Great news: Turkish PM may try to visit Gaza to break blockade

Why not? Demagoguing the flotilla raid has helped make him an Islamist rock star. And as any rock star knows, the show’s not over until after the big encore.

What’s really worrisome about this is that it suggests this moron’s starting to believe his own B.S., which is the fast track to stumbling into a major international crisis.

The [al-Mustaqbal] newspaper said that “as part of the open conflict between Turkey and Israel following the massacre against the ‘freedom sail’ to Gaza and the protest sparked in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering going to Gaza himself in order to break the blockade imposed on the Strip.”

The sources noted that the Turkish leader had raised the option in a conversation with his associates.

According to the report, Erdogan told the American administration he was planning to ask his navy to escort another aid flotilla, but that American officials asked him to delay the plan in order to look into the matter.

The NYT’s out with an editorial calling for an end to the blockade in Gaza (naturally) but also scolding Turkey for its “irresponsible” rhetoric this week and insisting that “As a moderate, secular democracy and NATO member, Turkey has a strong interest in a stable Middle East.” Which is nice, except … it’s not true. Like I said last night, “moderate, secular democracy” is only half of their identity anymore. Per their new good cop/bad cop routine, what they really want in the Middle East is manageable instability. That way there’s a fresh supply of Israeli “crimes” to exploit for the benefit of fundie voters at home and to the consternation of western allies abroad, who’ll be eager to make concessions to keep the Turks calm and in the west’s orbit.

The key is the word “manageable,” though. If this really is all a form of kabuki theater on Erdogan’s part, then he should want to pursue brinksmanship with Israel without going so far that the two countries’ militaries suddenly find themselves staring across the field at each other. That’s why, I assume, he hasn’t cut ties with Netanyahu despite his ambassador to the U.S. demanding an apology, an end to the blockade, an end to “inappropriate” anti-Palestinian action, blah blah blah. And yet, we keep hearing rumors of sending the Turkish navy to escort the next “aid” mission or of Erdogan himself trying to confront the IDF, both of which would conceivably create a military situation in which anything can happen. The question, then: What is this idiot thinking? Is he in such bad shape politically at home that he’s willing to force some sort of armed regional standoff? And is the Turkish military itself now so riddled with Islamists that it’ll go along with him? These must be rumors and nothing more — right?

I’ve whined at you about Turkey all week so I’ll spare you anything further, especially since there are better writers than me weighing in today. See Ralph Peters for what Turkey’s drift towards Mecca potentially means for U.S. airmen stationed at Incirlik; Victor Davis Hanson on what it potentially means for traditional (and now weakened) Turkish enemies like Greece; and Mark Steyn on what it potentially means for the west generally (“what we’re witnessing is the most prominent example of Muslim reform being de-reformed, before our very eyes, in nothing flat.”). I’m sure they’re all worried over nothing and that this years-long trend towards radicalism in Ankara is but another product of the febrile wingnut imagination. It’s not like any secular-ish Muslim country has turned fundamentalist and become a major threat before, right?