Turkey’s Hypocrisy Over Gaza

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The cause of the border closure was the war between neighboring Azerbaijan and the Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, a former Soviet autonomous region within Azerbaijan’s borders. In the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union was disintegrating, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Supreme Soviet (parliament) voted to break away from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, a move that saw pogroms break out against Armenians in Azerbaijan and eventually led to their being ethnically cleansed from the Turkic-speaking country. Armenians then retaliated, expelling all Azeris living in Armenia.

“The response of the Soviet and Azeri-Turk authorities was strikingly reminiscent of the traditional Turkic reaction to Armenian aspirations for freedom. The genocide process once more gained pace,” wrote Caroline Cox and John Eibner in their book Ethnic Cleansing In Progress: War In Nagorno Karabagh.

In wanting to join Armenia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians believed they were correcting a historic wrong. The new Soviet government first awarded the region to Armenia in 1921, but Stalin cancelled that decision shortly thereafter as part of his divide-and-rule strategy regarding minorities. The future Soviet dictator then gave the territory, which was 95 percent Armenian according to the 1921 Soviet census, to Azerbaijan, setting the stage for the war seven decades later between the two entities.

But what upset Turkey and led to the border closure is that the vastly outnumbered Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, with Armenia’s support, won the war that ended in a ceasefire in May 1994. In the end, the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians not only freed almost all their territory from Azeri control but also captured several districts of Azerbaijan proper. 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.

Like the Arab states with Israel after 1967, since Azerbaijan’s defeat Turkey has been demanding that the captured Azeri land be returned and states it will maintain the blockade of Armenia until it is. Azerbaijan established its own blockade of Armenia in 1989, leaving Armenia with open borders only with Iran and Georgia. Still, the damage from this Turkic blockade has been severe for Armenia’s economy. Armenian President Serge Sarkisian brought up the blockade last year during a speech to the Council of Europe.

“This unlawful blockade of Armenia must come to an end. Europe cannot and should not tolerate new dividing lines,” Sarkisian said.

To its credit, Armenia has not given in to Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s bullying. Again, like Israel, the Armenians live in a rough neighborhood and giving back the captured districts without their terms being met would, as Avigdor Lieberman would probably agree, signal a weakness that could be dangerous if not fatal. After all, the Armenians know what the Turks are capable of, having seen a million of their people perish at Turkish hands in 1915 in the first genocide of the last century (Turkey’s demand that Israel apologize for the nine deaths on the Mavi Marmara while refusing to even recognize its responsibility for a million Armenian deaths is also another instance of its diplomatic hypocrisy).

The United States has tried to come up with a solution to Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern has suggested that Turkey open one railroad to Armenia without opening the entire border.  The news outlet ArmeniaNow says this is part of the “settlement without a settlement” solution the European Union also supports. There would be no final peace agreement, ArmeniaNow states, “but the borders should be opened for regional energy and transport projects” under this plan. But so far Turkey has refused. It still demands that Armenia first return “occupied” Azeri territory.

Turkey’s stubbornness on this issue, however, is not surprising. It has illegally occupied northern Cyprus for 40 years, stationing troops there and setting up a puppet state that is not recognized by any country. So Ankara’s insistence that “occupied” Azeri land be returned the embargo on Gaza be ended is simply in keeping with the hypocritical thinking that appears to be guiding Turkish foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Armenia.

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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.

    THROW TURKEY OUT OF NATO TODAY!

  • 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)