Monday, November 9, 2009

Erdogan: Israeli Crimes are the Worst

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israeli crimes are far worse than anything a Muslim regime could do, and certainly worse than the Sudanese crimes:
The Turkish prime minister said Ankara respects human rights and would not hesitate to challenge Bashir if it believed he had committed atrocities. But Erdogan said he does not believe that Sudanese paramilitary forces committed acts of genocide against African residents of Darfur.

"It is not possible for those who belong to the Muslim faith to carry out genocide," Erdogan told ruling party members.

Says the Turkish prime minister. Turkey, for crying out loud.

I'm not telling you all this so as to argue with him. On the contrary. I'm posting it because when trying to understand human action, it's always important to keep firmly in mind that what people believe, and what can be empirically shown worthy of belief, are two vastly different things. Rationality is one possible mode of human operation, but it has never been the only one, and often it isn't the preferred one, either.


Barry Meislin said...

Just another calculating madman with pretentions of grandeur and a "firm sense" of his own (and his country's) destiny.

For which Turkey, along with the entire region, will, alas, have to pay the consequences.

Which is very small comfort.

Avigdor said...

Europe is watching this with a mix of delight and fear. Delight that Turkey will now never be accepted into the EU. Fear of Turkey as a traditional enemy of Europe at the Balkan gates.

Anonymous said...

...And with worry that Turkey and Russia will now move closer economically and politically, with energy pipelines to the West an even more potent weapon when wielded jointly.

It is understandable that Europe would reject Turkish membership, but the alternative isn't so great either.


peterthehungarian said...

It is not possible for those who belong to the Muslim faith to carry out genocide," Erdogan told ruling party members.

He must be correct. Turks who murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenians were obviously zoroastrians, buddhists, mormons and sikhs.

Avigdor said...

The pace at which Turkish foreign policy is being redefined is breathtaking. The first time we heard about Turkey was when Erdogan walked out on Peres in January. THINK about that! In 11 months Erdogan's party has undone twenty years of strategic alliance with Israel and is on the way to stretching its commitments to NATO and Europe beyond the breaking point.

It doesn't help to be defensive and hurt by this. Erdogan is not a madman. He is capitalizing on the increasing radicalization of Turkey and riding a popular Islamist wave. The turn against the West and Israel already happened in Turkey. It happened when Turkey refused to allow American troops to cross in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It just took a few more years for Erdogan to become more vocal in expressing the new reality after removing the military from a position to stop him.

We didn't see this happening because we assumed the Turks were docile strategic thinkers, and we were too busy looking at Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, to notice massive changes in internal Turkish dynamics.

There is no way to stop Turkey, or to turn it around, per se. They have immense momentum, a strong economy (the 17th largest in the world), a competent military and they are riding high from the break with Israel and the embrace with the Arabs. Momentum fades, however, and Turkey's meddling in the Middle East will create indigenous resistance. In the meantime, ignoring Erdogan's theatrics and focusing on overall strategy is what matters.

kai said...

I was always stunned by the perplex relation to "reality" that I obtained at the Arabs. There are so many streets and places in Egypt named after October 6th, the day they "won" the Yom-Kippur-War. They REALLY BELIEVE it!
Now I'm asking is it Arab or Muslim specifics - or both?