So, let’s see. The flotilla set off from Turkish territory, and was organized by members of the Turkish branch of a group recognized by the State Department as a terrorist organization. The “peace activists” aboard were filmed shrieking Islamic battle cries before their run-in with the IDF, knowing full well that their “relief mission” was actually aimed at provoking some sort of demagogue-able confrontation. The confrontation duly occurred, whereupon Turkey’s leadership somehow managed to outdo even Iran in the shrillness of its demagoguery. Perfectly predictable behavior from an Islamist government, except of course for one thing: As Matt Continetti reminds us, they’re a NATO ally. Here’s how our “ally” conceptualizes one terrorist group trying to funnel supplies to the terrorist government in Gaza:
During a press conference ahead of the meeting, Davitoglu said he was disappointed with Washington’s cautious response to an incident he likened to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“Psychologically this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey because Turkish citizens were attacked by a state, not by terrorists, with an intention, a clear decision of political leaders of that state,” he said.
“The Israelis think they are above any law, but Turkey and the rest of the international community will stop them,” he said, comparing between the IDF operation and pirate operating in the Gulf of Eden.
Not to be outdone, Turkey’s PM channels his inner Ahmadinejad:
“This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse,” he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its “inhumane” blockade of Gaza.
“They have once again showed to the world that they know how good they are at killing people,” Erdogan said. “Israel in no way can legitimize this murder, it cannot wash its hand of this blood.”
Erdogan said Turkey would continue to support the Palestinian people.
“We will not turn our back on Palestine, Palestinians and Gaza,” Erdogan said.
Mind you, these are the words of the leaders of a country we’ve agreed to defend if/when it ends up at war with a non-NATO state (like, say, Israel). That didn’t sound like a bad deal during the Cold War, when Turkey was still on the secularist path; 20 years later, with Islamist-ization in full swing and Erdogan et al. throwing up diplomatic smokescreens to protect Iran’s nuclear program, it seems exceedingly short-sighted. Expect the paleocon antipathy to NATO to receive some Strange New Respect from mainline conservatives in the next few years as Turkish leaders find ever more creative ways to incite and exploit anti-Israeli sentiment politically. But don’t expect Turkey’s NATO status to change: There’s no way any western nation will spearhead a movement to oust the group’s only Muslim member, especially at a moment when Turkey’s reorienting itself towards regimes like Tehran. The thinking will be that it’s safer to keep them inside the tent, with one foot planted conceptually in the west, as a sort of check on their Islamist tendencies. And Turkey, I’m sure, will be happy to oblige, preserving relations with both sides to establish itself as a power-broker between east and west. What a coup it’ll be for Erdogan if he can demagogue this fiercely enough to get Israel to finally lift the blockade of Gaza. He’ll be an instant Palestinian hero, with all the Muslim cred that comes with that, and he’ll get to cover himself in faux-humanitarian glory to the delight of useful idiots here and in Europe. It’s a nice scam. No wonder a second flotilla is already being planned. Exit question: Turkey’s not seriously going to send warships to escort it, is it?