The recent deal between Israel and Palestine reveals the two-faced nature of President Erdogan, and how he was never a champion of Palestinians to begin with.
Just over six years ago, ten out of nearly six hundred Pro-Palestinian activists were brutally murdered by IDF commandos aboard the Free Gaza Flotilla vessel Mavi Marmara. This widely publicized event was of note mostly for exhibiting the absolute crudeness of Israel – who wantonly attacked a boat full of humanitarian activists. Their only crime was delivering essential aid to the oppressed people of Gaza, who remain locked in by an illegal blockade.
The attack on the flotilla had another side effect beyond the untimely death of ten humanitarians. It caused an unprecedented, strenuous and ideological rupture between Turkey and Israel that has lasted until today. Soon after the flotilla raid and the announced death of Turkish activists, diplomatic relations quickly broke down.
Ever since then, Turkey’s pseudo-dictator President Erdogan has appeared like a hardcore ideologue against Zionism. He acted like the champion of Palestinian rights, especially in Gaza. He seemed to grow especially cozy with the head of Hamas, who touted him as their best friends in the fight against occupation.
On the flip side Erdogan drew increasing ire from the Zionist press – who for the first time started calling him Anti-Zionist and even Anti-Semitic – and released articles like these.
Just this week, many news outlets REPORTED that Netanyahu and Erdogan were rekindling their love affair once again, and plan to forgive and forget their old petty scrapes. And with this reconciliation, so too has Erdogan’s rhetoric changed.
His coziness to Hamas and the Free Gaza cause has almost immediately grown cold in anticipation of reuniting with Israel. Now that he and Netanyahu will be joining hands once again, and together fighting “terrorism”, Erdogan has no reason to pander to the Palestinians anymore.
And when Hamas leaders were justifiably irked by news of the reconciliation, Erdogan told them to hush down, because if he ruined this power move for him, than they would be sorry. And hush they did.
Futhermore, only after his country received $20 Million from Israel (which mostly benefited himself, probably) does Erdogan have the gall to retroactively chastise the Flotilla activists for not “asking permission”.
Is this guy for real? Does he actually stand for anything? Does he even care about the Palestinians?
My guess, given all of this information, is no. Erdogan has a terrible record of human rights within his own country – devilishly hampering down on any type of opposition, especially in the press. So what else would he be other than an opportunist?
When the flotilla happened, Erdogan took advantage of the justifiable anger his country felt against Israel, and suddenly became an “Israel Hater”. He did this for the political power he now enjoys. He didn’t do it for the Palestinians. He never did. Only now those frustrations and tensions have naturally subsided with time, Erdogan feels it’s a good time to get back on the Israel-loving train.
In fact, this whole time the diplomatic split between Israel and Turkey only remained on the political level. Large amounts of business still happened between the two countries, and the fat-cats of Turkey never stopped exploiting the Israeli occupation at the expense of Palestinians. Flights between Istanbul and Israel have been among the busiest at Israel’s airport. I remember because when I was there, the flight board must have listed at least one flight every hour!
What all of this reveals is that Erdogan isn’t, was never, and should never be a pro-Palestinian figure for activists like us. He represents the opportunism that will ultimately lead to continued Palestinian suffering.
If you are looking for the perspective of a Palestinian living in Gaza, Mondoweiss has this article , which details just how farcical Erdogan’s relationship was with the Palestinian cause.
Thankfully, authors like these are fully aware of how dirty Erdogan plays, and why he should never be seen as their hero.
From now on, I see Turkey just as I see other countries that say one thing and do another with regards to Israeli oppression. The rouse ends here.