Bad news. Don't expect Turkey to be the moderating voice in the Middle East that Bush and Obama administrations foolishly hoped she would be.
I previously wrote about the Erdogan government and the prevailing anti-America/anti-West sentiment in my native country of Turkey, and its potential role in a catastrophic break-down of relative peace in the Middle East.
As I noted in my post, Turkey's relations with Israel have been deteriorating rapidly over the past few years. This is not welcome development since Turkey sways major influence in the region as a strategically located G-20 country as well as the most powerful military outside of Israel. The complicating factor in this development is the anti-western public sentiment that has been escalating over the past decade.
Turkey is a study in societal contrasts. The ultra modern and the devout Islamists coexist uneasily side by side, united in their distrust - and at times distaste - for the West, especially the United States. These Islamists and progressive leftists have formed an unholy alliance to undermine the free society that Ataturk envisioned eight decades ago. As such, Turkey is travelling on the same road that countries experiencing Arab Spring (spearheaded by similar coalitions of Islamists and Marxists) like Egypt and Libya are: a road that leads to disaster and terrible consequences that may well reach well beyond Turkey's borders.
Now comes the report that Erdogan government is intending to give Hamas $300 million - yes, you read right, Hamas the internationally recognized terrorist organization!
Here are the facts (as uttered by Erdogan and not by speculation) that give credibility to the report. First, we know of his government’s involvement and approval of the Gaza flotilla debacle last year. Second, Erdogan said to Charlie Rose in an interview that to regard Hamas as a terrorist organization is to disrespect the Palestinian people. He made it abundantly clear by saying “Hamas is not a terrorist organization”. That is quite a puzzling conclusion on his part since, not only Hamas’ charter calls for destruction of Israel but they are responsible for killing thousands of innocent Israeli civilians as you well know. Erdogan also said that he was very pleased that Hamas and Fatah had joined forces.
Finally, for those thinking this is an Israeli plot to isolate Turkey, further adding to the credibility of the story is that it was published in IMEMC, a Palestinian organization.
So, here we seem to have the symbol of so-called moderate Islam supporting radical Islam not only in words but in deed.
I'd like to think that there is no substance to this outrageous story but having seen the current AKP government in action over the past couple of years, I am more convinced than ever that Erdogan, who is shrewd and perhaps overly ambitious, is out to have himself declared leader of the Islamic world.
This is a very dangerous game, indeed. One that requires utmost care by the U.S.........
Oops, I forget..... our leadership over here supports the Islamist/Socialist Arab Spring whole heartedly too, don't they?! It seems, once again, we are at the mercy of outside forces thanks to a lack of vision that is worthy of a super power.
2012 just can't get here soon enough!