Although it initially looked as though Britain’s new Conservative Party coalition would chart a new course in foreign policy, nothing could be further from the truth. On his first trip to Turkey, Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech on July 27, 2010 in which he effectively prostrated himself in front of Ankara’s Islamist government. And, for good measure, he also maligned Israel in the process – an attempt to further curry favor with the regime, which is allied with Iran, Syria, and Hamas.
Cameron essentially made the case that Britain needs Turkey and that the behavior of the Turkish government has been exemplary. Rather than framing British-Turkish relations in mutually beneficial terms, Cameron focused on the greatness of Turkey:
Which European country grew at 11% at the start of this year? Which European country will be the second fastest growing economy in the world by 2017? Which country in Europe has more young people than any of the 27 countries of the European Union? Which country in Europe is our number one manufacturer of television sets and, second only to China in the world in construction and in contracting? Tabii ki Türkiye.
Cameron described Turkey as pivotal to NATO and the West and said that its “unique position at the meeting point of East and West gives [Turkey] an unrivaled influence in helping us to get to grips with some of the greatest threats to our collective security.” Cameron conveniently ignored the fact that Turkey, under the AKP (Islamist) government lead by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has openly embraced the Muslim world and turned against the West. Cameron further appeased the Erdogan government by saying:
I ask myself this: which country, with its commitment to the international effort in Afghanistan, sends a message to the world that this is a fight not against Muslims but against terrorism? Which Muslim majority country has a long established relationship with Israel while at the same time championing the rights of Palestine? Which European country could have the greatest possible chance of persuading Iran to change its course on nuclear policy? Tabii ki Türkiye.
Just as distasteful were Cameron’s gratuitous remarks about Turkey’s membership in the European Union:
To make the case for Turkey’s membership of the EU, and to seize the huge advances I believe that we can make in our trade and in our security, there are three groups that we have to take on directly. First, there are the protectionists. They see the rise of a country like Turkey as an economic threat we must defend against, not as an opportunity to further our prosperity. Second, there are the polarized. They see the history of the world through the prism of a clash of civilizations. They think that Turkey has to choose between East and West and that choosing both is just not an option. Third, there is the prejudiced; those who willfully misunderstand Islam. They see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version peddled by the extremists. They think the problem is Islam itself and they think the values of Islam can just never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.
The United Kingdom has, in recent decades, come close to becoming a dhimmi state – a state subjugated by Islam. Moreover, the UK has become the center of worldwide radical Islamic activities. Alas, Cameron does not recognize this reality. He disregards the fact that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is an Islamic extremist, and that his positions reflect values that are in total contradiction to those of Kemal Araturk – the father of the Turkish Republic. Can it be that Cameron hasn’t noticed that Turkey is changing from a secular state and strategic ally of the West into an Islamist tyranny and a new strategic threat?
Dani Rodrik a native of Istanbul, Turkey, and a prominent Turkish economist, is currently the Rafik Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. On his May 23, 2010 weblog he commented:
We have come reluctantly to the conclusion that the government is at a minimum complicit in the massive perversion of justice that is taking place in the name of democratization. These fabricated cases target the government’s opponents, benefit the Islamist groups, and would have been difficult to mount without the cooperation and participation of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its supporters… As long as it felt persecuted by hard-line secularists, the AKP did appear to advance the cause of democracy, rule of law, and human rights – most significantly in its efforts to join the European Union. But now that it has the upper hand, it is undermining that same agenda… And as if that were not tragic enough, liberals at home as well as Turkey’s friends abroad, remain mostly oblivious to the severity of the events unfolding.
A month later, in June 23, 2010, Professor Rodrik wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled: The Death of Turkey’s Democracy, in which he states:
I no longer recognize Turkey, the country where I was raised and spend most of my time when I am not teaching in the U.S. It wasn’t so long ago that the country seemed to be taking significant strides in the direction of human rights and democracy…But more recently, the same government has been responsible for a politics of deception, dirty tricks, fear, and intimidation…It’s clear now that Turkey is no longer the liberalizing, emerging democracy under the AKP that it was only a few years ago. It’s time the U.S. and Europe stopped treating it as such—both for their own sakes, and for the sake of the Turkish people.
If appeasement was not enough for Cameron, he added a measure of hypocrisy by pandering to Ankara’s Islamists regarding the issue of the Turkish-sponsored Gaza flotilla. In his speech he declared:
Let me be clear: the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable…Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.
Cameron should know better than to make such an ignorant reference as a “prison camp.” Trucks laden with supplies arrive daily in Gaza, and while weapons and material to build them are denied, food and medicines, and other life necessities are allowed in – in abundance.
Naturally, Cameron did not state the fact that Gaza is controlled by a terrorist organization – Hamas – whose charter calls for the liquidation of Israel. Nor, for that matter, did Cameron mention the fact that the Turkish radical Islamic and anti-Western IHH, which supports worldwide jihadist groups, including Hamas, was behind the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla that assailed the naval blockade off the Gaza Strip. And, of course, Cameron did not condemn the attempted lynching of Israeli commandos by these violent Islamists. Rather, he condemned Israel’s right of self-defense.
One wonders what Winston Churchill would have to say about his fellow Tory, Prime Minister Cameron. My guess is that he would say: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” And as for Britain, Winston Churchill would be ashamed of it.