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Just look at the difference between Israel’s incursion into Gaza in 2009 and the Turkish attack on northern Iraq. The PKK attacked military targets, whereas Hamas and its minions had been raining hundreds of rockets onto Israeli civilians. The PKK is fighting for Kurdish autonomy within the regions of Turkey where large numbers of Kurds live. Hamas has been autonomous in Gaza since Israel pulled out in 2005 and dismantled settlements housing 8,500 Israelis. The Kurds want coexistence with Turkey on the basis of recognition of Kurdish culture and language. Hamas wants to destroy Israel, despite being given autonomy over Gaza. Yet the Palestinians in Gaza are recipients of international aid and sympathy, all the while Israel is condemned for its “brutal assault on Hamas” and its unleashing of “its latest wave of desolation against Gaza,” as the London Observer wrote in 2009. As for the Kurds, they are noticed only when there is a PKK attack, and then only to be condemned. Meanwhile, the U.S. forgets the support the Kurds gave us during the invasion of Iraq, even as our NATO ally Turkey refused our troops transit into northern Iraq.
This double standard is particularly galling when Turkey is involved. Under the Islamist regime of Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has sought greater legitimacy among the Muslim umma by turning viciously on Israel, most grievously in the support given to the 2010 “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” that attempted to run the legal Israeli blockade of Gaza. The resulting battle on the ship Mavi Marmara, which started when militants attacked Israeli commandos, resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. Eight of them were affiliated with various Islamist organizations, including the Turkish Felicity Party, which advocates war against Zionism and the West. The incident, of course, generated the usual international outcry over Israel’s “disproportionate response” against “humanitarians” merely attempting to deliver aid to Gaza, even though Israel offered to let the ship dock in Ashdod and let any legitimate aid be transported from there.
Now imagine if Israel had supported a convoy attempting to cross into Turkey to deliver “aid” to PKK encampments, and a similar fight had erupted when the Turks interdicted the convoy. How much sympathy would there have been for any Israelis killed in the fight? How much condemnation of Turkey’s “disproportionate response” would we have heard from the anti-Zionist media or the U.N.? About as much as the recent incursion into northern Iraq has aroused.
As for the grievous sin of “occupation” continually laid at Israel’s feet, why don’t we ever hear about the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974? Northern Cyprus was 80% Greek when the Turks invaded. A third were forced from their homes by the Turks, and replaced with Turkish Cypriots from southern Cyprus. Turks from Anatolia have also been sent to Cyprus to occupy the homes of the ethnically cleansed Greeks. Hundreds of churches have been vandalized and destroyed, Greek clergy assaulted, icons stolen, and mosaics and frescoes removed. Yet even as the world frets over Israeli “settlements” in their ancient homelands of Judea and Samaria––all the while Muslim holy sites are protected by Israel and allowed to be managed by Muslims––Turkish invasion, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and destruction of Greek Cyprus’s cultural and religious heritage are met with an international yawn.
Whatever the reasons for this double standard––national self-interest, proximity to Arab-controlled oil, fear of terrorism, or old-fashioned anti-Semitism––it is a stain on the international community, and a damning indictment of its moral legitimacy.
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