Turkey’s Hypocrisy Over Gaza

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It must be one of the biggest cases of diplomatic hypocrisy in the world today.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s most recent efforts to improve damaged relations with Turkey ran into a brick wall once again, receiving only a dismissive response from Israel’s former ally. Lieberman stated Israel is ready “to solve any outstanding disputes” with Ankara but was ignored by Turkish officials despite the deteriorating Middle East environment. Meeting with Turkish journalists, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also contributed this week to the diplomatic push to re-establish close ties with Israel’s one-time friend, telling the journalists Israel and Turkey “were ‘important and stable’ countries in an unstable region” and this regional instability makes reconciliation especially important.

“Turkey and Israel have relations that go a long way,” said Netanyahu. “We need to find ways to restore the relationship that we had, because I think it is important for each of our countries.”

But the appeals of both senior Israeli politicians fell on deaf ears in Ankara. As with past efforts to patch up relations between the two countries, the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists three outstanding issues must be settled before discussions regarding improvement can even begin.

The first condition is that Israel must apologize for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. The Mavi Marmara is a Turkish ship that tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2010 but was boarded by Israeli naval commandos. Nine people on the ship died in the ensuing fight with the commandos. The second condition is that Israel must compensate the families of those who were killed, while the third concerns Turkey’s demand that Israel lift its blockade of Gaza.

“As long as Israel does not apologise, does not pay compensation and does not lift the embargo on Palestine, it is not possible for Turkish-Israeli ties to improve,” Erdogan said in 2011 when dashing last year’s efforts to renew friendly ties.

Israel has always said it would never apologize for enforcing its legal blockade of Gaza, which is necessary for its security. Also, the people on the Mavi Marmara were the ones who provoked the violence by ignoring Israeli warnings to stay away and then attacked the commandos with iron bars. Besides, Lieberman said in an Israel Radio interview last year that an apology would not make any difference in Israeli-Turkish relations due to the negative stance the Islamist Erdogan government has adopted towards Israel since it came to power in 2002.

“Whoever sees the positions expressed by Turkey [regarding Israel and the Palestinians] in the international community does not have any illusions that an apology will dramatically improve Israel’s ties with Turkey,” said Lieberman.

And an apology, according to Lieberman, may even be dangerous for Israel, since it may signal weakness in a region where weakness is not liked.

“It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost a message of weakness,” said Lieberman.

But it is Turkey’s last demand, that Israel lift its legal blockade of Gaza, which really stands out due to its hypocrisy. Almost unmentioned by the mainstream media during the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident was the fact that while Turkey was bitterly complaining about the Israeli embargo on Gaza, championing the Palestinian cause before the world, it was at the same time blockading landlocked Armenia, an embargo it has maintained since 1993. Turkey closed its border that year with Armenia, a former Soviet republic in the southern Caucasus Mountains, and has refused to reopen it since, a move that has seriously disrupted the development of the small Christian nation’s economy.

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  • Advocatus

    Yes. And let's not forget Turkey's relentless oppression of minority Kurds and its illegal occupation of northern Cyprus. But other than that, it's nice to see them trying to pose as defenders of international morality.

    • http://iamiranaware.wordpress.com/ IranAware

      Exactly, screw the Turks..

  • NoIslam

    The turks, like all muslims, are hypocrites through and through. With Erdogan and his fellows in power turkey is becomming another islamic state with neo-ottoman tendencies!

  • Marty

    An islamist turkey is living up to our expectations: immoral, hypocritcal, imperialist, and anti-semitic. But it remains a fictitious country that is set to disintegrate. The Kurdish birth rate is significantly higher than the turkish one. In the coming decades the Kurds will be in a demographic position to detach the eastern part of turkey to become part of the sovereign state of Kurdistan. This in turn will cause the disintegration of iran and iraq and accelerate the implosion of syria that is already underway. We have a lot to look forward to, especially if we encourage secessionist movements in these places. The demise of these dysfunctional and failed states will be regretted by no one.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Turkey will continue to bully as long as that gives Erdogan Islamist credentials and he can remain
    a player in the Islamist past glory Olympics. Erdogan imagines a glorious history for himself but
    is the Muslim Brotherhood on board with what he wants and will they not soon turn their sights
    on him, who wll become top dog, not meaning to insult dogs…………………………..William

  • Stan Lee

    Israel has made all the entreaties to Turkey, which remains insistent on its bullying attempt for its own "face-saving."
    The Israelis now need to stand down as far as Turkish demands are concerned.
    Turkey wants anyone it's at odds with to respect Turkish sovereignty, but it will not return respect to sovereign nations it has decided to bully.
    Turkey lashes out at smaller countries in all directions of itself, those countries just as entitled to respect for their sovereignty. As regards the Turkish flotilla's attempt to disregard Israeli warnings not to try landing arms, other military needs, and general supplies directly into Gaza, Israel made every sensible effort to avoid confrontation short of surrendering its sovereignty and consequently its security.
    Turkey needs to stew in its own juices for as long as it takes for it to realize its own recklessness.

  • PAthena

    Hasn't President Barack Obama said that Recep Erdogan. Prime Minister of Turkey, is his best friend?

  • muchiboy

    "srael has always said it would never apologize for enforcing its legal blockade of Gaza, which is necessary for its security."
    “It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost a message of weakness,” said Lieberman."

    Perhaps,but the blockade is both unnecessary and evil,and shows Israel for what it is,a selfish,land grabbing,ethnic cleansing,Zionist bully that has become more like it's neighbors then like the West,which she pretentiously and falsely emulates.Israel is now one of them,not one of us,and should be 1) recognized as such,and 2) cut lose,boycotted and condemned for it's Human Rights violations against the Palestinian people.

    "hypocritical thinking that appears to be guiding Turkish foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Armenia."

    So what's new?Most countries,including yours and ours,are guilty of some form of hypocrisy.Whether yours is worse then theirs,(or ours) is up for debate.Personally,short of war,I hope your regional neighbors consolidate their FP's into a regional,active,anti-Zionist stance that include total boycotts and sanctions.Given the regional histories and conflicts, that may well be day dreaming.The Arab Spring,if even partially successful,may facilitate and accelerate these needed changes.I am mindful of Israeli/Jewish needs/wants/fears,but it was after all the Diaspora that occupied Palestine and carried out (de facto) ethnic cleansings of the Palestinian people.Maybe it is a case of you being between the devil and the deep,blue sea.I don't know,but Jews made the move,and have accountability for their unconscionable actions.muchiboy

    • Kufar Dawg

      At least once in the past 8 years Israel discovered a ship bound for Gaza loaded w/arms and armaments, which I'm sure is what muslimes mean when they call cargo "humanitarian aid".

    • Snorbak

      "…Israel for what it is,a selfish,land grabbing,ethnic cleansing,Zionist bully…"
      You have got to be sh%$$#ng me. How do you suppose Israel is "land grabbing" when they occupy less than 20% of the Palestine mandate?
      What are these "Human Rights violations against the Palestinian people" you speak of? The Palestinian Arabs in Judea & Samaria are ruled by the PLO, & by Hamas in Gaza.
      & if you intend to raise the issue of Israel closing its borders to these areas, Gaza can trade via the Sinai with Egypt & the "West Bank" via Jordan, the other part of "Palestine"!
      You are a an ignorant fool & I fear you will never open your eyes to the reality of the Middle East.
      Funny, how this is an article on Turkey's hypocracy, yet you still manage to bash Israel & completely disregard the main point of the article.

    • Looking4Sanity

      You need to develop those critical thinking skills there, Mullah-boy.

    • g_jochnowitz

      In 2005, Israel witrhdrew unilaterally from Gaza, giving the Gazans de facto independence. The Jewish settlers were removed kicking and screaming. "Israel has illegally occupied Gaza," was the world's reaction to this gift to the inhabitants of Gaza. Nobody understood that Israel had left. Gaza then elected Hamas, whose charter unambiguously rejects the possibility of peace, and began shelling Israeli civilians.

  • Kufar Dawg

    For Turkey to take the moral high ground on anything is the height of hypocrisy. Turkey has never recognized its genocide of some 2 million Armenian AND Assyrian Christians in the early 20th century, much less compensated the families of the victims. Turkey denies Jews the right to sound the shofar and church bells may not be rung, but the daily call to prayer blasts out without impediment.

  • mike

    In the Muslim World, it's just not cool making friends with the Jews. Why do the "Neville Chamberialins" of our day still try and appease this kind of filth? It didn't work for the Nazis, and the Muzzies much admire the Nazis.

    Unfortunately, the biggest part of the story is ignored: The Turks didn't kill Armenians because they were Armenian. They were killed because they were Christians. Just like the Assyrians and the Greeks were massacred because they were Christians.

    Know Islam, Know Violence
    No Islam, No Violence

  • hmurveit thetruth

    from the article…And like Israel, a steadfast Nagorno-Karabakh government refuses to return the captured districts until its security is assured, since these areas had been used to launch attacks against its territory.

    Its no comparison to Israel. Judea and Samaria (aka the west bank) was the heartland of biblical Israel and part of the 1920 San Remo conference. Its Israel land and they should never give it away

    • Larry

      And that territory up there has been Armenian for just as long. Armenia should also extend much further west and south than it currently does, but the attempted extermination of the Armenians by the Young Turks during WWI changed that.

  • Looking4Sanity

    Turkey's demands are preposterous! It was their ship that violated international maritime law. No apology is due them. No reparations are in order. It's none of Turkey's business WHAT goes on in Gaza.


  • Infidel

    Why is the PA in Gaza in the first place? The land doesn't belong to them and NEVER did!!!

  • Flowerknife_us

    With Turkeys political shift, they should be expelled from NATO. The real question is how porky Turkey would continue to be so, if NATO support were removed. Just what is NATO's obligation to Turkey if blows come between Turkey and Israel? Do we really wish to wake up one day to find we changed sides for real?

  • ADme

    there is only one nation in the history out of great people. No scientists, no musicians, no writer….. no any famous turks!

  • mah29001

    In Gaza, there are five star hotels being setup, along with Gazan cities being as busy as every non-Muslim city and every city in Turkey. Yep, sounds like a concentration camp to me. (/sarcasm)