Friday, July 18, 2014

Turks to Israelis: Stop the Gaza War

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government are extremely critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Here are snippets from news reports of the last few days with comments from Erdogan and his foreign minister. 

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his harsh criticism of Israel on Thursday, accusing the Jewish state of attempting a “systematic genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.

“We have been witnessing this systematic genocide every Ramadan since 1948. The world remains silent because those who lost their lives are Palestinian,” Erdogan told a meeting of Islamic scholars in Istanbul to mark Ramadan, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Erdogan also said that the UN was not doing enough to help the Palestinians.

“Do you hear the voice of the United Nations? They are doing something only for a show. Is there executive action? No. Why was the United Nations established? For world peace. Does it make a contribution to world peace?” he said.

The Turkish prime minister then blamed Muslim countries for not doing enough to stop the bloodshed.

“When the West remains silent, the Islamic world watches too,” he said, adding that “Some Islamic countries are content with what is happening in Palestine today.” (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2014)

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“Israel is a country that threatens world peace. It has never favored peace,” [Erdogan] told reporters on Friday. “I do not envision any progress [in ties] with Israel as long as I am in charge,” he said, even though this might harm his reputation in the Western countries that are sympathetic to the Israeli position in the conflict.

“The Western reaction might be different. But I have never tried to look sympathetic to dominant powers, and I never will,” he said.

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In his remarks at a meeting between Turkey and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in İstanbul on Friday, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said there is a need for sustainable peace in the region and that Turkey is doing its utmost to ensure peace in the region and will continue to do so.

He said phone traffic between him and his counterparts continued all night after Israel launched its ground offensive on Thursday evening.

“First, this aggression [air strikes and ground offensive] should stop. No matter what their excuse, this is against the human conscience. We are determined to motivate the international community to take action,” he said, accusing Israel of being opportunistic. He also claimed that the Israeli ground offensive is partly an attempt to sabotage Palestinian efforts to form a unity government that brings together the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah.

“There is opportunism here. Palestinians [rival factions Hamas and Fatah] reached reconciliation between themselves, and Israel couldn't stand that. Now, it is trying to harm this togetherness. We advise Palestinians to stand by one another,” Davutoğlu said.

The foreign minister said Turkey also aims to ensure a permanent cease-fire and reiterated its commitment to support the Palestinians.

“Although everybody else keeps quiet, Turkey will never remain silent in the face of any injustice,” he said, adding, “We are going to voice our thoughts loudly.” (Today’s  Zaman, July 18, 2014)

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked to Hitler on Tuesday, in remarks criticizing Israel’s actions against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan gave a fiery anti-Israel speech in which he said Ankara will not normalize ties with Israel as long as Israel continues to “kill innocent children and continue its operations in Gaza.”

The Turkish prime minister referred to a female MK who said “all Palestinians are our enemies.

“This mentality is no different to that of Hitler,” the Istanbul-based daily Hurriyet reported Erdogan as saying.

“If these words were said by a Palestinian, the whole world would have denounced it,” he continued.

Erdogan’s supposed quote of Shaked referred to an article by now-deceased Makor Rishon editor Eli Elitzur from 2002, at the height of the second intifada, which the Bayit Yehudi MK posted on her Facebook wall on July 1.

“The Palestinian people declared war on us, and we must fight back. Not an operation, not low-intensity, not destroying terror infrastructure... This is a war between two nations. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started,” Elitzur wrote.

When asked to comment on Erdogan’s statement, Shaked’s spokeswoman Tal Benesh quipped that this is “the end to all-inclusive vacations,” referring to the resorts many Israelis visit in Turkey. (Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2014)

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