Lieberman op-ed: We will not be Turkey’s punching bag


By mattpryor
January 6, 2011
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I think Avigdor Lieberman is great. His plain speaking always brings a smile to my face. Here is his op-ed in the JPost regarding diplomatic relations with Turkey:

We will not be Turkey’s punching bag

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=202380

Recent outrageous remarks and events emanating from the country make it extremely hard for us to show restraint. We will react, as any other sovereign nation, to such insults and abuse.

Contrary to popular assertions, the current crisis with Turkey did not begin yesterday and certainly not after the events surrounding the flotilla in May. The crisis began long before this government was established and was long predetermined in Ankara. The exact genesis of the current crisis can be traced to the moment in January 2009 when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan verbally attacked and humiliated President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Everyone who saw this unsettling scene was left in no doubt that this outburst was not improvised or reactive, but part of a carefully thought-out strategy.

Israel has never sought a change in its relationship with Turkey and even today it remains in the best interests of both nations for relations to return to pre- Davos levels. However, the understandable offense Israelis feel towards Turkey’s continued harsh rhetoric makes it very difficult for the government to accept any preconditions for normalization.

The completely unilateral change in the relations is not reflective of our actions; rather it is the result of Turkey’s internal politics. Turkey’s relations with Israel are only a small reflection of what is occurring in Turkish society. The best example of this is Ankara’s decision not to vote for sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, in direct opposition to its allies in NATO.

UNFORTUNATELY, RECENT events in Turkey are reminiscent of Iran before the Islamic Revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei. Like Turkey, Iran was among Israel’s closest allies and the two nations held good relations between both governments and people.

Similarly, the Khomenei revolution was the result of internal factors and had absolutely no connection to Israel.

During the last couple of months, the incitement against Israel has reached new heights. During Erdogan’s visit to Lebanon in late November, he said that Turkey will not “remain silent” while Israel will “kill women and children using modern aircraft, tanks... phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs.”

It is important to note that Erdogan’s visit followed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon a month prior. It was difficult for us to perceive any differences in the vitriol of the two. We had to make difficult decisions concerning how to react to this dangerous rhetoric, and it ultimately was decided the best course of action was to exercise restraint and refrain from a response.

However, in December the trailer for the upcoming film as part of the Valley of the Wolves series was released. This series continues to depict classic anti- Semitic motifs like the kidnapping of non-Jewish children, Jewish obsession with blood and murder and portraying Jews as the most evil people in the world.

ON DECEMBER 25, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke about Turkey’s quick dispatch of planes to help us battle the Carmel Forest fire, and suggested that, had the situation been reversed, Israel would not have reciprocated. Davutoglu must have forgotten or been unaware of our immediate response to the tragic earthquake disaster in 1999 when a contingent of 250 emergency workers was dispatched to Turkey, where they erected a field hospital and rescued many from the rubble.

The contingent stayed for weeks, long after most other international emergency workers went back home. In addition, the Israeli public launched a spontaneous campaign to assist the earthquake victims, in an impressive display of friendship and goodwill.

I repeat once again that we are extremely grateful to the Turkish government for its assistance during the Carmel fire and I say assuredly that should there be a disaster in Turkey we will once again immediately offer our complete cooperation and assistance, regardless of the current political atmosphere.

However, while presenting itself as interested in a rapprochement, the Turkish government maintains a disingenuous position. Subsequent to the Carmel fire when Davutoglu spoke of his hope for a repair in relations, the government refused to renew a trade agreement that will leave 800 Turkish workers here without jobs. The inexplicable cancellation was unilateral and without warning.

The hatred and incitement reached its peak during the dreadful spectacle when a crowd of 100,000 welcomed the terror ship Mavi Marmara back to Istanbul chanting jihadist slogans and “Death to Israel.”

The lack of condemnation for these outrageous scenes from any official Turkish sources makes it extremely hard for us to show restraint. We will not be a punching bag and will react, as any other sovereign nation, to such insults and abuse.

If the Turkish government is truly honest about seeking to normalize relations with Israel, it needs to stop looking for excuses and attaching preconditions. Israel should not be used as an issue in the upcoming Turkish national elections in June.

We are seeking a return to a frank and honest dialogue with Turkey, and I invite my counterpart, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, to Jerusalem, or any other location, where we can discuss all issues of relevance to both nations and the wider region. Allies can have disagreements; it is how we deal with these disagreements that is the true mark of any relationship.

COMMENTS

mattpryor

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 15:18

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-1 points

And in case anyone missed it, here is Peres's (I thought) wonderful speech at Davos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptrJ8NZtRiM

(incidentally this was posted by a user called Morrocans4Israel - that gives me hope).

And here is Erdogan's premeditated hissy fit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj_2GuNUdAI&feature=fvst


mattpryor

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 15:19

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-1 points

Anyone wish to place bets on how long Turkey will remain a member of NATO? I have advised friends that own a holiday apartment there to consider selling up while they can.


mattpryor

Thu, 01/06/2011 - 15:33

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0 points

Incidentally if anyone has a spare few minutes it's worth reading some of the channel comments on "Maroccans4Israel"'s youtube page.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Moroccans4Israel

And can someone remind me why anyone in the UK would support the Palestinian cause based on some of these comments?


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 07:53

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And in case one does not understand French, one of the comments says: "It's no use trying to pass yourself for a Moroccan you simply are a Zionist kike who wants to pass for an Arab you blew you cover the kike Mickey Moss [sic]"
(errors in the French were rendered as well as I could).

The courageous commentator is on par with Milligramsam, hiding behind the pseudo "bendavid81", thus doing exactly what he accuses (wrongly) "Moroccan4Israel" to do. Wrongly because the commentator confuses nationality with ethnicity.

We see there that antisemite frequently use Jewish names to avoid the accusation of antisemitism, quite stupidly because the accusation is made on the basis of what one writes or says and not on the basis of what one is or is not. But some Jews are impressed and don't dare accusing a supposed fellow Jew of antisemitism.


stellasolomons

Wed, 01/12/2011 - 00:29

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"We are seeking a return to a frank and honest dialogue with Turkey"

@ Matt - do you trust Turkey? because I don't. Erdogan comes from a nebbishy place, I mean he's not a visionary or idealist, but a guy struggling to upgrade his country - excactly like the Shah of Iran did - point is look what happened there since.


jose (not verified)

Wed, 01/12/2011 - 09:43

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Erdogan is struggling to 'upgrade' his country to Islamism.
What a clown he is!


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:31

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Stella: In my experience Turks are a very warm and welcoming people. But the AKP is looking to increase Turkey's influence in the middle east (a return to the glory days of the Ottomans) and is pandering to its fanatical support base. This isn't compatible with good relations with Israel, Europe, NATO or the west in general. If the majority of Turks have any sense they will be alarmed by this and will vote them out in the forthcoming elections. If not, Turkey will descend into barbarism.


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:37

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And all of the above is of course a consequence of a weak America and a distinct lack of world leadership since Obama took charge.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:40

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Matt, Turkey will joyfully descend into barbarism. It has been doing just that since the year the Clown Erdogan was elected.
Thanks who? Thanks the EU who required the Turkish Army party to exit the parliament, before admitting Turkey as a candidate. The move had exactly the reverve consequence: Turkey is further than ever from being admitted in the EU, because of its creeping islamism, continued occupation of Cyprus and warming of relations with racist states of Syria and Iran.


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:50

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I didn't know the thing about the EU and the Army Party Jose, and it's great to have learned something new today. Thanks.

Another good reason to vote UKIP in the Euro elections and get Britain out.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:58

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2 points

Army in Turkey used to have reserved seats in the parliament. The EU didn't like that, because of course it was too undemocratic. So, to ease Turkey's candidacy, the army accepted...
Today, we see the result. It looks like the elections in 'Palestine'. When they are given a chance to have a democracy, they vote for their dictator and future executioner.


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:04

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2 points

Looks like someone's gone a bit mad with the minus points again!


Yehuda Erdman

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:08

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-2 points

Some of the posts above are childish, and you talk about a regional power like Turkey purely through the prism of "is it good for the Jews". It is a grave mistake to underestimate the fact that Turkey is in the ascendency in the middle east and much further beyond. Yes it is true that in the last three years a previously warm relationship with Israel has gone sour, but this began when Olmert deliberately withheld information from Erdogan that Israel was going to launch Operation Cast Lead the next day. This was hardly the action of an ally, and undermined Erdogan's credibility in his efforts to broker some sort of deal between Syria and Israel.
Not all the blame lies on the Turkish side and unlike mattpryor who so admires Lieberman I regret to inform all of you that Lieberman is probably the worst Foreign Minister in Israel's history with a complete lack of understanding on how to conduct himself with the dignity that such high office requires. He has not only publicly insulted Turkey, but has also insulted visiting Foreign Ministers such as those of France and Spain. I would have thought Israel needs more friends in the world not to lose precious few allies. It seems that Lieberman is grandstanding and positioning himself a a potential future Prime Minister of Israel, in view of the shaky coalition led by Netanyahu which is expected to fall apart soon.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:31

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3 points

It is a grave mistake to underestimate the fact that Turkey is in the ascendency in the middle east and much further beyond.

It is a grave mistake to even believe we underestimate this islamisation of Turkey. It is already taken care of by isolating it. Israel will find better partners within the EU, such as Greece and Cyprus. Greece is also a regional power and is conveniently close to Israel.

but this began when Olmert deliberately withheld information from Erdogan that Israel was going to launch Operation Cast Lead the next day.

HAHAHAHA ! Even me, I knew that it was going to happen, although I wasn't in Israel at the time. Indeed I was on the phone with a kibbutznik cousin near the Gaza border when he told me "You hear the planes? It's starting!"
And the Clown Erdogan says "Olmert didn't tell me!"...
What other fairy tales do you believe Herr-dman?


mattpryor

Fri, 01/14/2011 - 18:45

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1 point

Yehuda you underestimate the value of good diplomatic relationships with Israel and seem to think that Israel should be grateful for any friendships, no matter how costly to Israel's reputation and no matter how many careless insults get thrown in Israel's direction. Perhaps Olmert should have informed Turkey about Cast Lead before the event, as he informed the US, Britain, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Then again perhaps Turkey should inform Israel each time it is planning on bombing some Kurds.

That doesn't change the fact that Erdogan's treatment of Peres at Davos (as seen in the videos above) was disgraceful and about as undiplomatic and insulting as one can imagine. It was also a well-rehearsed and premeditated outburst designed to gain the respect of Muslims, at Israel's expense. What he should have been doing, if Turkey is a "friend" of Israel, is explaining Israel's position to his electorate, not publicly humiliating the president. It was childish and stupid.

Turkey's fall-out with Israel is a symptom of much bigger political shifts in Turkish society and in the region. It reflects Turkey's ambitions to become a bigger regional power and willingness to kick around little countries in the process (including Israel and Greece). It also reflects the ruling party's willingness to appease radical Islamist factions.

And Netenyahu's coalition (which you described as "extreme right-wing" elsewhere) looks quite solid from here. Netanyahu's quite popular is he not? Opinion polls show Likud gaining seats and Labor and Kadima losing seats. So maybe some wishful thinking on your part?


stellasolomons

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:18

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-1 points

@ Matt, "Turks are a warm people" you wrote -

tbh they have a tourist industry to consider, they bound to be sycophantic :(

more crucially 100,000 (0r 10,000 if it was a misprint) greeted thier nauseating Mavi Mara (a put up job!!) with cries of "Death to all Jews"

that, Matt, includes you.


stellasolomons

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:25

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-2 points

PS I just smelled the coffee

with a surname like pryor, um, you are not Jewish but don't worry Abrahamic religions are both forgivong - or are you a Mulsim?? 'fess up!


Yoni1

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:30

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1 point

"when Olmert deliberately withheld information from Erdogan that Israel was going to launch Operation Cast Lead the next day"

It's called being sane, peabrain. You don't give away your military secrets the day before an offensive to a lunatic like Erdogan.


Yoni1

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:33

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1 point

"Yehuda you underestimate the value of good diplomatic relationships with Israel and seem to think that Israel should be grateful for any friendships, no matter how costly to Israel's reputation and no matter how many careless insults get thrown in Israel's direction"

Why, of course Erdman thinks so. He is a knee-bending Jew. He thinks that Jews are lucky to have anyone even talking to them.


Yoni1

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:35

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2 points

Stella, aren't you being disgustingly racist there towards Matt, who is a good friend?

Yes, actually you are.

And since obviously you don't know this: the Jews are a nation, not simply a religion.


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 21:51

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2 points

I cerrtainly have no trouble agreeing with Matt, that Turks may be warm and welcoming. Only these days they are no so much so with Israel.
Antisemitism is in the open and encouraged by the Clown Erdogan. Books like Mein Kampf and the Protocols sell very well in Turkey.

The problem Israel has with Turkey today is mainly a problem for Turkey. Islamisation of the secular society will strain internal politics and cause a lot of pain.
For Israel, it means just changing from one close ally to another. The benefit will be for the new ally, and perhaps even for Israel that was loyal to Turkey a little too long. Let's recognise the Armenian genocide and ask Turkey to apologise. This genocide should not be condoned by a country like Israel. Israeli TV programs should show Turkey as it was and as it is today: a country on the verge of turning into a racist Islamic 'Republic'.


jose (not verified)

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 22:16

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-1 points

with a surname like pryor, um, you are not Jewish

You would be surprised to learn that there are very few, if any, specifically Jewish surnames, ie having a Jewish surname is no proof of jewishness, especially if you consider the strict halachic laws of jewishness.
99% of people with my surname are Christians and unrelated to my family.
On the other hand, Rene Cassin was a Jew, Pierre Mendes-France was a Jew, Darius Milhaud was a Jew, meaning you have Jews with surnames that are indistinguishable from non-Jews.


stellasolomons

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 23:59

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1 point

there's a war on, jihad, how can you trust a country that had thousands and thousands of its citizen calling out "death to the Jews"?

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