Under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has embraced often crude anti-Semitism and religious incitement. Erdoğan, whom President Obama has identified as one of is his closest foreign friends, has not changed much since he delivered this anti-American and anti-Semitic rant almost 20 years ago.
Now, it seems that Turkish Airlines—Turkey’s state carrier and a member of the Star Alliance—is getting in on the action. While American Muslims for Palestine’s list of sponsors is not online, according to literature at the group’s booth at the recent Islamic Society for North America conference, Turkish Airlines is a major corporate sponsor of American Muslims for Palestine’s forthcoming conference, in addition to which it is encouraging attendance by announcing that the “first 200 Registrants will be entered into a raffle to win an international airline ticket from Turkish Airlines.”
American Muslims for Palestine is not any ordinary organization. Its home page depicts the conference logo—a map of Palestine made from birds showing the Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel. So much for the two-state solution. The AMP conference is due to feature Fadwa Barghouti, wife of imprisoned terrorist Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences for murder. The AMP has for several years worked to promote nakba (catastrophe) commemorations on college campuses, with a goal to delegitimize Israel’s existence. The group’s national campus coordinator moved to disrupt a speech by the Israeli ambassador at UC-Irvine back in 2010. Then again, with a press freedom record worse than Russia’s, the Turkish government and state-owned companies can’t be expected to prioritize free speech over censorship. At the opening ceremony to last year’s AMP conference, a Chicago imam praised “the activists and freedom fighters who gave up their personal ambitions and their own lives so our cause may live.”
Lest Turkish Airlines support of the AMP conference be dismissed on the grounds that the AMP is merely anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic, the media coordinator for AMP earlier this month claimed that “The film was financed by 100 Jews, according to the Israeli. Let this be a lesson to our Muslim organizations that still insist it is in our best interest to work with Zionist organizations.”
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. It was bad enough when Turkish Airlines employees sacrificed a camel at the Istanbul airport. It is certainly revealing of the airlines’ disdain not only for its Jewish passengers and for those who seek a peaceful, two-state solution, but also for victims of past terrorism and hijackings. How strange it is that Turkish Airlines’ charity of choice is a group that seeks to pump money into a group which apologizes, if not expresses sympathy, for terrorists.