Turkey has long received flak for its seemingly cordial relations with Israel, but as the dynamic diminishes the country is citing ‘strategic’ reasons for its prior bonhomie.
But it is the following quip by journalist Mazen Hammad of Al Watan that is most interesting:
Turkey was more Arab than the Arabs and more Palestinian than the Palestinians when it cancelled Israel’s participation in the annual Anatolian Eagle air exercises. [Source]
More than a little pompous, it nonetheless addresses the willingness of certain countries in the region to ignore Israeli atrocities in the interest of economic incentives.
Turkey’s turnaround is a landmark and one that should be emulated, ultimately.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan encapsulated the point neatly:
While in some countries children are provided with comfort, peace, the most advanced education and health opportunities while other children are faced with poverty, destitution, helplessness, war, conflict, weapons of mass destruction and phosphorus bombs. We are forced to heed the sounds of persecution.
Iraq was occupied. Baghdad and Basra were bombed while all of humanity watched as it was broadcast live on their television. It was the same when phosphorus bombs were rained on innocent children in Gaza, the whole world, all of humanity, watched from their comfortable chairs and their safe havens. However, as all this was happening, unfortunately from time to time in international discussion platforms, the term ‘Islamic terror’ began to be used, and efforts were made to place blame on the Muslims and Islam. [Source]
Perhaps if less time was spent compounding the notion of the Islamic nightmare and criticism distributed more equally, the true scale of global human rights abuses would attract the attention and assistance it deserves.
It is, nevertheless, reassuring that Turkey has roused to shirk the mantle of Israeli cooperation – it is long overdue.