Is Turkey’s Assertive Diplomacy Sustainable?
(Foreign Policy of Turkey-12)
-DR. ABDUL RUFF
After a prolonged military relationship with Israel, subservient to the Zionist interests in Mideast and elsewhere, as being promoted by USA for shielding its own interests as well as Zionism’s, Turkey seems to have begun to pursue an assertive diplomacy, threatening the very core fascist policy of Zionist regime.
The relations between Turkey and Israel have been frozen since last year’s flotilla incident, but now they are being downgraded to the lowest possible level. Obviously, Turkey, the former Ottoman Empire is visibly angry over Zionist misconduct and relations between Turkey and Israel, once close, have slid in recent years as Turkey has tilted away from the West. They deteriorated sharply after the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara flotilla bloodshed on May 31, 2010. The flotilla was en route to Gaza in an attempt to bring international attention to Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory.
The publication of a UN report on violence aboard a Gaza-bound protest flotilla last year, has led to a further souring of the key Mideast relationship between Israel and Turkey. Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador after details emerged of a UN report into last year’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara Aidship from Turkey. Nine pro-Palestinian activists — eight Turks and one Turkish-American — were killed aboard the Turkish-flagged ship Mavi Marmara, after passengers resisted a forceful takeover by Israeli naval commandos.
Israel does not tolerate any opposition to or condemnation of its crimes against humanity. Many peace-loving Turks were on board the Turkish-flagged ship, Mavi Marmara, when it was intercepted by the Israeli navy in international waters as it sailed towards Gaza’s coast in 2010. The peace activists charge the blockade constitutes collective punishment and is illegal. Israel asserts that it has the universal right to kill the besieged Palestinians or proliferate illegal colonies inside Palestine, attack any ship in the region and confiscate the goods and kill the people. Hence it justifies the attack and murders on the aidship.
Turkey is upset with the conclusion on the legal status of Israel’s naval blockade and announced the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador hours before the report was expected to be published. Turkey also quickly suspended military cooperation after insisting on an Israeli apology by the time the report is published, the most significant downgrading in ties between the two countries since the bloody flotilla attack last year. Turkey also recalled its ambassador to Israel shortly after the raid and suspended many military agreements. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said some of the report’s findings were unacceptable. Davutoglu told a news conference Turkey-Israel diplomatic relations have been reduced to a second secretary level. “All personnel above the second secretary level will return to their countries…”
As the latest sign of strain between the countries, Turkey, a day after Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador on Sept 02 Friday, has said it would challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza last year at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), controlled by USA. Further, the Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu said Turkey did not accept the findings of a UN report, tailored by pro-Zionist judges, which said Israel’s blockade of Gaza was a legal security measure. Since the report, prepared by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has not been endorsed by the UN and is therefore not binding. Turkey would, therefore, start the necessary ICJ legal procedures in the coming week.
Obviously, since Israel is a part of global state terror (GST) gangs led by USA, the UN report on the Zionist assault on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship is a whitewash of the May 2010 massacre by Israeli military forces in excess, which provides a continued justification for the blockade of Gaza and control of UN by the dictatorial USA tolerated if not promoted by world powers for their own benefits as part of NATO terror syndicate. In the most muted terms possible, therefore, the execution of nine people in an act of state sponsored murder is excused.
A UN committee that went into the Zionist attack on Mavi Marmara was made up of two international diplomats — former leaders of New Zealand and Colombia — one representative from Israel and one from Turkey. The publication of the report has been delayed several times to encourage reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, but that has not happened. A leaked copy of the report said the terrorist Israeli forces did use excessive force when they intercepted the Turkish-led flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The cause for the leak is not known as yet, but the leaked report probably concludes that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal.
The report established, however, that Israel’s use of force was “excessive and unreasonable.” After soldiers rappelled onto the deck from helicopters, according to the report, “three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.” No satisfactory explanation has been provided to the Panel by Israel for any of the nine deaths. The committee noted “forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range.”
Israel has been terror attacking the defenseless Palestinians and killing and colonizing the lands. But the UN committee seems to have accepted in the aftermath of the incident the Israel’s position that the naval blockade is a “legitimate security measure.” It acknowledges that Israel “faces a real threat to its security from Palestinians. An Israeli official said that the report showed Israel’s actions were in keeping with international law and Israel hoped the two countries could now “return to the cooperation that was a cornerstone of regional stability.” Turkey says that is Israel’s problem.
It appears that the report of the UN committee, also indirectly controlled by USA, is based entirely on the statements by Israeli leaders and state terrorists who attacked the Mavi Marmara. The report orders Turkey and Israel to resume terror links through full diplomatic relations, repairing their relationship in the interests of stability in the Middle East and international peace and security. Israel’s decision to attack the aid vessels with such substantial force from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable.
Such nasty UN reports can only further strengthen the Zionist crimes against humanity and also justifies NATO crimes as well. Israel’s blockade, backed by Washington, is a collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza and is prohibited under international law, including previous UN resolutions. To add to Zionist crimes, the notorious UNSC Resolution 1860, openly flouted by Israel, was passed in 2009 at the height of Israel’s 22-day bombardment of Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.
Instead of restraining the Zionist criminal regime, the UN panel of inquiry added that the naval blockade was legal and appropriate because it was aimed at preventing weapons for the security of Palestine state, which has been under Zionist terror siege for years now, being brought in by sea. This has irritated Ankara as much as the Israeli stubbornness.
Egyptians, some whom Israeli military forces killed recently and refused to tender an apology, celebrated the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan is set to visit Egypt next week to discuss a strategic cooperation agreement covering military, diplomatic, and economic issues, the Egyptian media reported.
Turkey called on the Israeli government to amend its mistakes and it sees the sanctions as a means of changing Israeli “prestige” policy. Obviously, Turkey expects Israel to openly apologize for the raid but it has refused to do so. Israel feels fully upbeat about the pro-Zionist report. Fascist Israel insisted his country had nothing to apologize for and had done all it could to avoid a crisis with Turkey which is not ready for a compromise on Zionist terms and kept raising the threshold. Israeli officials say the UN report does not demand an Israeli apology, establishing instead that Israel should express regret and pay reparations. Israel would offer payment for the benefit of the deceased and injured victims and their families, to be administered by the two governments through a joint trust fund of a sufficient amount to be decided by them. Ever since the Mavi Marmara slaughter, the Turkish government has demanded that Israel issue an official apology.
However, although it says there will be no apology, Israel is deadly annoyed that Turkey is intent on worsening ties with Israel in order to bolster its own position in the Arab and Islamic world. While Israel does not rule out quiet talks with Turkey on an expression of regret and reparations to families of the dead activists, the report does not ask for an Israeli apology and there will not be one.
Turkey’s demand that Israel apologizes, compensate the victims and lift the Gaza blockade is rooted primarily in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s obligation to his electorate. It has become a common, uniting, national denominator, an integral part of Turkey’s national prestige and its domestic policy. An adamant and arrogant Israel on at least two occasions rejected an apology to Turkey due to the objections of hardcore illegal settlers’ leader and hawkish Foreign Minister with fascist instincts, Avigdor Lieberman who is on record to declare to kill all Palestinians by sinking them in Dead Sea.
The anger of Turkish people is quite understandable and the action taken by Turkish government in throwing out the fascist Israeli ambassador is also fully justified. Israel has indeed undermined the Turkish sovereignty over international waters and Mavi Marmara vessel was not a war ship but a part of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and was in international waters when Israeli commandos raided it and brutally murdered eight defenseless Turkish citizens and a Turkish American. Many other civilians on board were also seriously injured in the attack. UN now backs up the Israeli government’s incessant propaganda that the aid flotilla was essentially engaged in an act of war and had to be prevented from reaching blockaded Gaza.
Aspiring to be a member of the EU and making strenuous efforts to somehow enter it, Turkey has always been pro-US and goes all out to appease the Americans. Istanbul’s harsh criticism of the Assad regime in Syria, despite heavy pressure from Iran has proved the Ankara’s determination to be on the side of the unipolar USA. More over Turkey’s open cooperation with Libya’s illegal provisional government does not how that Turkey can stand firm against US pressure.
Unilateral and dictatorial USA, which has very determinedly used Turkey against Arabs thus far and made it work against the Palestinians and in favor the Zionist regime, took time to open its wide mouth on the issue. After some delay, the US state department has said Washington hopes Turkey and Israel “will continue to look for opportunities to improve their longstanding relationship”. Turkey kills Kurd minority as a state policy and USA, busy invading oil rich Muslim nations citing democratic deficit, is not even aware of this.
Turkey’s consent to the deployment of early warning radar, part of a NATO missile-defense system whose undeclared purpose is to protect Europe from Iranian missiles, Ankara’s decision to refuse Russia’s entreaties to reject the radar deployment on its territory signals Turkish commitment to its alliance with NATO in general and to the United States in particular, deflecting the “accusation” that Ankara is turning away from the West and toward the East – that is, toward Tehran.
Imperialist US lobbyists are highlighting the benefits for the Western alliance from the NATO electronic warning stations NATO wants to place in Turkey. But they emphasized that Israel, with whom Turkey is now undergoing a severe diplomatic crisis, would not benefit. Data from the radar network, which is aimed at detecting missiles fired from Iran toward Europe and even the U.S., would not be shared with Israel. Iran’s military minister Ahmad Vahidi criticized NATO for the deployment, saying Tehran would not tolerate any aggression against its national interests.
Historic role the Mavi Marmara flotilla will certainly change the Mideast scenario positively affecting the future of Palestinians. After the Israeli violence over the aidship triggered an international outcry, Israel eased restrictions on goods moving into Gaza overland but left the naval blockade in place. But now that Egypt has removed the blockade of Palestine in a big way, Israel has also to completely remove the blockades and illegal colonies inside Palestine.
The Turkish action including expulsion of Israel’s ambassador from Ankara and downgrading of diplomatic ties to the level of second secretary, etc could turn out to be the lightest of the sanctions Turkey intends to impose on Israel and is indeed historic too, but will Turkey reverse the stand when USA forcefully intervenes by asking Ankara to revisit the military trade with west supported fascist regime in Tel Aviv is the moot question now!. Especially when international courts behave as USA expects.
The reason is USA has the upper hand in everything as far as internal politics and state terrorism are concerned. Turkey, like majority of Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan look to Washington and its terror allies for protecting the illegally gotten wealth of their leaders in and out of their nations, is yet to come out of US gambit and control devises. Taking full advantage of the tricky situations the leaders of Muslim and other nations are finding themselves in, USA has imposed all sorts of CIA restrictions on the world terrorized by the US terror gimmicks.
People of Turkey have been rising to defend their religious rights against the wishes of European Christians who want to dictate terms to Turks as well as the plight of Muslims in the occupied Palestine territories Turkish government is expressing the views of majority of people of the nation on Zionist crimes and the plight of Palestinians. Assertive diplomatic stance Istanbul has embarked upon in tune with genuine popular sentiments.
An isolated Israel is at a cross road now but it is over confident about the power of US gimmicks to bully Turkey to “see reason” and to return to Zionist clutches.
With a view to playing more pro-active, rather assertive role in regional politics, Turkey is moving towards a pro-Islamic and pro-Arab policy formulation. And, in spite of all steps taken by USA, the Turkey-Israeli military nexus forged against the genuine collective interests of Arabs, especially against the besieged Palestinians, has crashed out!
However, the moot question here is has Turkey got the capacity to withstand the concerted pressure tactics of USA to bully Turkey, a member of NATO, to get what it wants from Istanbul in terms of making up with Zionist criminal regime?
In other words, is the assertive diplomacy towards Israel makes a credible shift in Turkey’s decades’ old foreign policy to sincerely serve Muslim nations and humanity and, at large, for world peace? Or, is it just a temporary aberration, as Israel and USA think, on Turkey’s part to show its anger openly? Aspersions could be cast on Turkey’s ability for an independent foreign policy without US interference because as a NATO member, Ankara has never criticized as a policy the illegal terror wars in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. What the Islamic world requires today is a credible leadership.
Interdependence does not mean total surrender to US dictates as it is happening around the world now only to promote US imperialism. Unless it begins a genuinely independent foreign policy and departs from the US position and comes out of US clutches completely, it is doubtful if Turkey could ever pursue a genuine Islamic leadership policy.
د. عبد راف
Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism;Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Independent Analyst;Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine,Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc);Former university Teacher;/abdulruff.wordpress.com/91-9961868309/91-9961868309