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Turkey opposed U.N. sanctions on Iran and there are reports of joint military operations between the two countries against Kurdish militants in Iraq. Erdogan has expressed his support for Hamas, saying in June, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization…They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.” If there was any doubt as to where Turkey now stands, the National Security Council has removed the designations of Iran, Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia as threats, but has added Israel as a “major threat.” Turkey’s position is clear: Israel is now an enemy and Iran and Syria are no longer.
Tan’s indirect accusations of bigotry towards CAN is ironic when you consider that his government’s new friends—Syria, Hamas, Sudan and Iran—promote violent jihad, anti-Semitism and anti-democratic sentiment. Erdogan has accused Jewish-controlled media of justifying the targeting of innocent civilians and it is no accident that anti-Americanism has grown under his rule. As Michael Rubin writes, “Turkey has an anti-Semitism problem—and, for that matter, an anti-Americanism problem. These problems are not spontaneous, but rather a deliberate result of the religious and national incitement promoted by the government Namik Tan represents.”
Ambassador Tan has also called for engaging Hamas, saying, “For a final solution, you cannot ignore Hamas.” In a Washington Post op-ed following the flotilla incident, he defended the integrity of the “activists” involved. He said the incident “began with the killing by Israel Defense Forces of nine peace activists and the wounding of about 30, all civilians.” He described the flotilla as a “humanitarian initiative” and that Israel “is about to lose a friend.” To date, there has been no condemnation of the IHH extremists involved in the ambush of Israeli forces, which shouldn’t be surprising given the IHH’s links to the Erdogan government.
Martin Mawyer, the President of CAN, has responded with a letter asking if the Turkish government will publicly oppose the Ground Zero mosque, commit to providing no assistance to Imam Rauf’s project, and “publicly oppose the implementation of Islamic (Sharia) law in all its forms within its own country.”
Criticizing the direction the Turkish government is taking its country cannot be equated with an attack on the Turkish people. It is true that Turkey has soldiers in Afghanistan, was not involved in 9/11, and has been targeted by Al-Qaeda, but that does not excuse the Islamist agenda of the government.
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