Reader comment on: Erdogan: "The Image of the Jews Is No Different from that of the Nazis"
Submitted by Jude (United Kingdom), Feb 11, 2013 07:21
Erdogan has said many things over the time he has been in politics. He is without doubt the most popular Prime Minister since Ataturk in the 1920s, although he is the opposite of a promotor of Ataturk's secular ideals; he is an Islamist nationalist, and as the head of the Islamist Ak Party he makes no bones about it. He intends to recreate what he sees as a restoration of Turkey's power sphere as it was under the Islamist Ottomans, stating this is Turkey's destiny. He therefore makes populist statements to appeal not only to the masses of working class, who are Turkish Nationalists as well as practicing Muslims across The Middle East and Turkic Republics. He and his party have revolutionised Turkey both economically and socially. Living standards have increased expontially across the working and middle classes, and big business has done well, with Turkey now the 16th largest economy in the world coming from out of the top 50 but 15 years ago. In his early years in power he maintained the long standing close friendly and military ties with Israel, inviting Barak, who was Prime Minister to Turkey a number of times. He may be an anti-Semite - he probably is. The statements you have quoted are undoubtedly anti-Semitic; but above all, his statements are populist and political to win influence in the region, formost by taking a hardline stance against Israel - posturing as he has - while at the same time gain influence in the EEC and NATO.
At the same time as he has made these statements and virtually broken relations with Israel (virtually is the important word), it is interesting to note that the small remaining Turkish Jewish population does well economically and has complete religious freedom. Additionally, trade between Turkey and Israel continues to balloon despite the "political propaganda" - that's significant. He is a politician above all with a chip on his shoulder. He wants to convey everywhere that he's no poodle of anyone's: not NATO, the EEC, or the USA - and rubbing Israel's face in is one way of flexing his muscles. He has also made other quotes:
As the Prime Minister of a nation that has lived in friendship with its Jewish citizens for centuries, and continues to maintain close friendship with both Israelis and the Palestinians, I should like to declare this explicitly: Turkey will not accept any notion that denies Israel's right to exist.
Even in the Western world, one cannot argue that the ideal has been achieved given the existence of issues like the integration, participation and representation of Muslim citizens, and occasional but lingering anti-Semitism.
Everyone should unconditionally accept that Israel is an indispensable element of the Middle Eastern mosaic.
Basically, he is expedient, and whatever it takes he will demand "respect" for Turkey as the "great power it should be;" this is his modus operandi.
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