Talking Turkey

It is time to stop playing nice with a country and a leader that continually denigrate us, simply so we can curry favor, and in doing so, ignore a gruesome historic reality.

May 16, 2018 21:46
3 minute read.
A protester for the Armenian genocide

Armenia genocide 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The diplomatic fallout from the Hamas offensive in the south that – according to Hamas – left over 60 Palestinians dead trying to breach the Gaza border fence into Israel on Monday has been fast and furious.

Shocked, shocked that Israel would defend itself against rioters – many terrorists among them – that Hamas sent to the border as would-be martyrs, a number of countries stumbled over each other to express outrage.

South Africa recalled its ambassador for consultations, decrying the “indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack.” Later, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa clarified that the recall of Ambassador Sisa Ngombane was only temporary.

Both the German and French Foreign ministries expressed concern that Israel’s actions on the border involved a “disproportionate” use of force, with only the Germans urging Hamas not to exploit the protests for violent ends. Ireland and Belgium summoned Israel’s ambassadors in their countries for presumably tongue lashings along the same lines.
But the harshest response to Israel’s actions, ironically, came from Turkey – a country with a dismal human rights record led by a despot who rules his country with an iron fist.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately went on the war path against Israel, calling it a “terrorist state” that was committing “genocide.” He then called on Israeli Ambassador Eitan Naveh to leave Turkey.

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Erdogan is “one of the biggest supporters of Hamas, and therefore there is no doubt the he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I advise him not to preach to us.”

The prime minister then retaliated by telling Consul-General Husnu Gurcan Turkoglu, the highest-ranking Turkish official in Israel, to leave the country.

The name-calling continued with Erdogan accusing Netanyahu of “war crimes” and having “the blood of Palestinians on his hands,” and Netanyahu responding that Erdogan had his own hands “dripping with the blood of countless Kurds in Turkey and Syria.”

It’s far from the first time that Israel and Turkey have reached a nadir in their ties. One only has to go back to the Mavi Marmara raid in 2010 that resulted in a fracture in relations for years.

Herb Keinon reported in Tuesday’s Post that according to sources in Jerusalem, Erdogan used his reaction then to boost himself politically at home, and that he is doing the same thing this time, with a presidential election looming in just over a month.

Most likely, as in the past, the flames will eventually be lowered, small measures will be implemented and the belligerent peace between the two countries will resume. Perhaps, however, it is time to finally stop trying to make amends with a dictator like Erdogan.

Members of the Knesset are saying that it is time for Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide by the Turks, a move Israel had previously avoided in order not to harm diplomatic relations with Turkey.

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly and Likud MK Amir Ohana announced on Wednesday that they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the genocide of 1915, in which the Ottoman Empire killed more than 1.5 million Armenians.

Originally proposed by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid earlier this year, the bill was voted down in February, which means it cannot be submitted again until August.

“It’s not too late to do justice,” said Ohana, arguing that the diplomatic rationale behind not acknowledging the genocide no longer existed.

“We won’t accept moralizing from the antisemitic Turkish butcher who bombs thousands of Kurds in northwest Syria every day, and whose country is responsible for the genocide of the Armenian people and the historic horrors toward the Assyrians,” added Shmuly.

We agree that the time has come to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to put the blame at the foot of the Turks. The move has the support of both President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. It is time to stop playing nice with a country and a leader that continually denigrate us, simply so we can curry favor, and in doing so, ignore a gruesome historic reality.
Recognize the Armenian Genocide now.

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