Perils of Speaking the Truth by IOSCA (FEBRUARY 18, 2009)

Kurd rebels in Turkey could get new sympathisers post-World Economic Forum.

Turkish Prime Minister Recip Teyip Erdogan’s frank talk about Israeli aggression against Gaza has not been taken kindly by powers that are running the world today. At the last World Economic Forum at Davos Erdogan minced no words saying what he thought of the Israeli attack on hapless Palestinians.

Although Turkey has traditionally enjoyed a cordial relationship with Israel over the decades, Erdogan’s criticism of Israeli invasion of Gaza is reported to have strained the relationship to the extent that Israel has weighed the option of highlighting the Turkish massacre of Armenians under Mustapha Kemal Ataturk. That could be one way of preventing Turkey from criticising Israeli atrocities against Palestinian in future. Turkey is opposed to any mention of the Armenian massacre at any forum anywhere, while Armenians take it as another Holocaust.

Israel, under an agreement, conducts its military aircraft training in Turkey. The reason for using another country’s military airfields is said to be the extremely small size of Israel, which makes it inconvenient for doing test runs of high-speed aircraft as it is always likely to cross into the aerospace of some Arab country.

The question often asked is whether Israel is infuriated enough to cancel the agreement. The fact is that Israel is deeply annoyed, but not annoyed enough to cancel this particular agreement. After all, it benefits Israel more than it does Turkey.

However, Israel is annoyed enough for the pro-Israel international media to warn Turkey that influential people in Europe were not amused by Turkey’s criticism of Israel, and that it would make Turkey’s entry into European Union more difficult now.

Other veiled threats have also been made. One of these is that the restive Kurds of Turkey could cause trouble with the help of some influential and powerful backers. That would make life immensely difficult for Turkey. Strangely, soon after the Erodgan-Peres confrontation at Davos the Kurd insurgency flared up. To contain it Turks used fighter bomber aircraft against the insurgents.

The Turkish strafing of Kurds is, in some ways, like the Israeli bombing of Gaza. Although the Turkish action was considerably limited and brief, it gives pro-Israel groups the opportunity to point out the similarity between the two.

Turkey has been asked by the European Union to give some concessions to Greek Cypriots, which is a precondition for being considered for eventual entry into the European Union. One pro-Israel magazine has written that Turkey must “swallow” its national pride and oblige.

The oblique message for Turkey: it should stop worrying about Palestinians if it does not want to get hurt.


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