Commentary Magazine


Turkey’s Terror Hypocrisy

Evelyn Gordon wrote yesterday about the strange silence of the Western media on the threats made by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to attack Israel. It was no misspeak; later that the day, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—whom President Barack Obama has called one of his top foreign friends—essentially repeated the warning.

Turkey’s hypocrisy is growing. Over the past decade, Israel struck Syria unilaterally on three occasions:

  • On October 5, 2003, Israeli jets attacked Ain es Saheb, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad training camp about 15 miles northwest of Damascus. The airstrike followed a suicide bombing in Haifa the previous day. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, of course, is an unrepentant terrorist group founded by Iran.
  • On September 6, 2007, Israel bombed Syria’s nuclear weapons plant. Elliott Abrams has a must-read article on the episode in this month’s COMMENTARY.
  • And, of course, last week Israel struck at Syrian missiles being transferred to Hezbollah and perhaps also a Syrian chemical and biological weapons laboratory.

Erdoğan calls this “state terrorism.” Of course, over the same period, the Turkish Air Force has bombed sovereign Iraqi territory on a couple dozen occasions, often striking not Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) activists, but villagers and children. In one of the most egregious examples, on December 28, 2011, Turkish warplanes attacked a number of Kurds, killing 34 civilians including women and children. No PKK members were killed or even apparently present. There has been no accountability for what Kurds call the “Roboski massacre.”

The hypocrisy continues. Speaking at a press conference in Prague yesterday, Erdoğan, one of the strongest supporters of Hamas, castigated the European Union: “We need to have a common struggle against terror. The European Union needs to distance itself from terrorist organizations,” he told assembled press. Perhaps Erdoğan could start by ceasing Turkish support and subsidy for Hamas and Sunni extremist terror groups inside Syria and Iraq. It is impossible to call Hamas legitimate while simultaneously expecting condemnation of the PKK.

Rather than become a force for stability in the region and a beacon of democracy, Turkey has become a chief impediment to the fight against terrorism. It is time the White House, State Department, and Congressional Turkey Caucus wake up to reality.