Sunday, August 28, 2016


Turkey Tells Arab League Recognizing Palestinian State 'An Obligation'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) pays a visit to the tomb of the late former President Anwar al-Sadat's in Cairo with Egyptian army commander General Hassan al-Roweny.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) pays a visit to the tomb of the late former President Anwar al-Sadat's in Cairo with Egyptian army commander General Hassan al-Roweny.
By Dorian Jones
ISTANBUL -- On the first day of his visit to Egypt, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed foreign ministers of the Arab League. He started his address with a few words in Arabic before reaching out to all Arab people with a warning.

"We should not have daylight between Arabs and Turks," he said. "We have to be careful against secret powers that will try to divide us. We are extending a hand of friendship to all those who need help."

Erdogan made a thinly veiled criticism of Western countries, saying Turkey's hand of friendship is not motivated by the underground wealth of countries but rather its shared brotherhood and historical past.

By shared past, Erdogan was referring to when Ottoman Turkey ruled Egypt and the wider region. The Turkish prime minister has been keen to redevelop those close relations.

Erdogan also used his speech to launch another attack on Israel. He strongly condemned the Jewish state for last year's killing of Turkish activists by Israeli forces during the seizure of boats seeking to break its economic blockade of Gaza.

"While Israel is trying to legitimize its existence, it is at the same time taking irresponsible steps that damage its own legitimacy," he said.

"The aggressiveness of Israel went beyond the limit by having the military attack in international waters."

"[They attacked a] convoy that was carrying only humanitarian aid, including children's playground [equipment] and toys. The Israeli government's aggressive policies are threatening the future of Israel."

Palestine 'Is A Humanitarian Issue'

The failure of Israel to meet Ankara's demands for an apology over the killings, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade has seen a collapse in bilateral relations.

In his speech on September 13, Erdogan went on to strongly advocate the Palestinian cause and its desire for statehood.

"This cause is not only the cause of Palestinians, it is the cause of all the states who care for law and humanity," he said. "This is a humanitarian issue, a decades-long issue. Chaos will deepen as long as Gaza is in this situation.

"The only correct path is to recognize an independent 'Palestinian' state. It will be possible to see Palestine in a different light in the UN in the very near future. We have to act hand in hand with Palestine."

The Palestinian Authority is expected later this month to petition the United Nations for statehood recognition. Israel strongly opposes such a move, a stance that observers say will likely be supported by the United States.

Turkey 'Wants To Be Regional Power With Global Aspirations'

Turkey's strong support for the Palestinians is aimed at building up its influence across the Middle East -- a moved aimed at Jerusalem, according to Soli Ozel, a Turkish international relations specialist with Istanbul's Kadir Has University and a columnist for the "Haberturk" newspaper.

"There is a power struggle [going on] over the eastern Mediterranean," he said. "Turkey wants to be a regional power with global aspirations.

The prime minister's tough stance against Israel undoubtedly plays well with much of Egyptian public opinion.

Tensions have been high in Cairo since the storming of the Israeli Embassy by demonstrators on the night of September 9-10.
Thousands of people greeted him at the airport during his arrival on September 12. Some held banners reading "Egypt and Turkey -- One Fist against Israel."

But that tough stance, observers say, may have put Egypt's new leaders in a difficult spot. Before he left, Erdogan indicated he wanted to visit Gaza through the Egyptian crossing at Rafa.

That hope appears to have been denied by the Egyptians. The Turkish prime minister subsequently confirmed he would not be visiting Gaza, but said he wants do so in the near future.

Erdogan was also scheduled to make a public speech in Cairo, but that was cancelled, reportedly for security reasons.

Tensions are high in Egypt following the attack last week by demonstrators on the Israeli Embassy. Cengiz Aktar, an international relations expert with Bahcesehir University, maintains that any public support for Erdogan needs to be put in context.

'New Equilibrium' In Eastern Mediterranean

"He will be cherished in the Arab street, but I don't think [it will be] more than that," he said.  "At the end of the day, Egypt is there, and Egypt considers Turkey as a challenger, not a partner yet

Aktar added that Turkey could be a "positive and proactive: force in the "new equilibrium" that is forming in the eastern Mediterranean region, provided that it can avoid lecturing its neighbors in a "bombastic and overconfident" way. 

According to research by the Turkish research company Tesevearlier this year Erdogan was the most popular leader in the Middle East earlier this year.

That popularity is predicted to increase as he continues his tour of North Africa, which will take him to Libya and Tunisia, returning to Turkey on September 16.

But, at the same time, observers warn that despite such popularity, memories of Ottoman Turkey being a formal colonial master of the region could well temper any aspirations by the Turkish prime minster to become a regional leader.

with agency reports
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Comment Sorting
by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 13, 2011 14:07
Yes,arkadash Erdogan,the palestinian state is an `obligation ` and cold turkey shold give an example creating a kurdish state in eastern turkey,apologizing to all the civilians it murdered,give them compensation for their stolen lands and properties.After the `arab` ``spring`` we are waiting for the turkish one.Aleikum sallaam.
In Response

by: William from: Latin America
September 14, 2011 06:31
Despite I have always shown support of Palestinians' right to create their own state and have condemned the genocidal policies of Israel, this 'Turkey supporting human rights for Palestinians' is the biggest hypocrisy ever...literally.

So where was this human rights and freedom support from Turkey when Kurds asked for their right to establish their own nation, to speak their language, and to put an end to the massive crimes and murders directed against their people? Wasn't Ismet Inonu, President of Turkey and dear friend of Ataturk, who said that "only Turks have the right to reclaim for ethnic rights in Turkey"? When is Turkey going to face reality and recognize and say sorry for the genocide it conducted against Pontic Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians, and Kurds (which is ongoing)?

My dear Arab friends, those of you who happen to suffer of a sudden, and hopefully short-lived, love for Turkey because they simply are mad at Israel, please...wake up. Have you forgot that since the very establishment of Turkey it has been alligned with Western nations, and thus Israel? That the very foundations of the Turkish state lie within Western specifications? Have you forgot that Turkey and Israel have been BBF when your Palestinian brothers and sisters where massacred, evicted from their homes, losing their loved ones...where was Turkey then? That's right...they were happily enjoying the benefits of being friends with Israel and the propaganda of they being "the living proof that Islam and democracy can go together."

The fact is Turkey, i.e. Erdogan, already realized that the EU is never going to accept them into the 'European family'...NEVER. So, out of childish madness, Turkey is now trying to look to Muslim states in the Middle East (yes, the region they have been wanting to separate from since 1923 to become part of Europe) as their new play garden. And what's the easiest, quickest, and most effective way of getting Arabs to like you? Yes! Go against Israel! (I've heard there is also some oil factor here, of Turkey don't wanting Israel to exploit some resources...)

As I said, I support Palestine, but I don't support Turkey and its cynicism and hypocrisy. If this Turkey-Israel issue goes out of hands, I seriously and deeply would love to see Turkey being shown the hard lesson they were supposed to receive from the West during the 'Turkish War of Independence', until Ataturk sold the country and pledged allegiance to "freedom and democracy" (i.e. Western interests) ...of course.

by: Zumansky from: USA
September 13, 2011 14:18
Very surprised that no one is screaming "anti-semitism" That is the favorite defense of the Zionistas. I suspect they have another trick up their sleeves.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 13, 2011 18:38
Its a storm in a tea-cup, dear Zumanski, turkey would not exist today without its western and israeli overlords,who sold them A. Ocalan & lots of strategic intelligence info.Read the wikileaks on turkey`s relations with the israelis.

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