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Entries in Recep Tayyip Erdogan (8)


The Latest from Israel-Gaza-Palestine (31 January)

Latest Post:The Turkey-Israel Clash on Gaza -The American Jewish Committee Joins In

11:20 p.m. Intriguing manoeuvres in Cairo. Earlier it was reported that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas would be in Egypt on Sunday, at the same time that a Hamas delegation was in Egypt. Abbas' staff are now saying he will make an "unscheduled" stop in Cairo on Monday.

9:45 p.m. A potentially key development in the Middle East. I had heard, while in Dublin, of the high hopes of Obama officials for a breakthrough in relations with Syria. (You may recall that Damascus was an associate member of the Axis of Evil during the Dubya years, and the US pulled its ambassador after the 2005 killing of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri by a car bomb.)

Well, today Syrian President Bashir al-Assad met a US Congressional delegation and called for a "positive" dialogue with Washington based on, echoing President Obama's Inaugural phrase, "common interests and mutual respect".

However, before getting too effusive about the "excellent beginning", as one Congressman called the meeting, US officials may want to note that part of Assad's manoeuvring is to get (and to take credit for) recognition of Hamas. So holding out the prospect of warmer relations with Washington, while it has many uses for Syria, is also being used as a lever in the Israel-Palestine process.

9:30 p.m. Egypt says it has installed cameras and motion sensors along the border with Gaza to stop smuggling through tunnels.

6:30 p.m. Palestinian Authorian leader Mahmoud Abbas, predictably, has rejected Hamas' calls for a dissolution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and its replacement by a new umbrella Palestinian group: "[Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal's statements regarding the establishment of a new authority to replace the Palestine Liberation Organisation is an exercise in time-wasting. While he talks about establishing an organisation, he really wants to destroy what has been the voice (of the Palestinian people) for 44 years."

The PLO, founded in 1964, including Abbas' Fatah Party and other Palestinian political movements but not Hamas. Both Abbas and Hamas representatives are due in Cairo on Sunday for talks.

3:20 p.m. According to a Sydney reporter, the Israeli Ambassador to Australia has said,"The country's recent military offensives [in Gaza] were a preintroduction to the challenge Israel expects from a nuclear-equipped Iran within a year." Israel expects Tehran to "be at the point of no return" within 14 months.

3 p.m. Propaganda Story of the Day 2 (see 9:30 a.m.): Israeli military and officers are putting about the story that "an Iranian aid ship is now serving as a communications headquarters for Hamas".

The DEBKAfile, closely linked to Israeli services, added, "Iran has sent intelligence and Revolutionary Guards officers to Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, to help create a support system for the Iran Shahed's new communications purpose."

1:30 p.m. CNN's website has an update on the ongoing student demonstrations in Britain protesting the situation in Gaza. It's an article heavily tilted against the demos, focusing on the request of the National Union of Students call for an end to occupations and a supposed increase in hostility towards Jewish students.

10:25 a.m. Some good news. Despite the refusal of the BBC to air the Disaster Emergencies Committee appeal for aid to Gaza, the campaign has raised £3 million (more than $4 million) in its first week.

Morning Update (9:30 a.m.): Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is continuing his high-profile attack, which we've covered extensively, on Israel's policies in Gaza with an interview in The Washington Post: "Palestine today is an open-air prison."

Propaganda Story of the Day: The winner is in Israel's YNet News, "Thousands of al-Qaeda supporters active in Gaza". The sensationalist tale is based on information from two unnamed Palestinian sources.

A rocket from Gaza has landed near Ashkelon. There were no casualties.

The Turkey-Israel Clash on Gaza: The American Jewish Committee Joins In

Update: On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad praised Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s stance in Davos: “You interpreted the emotions of nations in the world. Iranian people hail your dignified attitude with the sincerest heart.” After the speech, hundreds of Iranians organized demonstrations to show their "respect" and left roses in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tehran.

The response indicates that Iran is hoping to use Erdogan's position to improve relations with Turkey, breaking the US-backed Sunni isolation of Iran's policies in the Middle East.

The American Jewish Committee has now joined the debate over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s denunciation of Israeli actions in Gaza, calling Erdogan's act a "diplomatic impoliteness" and “a public disgrace that may well encourage further outrages against Israel and Jews.”

“Prime Minister Erdogan’s tantrum at Davos throws gasoline on the fire of surging anti-Semitism,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. Harris added that Israel must respond to Erdogan's provocation. And, in his assurance that “the relationship between Turkey and Israel is a vital one that has enjoyed the support of American Jews”, there was a veiled threat. American Jewish lobbies might withdraw their support for Turkey against attempts to pass a "genocide resolution" in the US Congress condemning Turkish killing of Armenians in the 20th century.

On 21 January, a week before Davos, the AJC, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs sent a letter to Erdogan detailing their worries over "increasing anti-Semitist activities" in Turkey. Thus the ongoing interaction between the "harsh statements" on Israel by Erdogan and the efficiency of the counter-statements by pro-Israeli US organizations are more significant than what happened on the stage in Switzerland.

Indeed, the respond of the US organisations indicates that Erdogan's campaign may be short-lived. Both the international and regional politics are not conducive for a sustained position against Tel Aviv, given the long-term indispensability of Turkey and Israel for each other. Erdogan's "bold" behavior in Davos is more likely to be an investment in his future electoral prospects rather than in a changed Ankara strategy.

The Latest on Turkey, Israel, and the Crash in Davos (Video and Analysis)

Latest Post:The Turkey-Israel Clash on Gaza -The American Jewish Committee Joins In

Israeli President Shimon Peres says he has had an "amicable" telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "I called him up and said, yes, it's nothing against you, nothing against Turkey. We consider you as a friend." Peres added that he had answered "unfounded accusations".

Erdogan, meanwhile, told a conference Friday afternoon: "Nobody has the right to wish that an incident in which 1,300 people died and 5,000 people were injured be ignored.” Even more significant was his linkage of Turkey's emerging role in the Middle East with his domestic political position. Citing the "fundamental slogan" of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish state, “Peace at home, Peace in the world”, he continued, "This is why we mediated between Israel-Syria and Israel-Palestine; we played an active role in the solution of Lebanon conflict.”

Erdogan was careful to express his position as one of opposition to violence and killing, rather than an opposition to Tel Aviv: "We do not blame Israel, the Israeli people and Jews.…We are against anti-Semitism…” He may, however, be facing a challenge from the Turkish military. Brigadier Metin Gurak, the Chief of the Communication Department of the General Staff declared that it was essential to act "in accordance with the national interests" in terms of Turkey’s bilateral military relations with others.

Scenes of thousands of Gazans gathering on streets to show support for Erdogan divided media and the public in Turkey. While some accused the Prime Minister of not putting sufficient emphasis on the "terrorist" identity of Hamas, others appreciated his "determined" and "idealist" posture on the stage in Davos.

Turkey, Israel, and the Crash in Davos

Update: The Latest on Turkey, Israel, and the Crash in Davos (Video and Analysis)
Related Post: The Turkey-Israel Relationship - Reports of Its Death Are Premature

It was an extraordinary scene yesterday at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, where hundreds of participants and millions in front of their televisions witnessed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s denunciation and his departure before the session was closed.

Erdogan targeted Israeli President Shimon Peres, claiming his "high-toned statements" were made to "hide his guilt". Both Israeli actions in Gaza and the applause after President Peres’s speech were "crimes against humanity".

Asking for an extra minute from the moderator, Erdogan accused Israelis of “being good in killing” before quoting the 6th commandment of the Torah: “Thou should not kill.” When the moderator tied to interject, Erdogan warned him not to interrupt and said, “Davos is over for me.”
In Turkey, hundreds of party members and citizens, Turkish flags in their hands, have been waiting outside the airport to welcome Erdogan, after his ‘heroic attitude’ in Davos. On the other hand, there is a shock in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to diplomatic sources. Senior officials are afraid that this strained relationship with Tel Aviv may diminish the Jewish lobby’s support in the US for Turkey's position on Armenia.

For Israeli diplomatic sources, Erdogan’s speech was just another part of his "attack against Israel”. They labelled his behavior on the Davos stage an incoherent step in Turkey’s efforts to become a rational and constructive part of European Union.

A reaction from the Israeli side is expected tomorrow.

The Turkey-Israel Relationship: Reports of its Death are Premature

Ali Yenidunya, who started as a blogger on Enduring America this week, has written an extensive analysis for our partner site Libertas considering the relationship between Turkey and Israel in light of the Gaza conflict. Even though Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly criticised Israeli actions, Yenidunya argues that there are strategic reasons why the Ankara-Tel Aviv alliance will remain firm.

Read the full analysis....