Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Turkey working to prevent Lebanese sail to Gaza,"  Itamar Eichner. Yediot Aharanoth. July 27, 2010.
Officials in Jerusalem were surprised to learn that Turkey is working to prevent Lebanese ships from attempting to sail to Gaza in violation of an Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run territory, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday.

Israeli officials estimate that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who visited Damascus and Beirut last week, asked the Lebanese government to prevent the flotilla's departure as part of Ankara's efforts to ease tensions with Israel.

Methinks Erdogan and his party bit off more than they can chew, both internationally and domestically, with their flotilla demagoguery.  Perhaps they even realize it. From what I understand, many Turks are not impressed with the direction he's taking their nation. There has been much speculation that the flotilla business was manufactured, at least in part, as a stunt to boost his party's standing before upcoming elections. He thought the time was right to solidify the Islamicization of Turkey, with that necessary element of any good Islamicist movement, an orgy of public Jew-bashing. Has Erdogan's scheme backfired? Am I jumping to wishful conclusions?

See also: 
"An Open Letter to Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," IPT News, July 1, 2010

Ceki Gülcü's blog "Erdogan and the next election"

Each time the Turkish PM Erdogan picks a fight with Israel, his approval ratings go up by several points. On January 2009, at a panel on the Middle-east at Davos (Switzerland), Erdogan had very harsh words towards Israeli President Shimon Peres, calling him an expert-assassin and a baby-killer. Erdogan, talking in Turkish, addressed President Peres in the colloquial "Sen"-form instead of the more polite "Siz"-form. The "Sen"-form when addressing a foreign statesman is unheard of in Turkish politics. On his return to Turkey, Erdogan was greeted as a hero by a huge crowd. Anti-jewish and anti-western sentiment is very strong in Turkey, especially within the least educated parts of society. The West in general and the Jews in particular are routinely blamed for a variety of ills ranging from AIDS to the economic difficulties facing the country. Two months after Davos, in April 2009, the AKP (Erdogan's party) won the elections by a 20% margin. The race was expected to be much closer before Erdogan's intervention at Davos.

Standing up to Israel has so far been a winning strategy for Erdogan and the AKP. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 2010. According to several polls, if elections were held today, Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi or CHP (Republican People's Party), the leading opposition party, would prevail by a 10% margin. These polls predate the Gaza flotilla operation, mounted with the help and full-knowledge of the Turkish government.