The White House is blasting comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan blaming Israel for the Egyptian military’s actions against former president Mohammed Morsi. Erdogan had discovered a 2011 video of French-Jewish intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy calling on the military to block the Brotherhood from taking power, and based on that evidence had publicly announced that an Israeli conspiracy was behind Morsi’s ouster.
The Obama administration expressed skepticism regarding the claims:
“We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today. Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.
Analysts also remain skeptical, and are linking the shrillness of Erdogan’s accusations to distress over the broad collapse of his foreign policy.
Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have seen Ankara’s “zero problems” foreign policy – implemented over the better part of a decade – crumble. In Egypt and to a lesser degree in Syria, Turkey finds itself on the opposite side of U.S. allies throughout the Middle East. Its position in favor of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and against the military has put it at odds with U.S. allies in the Gulf, while regarding Syria it has been accused by Arab states of backing extremist rebels at the expense of more moderate opposition elements.
Turkey expert Michael Koplow suggests that Erdogan is not taking the developments well:
Erdogan’s paranoid scapegoating of Henri-Levy ( “O da Yahudi” as Erdogan would like to remind us) is part and parcel of his general histrionics surrounding the military coup in Egypt. Since the generals overthrew Mohamed Morsi, Erdogan and Ahmet Davutoglu have been raging on a daily basis against the Egyptian army… the downfall of Morsi and the routing of the MB exposes the emptiness of Turkish foreign policy, which had placed all of its eggs in the basket of a new MB-dominated order in the Middle East. With its Syria policy in complete shambles and the new Middle East starting to look a lot like the old Middle East, Ankara is as isolated as it has ever been.
[Photo: United Nations Photo / Flickr]