WASHINGTON – "The relationship between Mr. Erdogan's government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation," claimed a Washington Post editorial on Israel's raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla. After the New York Times leveled harsh criticism at Turkey's conduct, one of the world's most prominent newspapers joins the criticism against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In an editorial article, the Washington Post highlighted Erdogan's ties with the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which has connections with terrorist organizations.
Referring to Erdogan's claim that Israel had no just cause to clash with "European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders, and a Holocaust survivor," the article noted, "There was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic 'charity' that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH)."
The article noted that the IHH "is a member of the 'Union of Good,' a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the "humanitarian" supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization."
'Competing with Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah'
Despite this, the newspaper wrote that the IHH did all in its power to promote Erdogan, mentioning that the head of the organization, Bulent Yildirim participated in last year's Hamas rally in Gaza, where he said, "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan."
The newspaper asserted, "In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah's Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state."
Erdogan (R) meeting with Iran's Ahmadinejad (Photo: AFP)
Erdogan said of the flotilla incident that "the heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history," the newspaper recalled. The Washington Post pointed out that Erdogan did not say a word against the massacre of protesters opposed to the Iranian regime following their recent disputed presidential elections.
The Washington Post reminded its readers that Erdogan called Israel's actions "state terrorism" and "a bloody massacre," calling the Jewish state itself a "merciless, rootless state." The Turkish foreign minister even compared the flotilla incident to 9/11 during a visit to Washington on Tuesday.
'Erdogan not paying price for his behavior'
The newspaper called this an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed. Mr. Erdogan's crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new UN sanctions."
The article mentioned that just last year, the Obama administration ignored Erdogan's "antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide."
Israel loses out the most from this situation, the article claimed. "Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of US interests. Will Mr. Erdogan's behavior be without cost?"