Erdogan to Arab League: Israel to ‘Pay a Price’


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Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of Turkey used his visit to Egypt on Monday to further “cement” his position as the new leader of the Sunni Arab world with a blistering attack against Israel. Continuing his anti-Israeli campaign, Erdogan told a meeting of the 22-member Arab League in Cairo that Israel had to “pay a price for its aggression and crimes,” stoking the flames higher regarding a military confrontation between his country and the Jewish state. Last Friday, the Turkish prime minister had threatened to send Turkish warships to escort the next Gaza flotilla and to block gas exploration plans by Cyprus and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean.

“This is very high-stakes poker,” said Henri Barkey, an international relations professor at Lehigh University. “It’s very, very dangerous.”

Turkey is ostensibly angry that Israel has refused to apologize for the deaths of nine Turks, who were killed when Israeli commandos stormed a flotilla last year that was trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. In Cairo, Erdogan described the Israeli raid as “cause for war” and called the Gaza issue a “matter of humanity.”

But a recent United Nations (UN) report found Israel’s blockade legal. As a result, Turkey has declared the report it once awaited “null and void” and now plans to challenge its findings in the International Criminal Court. Last week, the Turkish government expelled the Israeli ambassador and cut all military ties with the country it had enjoyed close relations with for many years.

With his anti-Israeli stand, Erdogan has become “the most popular figure across the Arab world.” The welcome Erdogan received at Cairo’s airport appeared to confirm his popularity. According to one report, “at least 20,000 people” were on hand to greet him, waving posters sporting his picture. One sign held by a supporter ominously read: “If Erdogan had been our leader we would have liberated our Jerusalem.” More posters with photos of the Turkish prime minister decorated Cairo’s streets.

In his anti-Israel message in Cairo, Erdogan reminded Egyptians that Israeli forces had recently killed five Egyptian policemen, inflaming what was already an emotional issue in Egypt as well as the anti-Israeli feeling that runs deep in some segments of Egyptian society. The policemen’s deaths had actually occurred during a Palestinian terrorist attack against Israel, in which Israeli lives were also lost.

With such a large anti-Israeli audience in Egypt, some members of which had recently attacked the Israeli embassy, it is not surprising Erdogan played the Palestinian card again. Besides calling for the end of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, he also urged the countries present at the Arab League meeting to support the Palestinians’ bid for statehood next month at the UN. He called their support “an obligation.”

“Let’s raise the flag of Palestine to the sky and let it be a symbol of justice and peace in the Middle East,” he told the delegates.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won Turkey’s elections last June with a popular vote of nearly 50 percent. With such command and support at home, Erdogan now feels secure enough to embark on a foreign policy, termed neo-Ottoman, that would see Turkey establish itself as the Middle East’s primary political and military power with himself as leader. Under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey had once ruled the Arab lands. To achieve this goal of re-establishing Turkish primacy, Erdogan appears to be using a carefully calculated strategy.

The Turkish president’s trip to Cairo is probably a part of that strategy. His appearance in a leadership role before the Arab states in Egypt was symbolic. With his threats against Israel and throwing his weight behind the Palestinian statehood issue, the Turkish leader is demonstrating his country’s new-found strength, while emphasising the host country’s increasing weakness. With its 80 million people and large military, Egypt had been considered the heart and leader of the Arab world. But the growing widespread political and economic unrest in the country, against which it has been powerless to act, has weakened it badly and undermined its once prominent position. So while Egypt sat quietly, no longer a leadership rival, Erdogan showed in Cairo his country is ready to assume that mantle. He was also demonstrating his new foreign policy direction, in that Turkey had returned to the Arab lands after a long absence.

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  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    Erdogan is now on a hatred incitement trip against ( so very unoriginal !) Israel.In all the Arab countries he is visiting the so called revolution has miserably failed to better the
    desperate situation of the population.The shaky governments need a focus for popular
    malcontentedness and the masses ,incited by religious and ideological charlatans , need an outlet for their fury.Erdogann is regretfully going to have a very successful trip,

    • http://vigilantsociety.comule.com/ Joseph Veca

      Successful it maybe, but the result will be the same as Egypt under Nasser pulled the same stunt. The Israeli Military is better trained and motivated and has better equipment. Of the Arab nations, they are not well trained or well lead and their maintenance of equipment, well, is a joke.

      All it is going to take is for Israel to feel its back is against the wall, and they will have no problem with dropping nukes.

  • Larry

    Erdogan is trying to position himself as the new Caliph. Because without a Caliph the umma can't wage aggressive jihad, only defensive.

    This is why we see the amazing claims of islam being in the Americas and Australia before Europeans arrived, it enables jihad attacks in those places to be called defensive as they have been "taken" from dar al islam into dar al harb.

    • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

      Yes , Larry , accordig to Hadith , the oral tradition of Islam, a new-born is a Muslim and only afterwards his parents turn him into a Christian,a Jew or a Parsee.This is
      the argument used nowadays in the persecution of the Copts.

  • turkp

    Israel’s Blockade of Gaza Violates International Law, Says UN Panel
    The latest UN report on Gaza blockade disputes Palmer Report, claims its findings were politically motivated
    by John Glaser, September 13, 2011
    | Print This | Share This | Antiwar Forum
    Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, according to a panel of human rights experts reporting to the United Nations on Tuesday.

    The finding disputes a conclusion reached by the UN Palmer Report on the Israeli raid of the May 2010 Gaza aid flotilla, which killed 19 activists aboard. That separate report concluded that Israel’s use of force was excessive and unreasonable, but that the blockade was legal.

    The conclusions of the new report actually coincide with an earlier fact-finding mission from last September, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, which both claimed the blockade is illegal. It has subjected Gazans to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law,” they said.

    “In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer Report does not recognise the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel’s closure policy towards Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians,” they said in a joint statement.

    Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and one of the five experts who issued Tuesday’s statement, said the Palmer report “was aimed at political reconciliation between Israel and Turkey” and that “it is unfortunate that in the report politics should trump the law.”

    According to another of the UN special rapporteurs, about one third of Gaza’s arable land and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures, while at least two-thirds of Gazan households lack reliable access to food as a result of the blockade.

    The high-tension bid for Palestinian statehood, set to be voted upon by the UN this month, would be likely to make such conclusions much more official, leaving Israel susceptible to sanctions or even prosecutions for international crimes, which is reportedly a major basis for Israeli objection to Palestinian statehood.

    • SHmuelHaLevi

      Actually we are against a so called "pilistinean" state because there never was such people except from some merchant groups from the Greek Islands that passed by the Land of Israel and later apparently returned to Greece over two thousand years ago. Probably George Habbash was the only true "pilistinean" in the ghastly, gruesome monster groups calling themselves, "pilistineans".
      The abortion of mind and soul, (if such things are present in the islamic mold), is not a "pilistiniean" people but an aggregate, a mob, (assafsuff in Hebrew), in constant state of rage against one and all, monstrous barbarians that slaughter toddlers, old people any other defenseless creatures, including hapless dogs, cats, donkeys that happen to by ill fortune end up in the islamics of the so called "pilistinean" brand bestial reach.
      When no murdering Jews or Christians they slaughter each other with total equanimity. Examples are many.

    • Larry

      Richard Falk is a raving anti-semite, this panel has all the legitimacy of one convened by the OIC on the subject – exactly zero.

    • ziontruth

      "Israel’s Blockade of Gaza…"

      …is none of your business, Turkish scum.

  • SHmuelHaLevi

    As to the Turks, former rapers of our Land during the Ottoman rule and thieves of the TABU, the Land of Israel Register.
    We have a long account to settle with them and while some here may have tried ti sweep the Turkish murders under the "rug", the rest of us has not forgoten.
    The British minced the Turks and for that we are thankful.
    What was done by the Turkst is not forgotten or forgiven Mr. Erdogan.
    Nor is the Armenian genicide, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, as well as the massacres of the Kurds.

  • effemall

    Israel should, indeed, apologize for an unprofessional and sloppy job in enforcing their legitimate blockade. The proper way to handle ships trying to break the blockade is to give clear warning to back off. If the wannabe blockade buster ignores the warning, the ship should then be sunk with torpedoes.

  • StephenD

    "So while Egypt sat quietly, no longer a leadership rival, Erdogan showed in Cairo his country is ready to assume that mantle. He was also demonstrating his new foreign policy direction, in that Turkey had returned to the Arab lands after a long absence."
    He wants it so bad he can taste it! The rest of the world is supposed to ignore the Armenian slaughter, the invasion and occupation of Cyprus and focus on what he says is the problem, wait for it…Israel. Of course! Israel is the problem. Ahhh, now that you know you can join in attempting to destroy her. You should never think it is a power play…oh no. It is nothing like that. It is solely for the liberation of the occupied lands of Palestine. Now, if you believe him, I know of a 7th century trade route bandit you can follow into hell….

  • StephenD

    Do you know how many of us agree with you? I'd say most of us. So why do you post the same thing over and over? Eventually, we skip right past it and you become irrelevant. No one wants that of someone that we agree with. Please stop reposting the same thing over and over. Displaying the insight you have, you must be able to competently comment on the various articles without copying and pasting.

  • MSMII

    Obama and Clinton have now made an argument for not toppling dictators, religious discrimination. They said, according to the Washington Post, that by toppling murderous, oppressive, deviant dictators like Kaddafi and Mubarak, the people will be introduced to religious intolerance.; a claim that I find absolutely baseless and pure propaganda. It is also an excuse to not get involved in Syria, Lebanon, or Yemen while there is Iranian supported slaughter going on daily.
    http://msmignoresit.blogspot.com/2011/09/threats-

    • mrbean

      Wars of containment cost American lives for nothing and do more harm to this nation and give credibility to the crazy peace demonstrators and other leftist nutcases. Stay out of interventing in foreign wars as no American interests are ever really at stake and American lives are worth more than any foriegn lives ever could be.

  • Marty

    The way for a muslim leader to gain support for misguided policies is to beat up Israel. But turkey is a fake state and by the middle of the century there will be as many Kurds living in turkey as turks and they will be a majority in the eastern part of the country. It is time for them to proclaim a "two-state" solution, if you will, and secede from turkey to form Kurdistan. Israel and the United States should immediately recognize Kurdistan as a sovereign state and encourage the secession of the Kurdish communities currently being oppressed in syria, iraq, and iran. The iranian leaders dream about the world without a United States and Israel. Let's reciprocate.

    • turkp

      ha ha ha ha…

  • Mark

    Larry, give it up. You and all the other pro-Israeli people have not a leg to stand on with regards to your arguments so you call everybody who criicizes Israel an anti-semite. It really is getting old. You should try arguing based on facts. Wait a minute, you can't. That's why you continue to use the useless and drawn out anti-semite card. I'm sorry but that doesn't work. I detest Israel. Just like I detested South Africa during the Apartheid. But that doesn't make me anti-semite just like I wasn't anti-South African. Just like hating the American government doesn't make your anti-American. When will morons like you learn the difference.

    Either way, what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians is genocide, whether people want to admit it or not, doesn't make it not true.

    • UCSPanther

      And when are clueless leftists like you are going to get it through your skulls that Palestine is no more than a 2×4 used by hostile Arab nations and REAL antisemites to beat Israel with, and no more than a scattered collection of terrorist fiefdoms and corruption sinkholes.

    • Larry

      Any legitimacy that may by some very long stretch of imagination have resided in your initial paragraph went straight out the window with your last sentence.

      If you think that a million plus Gazans are the result of genocide you are one of the morons that conflate Israeli civilization and restraint with arab incompetence. It's the worst attempt at genocide in history.

  • Mary from Sydney

    At least Israel has got the guts to stand up to these psychopaths. And no I am not a jew. As for Erdogan, he gnashes his teeth at the West with dentures the US has given him. On a recent trip to Turkey we were told repeatedly how important Turkey is to the US as an ally. We were also informed of the might and superiority of the country's army. Now if that isn't sabre waiving , I don't know what is. I wonder when the Kurds will ask for autonomy? Good luck to us all, our governments were not diligent in their duty to stop the infiltration of fanatics . Here in Australia they are mostly unemployed, have long criminal records, produce many offspring and claim social security benefits and are pushing to have sharia law ( actually already have). Not a recipe for happy co existence. On the other hand there are also many decent , kind and honourable muslims who don't do those terrible things mentioned in some of the posts , they need to be given a voice too.

  • Jim

    Now, whose bright idea was it to let Turkey into the European Union?

    Besides the Muslim Turks are occupying "Dar Al Greek Orthodox".
    The occupation of Christian Lands has created great suffering for Christians.
    The Occupation is the major cause of Greek poverty today.

    Greeks now demand the right of return to the former holy land.
    And the end of oppression against Jews and Christians and any body else.

    Stuff that in your Hooka and smoke it.

  • deziderio

    All who wright on this page!The Hebrew's callculated all the posibilities.After thousands of years they back from where they are thrown and killed.Muslim world should know!The destruction of Israel is a self-destruction of all that is Muslim in Middle East!Everything is perfecttly prepared,when the day comes,that Israel have no out-put,will be a fatal blow,not only for Iran will be hit millions of people.END PLEAS JUST BELIEVE ME!!!!!!

  • UCSPanther

    Erdogan is still trying to make political hay off his epic fail of a flotilla project, I see.

    Any well meaning peace activists who went along with this flotilla foolishness should feel like idiots. They were only used to score propaganda points.

  • 080

    Since when has the Turkish government become so sensitive? Israel has refused to apologize for the deaths of the Turks who attacked them? What about the genocide of the Armenian Christians committed by the Turks? When are they going to apologize for their addiction to mass murder?

    • ziontruth

      "Since when has the Turkish government become so sensitive?"

      Muslims always become sensitive and grievance-conscious when prepping for war. It allows them to pursue their belligerent course with a clean conscience (forgive the expression), thinking they are reacting defensively to an attack, when in reality the opposite is the truth.

  • ross1948

    And the current Turkish Government is quite determined to have its fifth column in Western Europe. Our expat blog just published a report on a blatant attempt to interfere in other lands' internal affairs.
    http://rossrightangle.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/no