Arabic media is reporting that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Morsi where he called Israeli air strikes on Gaza a “pre-election stunt.” According to an Al-Arabiya report, Erdogan said that “we don’t have any relations with Israel left”:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israeli’s air strikes on Gaza on Friday as a ‘pre-election stunt’ and said he would discuss the crisis with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on his Cairo visit on Saturday. Under Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party, Turkey has sought to use its influence as a rising democratic power in the Muslim world to increase its impact in the Middle East, distancing itself from former ally Israel. Erdogan said he spoke by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama later and that Ankara was also seeking talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the prospect of a full Israeli ground invasion. The United States said it has asked Turkey and Egypt to encourage the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza to cease rocket fire into Israel. Unlike Obama, who has renewed late on Friday his support to Israel and blamed Hamas in Gaza for the bloodshed, Erdogan laid the blame for the deepening crisis firmly on the Jewish state. ‘Before this election they (Israel) shot these innocent people in Gaza for reasons they fabricated,’ he told reporters in Istanbul. ‘The dominant world powers are now making the Gaza people and fighters pay, and as the Republic of Turkey, we are with our brothers in Gaza and their just cause.’ Relations between Turkey – once Israel’s only Muslim ally – and the Jewish state have crumbled since Israeli marines stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turks in clashes with activists on board. Two days of relentless Israeli air strikes on Gaza and the drafting of reserve troops have raised fears of a full ground invasion in an attempt to end militant rocket salvoes, a few of which have crashed near Israel’s biggest city Tel Aviv for the first time. The Gaza conflagration has fanned the fires of a Middle East aflame with two years of Arab revolution and a civil war in Syria that threatens to spill beyond its borders. ‘I hope (a) decision of the U.N. Security Council and the attitude of the dominant powers will end Israel’s offensive attitude,’ Erdogan said. ‘We don’t have any relations with Israel left. The countries which have relations with Israel should talk to them.’”
Israeli media is reporting on a trial being held inn Turkey where four senior Israeli military officers are accused of being responsible for the death deaths of nine people in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla incident. According to a Ynetnews report:
Israeli defense officials were relatively unfazed by a trial that kicked off in Turkey Tuesday against four former senior IDF officers including former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi and former Navy commander Eliezer Marom for their part in the killing of nine people during a raid on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010. The Prosecution demands nine consecutive life sentences for the officers in, but it appears unlikely that any sentence could be carried out. The four are being tried in absentia in a trial that is set to be broadcast on Turkish TV and include the testimonies of 490 witnesses, including passengers who were onboard the Gaza-bound ship. Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch and Mohammed Zidan, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee are among the witnesses. Former Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit said this particular case is unusual but one that should not trouble the four Israeli defendants too much. ‘There’s no great surprise here, they said this is going to happen,’ he told Ynet. ‘It’s more politics than law. It’s a show, a fixed game with pre-decided outcomes,’ he explained. ‘What is special is that Turkey, which is considered to have a serious judicial system, has bent the law and Turkish criminal procedure with these charges and this type of trial.’ Currently a senior analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, Mandelblit says that the trial poses ‘an innovation in modern warfare: using the court for political ends. That’s what the Goldstone Commission tried to do – to turn the IDF’s operational achievement into a defeat.’ ‘The trial in Turkey is a combination of cynical politics and legal tools. I’m all for legitimate international tribunals like the International Court of Justice but here we have cameras inside the courtroom, hundreds of witnesses as if it’s the Eichmann trial and one goal: Defaming the State of Israel.’
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A post from earlier this month reported that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he plans to visit the Gaza Strip soon.
A 2011 report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) analyzed the role of Turkey and the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the June 2010 flotilla incident that involved a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. Important conclusions from the report include:
- There is strong evidence for Turkish governmental involvement in the Gaza flotilla incident, with Turkish government support channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network.
- The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
- Although IHH declared that the flotilla was humanitarian in nature, the history of IHH suggests that it is not only a humanitarian organization…..Aside from these terrorist connections, this report demonstrates that IHH and the rest of the Turkish/MB network are in fact Islamist, politicized organizations. ….Whether or not the violence was planned, this report demonstrates that the intent of the flotilla was breaking the Gaza blockade and delegitimizing Israel.