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NURAY MERT

NURAY MERT > Syria and the politics of hypocrisy

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The governmental circles’ reaction to the recent Israeli strike on Syria can at best be defined as chutzpah or perhaps just as old-fashioned hypocrisy. Finally, it has emerged that the Israelis are supporting the Syrian regime by attacking it! Moreover, a columnist who is an arch-government supporter has a grand theory called “The New game in the Israel-Iran-Syria triangle” (Abdülkadir Selvi, Yeni Şafak, May 7). He thinks that Iran and Israel are prolonging the life of the Syrian regime for different reasons.

Wait a minute, this is not the whole story! According to Selvi, in fact, it is the Western world which has created this atmosphere by not supporting the Syrian opposition out of its concerns about Islamic radicalism. Moreover, it is the Western priority for “Israel’s security” that paved the way for the two enemies (Iran and Israel) to operate for “a new strategy.”

I know that it seems more conspiratorial than analytical, and indeed it is. Right-wing conspiratorialism is neither particular to some groups, nor a new phenomena. Nevertheless, it is a very clever conspiracy since it kills two birds with one stone. On one hand, it condemns the Israeli attack simply because it contributes to the endurance of the Syrian regime, while defining the Israeli attack not as an anti-al-Assad move but a pro-al-Assad one. Then, by portraying Israel and Iran as the actors in the same game, Turkey’s anti-Iranian position is legitimized in the eyes of conservatives, since Israel is typically already seen as the “absolute evil” in conservative circles.

By the way, one might also ask how, on one hand, Turkey is normalizing its weakened relations with Israel while still portraying Israel as an evil, on the other. First of all, we have to remember that Egypt after Anwar Sadat had commenced relatively good relations with Israel without ever admitting it publicly. Besides, Egypt after Sadat did not need to reverse popular anti-Semitism (under the name of anti-Zionism). Reading politics from the perspective of “Israeli lobbyism,” which often slides into tales about Jewish conspiracies, has become very common not only in anti-Western Arab countries, but also pro-Western ones. Right-wing political discourses in Turkey have always had similar traits, as officials have publicly admitted the Israeli alliance. Since the conservative takeover of political power, Turkey started to follow the double talk of the other regional countries.

Finally, Turkey is firmly in the Western camp, but its government attracts strong Western criticism for legitimizing its pro-Western policies. Since Israel is an inseparable part of any popular anti-Westernism, as well as part of an anti-Semitism discourse, no matter how relations improve, anti-Israel talk will prove useful. No doubt it is a clever strategy, but only in the short run. Otherwise, such politics have long proved to be very problematic throughout the Middle East, so Turkey would be wise not to follow the pattern.

In fact, the Western world has long turned a blind eye to such hypocritical politics in the region and indeed benefited from them, but they will eventually come face to face with the shortcomings.

May/13/2013

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Blue Dotterel

5/14/2013 7:20:18 PM

@İlker, Israel and the US would like to destroy Syria, preferably by splitting it up along ethnic and religious lines as they have in Iraq (and the Yinon plan proposed). They continue to fuel and fund the proxy war there in order to weaken the Syrian state. Israel's bombing of Damascus was intended to give the "rebels" hope, indeed, the bombing of Reyhanli is no doubt intended to do the same, given the AKP's immediate and predictable anti-Assad ranting. The "rebels" may believe Turks will invade

Ry Vagim

5/13/2013 11:44:00 PM

Ilkner Avni, well said (in the common sense realm) , but, Israel would rather see Syria weak.

Aryeh Rapaport

5/13/2013 11:24:33 PM

What is brewing in ME is a long, bloody, bad war. Shia vs Sunni, Islamic extremism vs Secularists, Muslims vs non Muslims, modern Muslims vs other sect of Islam. Israel doesnt control anything in Arab world- only its soil. Israel shouldnt pick sides but look from the side as Muslims kill Muslims. Israel should hope that after all the killings Muslims will wake up and ask how to live, grow, be productive on this world - not just kill or hate. I hope one day ME will live in peace!!

Aryeh Rapaport

5/13/2013 11:11:27 PM

What is brewing in ME is a long, bloody, bad war. Shia vs Sunni, Islamic extremism vs Secularists, Muslims vs non Muslims, modern Muslims vs other sect of Islam. Israel doesnt control anything in Arab world- only its soil. Israel shouldnt pick sides but look from the side as Muslims kill Muslims. Israel should hope that after all the killings Muslims will wake up and ask how to live, grow, be productive on this world - not just kill or hate. I hope one day ME will live in peace!!

ilker avni

5/13/2013 8:32:10 PM

What ever happens in Syria,has to be approved by israel,Israel would rather keep Assad,better the devil you know,Its Israel who is against arming the rebels,in case they weapons end up in Terroists hands,they swallowed Assads spin two years ago when he first mentioned the threat.Israel and America seem to have swallowed Assads spin..This allso proves Israel has split Nato,with Turkey and Gt Britain for arming the rebels while America is against.

Blue Dotterel

5/13/2013 5:54:42 PM

Israel and Turkey are allied through NATO and the US. Where it counts, economics and trade, Turkish and Israeli relations have consistently improved under the AKP. Essentially the "rift" has been created to keep this close alliance in tact, given that the Turkish people support the Palestinians and are essentially anti-Israel, and anti US foreign policy. To rail against Israel and even the US occasionally is good PR, good politics for Erdogan. Erdogan's nose is longer than Pinochio's.

Ed Frias Ed Frias

5/13/2013 4:03:32 PM

Great article. Without Israel to blame for all the death, poverty, destruction, misery, and oppression across Islam, who will the Islamic people blame? Its Arab governments who perpetuate the incitement of Muslims against Jews, with conspiracy theories that Jews are secretly behind every incident that negatively affects them. This is a pitiful self-serving attempt to deflect blame from their failings. The Arab leaders get there people under control by blaming all there problems on Jews

Aryeh Rapaport

5/13/2013 2:54:37 PM

The real reason Israelis didnt mind living without Turkish relations & were even happy for it is not only because of the marmara or the support for Israeli killers but Turk TV portrayed Israeli soldiers as evil in untrue events. No Israeli citizens or gov rep can watch these anti semitic films & call Turkey a friend, partner or peace maker. Turkey support for Israeli killers doesnt help. No Israeli would want Turkey to be an enemy but comes a time where you need to call it as you see it

alkan alkan

5/13/2013 8:48:29 AM

At the moment Turkey is giving the impression of a rudderless ship. Tossed about by the wind and waves with no direction. Needless to say with an utterly inept captain at the helm and a useless crew ! God forbid running aground or worse shipwreck
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