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Turks are set to vote for the next general election in June 2011. The result of a poll released on January 16, 2011 – showed that AKP ruling party led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to win its third term with 46% votes. This is not a good news for the local pro-Western elites and the rulers in Tel Aviv, Washington, London, Bonn and Paris.

So how to demonize AKP and its leadership, which has brought confidence in country’s economy and prestige amongst Turkey’s Muslim neighboring countries. Well, one of the trick being played is that Erdogan is not a nationalist but a ‘radical Muslim‘.

Amberin Zaman (Zaman Today, January 29, 2011) took a shot on Erdogan’s ‘Islamic radicalism’ for his reciting a common Muslim tradition prior to performing any act, such as eating food, entering his house on his return from a journey, starting automobile, writing exam or a making a speech. Erdogan after accepting Kuwait Charity Award, began his speech by reciting “Bismillahirahmanirahim (In the Name of Allah the All Compassionate and the Merciful)”. When the US, British, German and French Christian heads of states travel to Jerusalem and pray in front of the Jewish holy Wailing Wall, they don’t become ‘Jewish’ – but a leader of Muslim-majority (99.5%) country becomes a ‘terrible’ Islamist by praising his Lord (Allah) in public.

According to Ms Zaman that is not the only ‘un-civilized’ crime Erdogan has committed to get AKP re-elected for the third term. Some of them include:

1. To fight the rising divorce rate (6% as compared to US’s 45.8%, Switzerland 25.5% and Israel’s 14.8%) in Turkey – Erdogan has pledged to incorporate “guarantees for the integrity of the family” in the new constitution he has pledged to write following the 2011 elections.

2. Erdogan believes in ‘criminalizing’ sex out of marriage (adultery) and may invoke the ‘horrible’ Shari’ah punishments for an act which according to western human-rights – is woman’s choice to decide how she wants to use her body.

3. A draconian bylaw issued last May by the Alcohol and Tobacco Market Regulatory Authority came into force on January 7, 2011. This severely restricts the use of alcoholic products in advertising and in the sponsorship of cultural and sports events. Additionally, it raises the age of consumption from 18 to 24 at public gatherings. Zaman has quoted Erdogan and his deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc as saying: “They drink until they wheeze and sneeze and we say nothing” and “Life isn’t just about sex and booze” respectively. Such uncivilized thinking could push the modern Turkey back to Europe’s Dark Age!

4. Erdogan wants the 2005 unfinished statue, symbolizing Turkish-Armenian friendship, in Turkish city of Kars on Arminian border to be demolished. The reason – statue overshadows an ancient Muslim saint’s shrine. This invokes the ‘horrible’ memory of those anti-Israel Taliban who destroyed two Buddha’s statues in Afghanistan.

5. The Kuwaiti award presentation ceremony was attended by the anti-Israel Bulent Yildirim, Chairman of Turkish NGO charity IHH, which lead the armed flotilla against Israel last year.

Ms Zaman also tries to prove that Erdogan is not honest in his relation with the Islamic Republic. “By agreeing to NATO plans to erect a nuclear defense missile shield over Europe that takes aim at Iran……” lied Zaman. Erdogan had rejected Obama’s proposal by saying that Ankara will never accept it if the system is meant to target Iran or protect Israel.

Amberin Zaman (an Istanbul-based female Turkish columnist, who was educated in New York and Switzerland and writes for British weekly ‘The Economist’ and Turkish daily ‘Haberturk’) – grudgingly admits: “He (Erdogan) came to power promising change. He delivered it. The Turkish economy is thriving as never before. The country’s international clout is greater than ever before. And for all of Erdoğan’s outbursts of authoritarianism, Turkey is, generally speaking, a more democratic kind of place”.

Erdogan is a ‘radical Muslim’ | Rehmat's World


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Published: 01.27.11, 00:05 / Israel Opinion

The conclusions of the Turkel Committee that probed the incidents surrounding the provocative Turkish flotilla should not surprise anyone. The video clips, testimonies and findings on board the ship proved beyond any doubt that members of radical Turkish group IHH took over the Marmara, piled up weapons, and carefully prepared a brutal ambush for Navy commandoes.

Flotilla Testimonies

Navy doctor: We saved flotilla rioters' lives / Hanan Greenberg

For first time, commandos discuss takeover of Turkish ship. Medical officer: We made every effort to care for and save lives of injured rioters, and when I say every effort – I mean it'
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The soldiers, who thought the main challenge they’ll be facing would be media cameras rather than knives and axes, found themselves fighting for their lives in a violent battle they did not expect and were unequipped for.

Moreover, Tukrel’s almost trivial ruling that the naval blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza complies with all international legal standards should not surprise anyone either.

In light of the clear, unequivocal conclusions, we must again be puzzled by the blind aggression of the Turkish government, which continues to slam Israel, deny the evidence, and even cheekily demand compensation and apologies. Yet regrettably, this is no surprise either. Turkey’s attitude to Israel started its unilateral deterioration after Prime Minister Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman party took power.

Erdogan does not miss any opportunity to insult Israel and does everything in his power in order to turn it into a diplomatic punching bag, including genocide accusations during Operation Cast Lead, legitimizing a TV show that incites against IDF troops, and efforts to legitimize Hamas in the world.

Lethal apology
Some argue that an Israeli apology to Turkey would bring an end to the conflict, yet this speculation is rendered baseless by examining Turkey’s recent conduct and its open rapprochement with Iran. Israel can only conclude that the Turkish conduct is a result of a strategic decision taken by Erdogan, meant to reinforce his status as a modern Muslim ruler at Israel’s expense.

In fact, an Israeli apology to Turkey would portray Erdogan as one who “humiliated” Israel and brought it down to its knees, when in practice the real victim would be apologizing to the aggressor. It is easy to understand that by doing so Israel will merely invite further attacks, as Erdogan will have plenty of excuses for provoking new crises and promoting anti-Israel incitement.

In the face of Turkey’s aggression, the Israeli reaction of habitual restraint and laconic responses is surprising. The impression formed is that Israel is scared to ruin the “special ties” with Turkey, when in practice these relations have only existed in our memory rather than in reality for quite a few years now.

Go on the offensive
Just like the well-known dictum suggests, the best way to defend against Turkey’s abuse is through offense, and the circumstances that enable such offensive have now emerged. Israel indeed lost the immediate PR battle over the flotilla incident and devoted many months to curbing the damage, yet the time has now come to take advantage of the “Turkel momentum” and initiate a counter attack on the PR and diplomatic front.

The significance of the Turkel committee’s conclusions is the legal seal of approval to Israel’s original claims in line with international standards. The conclusions were confirmed by distinguished foreign observers David Trimble and Ken Watkin.

First, Israel must highlight the close ties between the Erdogan government and the IHH, a radical Islamist organization defined as a terror group in Germany. The US is also looking into the possibility of including the group on its list of terror organizations in light of its assistance to global Jihad groups and its involvement in the “Millennium attack” plot. A new publication by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center uncovered the broad logistic and political support granted to the IHH by the Erdogan government. The group’s spokespeople openly declared that the violent flotilla departed with the knowledge and approval of Erdogan himself.

Secondly, Israel must initiate a diplomatic counter-offensive that would hit the Turkey’s regime’s sensitive spots. For example, we can attack and embarrass Turkey in the wake of the WikiLeaks revelations regarding Ankara’s involvement in terror attacks in Iraq and the assistance it offered al-Qaeda terrorists. Turkey can also be accused of brutal war crimes against the Kurdish population. It is also possible to take advantage of this opportunity in order to do historic justice and recognize the Armenian Holocaust, thereby joining the US Congress, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and some 15 other states that already did it.

Paradoxically, and just like on the battlefield, the best defense is offense, instead of compensation, apologies, or delegations of Knesset members aimed at warming up the ties. The only way to stop the Turkish aggression is by drawing red lines and boundaries for Erdogan’s regime. The opening for renewing the good ties between the two states will only come the day Erdogan starts to pay the political and international price resulting from his blatant, ceaseless abuse of Israel.