Uncompromising Erdogan (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Dan Margalit 05/24/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Turkey´s decision to issue arrest warrants and indictments against
Israel Defense Forces officers who conducted the raid against the
Mavi Marmara ship to prevent it from breaching the naval blockade of
Gaza hit Jerusalem like thunder on a sunny day.
Almost two years have passed since the difficult events on the deck
of that ship, which refused to stop. Now, out of the blue, appears a
threat against former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. (ret.) Gabi
Ashkenazi, former Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos
Yadlin, former Navy chief Vice Adm. (ret.) Eliezer Marom and former
Israel Air Force Intelligence chief Avishai Levy. If they ever step
foot in Turkey, they could be arrested and tried. The prosecution
would demand 10 life terms for each of them.
This moves comes as Israel and Turkey hold behind-the-scenes meetings
to extricate the countries from the diplomatic burden created by the
Gaza flotilla. It seemed as though the anger was beginning to
subside, the wound was healing, and that Israeli tourists would even
start returning to Istanbul and Turkish beaches this summer. But
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn´t interested in
restoring relations to their proper course. If he were inclined to do
so, it stands to reason he would not have made such a decision, which
is historical and political in nature, not legal.
Indeed, seeking justice and abstaining from violence aren´t exactly
the Ottomans´ strong suit, as the Armenians and Kurds, past and
present, can attest.
According to Turkish reports, the indictment even refers to
historical details, such as the Turkish treatment of Jews in the 15th
century. If such a farcical clause actually exists in the indictment,
we can conjure up our mythological sister from the 16th century, Dona
Gracia, who could tell the judges just how much the Ottoman Empire
benefited economically from its ties with her.
Erdogan essentially made this decision based on two current and
fundamental diplomatic considerations: He sees and longs for Iran´s
position as the Middle Eastern power that is single-handedly opposing
the democratic West while appropriating the role of representing
Islam and the Arab world. As is customary in anti-Semitic places, in
the East and West alike, fanning the flames against relations with
the Jews is always useful for leaders like Erdogan. This approach has
succeeded for him in the recent past and now he is reigniting the
conflict. Ashkenazi and his colleagues are paying the price for
Turkish-Iranian competition over hegemony in the region.
Moreover, ever since Erdogan stopped lashing out at Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad, who did not heed his threats and didn´t fall from
power, Erdogan has felt insignificant and wants renewed attention
from the international community.
Erdogan has become an enemy to compromise and calm in the Middle
East, certainly when it comes to anything related to Israel. A month
ago Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wildly protested against
Israeli participation in a NATO exercise.
Every Turkish move in public, as opposed to the sweet-talk
occasionally heard in private conversations, points to nothing but
Israel must always hope that relations improve with its neighbor,
which until recently was an ally. But it must know that this won´t
happen as long as Erdogan is prime minister. You can´t make a horse
drink water. Under these circumstances, it´s not even worth the
effort to lead it to the trough.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY