Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Turkey's relations with Hamas, ISIS and the West‎ | Uzay Bulut

Turkey's relations with Hamas, ISIS and the West‎

‎"Just as it was in the past, if a leaf trembles in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus or ‎Central Asia, Ankara will be the first to hear it and respond to it,"‎ Turkey's then-Foreign Minister and current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a speech in the Turkish parliament on July 1, 2010.

He also declared his stance on ‎Jerusalem:‎ ‎"Jerusalem is our issue. East Jerusalem is part of the state of ‎Palestine, not Israeli territory, and consists of territory that was invaded in 1967."‎

Jerusalem, he added, was a Turkish issue because of its period of Ottoman rule.‎

‎"Even the religious sites in east Jerusalem are administered according to the Ottoman ‎precedent. There is no other practice. There is no other law. The Ottoman precedent is still ‎valid there," he said.‎

Davutoglu said Al-Aqsa Mosque also made Jerusalem Turkey's ‎issue.

"Al-Aqsa Mosque is not Israeli territory and it will not be," he said.‎

"When the invasion of 1967 took place, and when the Israeli flag was flown ‎over Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, the first and strongest reaction was made by our ‎consul-general there. He said, 'If that flag is not removed from here, Turkey will ‎reconsider all its relations with Israel.' And he was right in saying ‎that.

‎"When Israel declared Jerusalem -- east Jerusalem -- its capital in 1980, Turkish-Israeli ‎relations were reduced to the level of charge d'affaires. And that was the right thing to do, as ‎well."

Davutoglu also said Turkey was responsible for the destiny of a ‎region much larger than its own territory. ‎

‎"I would like to repeat the words of our [former] prime minister [Recep Erdogan]: 'The destiny of Jerusalem, ‎the destiny of Baghdad, the destiny of Bishkek, the destiny of Samarkand, and the destiny of ‎Sarajevo are our own destiny,'" he said. "If there is order in those places, ‎the Anatolian territory will be the leading territory. If there is not order there, we cannot stay ‎in the Anatolian territory comfortably."‎

Davutoglu's speech revealed much about the foreign policy, ideology and dreams of the Justice ‎and Development Party government.‎

In July 2014, Davutoglu was still making similar statements on Jerusalem. One month before ‎his appointment to the post of prime minister, he said: "[The Palestinian] issue is, first and ‎foremost, our own issue.‎

‎"Turkey's president and politicians cannot be indifferent to the Palestinian issue. And when it ‎comes to the Palestinian cause, our stance is clear. No matter what they say, our stance is ‎supporting Palestinian people and saving occupied Jerusalem.‎

"If there is an occupied land where the honor of Islam is at stake due to ‎occupation and where our historical heritage is also present, if you say, 'I will not take sides,' ‎you are on the side of the occupation."‎

Commenting on a telephone conversation he had with Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, Davutoglu ‎said: "They [Hamas] are aware of our support for them. They are sure of that. Their ‎demand from us is that we should raise our voice in the international community and relate the ‎concerns of Palestine during our contacts. And we already do that. We have always done that ‎and will keep doing that from now on, too."‎

When Davutoglu became the 26th prime minister of Turkey on Aug. 28, the Hamas government in Gaza was ‎one of the first to congratulate him. Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas member of ‎parliament and spokesman, said he hoped to see Davutoglu follow the same path that Erdogan ‎had followed to improve Turkey and the "ummah" (Islamic nation).‎

While Hamas has openly declared that its aim is to destroy the State of Israel and kill all the ‎Jews living there, authorities of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party have openly ‎expressed their support for Hamas on several occasions.‎

On July 29, Davutoglu said in televised comments on a local TV station: "Turkey stands by ‎Hamas. There is a relation of trust between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal. And we ‎will do our best with the Palestinian side, depending on this relation of trust. But we will also ‎see the steps to be taken by the Israeli side."‎

On July 22, at the end of the monthly meeting of the Council of the European Union, the 28 ‎foreign ministers of EU member states called for the disarmament of Hamas and other ‎terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.‎

‎"All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian ‎population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields," the EU statement said.‎

But Davutoglu disagreed.

"The disarmament of Palestinians will not fit any international norm ‎while Israel has the right to attack with arms any time," he said in an interview. ‎‎"They stay silent on the fact that Palestinians are killed every minute in a way that they almost ‎allow this [to happen] but even though the rockets stopped by the anti-aircraft [Iron Dome] ‎system in Israel do not kill anyone, they present [those rockets] as a big crime."

Based on Davutoglu's public statements on Hamas, we can conclude that there are ‎three basic truths that Turkish state authorities fail to understand:‎

The Jews, Israel's indigenous people, have returned to the land of Israel, re-established ‎their ‎state and have become a sovereign nation in their ancient homeland. Muslim ‎countries need to learn to accept this.‎

Instead of being obsessed with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, they can ‎focus on coming up with solutions for their own numerous, appalling issues. They can start ‎by telling the authorities of Saudi Arabia that the rest of the world is in the 21st century, ‎and urge them to stop flogging, beheading or stoning their citizens as a form of ‎punishment. ‎

According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia executed as many as 22 people in the ‎space of two weeks in August. U.N. observers have said that at least eight of those ‎executed were beheaded. Evidence used to convict the Saudi detainees is mostly based on ‎confessions obtained through torture. But we have not seen a single protest, parliamentary ‎speech or U.N. resolution that condemned those egregious beheadings, and Israel is the ‎primary focus of the United Nations Human Rights Council.‎

The Ottoman Empire, which was a prison of peoples, has collapsed. It no longer exists, ‎and will never be established again. ‎

Aside from the Kurds, almost all peoples that lived under the empire's rule have managed ‎to liberate themselves by establishing their own states.‎

The Republic of Turkey, established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, has been a ‎NATO member since 1952 and claims to aspire to membership in the European Union. ‎

The EU is a union not only of commercial interests but also of certain moral values and ‎democratic principles.

Neo-Ottoman and pan-Islamist foreign policies do not correspond with EU values or with ‎reason. Davutoglu, who has made Turkey's ascension bid to the EU a strategic target for ‎his government, must know this.

EU values include the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, such as the Kurds' right to self-determination; ending illegal occupations, such as the ‎Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus; removing blockades on neighboring countries ‎such as the blockade on the Republic of Armenia; rejecting anti-Semitism and condemning ‎hate speech, for example by bringing to account Turkish columnists who have openly ‎expressed their admiration for Hitler and the Holocaust; protecting the religious sites of all ‎faiths, such as the churches in Turkey and Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus that have ‎been looted, destroyed or turned into mosques, stables, or casinos; and fighting against ‎terror groups such as Hamas and ISIS, which pose a mortal threat not only to Israelis, ‎Gazans and the West but to all of humanity.‎

Turkey, a NATO member and supposed "ally" of the West, however, openly supports Hamas, ‎ISIS and other Islamic groups that commit all sorts of atrocities in the lands they invade, and ‎that have been designated as terrorist organizations by the EU and U.S. ‎

It is evident that there is a huge gap between the values and principles of the West ‎and those promoted by Turkey.

If Turkey cannot respect and practice the values of its Western allies, without delay or alibis, ‎the West should reconsider the privileges it has provided for Turkey. Those privileges have ‎created disastrous consequences for the entire region for decades.‎

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