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MURAT YETKİN

murat.yetkin@hurriyet.com.tr

MURAT YETKİN > Israel-Gaza crisis and rise of Egypt

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It is a fact that Turkey has a role to play in the efforts to stop Israel from launching a wider-scale military operation into Gaza that could lead to more loss of life and worse tragedies. That is why U.S. President Barack Obama has named Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, along with Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi, as the regional leader whom he has asked for help to produce a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is traveling to Gaza as part of international diplomatic efforts that also include other high-level diplomats like U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the secretary generals of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, as well as a number of European foreign ministers.

There are two other facts in this diplomatic effort. The first is that the United Nations has designated Egypt as the center of diplomacy and asked other countries to help the country. Despite the reality that Turkish officials have made it clear when you ask them that they are assisting Egypt in all efforts regarding the Middle East peace process, the Turkish government is not extremely pleased that its secondary role was made public. Addressing Eurasia-Islamic Assembly delegates in Istanbul, Erdoğan said he did not trust the U.N. to help solve the crisis; he doesn’t trust the U.N. with its current leadership structure anyway. Another detail in Egypt’s leading position is that Egypt is talking to Israel as well as Hamas, but Turkey has not been doing so since 2011 following the collapse of talks with Israel to obtain an apology over the killing in 2010 of nine Turks by Israeli soldiers on board the Mavi Marmara ship, which was trying to break an embargo on Gaza.

Second, the U.S. is expecting Egypt and Turkey to convince Hamas to stop firing rockets on Israeli towns. Obama believes it is in every country’s right to defend itself against rockets fired from outside its borders, and the debate is occurring while Turkey is in talks with NATO to have Patriot missile systems deployed on its soil to defend itself against the probability of a missile attack from Syria. And it is not certain whether Turkey has more powers of influence on Hamas than Egypt has. Despite Erdoğan and Davutoğlu’s unconcealed sympathy for Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, its leader, and his Palestinian rival, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, are communicating through Egyptian channels.

Egypt’s role in the region is back following the Tahrir Revolution, and its government is stronger than before after its government took power in free elections.

Last, the Syrian opposition, which started in refugee camps in Turkey, has said they consider Cairo to be their headquarters. The Arab Spring has worked well for Egypt, and the country is rising from its ashes once again, providing a realistic model to Arab countries. And if Morsi manages to save Gaza from the wrath of Israel, he can be a second Gamal Abdel Nasser, plus an elected one for the Arab world.

November/20/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Truth Teller

11/20/2012 9:54:47 PM

The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever curbs his anger, while being able to act, Allah will fill his heart with certainty of faith." - It is obvious that Mursi from Egypt is much more clever than the hot-tempered Turkish PM.

Blue Dotterel

11/20/2012 7:48:42 PM

Unless Turkey and Egypt are prepared to break Israel's illegal blockade and arm the Palestinians so that they can defend themselves against Israeli aggression, you can assume that Erdogan and Morsi are simply feigning support for the Palestinians and secretly supporting Israel. These people support the butchery of Muslims on behalf of Israeli and US foreign policy in Syria, but won't lift a finger against Israel.

Murat

11/20/2012 7:33:31 PM

Turkey was never a player in this arena and never had a chance. Mavi Marmara ended even the pretense. Erdogan is important only in his mind. He may be right in many of his positions and statements, but it is irrelvant really at this point. He should pay attention to what goes along our borders first.

Sid Mark

11/20/2012 6:49:28 PM

Dear Sir.You are making things up.You base a whole article on lies.No Obama asked your prime minister to do nothing.You are just trying to get involved in the ME because you lost the game called Europe.

american american

11/20/2012 6:27:28 PM

every sport needs a spectator

Jason Hoppell

11/20/2012 5:05:14 PM

Turkey is irrelevant in these situations. The only reason Obama calls on Erdogan is because he knows he has an undeservedly big ego and he wishes to make him feel important. It's a mistake!

Turk down under

11/20/2012 2:41:13 PM

Erdogan makes me laugh. He does not trust the UN. He does not trust Israel. He trusts terrorist org Hamas who place their weaponry amongst civilian hubs such as schools and mosques to the detriment of their own people. He trusted Al Assads Syria, he trusted Iran ???.He seems to be putting his trust in all the wrong places and if the ramifications weren't so dangerous for Turkiye, I'd actually be rolling on the floor and laughing!

Engin Atik

11/20/2012 6:14:05 AM

It turns out Obama has won this election with no support from Israeli special interests groups. He is in a very special position having won the presidency without any homage to any specific interest groups. He can choose to listen to Arabs or Israelis at will. Turks are not listed in this short list of groups he would listen to.

dogan kemal ileri

11/20/2012 1:39:13 AM

I am sorry but your take on this topic is flawed.I suggest you carefully read your co-writer Semih Idiz bey for a more accurate interpretation.
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