On Tuesday, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an interview to Israeli newspapers Yediot Ahronot and Maariv on the sidelines of a reception in the gardens of the Dolmabahçe Palace during the World Economic’s Forum (WEF) summit in Istanbul.
Erdogan told the Israeli reporters that Israel can regain its old dependable ally in the Muslim world, if Israeli government take three steps: “First and foremost, Israel must apologize for the raid by Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara ship two years ago. Also, Israel must pay reparations to the families of the victims. The third condition is that Israel end the naval blockade on the import of goods into the Gaza Strip.” His country would not compromise on those conditions, the Turkish prime minister clarified, even if the crisis between the two nations deepens.
Erdogan commenting on Israeli tourists’ boycott of Turkey, told the Israeli reporters: “We don’t need Israeli tourists. We have succeeded to fill their places, and in the past year, 31 million tourists visited Turkey“. Israeli tourists, averaging 500,000 per year, have never been enough for Israel to blackmail Turkey. Furthermore, Israeli boycotted Turkish resorts and Turkish coffee in 2009 – long before the Mavi Marmara massacre.
Erdogan in his keynote speech on Tuesday, mainly highlighted Turkey’s development in the past decade, but also touched on the Palestinian issue. Without mentioning Israel, he said Palestinians were kept in “the largest open-air prison in the world.” While Israeli leaders were not invited to attend the WEF regional meeting – Palestinians were represented by Mahmoud Abbas, whose term as elected PA President expired in January 2009. Ismail Haniyeh, the elected prime minister of PA territories was not invited. That shows how sincere Erdogan is in his pro-Palestine rhetoric.
Erdogan’s AKP ruling party has maintained close contacts with the US Jewish Lobby, the White House, EU, NATO and all the western puppet rulers in the Muslim world. Ankara is in favor of the rejected Two-state solution for occupied Palestine and in favor of keeping Islam out of politics.
Lebanon-born academic, Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, posted the following comment on Erdogan’s double standards.
“Puh-lease, spare us the self-serving, pseudo-anti-zionist theatrics, more despicable still coming from a warmonger and neo-Ottoman wannabe imperialist. Yes, BDS is a necessary complement to any military and political resistance strategy, but it can never be a substitute for a genuine anti-imperialist / anti-Zionist foreign policy, let alone a tool for legitimizing imperialism and NATO invasions of resisting countries. In the grander strategic scheme of things, and if one had to make a choice between the two evils, he would be doing Palestine a much greater service if the Israeli tourists remained but he kept his blood-soaked hands off Syria“.