab a suitcase. All my grandparents could take was the official deed of the large farmland they had owned for centuries. Their land, now in Greece, has never been seen or taken back or compensated for in any way. Stop living in a dream. If you look harder into the history, you'll see there's no such thing as innocent. The challenge is now ours not to allow history to repeat itself…. Are you up for that?

  • Eric

    What a great read, this was truly an entertaining article.
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  • http://www.cashforoldgold.com.au/ jamesboags

    Turkey has been our alliey for a long time now, i think we should talk to them and try get them back supporting the West
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  • nuggetmaster

    ya like that guy said get a vaporizer and chill out with the mein kamf, you can find em at a smoke shop ya kooks!

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