In the wake of Gov. Rick Perry’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential race, pundits will argue over the reasons for his rise and fall. But one thing is for certain: Perry was the only candidate who told the truth about Turkey’s support for anti-Israel Islamic terrorists.

Perry was roundly criticized after he remarked, in the January 17 candidates’ debate, that Turkey “is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” The State Department called Turkey “a stalwart ally” of the United States that “plays a very positive and constructive role in the region.” The New York Times, in what was supposed to be an objective news report, asserted flat-out that Perry’s statement was “inaccurate” and characterized Turkey’s governing party as “moderate.” Huffington Post columnist Dorian de Wind mocked Perry as an “uninformed Texas cowboy.”

But within hours, Gov. Perry’s critics were left with more than a little egg on their faces as the foreign minister of Iran, the world’s leading terrorist state, arrived in Turkey for a visit aimed at further strengthening the already-friendly relations between the two countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi announced in Ankara that trade between his terrorist regime and Turkey, which had been just $5 billion annually in the past, hit $15 b. in 2010 and will reach $30 b. by 2015. Salehi, by the way, has met his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, no less than 11 times in the past 12 months. How is that “positive and constructive”?

The truth about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government is that they have become experts at playing both sides of the fence – making “moderate” noises when Western ears are listening, while collaborating with Islamic terrorists and terrorist regimes whenever they can get away with it.

Thus while the United States has been struggling to find ways to stop Iran’s nuclear development, Erdogan has been defending the Iranians. During his visit to Tehran, the terror capitol of the world, in October 2009, he denounced Western sanctions against Iran as “arrogant.” He declared that anyone who criticizes Iran’s nukes should first give up their own nuclear arms. “We shared this opinion with our Iranian friends, our brothers,” Erdogan told reporters. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad reciprocated by praising Erdogan for his “clear stance against” Israel.

In December 2010, Erdogan traveled to Libya – Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya – to receive the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.” Erdogan was not the least bit embarrassed to accept such an award from one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and terror sponsors. He told reporters that relations between Turkey and Libya were “growing,” and that there was “much Turkish investment” in Gadaffi’s Libya. Three months later, the US was leading the NATO assault on Turkey’s Libyan friends.

Turkey’s support for the Hamas terrorists has been consistent, passionate and unequivocal. The Turkish government sponsored the May 2010 flotilla that was intercepted while attempting to bring prohibited materials to the Hamas regime in Gaza. Erdogasn’s claim that the flotilla participants were peaceful civil rights activists crumbled as the whole world watched the chilling YouTube video of the Islamic extremists on board trying to beat an Israeli soldier to death with baseball bats. Other Israeli soldiers were stabbed and nearly drowned. Erdogan said it was the Israeli soldiers who were “terrorizing” the Muslim baseball players.

The Turks attempted to send a second flotilla to Gaza last year, but were thwarted by the intervention of the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin). Flotilla organizers complained that the Center’s lawsuits and warning letters caused insurance companies to withdraw coverage of the ships, and resulted in Greek government inspections that found the boats to be unseaworthy and improperly registered. Prime Minister Erdogan may yet try another smuggling operation to Gaza, however, because his support for Hamas has few rivals.

He told PBS’s Charlie Rose last May: “I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization.
Hamas is a political party. And it is an organization. It is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation.” Presumably the massacre of elderly Israelis attending a Passover seder at the Netanya hotel was a political statement, and the firing of a rocket into a kindergarten in Sderot helps resist attempts by Israeli five-year-olds to “occupy” Gaza.

According to media reports last month, Turkey intends to give Hamas $300 million in aid. And just two weeks ago, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh received the red carpet treatment on an official state visit to Turkey.

In his famous address to a joint session of Congress in the wake of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush declared: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Those who befriend Iran and finance Hamas have made it clear that they are with the terrorists. Just like Rick Perry said.

The writer is an Israeli attorney and the executive director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.

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