Talking turkey about Ankara (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Ruthie Blum 05/29/12)
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Two years ago almost to the date, the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” set
sail from Turkey in an attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade on
the Hamas-led terrorist enclave. Organized by the Free Gaza Movement
and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian
Relief (IHH), the Ankara-backed, six-ship flotilla was ostensibly
bringing medical and construction supplies to the people of
Since this was the ninth attempt on the part of activists
such a stunt, the Israeli government and military were prepared. Or
so they thought.
For a few weeks before the scheduled event,
Israeli naval commandos
had practiced boarding ships from speedboats and helicopters, as well
as dealing with potential chaos. They were told to expect all kinds
of provocations (such as being spat on, having lit cigarettes thrown
at or stubbed out on them, being pelted with garbage, and maybe even
suffering a few blows). They were instructed not to allow such
actions to rile them. After all, there were going to be camera crews
on the ships, waiting eagerly to catch the Big Bad Wolf pouncing on
Little Red Riding Hood.
When the fateful day arrived — May 31,
2010 — and the flotilla
reached a certain point in the international waters of the
Mediterranean, the commandos were sent in. Because no major violence
had been anticipated, most of them were only equipped with paintball
(!) guns, some tear gas, and a few smoke bombs for riot dispersal.
Only a few were armed with real rifles and live ammunition.
captains of the ships were notified that they could dock at the
Ashdod port, where their cargo would be inspected. Any non-blockaded
items would then be delivered to Gaza by land. (This would be nothing
new for Israel, which has provided humanitarian aid to the
inhabitants of the Islamist mini-state all along.) But the activists
rejected the proposal. So the commandos began to board the
On five out of the six boats, the commandos encountered
resistance. Those ships were simply towed to the Israeli coast, and
their passengers were detained for a while before being
The trouble began on the Turkish ship, the Mavi
Marmara. The minute
the commandos began being hoisted onto its deck, they were assaulted
viciously by dozens of IHH radicals, there for blood. This caught the
commandos off guard. Before they had a chance to employ their riot-
dispersal techniques, they were pummeled with iron bars, stabbed with
knives, thrown overboard, and shot at. The ensuing “battle” would
result in the deaths of nine activists and the wounding of 10
commandos, one of them critically.
The raid of the flotilla
caused an international outcry — against
Israel, of course. Nor did the condemnation let up after footage of
the violence against the soldiers was released. No anti-Israel
elements like being confused by the facts, after all.
fact was that some of the activists tried to block the
commandos from helping other activists receive medical attention. The
commandos then had to forcibly evacuate the wounded against their
will, to save their lives.
Another piece of information that
might have slipped by the media is
that many of the wounded, who were rushed to Israeli hospitals,
refused or interfered with treatment (by pulling out IVs and the
like), announcing that they would rather die as “shaheedim” (martyrs)
for the cause.
Unfortunately, their wish did not come true.
Instead, they were sent
back home to Turkey, where they were welcomed as heroes and victims
simultaneously — a feat radicals always seem to manage to pull off
Israel’s response? To ease the blockade on Gaza,
and to begin serious
attempts at repairing relations with Ankara — behavior that Jews keep
imagining will garner them sympathy.
The Turkish government was
delighted with the whole turn of events.
As it began moving away from America’s axis, it needed a “legitimate”
excuse to sever its once cordial ties with Israel. To this end, Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Israel not only apologize
for the Mavi Marmara raid, but that it pay compensation to all the
Even Jewish idiocy has its limits at times,
however. Thankfully, the
Israeli government did not comply, though it did try to come up with
an alternative formula for expressing regret for the lost lives on
the ship. Turkey’s response was to expel the Israeli ambassador from
This week, to add injury to insult, an Istanbul court
unanimously to press criminal charges against four Israeli officials
and a number of soldiers it deemed responsible for the deaths of the
nine activists from the Mavi Marmara. One of these officials is
former Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi. The punishment for his and the others’ alleged crime
of “inciting to kill monstrously in a torturous manner” is eight to
18,000 (!) years in jail.
It doesn’t look as though Ashkenazi —
ironically, one of Israel’s
more pacifist chiefs of staff — will be taking any vacations over
there in the near future, at least not without his trusted paintball
gun in his holster. Spending 18,000 years in a Turkish prison is not
anybody’s idea of a good time.
Nor should any of the rest of us
spend one more shekel, dollar or
euro on, or in, that budding radical Islamist country which is still
referred to as a “regional democracy,” in spite of its siding with
and behaving exactly like our other enemies.
Let’s talk Turkey.
The time has come to face the reality that yet
another state a virtual spit away from Tel Aviv is a foe, not a
friend, and must be treated accordingly.
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