It must be a bitter irony that thousands of Israelis who had to sneak into shelters must have read news stories quoting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
saying that nearly 1,000 rockets fired into their cities, homes and schools only this year (and over 12,000 in the last decade) are just “reasons Israelis fabricated to attack innocent people in Gaza.”
It must be even sadder that the leader of an EU-candidate country publicly allies with Hamas, a terrorist organization according to the U.S. and the club that Turkey hopes to join one day. How bizarre, Mr. Erdoğan sees nothing wrong in supporting a violent troupe whose charter explicitly calls for the annihilation of Israel
and the genocide of Jews.
No doubt, the prime minister’s furious speech in Cairo (and later in Istanbul) needs several corrections:
1. According to Mr. Erdoğan, if “Mecca, Cairo and Istanbul are cities of the Quran” one may wonder why Baghdad, Medina, Riyadh, Damascus or Tehran are not. The truth is there is no mention of any city’s name in the Quran.
2. The prime minister claims that “Israel inflates the number of its human loss from just three to 300 and even 3,000.” There has not been any Israeli statement that claimed the death toll from Hamas rockets was 300 or 3,000, or even four. The only number stated was three. However, Mr. Erdoğan thinks this kind of behavior is “in Israel’s character.” There is one word to describe the attribution of one characteristic to a whole nation, and I am going to avoid mentioning it.
3. In Cairo, Mr. Erdoğan upgraded his famous Davos tirade that “You (Jews) know well how to kill” to “You (Jews) know well how to kill children.” He should check his facts first to see how many Muslim children have been killed in intra-Muslim violence, and how many have been killed in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I am not going to repeat those boring statistics, which I have published here a few times before.
4. The prime minister also claims that Israel’s offensive on Gaza was a “pre-election stunt.” It may be. But then, Mr. Erdoğan should therefore also be obliged to prove that his darling Hamas “fighters” have more than once escalated rocket firing into Israel
this month on orders from the Israeli government. Are the Hamas “fighters” secretly conspiring with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
to secure an election victory for him? How does Mr. Erdoğan explain the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas since Israel
completely disengaged from Gaza in 2005 and uprooted the 12,000 Israelis from their homes there?
5. “I have spoken with [President Barack] Obama,” the prime minister declared, going on to say, in a complaining mood: “All we were told [by Mr. Obama] is that we should tell Hamas to stop firing rockets.” I do not understand why Mr. Erdoğan would be so unhappy if Hamas stopped firing rockets. Does he want Israel
to stop firing back while Hamas keeps on firing? Is that not a very bizarre term for truce?
6. “That’s why we must be powerful,” he addressed Arab leaders, “For the Palestinian cause, for the Jerusalem cause…” Good luck, prime minister. Go ahead and be powerful. Are we not yet powerful enough? Well, we are, according to Mr. Erdoğan: “Baby-killers must understand that they are now facing countries like Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.” That’s relieving. Perhaps the all-too-mighty Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can teach a lesson to “baby-killers” without constantly ringing the White House or the Kremlin?
7. “All Western powers want is to pull the Islamic world to pieces,” he added. How interesting? Why, then, does Turkey ally with the U.S., NATO
and keep on knocking on EU’s doors for membership? To help them pull the Islamic world to pieces?
Obviously, no one can be happy about the loss of innocent lives, Israeli or Palestinian. But Prime Minister Erdoğan is hardly the appropriate leader to complain. He should be reminded that the daily loss of civilian lives in Israel’s latest offensive is still less than that of the one-shot Turkish bombing in Uludere last December, which killed 35 innocent Kurds.