The president plays into the hands of Islamist Erdogan.
Turkey’s jihad-supporting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received effusive praise from President Obama last week during their joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden. Obama described the Islamist leader, who unapologetically called Zionism “a crime against humanity,” as "a strong ally and partner in the region and around the world."
This is just a continuation of President Obama's infatuation with Erdogan. When the two leaders met at the Seoul, South Korea, Nuclear Security Summit in March of 2012, Obama called Erdogan his “friend and colleague….We find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues.” Not content with this level of praise, Obama added that he considered Erdogan "an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend" who has displayed “outstanding leadership.” In fact, Obama so admires Erdogan's "outstanding leadership" that Obama has allowed the United States to lead from behind Turkey in Libya and Syria, sucking the U.S. into a swamp inhabited by Islamist jihadists.
As Barry Rubin, the director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal explained:
"Once again the Turkish government has taken the lead on U.S. policy by pushing for direct U.S. aid to the rebels. That means giving money, weapons, and other aid to the Muslim Brotherhood and more radical groups to take power because the real moderates in the Syrian opposition are rare."
Obama fancies Turkey as a model of a modern democratic Islamic state. At their joint news conference last week, Obama praised Erdogan's "reforms" and said "we will support efforts in Turkey to uphold the rule of law and good governance and human rights for all."
Erdogan's idea of democracy is an electoral system that he can manipulate in order to remain in power. His Islamist party has moved inexorably to replace the secular republic established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with an Islamic state. Erdogan's jails have housed more journalists than any other country in the world, including Iran and Russia. And talking about Russia, Erdogan appears to be taking a page out of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's playbook. Like Putin, Erdogan plans to play musical chairs between the prime minister post he now holds but cannot run for again under his party's rules, and the presidency which he is intent on taking over in 2014 and converting into the country's most powerful position from the symbolic one it is today. Erdogan will ram through whatever changes to the constitution are necessary to make this happen if a consensus cannot be reached.
"Turkey would walk into a dark dictatorship," said Riza Turmen, a deputy from the opposition Republican People's Party. "Turkey is already on this path. The parliament is unable to fulfill its duties even in a parliamentary system. The judiciary is not independent, the press is not free," he told Reuters.
At last week's joint news conference, President Obama lauded Erdogan's supposed efforts to "normalize relations with Israel." Erdogan then proceeded contemptibly to use the joint news conference to announce in Obama's presence that he will be visiting Gaza next month, after previously rejecting Secretary of State John Kerry's request not to go there at this time because it could interfere with just such a normalization of relations. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh claimed that Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Gaza “emphasizes that the era of U.S. tutelage has ended.”
Aside from Barack Obama, Haniyeh has been one of Erdogan's biggest cheerleaders. Back in 2010, Haniyeh said: "Mr. Erdoğan has become our voice and won hearts of all Palestinians. We began naming our children after Tayyip Erdoğan. The name of Erdoğan has been immortalized in Palestine.” He also called Turkey “the new Ottoman.”
In his description of Turkey under Erdogan's leadership as "the new Ottoman," Haniyeh has a much better idea of Erdogan's true agenda than President Obama does. Obama thinks that Turkey, like the United States, is interested in removing President Bashar Hafez al- Assad from power in Syria in order to bring about a free Syria "that is intact and inclusive of all ethnic and religious groups," as Obama put it in his joint news conference with Erdogan last week. That may be Obama's naive aspiration but, as Hamas leader Haniyeh knows, Erdogan is interested in building "the new Ottoman" in the entire region, which means promoting revolutionary Sunni Islamism under Turkey's leadership. Erdogan is using Obama to advance his Islamist agenda.
No doubt Erdogan will use his upcoming Gaza visit to further solidify Turkey's prestige in the Muslim world, which will also help him politically at home. Expect, for example, Erdogan to push publicly for Israel to completely lift its embargo on the Gaza Strip. Expect him also to mark the three-year anniversary of the incident involving the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara vessel in which a number of Turkish radicals lost their lives as they attempted violently to break Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza. They had assaulted Israeli naval commandos trying to stop the blockade-running ship. The radicals were heard chanting the jihad call to arms honoring Muhammad's massacre of the Jews of Arabia: "Khybar, Khybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return."
Erdogan has exploited the Mavi Marmara incident for propaganda purposes for three years. But this was not just exploitation of an opportunity that happened to present itself to Erdogan. In fact, Erdogan was reportedly supportive of the flotilla idea all along before it set sail, because it would create a confrontation with Israel that would cost Israel in the court of public opinion, which is precisely what happened. A journalist on board the Mavi Marmara with good connections to government officials and the IHH group that organized the flotilla stated: “The Turkish government was behind the flotilla to the Gaza Strip and its objective was to embarrass Israel: ‘The Turks set a trap for you and you fell into it.’ The flotilla was organized with the support of the Turkish government and Prime Minister Erdogan gave the instructions for it to set sail. That was despite the fact that everyone knew it would never reach its destination.”
Immediately after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the urging of President Obama, apologized to Erdogan for the Marmara operation and committed to reach final agreement on compensation, Erdogan began backtracking from his own promise to restore full diplomatic relations with Israel and stop certain legal proceedings brought against Israeli soldiers.
Erdogan told Turkish reporters that it was too early to talk about dropping the Mavi Marmara case against the Israeli soldiers, and that normalizing diplomatic relations would come gradually. “We will see what will be put into practice during the process. If they move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution,” Erdogan said.
Turkey is reportedly holding out for extraordinarily high compensation which, even if paid, would not satisfy some of the families of the radicals who became "martyrs" on the Mavi Marmara.
Yet, in the face of Erdogan's continued anti-Israel rhetoric and his backtracking on his promises of normalization, Obama still made a special point at last week's joint news conference "to note the Prime Minister’s efforts to normalize relations with Israel."
Obama continues to play right into Erdogan’s hands as the devious Islamist leader prepares to visit with the Hamas terrorists in Gaza next month, to provide weapons and other support to Islamist jihadists in Syria and to consolidate his increasingly authoritarian power at home.
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