The murky musings and outrageous outbursts by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Israel no longer surprise. They spring from a mind that is a wellspring of poison against the Jewish state.
Irrespective of the podium or the place – whether in Davos, Switzerland, at a forum of international business, in Cairo with the leaders of the most populous Arab country in the world, in New York at the United Nations, or as last week in Vienna at an international conference dedicated to dialogue between the West and Islam – Erdogan is unrestrained in his anti-Israel fulminations. Neither decency, nor truth, nor reason, nor rational thought, for that matter, holds him back.
In Vienna, the Turkish leader declared Zionism to be a crime against humanity. This latest disparagement of Israel was of a piece with his many previous calumnies, only baser, lower and even more ignorant. And for that reason, it was no doubt a balm to the ears of the leaders of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and all the rest of their ilk. For whatever defames Israel commends their own causes, which we can usually identify by the dripping trail of blood they leave in their wake.
With words that could have been spoken by the late, revered Rev. Martin Luther King, Erdogan attempted to make the case for tolerance and mutual respect among peoples. “We should be striving to better understand the culture and beliefs of others, but instead we see that people act based on prejudice and exclude others and despise them,” Erdogan said.
In the very next breath however, he fumed prejudice at Israelis, very explicitly excluded Zionism from the realm of humankind and very vividly despised the national movement of the Jewish people.
His earnest plea for understanding was nothing more than public relations piffle. Indeed, what would the Kurds or the Armenians say about Erdogan’s efforts to better understand their culture and beliefs?
It was heartening to see the strong reactions of disapproval to Erdogan’s statement by many leaders and politicians. But the condemnations of Erdogan in the West will not stanch the flow of the hate-inducing poison into the uninformed minds and vulnerable hearts of the Middle East and beyond.
Even as Erdogan raged against Zionism, the Turkish media, according to Tazpit News Agency, reported that a senior member of the Turkish government, former finance minister Kemal Unakitan, had recently spent some 2-1/2 months in Israel (or the Zionist entity, as Israel’s enemies like to call the country) for advanced medical treatment to try to avoid the need for a kidney transplant and end his dialysis treatments. Unakitan is slated to return to Israel to continue with his medical care.
Someone should tell Erdogan.