An Israeli official dismissed renewed Turkish diplomatic moves against Israel as “brazen hypocrisy,” after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday told delegates at an Islamic conference in Cairo that the Jewish state has become an international “pariah.”
Citing a recent report by the UN Human Rights Council calling on Israel to evacuate all settlements in the West Bank, Davutoglu said, “Time and again Israel has proven that it fails to read the change happening not only around it, but also in the way its actions are perceived by the international community.”
Responded an Israeli official, “it is rather quaint to be lectured about settlements from the representative of a country which has ethnically cleansed the northern part of Cyprus and illegally settled 200,000 Turks in that territory.”
Ankara’s most recent diplomatic offensive began this weekend, with Davutoglu publicly lambasting Syria for not responding to an airstrike in the country that Damascus had blamed on Jerusalem. Turkey, he said, would respond if Israel were to attack “any Muslim country.” Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan further accused Jerusalem of a “state terrorism” and of behaving like a “spoiled child.”
The Israeli official noted that Ankara has carried out a number of recent military actions in Iraq and in Syria, maintains its occupation of Northern Cyprus in spite of international condemnation and has continued to “brutally muzzle journalists.” More journalists are imprisoned in Turkey than in any other country.
Writing in Haaretz, counterterrorism expert Ely Karmon noted that rehabilitating the once-warm relations between Turkey and Israel seems a more distant prospect than it has been in years. Such a thaw, he wrote, would require far more than an apology and compensation from Israel over its 2010 seizure of a Gaza-bound flotilla that caused the deaths of nine Turks. With Erdogan in power, Karmon predicted, any reconciliation between the former allies is all but impossible.
“The cynical remarks of the Turkish leaders are in stark contrast to the massive support given by Turkey to the Syrian opposition,” he wrote.”On the one hand, they criticize Syria for not defending its sovereignty through its lack of retaliation for Israel’s convoy attack, but at the same time Turkey demands that NATO deploy Patriot missiles on its territory.”
A similar editorial appeared in The Jerusalem Post, warning that Western powers must disabuse themselves of the notion that Turkey’s leaders are either moderate or pragmatic.
“[A]nytime the Jewish state resorts to force to protect itself, Erdogan is quick to issue denunciations, whether those on the receiving end are Turkey’s close allies, such as Hamas terrorists in Gaza, or foes, such as Syria’s repressive military forces,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “The time has come to recognize that Turkey has changed radically – and for the worse.”
[Photo: Martin Steinbaue / Wiki Commons]