Tayyip Erdogan with flags 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas )
Israeli diplomatic officials refrained Thursday from responding to a jab by
embattled Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who reportedly implied
that Israel was delighted by the protests roiling his country.
Hurriyet Daily News reported that Erdogan, during a meeting with the chairman of
the Confederation of Turkish Craftsmen and Tradesmen, said that foreign elements
were involved in the two-week old Gezi Park protests.
"Those against whom
we said 'one minute' are now delighted," he was quoted as saying.
minute" is a reference to when Erdogan verbally lashed out
at President Shimon
Peres at the Davos Economic Summit in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, before
angrily stalking off the stage in a move that catapulted him to enormous
popularity in the Arab world.
When the moderator of the panel, Washington
columnist David Ignatius, tried to cut Erdgoan's comments short, the
Turkish Prime Minister angrily said, "One minute... one minute… one minute…
Don’t interrupt me. You are not allowing me to speak.”
A month later, the
Turkish Daily Today's Zaman
reported that this was "perhaps the most memorable
thing about that historic night in Davos." The paper reported that it triggered
"a 'one minute 'frenzy in Turkey, making it the subject of jokes, cartoons and
headlines from newspaper columns, as well as inspiration for song lyrics,
commercial slogan, computer games and even the name of a web site." According to
, Erdogan said on Thursday that "we had foreseen these events [the
protests] as a series of conspiracies three months ago," even if the way in
which the events unfolded was not predicted. "We had received some intelligence
reports," he said.
Israeli officials' disinterest Thursday in responding
to Erdogan's comments reflected the policy that has governed Israel's approach
to the events unfolding in Turkey: stay completely out of them. Indeed, senior
Israeli officials have avoided commenting on the events in Taksim Square
as other countries have denounced Erdogan's use of force against the
Another element surprising in Erdogan's comments were that
they came just a day after Hurriyet reported that Mossad head Tamir Pardo was in
Turkey on Monday.
According to Hurriyet, Pardo met secretly with the
Turkish intelligence agency’s undersecretary, Hakan Fidan, and discussed the
situation in Syrian and Iran. The report claimed that Pardo requested a meting
with Erdogan, who has not yet responded.
While some saw in Pardo's
reported visit signs of a desire by both sides to increase defence and security
ties in the wake of the current events in Syria, others in Jerusalem saw in
Erdogan's "one minute" comment an indication of a relentless enmity toward