In today’s news (see Reuters link below), Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan commands Israel, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”—in English and in Hebrew.
- Did you ever wonder why Mr. Erdogan never hesitates to use the words ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide’ when accusing other governments?
- Why is Erdogan so outspoken when it comes to the human rights of peoples outside of his country, yet deaf, dumb and blind to human rights violations committed in his own country?
- How many times has he used the “G” word freely when accusing the Armenians of such acts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Israel in Gaza?
Turkey clearly set a trap for Israel and unfortunately Israel fell into the trap. Regardless of your politics concerning the Palestinians, it is unconscionable for the world to allow Turkey’s leadership to stir up antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments within Turkey and throughout the Moslem world for political gain. I guess Erdogan is tired of denying Turkey’s past (the Armenian Genocide), so he’s shifting the world’s focus to a tried and true political formula: Pick on the Jews.
He emphatically denies the Armenian Genocide, which killed 1.5 million Christian Armenians, including babies and elderly women and men. The majority of those who managed to live were driven out of their native homeland (Turkey) to the desert, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Israel (then Palestine), Europe, the Americas and Australia.
Most of the Armenians who remained in Turkey were either forced to convert to Islam or enslaved. Armenians living in Turkey today (as well as all non-Moslem minorities) do not have the same rights as Moslem Turks. Furthermore, Turkey continues to blockade Armenia (don’t even get me started on the trap of the protocols)!
A few months ago, while loudly denying the Armenian Genocide from wherever he was in the world, he embraced Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir (who has committed crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, as determined by the International Criminal Court). Defending al-Bashir as a Moslem, Erdogan said a Moslem would never be guilty of such crimes. I have news for Mr. Erdogan, acts of genocide and crimes against humanity are perpetrated by men of all faiths—and, often in the name of God.
To this day, Turkey has a poor human rights record. Shouldn’t the country’s leadership champion the rights of its own citizens, rather than shouting about the human rights of those outside Turkey?
[Revised 12:29AM – June 5, 2010]
Turkey’s Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco | Washington Post | June 5, 2010
Erdogan and the Decline of the Turks | Wall Street Journal | June 3, 2010
Link to Erdogan telling American journalist Charlie Rose ‘Armenian Genocide is complete a lie’ (Transcript and Video)
(If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, click here for the link to the video of a television broadcast of Turkish scholar Taner Akcam discussing the facts of the Armenian Genocide and his book, A Shameful Act.)
The Reuters link that was originally the first link provided here, was changed by Reuters to another news story. I found the content I originally read in the US version on Reuters’ India world news site. The content was cut and pasted in its entirety because of my concern the story will disappear again:
Angry Turkish PM tells Israel “thou shalt not kill”
Reuters | Saturday, June 5, 2010
By Ibon Villelabeitia
ANKARA (Reuters) – Israel’s only Muslim ally Turkey accused the Jewish state on Friday of betraying its own biblical law, escalating its furious rhetoric since the killing of nine Turkish activists on board a Gaza-bound aid ship.
Despite fierce international criticism from friends as well as enemies, Israel said it would block another vessel sent by pro-Palestinian activists, the Rachel Corrie, from attempting to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s words towards Israel were his harshest yet since Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara on Monday, plunging into a melee with activists on board and opening fire.
“I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says ‘thou shalt not kill’. Did you not understand?” Erdogan said in a televised speech to supporters of his Islamist-leaning AK Party.
“I’ll say again. I say in English ‘you shall not kill’. Did you still not understand?. So I’ll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew ‘Lo Tirtzakh’.”
As relations plunged to their lowest point since the two countries forged a strategic relationship in the 1990s, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said military and economic agreements with Israel were now on the table for discussion.
“We are serious about this subject,” Arinc told the Turkish NTV news channel.
“We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum, but to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state,” he said.
Turkey has already recalled its ambassador and cancelled joint military exercises.
A spokeswoman for activists aboard the Rachel Corrie — named after an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 — said they intended to press on. Israel says it will block the ship but expects no more violence.
“We will stop the ship, and also any other ship that will try to harm Israeli sovereignty. There is no chance the Rachel Corrie will reach the coast of Gaza,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Israel’s Channel 1 television.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israeli forces to exercise “caution and politeness” in handling the ship, expected near the waters off Gaza by Saturday.
Together with Egypt, Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007.
Israel has defended the embargo, saying it stops Hamas from bringing in weapons to fight Israel. Officials said on Thursday Netanyahu was considering modifying the blockade, which would introduce some form of international role in enforcing an arms embargo, while letting in civilian goods.
U.S. CALLS FOR PEACE EFFORTS
President Barack Obama said the incident should be used as an opportunity to advance Middle East peace efforts.
U.S. envoy George Mitchell, mediating in indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks which many observers doubt will achieve a breakthrough, met Netanyahu on Friday.
He held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday which a Palestinian official said were dominated by the ship incident and the Gaza blockade.
The United States has been less critical of Israel than others, expressing sympathy for its security concerns while also saying the people of Gaza must get the supplies they need.
Erdogan, however, compared the Israeli actions to those of Kurdish militants in Turkey and stood up for Hamas, calling them “resistance fighters fighting for their land”.
“The fate of Jerusalem is not different from the fate of Istanbul,” he said, in language reflecting the significance of the holy city to Muslims throughout the world. “The fate of Gaza is not different from the fate of Ankara.”
Turkey, an officially secular state, recognised Israel soon after its establishment in 1948. In the 1990s it forged military and intelligence cooperation agreements with Israel when both had hostile relations with Syria.
Its tough position this week has been popular in the Muslim world. Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah praised Erdogan’s stance in a video-link speech to thousands of followers on Friday.
Organisers had placed nine coffins draped in Turkish flags to commemorate the Turkish victims.
“Israel miscalculated here. It thought after it attacks, kills, detains and commits terror against the Freedom Flotilla, that would make the Turkish leadership retreat, be confused, scared and look for any resolution,” Nasrallah said.
Tens of thousands of people protested across Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state.
About 20,000 people gathered in the port of Alexandria, waving Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian flags, unusual in a country where public demonstrations are often swiftly suppressed.
“Turkey, a thousand salutations. Long live Erdogan and long live the Turkish people,” the protesters chanted.
Photo caption: A masked member of Hamas stands in front of a banner depicting Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a protest in Central Gaza Strip June 4, 2010, against Israel’s interception of Gaza-bound ships.