Despite the devastation wrought by the 7.2 earthquake that struck the country’s southeast, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his Islamist AKP ilk seemed determined over the weekend to reject Israeli disaster aid. The prefabbed houses and relief supplies being offered were, apparently, unacceptably Jewish. Then, facing significant domestic criticism over his government’s mishandling of the earthquake aftermath, Erdogan reversed himself. He acquiesced to assistance from the Jewish State, and the Israelis responded within hours.
But the Turkish government wants everyone to know that, aid or no aid, they still hate Israel:
The Turkish government was quick on Thursday to downplay any hopes that Israeli distribution of aid to earthquake victims would lead to a warming in diplomatic ties between the two countries, according to a report in today’s Zaman newspaper… Erdogan backtracked on Monday and allowed other countries to send desperately-needed supplies. Israel quickly sent an El Al cargo plane with five mobile housing units, 2,000 warm jackets, 2,000 blankets, and 100 inflatable beds. Defense Ministry officials said that another plane with an additional five mobile housing units is expected to be sent to Turkey in the coming days.
In fairness, it would be tough for Turkey to pursue rapprochement with Israel at the same time they’re doggedly boosting their ties with Hamas. Hamas already considers Ankara to be a “trustworthy, reliable ally,” and the terrorist organization recruits and fundraises throughout Turkey. So given the alliances that Erdogan is pursuing as he indulges in his feverish neo-Ottoman fantasies, it would probably be a waste of everyone’s time for him to pretend he was interested in un-destroying the Turkish/Israeli relationship.
Instead, the AKP will undoubtedly continue to pursue and persecute the Israeli soldiers who participated in the raid on the MV Marmara (there’s no word yet on whether any of those soldiers are among those delivering life-saving aid to Turkey). Turkey’s government has close ties to the IHH terrorist group that instigated the incident, and close ties to the Hamas government they were trying to assist, so they’re at least doubly invested in punishing the Israelis for defending themselves.
A neo-Ottoman crank like Erdogan, especially one who understands how to play the international community for suckers, isn’t going to stop trying to isolate and undermine Israel. He’s not even willing to suspend diplomatic attacks on Israel as Israeli disaster relief planes head toward a Turkish disaster area.
Quite the performance from the man crowned by Reuters as the “new champion for Arabs.”