Photo: Publicity
Dani Magner

Make Erdogan pay

Op-ed: Israel should use ‘Turkel momentum’ to launch counter-campaign against Turkey

The conclusions of the Turkel Committee that probed the incidents surrounding the provocative Turkish flotilla should not surprise anyone. The video clips, testimonies and findings on board the ship proved beyond any doubt that members of radical Turkish group IHH took over the Marmara, piled up weapons, and carefully prepared a brutal ambush for Navy commandoes.


The soldiers, who thought the main challenge they’ll be facing would be media cameras rather than knives and axes, found themselves fighting for their lives in a violent battle they did not expect and were unequipped for.


Moreover, Tukrel’s almost trivial ruling that the naval blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza complies with all international legal standards should not surprise anyone either.


In light of the clear, unequivocal conclusions, we must again be puzzled by the blind aggression of the Turkish government, which continues to slam Israel, deny the evidence, and even cheekily demand compensation and apologies. Yet regrettably, this is no surprise either. Turkey’s attitude to Israel started its unilateral deterioration after Prime Minister Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman party took power.


Erdogan does not miss any opportunity to insult Israel and does everything in his power in order to turn it into a diplomatic punching bag, including genocide accusations during Operation Cast Lead, legitimizing a TV show that incites against IDF troops, and efforts to legitimize Hamas in the world.


Lethal apology

Some argue that an Israeli apology to Turkey would bring an end to the conflict, yet this speculation is rendered baseless by examining Turkey’s recent conduct and its open rapprochement with Iran. Israel can only conclude that the Turkish conduct is a result of a strategic decision taken by Erdogan, meant to reinforce his status as a modern Muslim ruler at Israel’s expense.


In fact, an Israeli apology to Turkey would portray Erdogan as one who “humiliated” Israel and brought it down to its knees, when in practice the real victim would be apologizing to the aggressor. It is easy to understand that by doing so Israel will merely invite further attacks, as Erdogan will have plenty of excuses for provoking new crises and promoting anti-Israel incitement.


In the face of Turkey’s aggression, the Israeli reaction of habitual restraint and laconic responses is surprising. The impression formed is that Israel is scared to ruin the “special ties” with Turkey, when in practice these relations have only existed in our memory rather than in reality for quite a few years now.


Go on the offensive

Just like the well-known dictum suggests, the best way to defend against Turkey’s abuse is through offense, and the circumstances that enable such offensive have now emerged. Israel indeed lost the immediate PR battle over the flotilla incident and devoted many months to curbing the damage, yet the time has now come to take advantage of the “Turkel momentum” and initiate a counter attack on the PR and diplomatic front.


The significance of the Turkel committee’s conclusions is the legal seal of approval to Israel’s original claims in line with international standards. The conclusions were confirmed by distinguished foreign observers David Trimble and Ken Watkin.


First, Israel must highlight the close ties between the Erdogan government and the IHH, a radical Islamist organization defined as a terror group in Germany. The US is also looking into the possibility of including the group on its list of terror organizations in light of its assistance to global Jihad groups and its involvement in the “Millennium attack” plot. A new publication by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center uncovered the broad logistic and political support granted to the IHH by the Erdogan government. The group’s spokespeople openly declared that the violent flotilla departed with the knowledge and approval of Erdogan himself.


Secondly, Israel must initiate a diplomatic counter-offensive that would hit the Turkey’s regime’s sensitive spots. For example, we can attack and embarrass Turkey in the wake of the WikiLeaks revelations regarding Ankara’s involvement in terror attacks in Iraq and the assistance it offered al-Qaeda terrorists. Turkey can also be accused of brutal war crimes against the Kurdish population. It is also possible to take advantage of this opportunity in order to do historic justice and recognize the Armenian Holocaust, thereby joining the US Congress, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and some 15 other states that already did it.


Paradoxically, and just like on the battlefield, the best defense is offense, instead of compensation, apologies, or delegations of Knesset members aimed at warming up the ties. The only way to stop the Turkish aggression is by drawing red lines and boundaries for Erdogan’s regime. The opening for renewing the good ties between the two states will only come the day Erdogan starts to pay the political and international price resulting from his blatant, ceaseless abuse of Israel.



פרסום ראשון: 01.27.11, 00:05
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