Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during an iftar event in Ankara, Turkey, June 27, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following Tuesday evening’s multiple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the world – the West in particular – to view the event as a “milestone for the joint fight against terrorist organizations, a turning point.” He also said that the attacks, “which took place during the holy month of Ramadan, show that terrorism strikes with no regard for faith and values.”
If 42 innocent people (and counting) had not been brutally killed, along with hundreds of others seriously wounded, his words would be cause for a global guffaw on the part of friend and foe alike.
In the first place, as an authoritarian leader of a previously modern and democratic Muslim country, which he has spent the 14 years since his election turning into an Islamic state where critics in the press and political system are thrown in jail for any hint of opposition, he has more nerve than sense to pretend that he is in the same boat as the United States and Europe. Secondly, as someone strongly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas he has shown that it is only certain terrorists he wants eradicated; the others are his allies, who do the dirty work he welcomes and supports.
It was thus ironic that, on the morning after the airport attack, the Israeli security cabinet approved the reconciliation agreement it had reached with Turkey the day before. As is typical of any deal Islamist leaders ultimately sign with the Jewish state, this one is much more advantageous to the undeserving party.
According to the agreement, which has been negotiated since 2010 – when Turkey sponsored and dispatched a flotilla of armed pro-Hamas activists to provoke an international incident by violating Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip – Israel will hand over $20 million to the families of the perpetrators killed and wounded on the Mavi Marmara ship by IDF commandos who shot at their assailants in self-defense.
In exchange, Turkey will cease its legal proceedings against Israeli forces connected in any way to what happened on that ship six years ago.
Another clause of the deal stipulates that Turkey must limit Hamas operations on its soil to “political,” rather than terrorist, activity. In exchange, Israel will enable Ankara to provide “humanitarian” assistance to Gaza, by allowing boats to deliver goods to the Hamas-controlled enclave, after they pass inspection at the Ashdod Port.
Conspicuously absent from the “rapprochement” treaty, which will see a restoration of embassies and the launch of talks on a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey, is the return of the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – abducted and slaughtered by Hamas terrorists during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014 – and that of two presumed-to-be-alive civilians Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu and an unidentified Beduin Israeli. As a “goodwill gesture,” Turkey gave a written addendum, stating that it would make an effort to persuade Hamas to return the missing young men.
The only Turkish demand that was not met was that Israel completely lift its naval blockade of Gaza. But Hamas need not fret; with its help, Erdogan will figure out a way to get around such restrictions.
He is already managing to take his cue from US President Barack Obama by claiming that terrorism is a generic evil that strikes Muslims as much as it does everybody else. And he has caught on to the fact that the West in general views Islamic State (ISIS) as worse than the mass murderers whose side he is on.
Let the rest of us not buy into that baloney.
ISIS may be better organized and funded than others; it might be excellent at recruitment; and it certainly knows how to make the most out of its beheadings, immolations and drownings. But Hamas and the others are not more moderate; nor are their aims less genocidal or hegemonic.
That each of these groups kill “infidel” Muslims in addition to Christians, Jews and anyone else considered impure or a threat does not make them any less Islamic.
Erdogan, who is as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic as he is pro-Hamas, knows this full well. After all, some of his best friends are terrorists.
The writer is the managing editor of