Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Politics of Turkish-Israeli Relations

Turkish politicians clearly feel that accusing opponents of being pro-Israel is a winning tactic:
"Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, used a campaign speech in Istanbul on Sunday to slam opponents for failing to stand up to what he sees as Israeli bullying. Mr Erdogan is a religiously conservative Muslim known for his outspoken criticism of Israel.

In his speech, Mr Erdogan said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition leader, had admitted that he would not have allowed last year's Gaza flotilla to sail...

"Mr Kilicdaroglu shot back, claiming that Mr Erdogan, who is expected to win the elections, had cosied up to Israel. He alleged that the prime minister proposed that an Israeli company receive a Turkish government contract to clear mines along the border with Syria. Later he called Mr Erdogan the 'co-leader of the Greater Middle East Project', a purported scheme by the US to reshape the region that is often cited by Turkish secularists as evidence that Mr Erdogan is backed by Washington. The plan supposedly props up Turkey as a model state for the concept of moderate Islam.

"In a meeting with reporters in the southern province of Mersin yesterday, Mr Kilicdaroglu accessed Mr Erdogan of secretly sending one of his ministers to Israel to secure a deal for a Turkish businessman close to the prime minister. He gave no further details.

"The public exchange shows the depth of the rift between Turkey and Israel that now extends from the halls of government to the bazaar. No party in Turkey has dared campaign on a pro-Israel platform."

Actually, it doesn't sound like being pro-American is that great in Turkish politics right now.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)

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