Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

December 7, 2009

Erdogan focuses on Gaza– in Washington

Filed under: Events and appearances,Gaza,Turkey — Helena Cobban @ 10:18 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been in DC.  He met, and had lunch with, Pres. Obama earlier today.  In the evening he gave a 45-minute presentation at an event hosted by the DC branch of the Turkish ‘SETA’ think-tank.

He arrived a little late and looked a little tired– quite possibly because he was dealing (at a distance) with his government’s response to the attack that killed seven Turkish soldiers in the north of the country earlier today?

The most notable aspect of his presentation was the amount of time– more than eight minutes out of the 45– that he spent talking about the strong concern he has for Gaza’s people.  (How many other Middle Eastern leaders, coming to Washington, would voice the same amount of concern, I wonder?)

Erdoğan said,

Turkey is very sensitive to the Gaza question, and I’d like to tell our  critics that our attitude is the result of our fair conscience..

In Gaza, children and defenseless women are being killed… Sulphur bombs are being used.  When the casualties from those attacks came to Turkish hospitals I went to see them, and saw the terrible effects those bombs have on their bodies.

Gaza, this part of Palestine, has become nothing more than an open-air prison…

He recalled a visit he himself had made to Gaza, expressing irritation that the Israelis had made him wait in his car for 35 minutes before letting him in.  (“This, while any time an Israeli diplomat comes to Turkey, I make sure he goes straight through the VIP lounge.”)

He talked about the tragedies he’d witnessed in Gaza–  “Hospitals, schools, destroyed last winter and not being reconstructed yet.”

He said,

Israel’s security and safety are very important, but they can only be assured through adherence to international law.

Israel says it’s being attacked by missiles.  But the casualties there were only three or four people– and in return, they launch sulphur bombs that cause so many thousands of casualties?

The extreme concern he voiced about Gaza was part of a broader address in which he also made these arguments:

(a) That climate change is a prime example of the fact that, just as today’s big problems are global, so too must be the solutions to them.

(b) Solving today’s big problems needs a diversity of backgrounds and outlooks.

(c) Today’s problems can’t be solved through raw military power… “Countries need to shift their spending from military spending to spending on nutrition and human needs.  Two billion people today are hungry.  That needs attention!”

(d) “We’ll combat terrorism everywhere, but we need to win the hearts of our people.”  (It was only after the event that I learned of today’s attack in northern Turkey. Perhaps that was the context for this and several others of his comments.)

(e) Turkey can’t establish peace and prosperity so long as there is conflict around us.

(f) We need to have a multidimensionality of approaches for dealing with both domestic and global challenges.

(g) “Of course we’ll continue to build our relations with Iran.  We have a long common border, and we have had no problems with Iran…

Regarding Iran, he also noted that for a country that has nuclear weapons to try to argue that Iran should not have them is to apply an unacceptable double standard.

Regarding Turkey’s longstanding attempt to gain admittance to the European Union, he expressed noticeable frustration with the attitudes expressed by the European powers, whom he accused of repeatedly “moving the goalposts” on Turkey’s accession.

He said, “If the Europeans don’t want Turkey to join, let them just say so!”

But, he added, the kinds of criteria that had been established by the Europeans for Turkey were ones that Turkey itself had anyway taken ownership of.  “So if they say that meeting the Copenhagen Criteria is no longer sufficient to get us into the EU, then we’ll call them the Ankara Criteria and continue pursuing them, regardless.”

I’d never seen Erdogan in person before. After listening to so much Arabic oratory in recent weeks, I found his rhetorical style fairly blunt and forthright by comparison.  Perhaps it’s something to do with the texture of the language, itself?

But he made such excellent good sense!  There probably is a good role in human affairs for “telling things how you see them”, which is what he  seemed to be doing.

I imagine he may have said many of these same things to Obama, over lunch.  I wonder how that conversation went…

But honestly, at a time when NATO is so deeply involved in hostilities in a number of Muslim countries, the sway that Turkey– which, as Erdogan made a point of noting, is NATO’s only majority-Muslim member country– has over the US is considerably greater than it would otherwise have been.  So I hope Obama listened to him carefully.

Especially when he was talking about Palestine and Iran.

Advertisements

21 Comments »

  1. It just never ceases to amaze me the argument that Israel should ignore the thousands of missiles coming from Gaza because “the casualties there were only three or four people.”

    Here in the states we have built a whole culture around the idea of “stranger danger” completely out of any proportion to reality.

    On the Halloween that just passed many parents keep their children home out of fear. Those that are allowed out, are almost always accompanied by an adult. And when the children get home with their treats their parents closely examine each for signs of tampering. Even though, as I understand, there has never been a reported case of poisoning by a stranger.

    In department stores parents go to great lengths to escort their children in the restrooms for fear they might be molested. Yet how many children are actually molested in store restrooms?

    Yet Israelis are supposed to just kiss their children goodbye on their way to school without any thoughts of the thousands of missiles being fired from Gaza because “the casualties there were only three or four people.”

    Comment by David — December 8, 2009 @ 7:50 am | Reply

    • David, you’ve missed the point entirely. First, a review the factual errors: currently there are not ‘thousands’ of missiles coming out of Gaza. When there was a significant and continuous pattern of strikes last year, the Israeli government responded with military force. Nobody, not Ms. Cobban (to the best of my knowledge) or even the recently unjustly maligned Goldstone report has challenged Israel’s right to self defense on this issue. So your claim that anyone is advocating to “ignore” the attacks from a handful of militants in Gaza is a straw-man at best.

      The real issue here is (and always has been) with proportionality. Currently there are 1.5 million people living in Gaza who have been denied there rights to a country, liberty, and the basic resources needed to sustain life. They too live in fear that their children will be sent to school and not return. Where is your concern for their dignity and ability to lead a life free of terror?

      It sounds to me as though you are drawing a false dichotomy between Israeli human rights and Palestinian ones. This really should not be an “either or” question as you have framed it.

      Comment by Jeremy — December 8, 2009 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  2. “After listening to so much Arabic oratory in recent weeks, I found his rhetorical style fairly blunt and forthright by comparison. Perhaps it’s something to do with the texture of the language, itself?”

    Or maybe it’s the fact that Arab culture holds oratory in high regard. In fact, what is usually translated as “classical Arabic” in fact means eloquent Arabic.

    Comment by JohnH — December 8, 2009 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  3. Nobody’s listening anymore, JohnH.

    Comment by delia ruhe — December 8, 2009 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

  4. Yet Israelis are supposed to just kiss their children goodbye on their way to school without any thoughts of the thousands of missiles being fired from Gaza because “the casualties there were only three or four people.”

    David as you know well those thousands of missiles being fired from Gaza are not very precises and their error very high, so if they are thousand as you stated then we expected killing thousands of Israelis kids.

    Could you give us official source that telling us that that case?

    David let count these thousands of missiles being fired from Gaza how many Israelis killed by those housands of missiles being fired from Gaza

    I am Israel

    Comment by Salah — December 9, 2009 @ 3:11 am | Reply

  5. The Illustrated History of the Jewish People,” edited by Nicholas Lange (Harcourt, 1997), notes, “Every generation of Jewish historians has faced the same task: to retell and adapt the story to meet the needs of its own situation.” The same could be said of all nations and religions.

    Perhaps that is why — on both sides of the argument — some myths stubbornly persist no matter how often they are debunked while other indubitable facts continually fail to gain traction.


    People an ‘Invention’

    Comment by Salah — December 9, 2009 @ 3:31 am | Reply

  6. First, I don’t believe I missed the point. The statement “Israel’s security and safety are very important, but they can only be assured through adherence to international law.
    Israel says it’s being attacked by missiles. But the casualties there were only three or four people– and in return, they launch sulphur bombs that cause so many thousands of casualties?”
    Israel’s action caused the Palestinians to fire rockets at them and because there were so few casualties Israel was not supposed to respond. Proportionality would mean that when a rocket is fired from Gaza, Israel responds by firing some number of rockets randomly into Gaza. This is not an option for a civilized country, nor would they want to. The last thing you want in a war is proportionality, such as WWI when two sides faced each other along trenches killing large numbers but getting nowhere. Wars are fought to be decisive, not a tit for tat.

    I have a lot of concern for the “1.5 million people living in Gaza who have been denied there rights to a country, liberty, and the basic resources needed to sustain life.” I was hopeful that when Israel pulled out of Gaza the Palestinians would use the opportunity to start building the foundations and institutions of a state. Instead, it was used to fire rockets over the border.

    Note: I thought I read a higher figure for the number of rockets. The numbers are: 2006 – 946, 2007 – 783, 2008 – 1730 rockets. While technically this is thousands I thought it was much higher.

    Salah – neither is lighting very accurate, but most people avoid being out in a thunderstorm.

    Comment by David — December 9, 2009 @ 7:09 am | Reply

  7. but most people avoid being out in a thunderstorm.

    David,
    Your statement is misleading one.

    For any norm people who had respects for humans lives and respecting human whatever their colour, religion or ethnicity, in all accounts Israelis have had sever problems with humans rights whatever reasons they say or you believe totally not justifying their actions at all or defending them. neither people like you presumable been in ” a thunderstorm” or not who kept themselves fully blind and deaf of the humans suffering due to both side actions for so long, if they care, there are many ways the wise people can find the way forward to stop your “a thunderstorm”

    Comment by Salah — December 9, 2009 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  8. BTW David, let not forgot the war crimes in Iraq due to US invasion and occupation of Iraq and destroying a state memebr of UN, seven years this shambles state millions have living with the death and left 5,000,000 orphans, 35,000 widows, and 4,000,000 refugees…read this a real picture of Iraq and Iraqis in 2003 NOT as your MSM telling you and the world of their lies and those evil war criminal like Bush and Blair who now 100% not just a liar he is a criminal.

    يقول وصلنا إلى ميناء البصرة وكأنني وصلت إلى إحدى المعتقلات السياسية حيث كان الوضع الأمني شديد وأبراج المراقبة تعلو كل زاوية. وكاميرات المراقبة وكأننا سنصور مشاهد درامية. ركبنا الحافلة الصغيرة قاصدين العاصمة العراقية بغداد وبينما نحن في الطريق لم تجف دموعي حيث كان الجميع يبكي وهو لا يشعر بسبب ما نشاهده طوال الرحلة من دمار حل بالبلاد ولم نستوعب بأننا وصلنا لبر الأمان. استغرق مشوارنا ساعات طويلة بسبب كما يقولها بالهجة العراقية وجود المجنزرات والسيطرات الأمريكية. وبعد تخطينا الحواجز الأمنية والتي شبهها ببوابات مغارة علي بابا قال: وصلنا إلى بغداد إلى أطراف ذلك الحي القديم، يحمل إلينا هواء بغداد من خلال نوافذ الحافلة هواء نشتم منه رائحة النخيل المحترقة وبقايا من رائحة عبوة ناسفة انفجرت قبل وصولنا بأيام وكأنني وصلت ليوم المحشر، حيث كان الجميع من العراقيون بين غادي ورايح. نزلت من الحافلة أشاهد منطقتي أتلفت يمنة ويسرة، هناك محل أبو عواد وعليه آثار تفجير، وهناك طريق مغلق من آثار قذيفة أمريكية الصنع. كانت أجواء بغداد مختلطة برائحة البارود والذهول مسيطر علينا جميعا كيف تحولت بغداد بهذا الشكل؟! وصلت غايتي بالقرب من سكتنا حيث كنا نلعب أنا وأخوتي وأبناء الحي كرة القدم وقد بان الدمار فعلا، لم تعد النخيل خضراء كما تركتها ولم تكن مياه العيون نابعة كما كانت، إختلطت بعض المياه بدماء أحبتي وأهلي ولم يبقى من بيت جارنا إلا الركام والطين. يكمل حديثه لنا وعيناه تلمع من غبنت الحديث، قبل رجوعي لدولة الإمارات بأيام كنت أتمشى بين أحيائنا البسيطة وبين مدن العراق كانت الخراسانات الأمنية أمام كل دائرة والمدرعات بين الأسواق وأسلحة الكلاشنكوف التي تعتلي ظهر السيارات الأمنية وكلها تقف عائق في وجهي ووجه إخواني العراقيين تقيدني للوصول لمن أحبهم. لكنه بدأ جبارا عندما قال إن العراق إن شاء الله بفضل من الله ثم جهود أهله سينهض. العراق أصابته جراح الماكرين والغادرين وسنقف في وجه العدو المحتل وفي وجه كل إرهابي وحاقد. سنضمد جراح العراق، العراق كان ينزف وكان جريح لكنه الآن ولله الحمد جراحه بدأت بالإلتحام وبدأ شعبنا يقف بجميع طوائفنا السنية والشيعية والكردية والمسيحية والصابئية وغيرها يدا واحد لأعمار العراق.
    http://www.kbr2.com/articles.php?action=show&id=80

    Comment by Salah — December 9, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  9. Salah,

    Re: your statement “Israelis have had sever problems with humans rights.” Even Palestinians in Israel have more rights than the citizens of the other 22 Arab countries. No, Israel is not perfect and I’m not saying it is, just that there is more democracy and respect for rights and rule of law in Israel than the other Arab countries. Your statement singles Israel out and ignores everyone else.

    BTW Salah, you have never read a comment written by me that stated or implied that I supported the US invasion of Iraq. I did not. I argued against it every step of the way. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Comment by David — December 10, 2009 @ 6:19 am | Reply

  10. respect for rights and rule of law in Israel than the other Arab countries

    I agree, but you miss the point David what I said (read my comment) discussing or talking about Israeli respects for humans lives and respecting humans in Occupied land and Gaza or during war in Gaza, Lebanon and another places.

    These are most concerns issues, Gaza is a prefect example of human rights violations under most international laws, bear in mind not just Israelites doing so, but they helped by some regimes like Mubarak in Egypt and other proxy regimes in ME who follow their handler orders.

    This is the point David not the Arab inside Israel and their rights?

    Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    I did NOT….again you did miss my point I tried to show the parallel links between human rights violations between Israelis and US in Arab land.

    Comment by Salah — December 10, 2009 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  11. There are a lot of parallel links between human rights violations between Israelis and US in Arab lands.

    There are also parallel links between human rights violations between Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, (the list could go on), in US and Israel.

    We just define differently which are actions and reactions.

    Comment by David — December 11, 2009 @ 6:47 am | Reply

  12. The discussion here over rockets fired from Gaza fails to address WHY those rockets are fired. Israel is an illegal occupier of Gaza. I know Israel claims to have withdrawn from Gaza, but under international law Israel, as it has imprisoned 1.5 million people in the walled prison that is Gaza, is still an occupying force. The Israeli guards of Prison Gaza have merely moved from the prison yard to the top of the walls and the survelance towers. Hamas held the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire and flew ZERO rockets from Gaza from June 2008 until after Nov 4 2008, when Israel attacked and killed several Hamas members. Hamas held the ceasefire dispite Israel still choking the borders, dispite Israeli soldiers and sailors shooting Palestinian farmers and fishermen

    Here is evidence from Israeli IDF records on rocket fire before and during Israel’s war of aggression in Op Cast Lead which killed 1400 and seriously wounded 6 times that number, 1/3 of them children. This illegal, aggressive action was taken against a virtually unarmed civilian population, and involved war crimes including the use of white phosphorous, the purposeful targeting, shelling and shooting of civilians, some, families waving white flags, and the purposeful shooting of ambulance personnel, schools full of people, hospitals and UN facilities, including food and medicine caches, as outlined in Goldstone.

    http://www.themediaoasis.com/Hamasrockets.htm

    The few rockets fired prior to Cast Lead were fired by rogue elements of resistance, as Hamas actively arrested anyone caught attempting to fire rockets and in fact had asked Israel for an extension of the cease-fire just prior to the Nov 4 raid by Israel into Gaza.

    The “thousands of rockets”, and “Israel has a right to defend itself” propaganda and lies that was parrotted by every talking head news puppet all during the 22 day murderous rampage by Israel was just another in a 60 year list of lies and propaganda by Israel and the U.S. as Israel continues expanding on stolen Palestinian land. If I were under the brutal occupation of a foreign invading power on my land, I’d fire rockets over my prison wall too!

    Comment by David R. Evans — December 11, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  13. PALESTINIANS ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES!

    Comment by David R. Evans — December 11, 2009 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  14. David you still jumping out of the box,

    Yes there are countless human rights violations in Arab countries I did not denial that.

    But there is much deference when you violated by on of your family members or close friend than from a strangers and an occupier of your house, isn’t David?

    Comment by Salah — December 11, 2009 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  15. Israel did not occupy the West Bank, Gaza, Golan and Sinai because they wanted to. They fought a defensive war which they could not reasonably avoid. You probably disagree with that.

    The occupation was not by choice, and to a good many people not continuing by choice.

    Comment by David — December 12, 2009 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  16. Israel did not occupy the West Bank, Gaza, Golan and Sinai

    David why you guys keep jumping to another topics of discussion. As you see we all talking about Israeli human Rights specifically the Palestinians, we do not talking about why Israelis invaded and occupied Plasticine land or if I agree with you or not.

    This remind us with our Israeli folk JES he kept his discussion just like the way you do, and I call this like a CAT!! why, David if you throw a CAT in any position it will reach the ground on her four fetes.

    Comment by Salah — December 13, 2009 @ 2:08 am | Reply

  17. Salah, obviously you would like nothing more than to limit any discussion to Israeli and US violations of human rights. I think a bit of context in required.

    David R. Evans, yes Palestinians do have a right to defend themselves and resist the occupation. Blowing up a bus full of children, a Passover holiday dinner or a restaurant on the coastal strip is not resisting the occupation.

    Comment by David — December 13, 2009 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  18. yes Palestinians do have a right to defend themselves and resist

    Off course any nations their land occupied they have the right to resists and defend their land just like any national resistance along the history. so its we not limiting the discussion David, but you shoukld or discuasse the point rised not jumping to another topic, this your problem not mien and dont try next time puting your word in my mouth.
    you may reminded with US resistances to the occupiers and get their independence although those US resistance have nothing to do with the land that they defending it.

    Comment by Salah — December 13, 2009 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  19. Salah, I obviously touched a nerve. Didn’t mean to. Bring me back on track, exactly what point were we discussing?

    Comment by David — December 13, 2009 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

  20. I obviously touched a nerve. Didn’t mean to

    David, first I forgot to mentioned that I am personally against and opposing any acts of suicide done as an act of resistance against the occupier whoever its or it was, this is my reliougous and personal believes, you need to know these acts starting as early 1980s backed by extremist Mullah using Islam to deformed views serving self necessities.

    David, you don’t touched any nerve of mine but you keep rolling all the time and I am trying to stop your rolling not more.

    Comment by Salah — December 14, 2009 @ 2:30 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: