During the recent economic summit in Davos, Shimon Peres and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had angry words with each other concerning the Israeli operation in Gaza.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled some material demonstrating that Turkey is holding Israel to a high standard which Turkey itself has never managed to meet. What’s sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander — or, in this case, for the turkey.
First, from Het Vrije Volk, as translated by VH:
Just because Turkey can do it, doesn’t mean Israel can
By Anders Wellebeeke
In 2008 Turkey invaded Iraq to prevent Kurdish terrorists from hitting Turkish targets. Now the peoples’ Islamist Tayyip Erdogan is angry because Israel does the same thing to stop the rocket attacks by Hamas.
Only a year ago under Erdogan, the Turkish army invaded northern Iraq. Reason: the PKK was taking shelter there and shelled Turkish targets across the border. According to Turkey, the PKK is a “terrorist organization” and there was no concern about “disproportionate military action”. The Iraqi government reported that the Turkish army also hit civilian targets, and that a major civilian bridge was destroyed. Also, a female villager lost her life.
The reasons for the Turkish incursion into Iraq were therefore identical to those of Israel in Gaza. But clearly Erdogan’s invasion of 2008 is already forgotten. Yesterday he walked away mad from the World Economic Forum in Davos. He did this after he had lashed out at the Israeli president Peres. According to Erdogan, Peres was murdering people. An annoyed Peres responded by saying: “What would you do if every day you got 10 or 100 missiles hitting Istanbul?”
The answer is therefore clear now: a military intervention.
VH adds the following:
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Anders Wellebeeke linked to two Dutch language articles. A quote from one example: “The EU was asking [not demanding] that Turkey not to engage in ‘disproportionate military action’ and to respect human rights.” [and not to stop immediately]
From the second linked article: “According to the PKK many civilians, amongst whom were women and children, were wounded. […] The villagers are scared and are hiding in caves. They lost all they had.”
Anders Wellebeeke highlights a very interesting parallel, in which the response to it is the opposite:
“Washington described the PKK as a “common enemy”, and merely urged Ankara to keep its incursion short and closely focused. The positions of the UN and EU were similar, suggesting a degree of sympathy with Turkey’s cause.”
After the beginning of Operation Sun [named after the three-year-old daughter of a Turkish soldier killed in an ambush] in February 2008, the BBC reported: “On Tuesday, the [Iraqi] government denounced the incursion as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and called on the Turkish military to withdraw immediately. […] “We will continue until the job is done. We are determined,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Levent Bilman told the BBC.
On the terror: “They should understand our problem. The PKK is killing our people. Turkey could not allow that to continue.” Sedat Laciner said, who heads the International Strategic Research Organisation in Ankara.
“We have no designs on Iraqi territory; we only engage the terrorist organisation. Once our military and intelligence tells us there is no more threat, our troops will withdraw as promised.”
The only one who asked Turkey to speed it up a bit was President Bush, he said the Turks needed to “move quickly, achieve their objective, and get out.”
There are, of course, a lot more than the few snippets I copied below.
If put in two columns, Turkey vs. PKK and Israel vs. Hamas, the EU/UN hypocrisy would probably be even more stunning.
US declares PKK ‘a common enemy’ —2 Nov 2007
The meeting was aimed at averting major military operations by Turkey against PKK fighters based in northern Iraq. Turkey has threatened to send in troops if it does not see any concrete action.
Brown pledges backing for Turkey —23 Oct 2007
Gordon Brown says the UK will work with Turkey to solve the problem of Kurdish PKK rebels. Mr Brown told reporters: “We condemn absolutely and unequivocally the terrorist violence of PKK.“
Nato ministers face tough talks —24 Oct 2007
The talks were not originally scheduled to cover the crisis in Turkey, which has been fuelled by attacks by PKK Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq. The US and Turkey’s allies have expressed solidarity but are also urging restraint, given the fragile stability established in the Kurdish north compared to the rest of Iraq. [Turkey didn’t care]
Turkey acts to protect its interests in Iraq —9 Feb 1998
Turkish troops regularly cross into Iraq to attack bases belonging to the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.
Kurdish factions fight over territory and propaganda claims —9 Nov 1997
Turkey admits that it has begun a military operation in Iraqi territory but it insists the target is the Turkish Kurd guerrilla group, the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.
More: On the latest scandal, Erdogan interrupting, lashing out at Peres, and then walking out in cowardly fashion: “Erdogan in Davos Crushes Israel” (more videos here), “Protesters Welcoming Erdogan In Turkey After Leaving Davos”, Turkish PM given hero’s welcome