Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s self-righteous proclamations in defense of the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group Hamas – (i.e. “Hamas is not a terrorist group,” “Hamas are resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land, and they have won an election,” etc.) – are glaringly hypocritical and in accord with his Islamist ideological bent. Erdogan has become sufficiently confident in the wake of his July 2007 electoral victory. His Justice and Development party, known as AKP, received 47% of the vote, enabling him to form a single-party government, and he has since sought to forge an Islamic agenda for Turkey. His actions reveal his intent to lead the Arab and Muslim East while gambling that the Obama administration and the European Union will ignore his Islamist rhetoric and his increasingly radical actions. Aside from becoming a champion of Hamas, he is charting a course towards a revival of Ottoman hegemony by restoring the seat and center of the Caliphate.
The United Arab Emirate-based online news source, The National, reported on June 15, 2010, that “Turkey embarked on the road to a ‘Middle East Union’ as an alternative to the European Union.” The National quoted from a front page article that appeared in the Turkish daily Milliyet regarding the signing of a free-trade agreement between Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
A speech given by President Obama before the Turkish parliament in April 2009, during which Obama declared, “Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not and will never be at war with Islam,” encouraged Erdogan to ramp up his efforts. Erdogan, no doubt, is also counting on the European lack of moral courage. As such, he was able to provoke a crisis with Israel by funding and indirectly arming the flotilla that sought to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and essentially call for jihad against Israel. Neither Obama nor the Europeans have rebuked him for his repeated egregious behavior. Moreover, Erdogan has derived a backwind from the vacuum created by the perception of weakness of the Obama administration, coupled with Obama’s toughness against Israel – the only democratic ally in the region – rather than towards Iran.
While Hamas has been pitied and cuddled by Obama, the Europeans, the UN, and human rights organizations, there has been no condemnation of the Turkish regime (nor, for that matter, against the Islamic Republic of Iran) by the US and the West for the continued war on the Kurdish people in Turkey, Iran, and Iraqi Kurdistan. According to a CNN-TV December 19, 2007 report, “the US helped in attack on PKK.” The ostensible reason for the war against the Kurdish people is the Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) terrorism. Neither the Western powers nor the UN ever took Turkey to task over the lives of thousands of innocent Kurds killed in the process. And while the PKK might have used guerilla warfare against the Turkish authorities, unlike Hamas, it rarely employed suicide bombers or attacked civilians. The double-standard is apparent, Saudi petro-dollars helped to smooth the Arab-Palestinian image while overlooking its jihadist nature. At the same time, the friendless Kurds have no petro-dollar patrons to count on.
Western hypocrisy is quite apparent. While Hamas (1.2 million Palestinians) openly opposes Israel’s existence and has been dedicated, since its inception and as stated in its Charter, to the destruction of the Jewish State through war and terrorism, the PKK has been fighting Turkey since 1984. Initially they demanded a separate state for Turkey’s approximately 15-20 million Kurds, and later, were will to compromise and moderate their demands to cultural and political rights for Kurds. Hamas has received funds from EU countries and material support from EU based Non-Governmental Organizations. The British daily newspaper, The Independent, reported back on February 19, 2009 that “Europe began covert talks with Hamas.” No such privileges were accorded to the PKK or the persecuted Kurds of Iran, Syria, and Turkey. According to the Sabah-English edition of June 12, 2010, “Europe began staging war on PKK.” New provisions of EU anti-terrorism laws state that PKK terrorists residing in European nations will be extradited, and that Turkish police officers will receive special training on the extradition of terrorists. In addition, the EU Border Protection Agency (Frontex) is stepping in to curtail the PKK’s financial resources. Will the EU use the same parameters to deal with Hamas?
In using Erdogan’s logic that Hamas deserves recognition because it won the 2006 elections, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deserves equal recognition following its successful showing in the 2009 local Turkish elections. The DTP gained overwhelming support in the Kurdish areas of Turkey, and came a close second behind the ruling AKP. And while Israel did not interfere or prevent Hamas from taking part in the 2006 elections and select their own representatives, despite Hamas’s unwillingness to renounce terrorism and recognize Israel, Erdogan proceeded to ban the DTP, charging that it constituted “a focal point of terrorism.” In addition to banning the DTP, Erdogan’s government imprisoned dozens of DTP members, and banned its leaders from political activities for five years. The Kurds in Turkey then reorganized their party under a new name, the “Peace and Democracy Party” (BDP), and once again, the Erdogan government harassed and imprisoned the BDP members while trying to ban the new party from running in upcoming elections.
Erdogan’s Turkey has refused to accept legitimate pro-Kurdish parties or accept the PKK as a key player in solving the Kurdish question, despite a number of unilateral ceasefires declared by the PKK since the 1990s, which Turkey ignored. Erdogan is demanding that PKK fighters surrender or die. Both Erdogan and Hamas have rejected compromise.
It is time to challenge Erdogan’s hypocritical stand, and it must come from the West, which has for too long colluded with this Turkish Islamist regime and the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. The West is employing a dangerous double-standard when it comes to Israel and the PKK.