SEMİH İDİZ > Islamists in disarray after Israeli apology

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They never expected it. Neither did they really want it to come. But when Israel’s formal apology for the Mavi Marmara raid did arrive they were caught off guard. And when Erdoğan went ahead and accepted the apology they were deeply perturbed.

What made the matter even more disturbing for them was the fact that the Israeli apology was accepted only days after Erdoğan had equated Zionism with racism, saying it should be considered “a crime against humanity,” much to the joy of the Turkish members of the international Muslim Brotherhood.

As if this was not bad enough, one of the principle activists on the Mavi Marmara, the actor Sinan Albayrak, came out in remarks to daily Akşam after the Israel apology saying he wished the government had prevented them from trying to break Israel’s Gaza blockade in the first place.

“What is the importance of the apology? ‘We killed nine people and are sorry’ – of course it sounds ridiculous. I say this is what the state should have done. If only it had prevented this at the start. But we asked for it. We went there ourselves.”

This is what Albayrak said. Confused as his remarks appear to be, they nevertheless express a regret that cannot have gone down well in Islamist circles. Especially the bit about “We asked for it.” Some are suggesting now that those who were on the Mavi Marmara when it was raided by Israeli commandoes should bring charges against the Turkish state, seeing as a prominent personality on the ship now says it could have prevented them from trying to breach the Israeli blockade.

The corollary to this is that that the state could have, and should have prevented the deaths of the nine Turks on the ship. That is a flight of fancy of course. But so is trying to get senior Israeli officials convicted over the raid through court cases opened by prosecutors in Turkey. These cases can only be meaningful if they are seen in international courts, but that is not happening.

Turkey demanded a formal apology, compensation for the families of those killed, and a lifting of the Gaza blockade. Israel has said the first two conditions will be met. As for the blockade, most observers agree that while this still continues, routes for aid and other material into Gaza are open. But the intention of Islamists is not to “eat the grapes but to beat the keeper of the vineyard” to quote a Turkish saying.

In other words they want Israeli noses rubbed in the mud and were relying on Erdoğan to do this for them. But they forgot about “realpolitik.” Turkey is a country in a delicate part of the world where it has to consider the bigger picture. The Mavi Marmara activists, barring Sinan Albayrak, nevertheless say they are determined to stay on course.

Addressing a press conference recently on the Mavi Marmara, they refused to accept the Israel apology. They are demanding that Israel apologize individually for each victim of the Israeli raid. In addition to this they say they will not drop the court cases they have initiated against Israeli officials, even though the apology deal worked out by President Obama requires this to be done.

How the government will handle this situation is not clear. There is also the possibility that Erdoğan will bow to pressures from his Islamist grass roots and try to reverse the situation that has emerged after the Israeli apology by finding some excuse or other. Some expect him to use the Gaza blockade argument as the excuse. If that were to happen, though, Erdoğan’s credibility in the West will be tarnished.

Populism is all very well but leaders have a responsibility to see the bigger picture and act according to the interests of the nation as a whole, and not just the interests of their grass roots. Netanyahu saw the bigger picture in the end. The crisis with Israel should also provide a lesson to the Erdoğan government on the subtleties of foreign policy administration in a dangerous part of the world.


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John Smith

5/11/2013 10:08:38 AM

The Zionist super controllers of the western media make it impossible to tell the truth in the west. They are following the same policy they did in 1930's Germany, when they brought the Nazis to power in Germany. Only this time the target of their hate and poison are Muslims across the western world. You only have to read the Israeli supporting media to see the blatant anti Muslim message pushed on a daily basis.

Blue Dotterel

4/14/2013 5:51:49 PM

@Steve, I should point out that the main problem with the cartoon was the yarmulke being marked with the Star of David rather than the Israeli flag. In the former case it could be taken to mean the whole of Judaism, which Falk ( being a Jew) would certainly not agree with. The latter case would have made the cartoon more accurate in that Israel is enabled to disrespect justice and human rights through US protection. Falk understood the later originally, but saw the other possible sense later.

Blue Dotterel

4/14/2013 5:26:09 PM

@Steve Bruce, Falk apologized for the cartoon, even though its symbolism was quite accurate. Your referring to Falk as an antisemite is a racist antisemitic statement itself. It might be noted that Arabs as well as most Jews are semites. Falk is opposed to Israel's barbaric antisemitic treatment of Palestinians, he is not opposed to Jews or Judaism, and he is decidedly not an antisemite. I find it interesting how Zionists have taken the term solely for their own use. This is racism at its worst.

Steve Bruce

4/14/2013 11:43:38 AM

@ blue -Falk acknowledged that a cartoon he posted on his blog regarding the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity was antisemetic The cartoon depicted a dog with a Jewish head-covering and a sweater with the letters "USA" urinating on Lady Justice while devouring bloody human bones - This says it all about his credibilty on the Gaza issue Falk is a Jew himself but is an antisemite

Blue Dotterel

4/14/2013 12:10:30 AM

@ Steve Bruce, You seem to be correct about the quote. I thought I had gotten it from Al Jazeera, but must have taken it from wiki in a weak moment. The rest is taken from Falk's blog, if I recall. I usually use wiki for the sources at the end, as it is easy to find articles with opposing views, but I rarely use its main articles, at least on controversial subjects. I prefer the original sources when reliable. Sorry about that.

Blue Dotterel

4/14/2013 12:03:25 AM

@steve bruce, Falk has not claimed that the Bush Admin. is complicit, and does not endorse the 9/11 theories. That is Zionist propaganda. Falk claims that 9/11 merits further investigation probably because the government's 9/11 commission report was so shoddily handled. Falk like many high level critics of Israeli policies is regularly attacked by the Zionists at UN Watch, who do what propagandists usually do. Twist the truth.

Steve Bruce

4/13/2013 12:16:33 PM

@blue- ısn't falk the one who claims The Bush admin was complicit in 9\11 ? We could question his credibility on the gaza issue.

Steve Bruce

4/13/2013 9:42:21 AM

@Blue-You post was copied word by word from wiki Blockade of the Gaza Strip

Blue Dotterel

4/12/2013 7:13:44 PM

@Vargen, Your comment implying that I am an Islamist is quite racist. Indeed, Islamists can have opinions just as Zionists can. In any case, your assumption that any critic of Israel must be an Islamist (or no doubt a self-hating Jew, or an anti-Semite) is sick. In fact, I do not hold "Islamist views" at all. The Israeli blockade is regarded as illegal by many Jews, Christians, and others, as well as Muslims and Int. Law experts. You should try producing arguments not ad hominem attacks.

Blue Dotterel

4/12/2013 7:03:23 PM

@Steve Bruce, et. al. I would suggest that you read "The Mavi Marmara Incident and Blockade in Armed Conflict" by Douglas Guilfoyle in the British Yearbook of International Law. (google it). It is a long, rather thorough analysis of the incident, and will demonstrate the weaknesses in the pro-Israel arguments. You might discover some of the nuances that make this difficult case a weak one for Israel, and begin to understand why the majority of Int. Law experts regard the occupation as illegal.
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