Op-Ed: “Terrorism Has No Religion,” But It Has A Friend – Turkey
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It was just a few days ago that an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated himself in Istanbul, killing five people, including two Americans with dual citizenship in Israel and wounding dozens. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, in a statement said,
“Turkey has always said that terrorism has no religion, no language and no race and that terrorism has to be condemned no matter who the perpetrators are.“
“Terrorism has no religion” he states, but terrorism does have Turkish support even if it’s not outwardly known to the western world. Reports of Turkey colluding with Islamic State regarding the buying and selling of oil, killing and maiming Turkish civilians because they’re Kurds (the atrocities alone in Cizre are enough to constitute war crimes against Erdogan), suppressing Turkish media under the guise of thwarting a coup attempt, and to top it off, Iran recently extended its hand in friendship to Turkey, thus weakening its ties with Israel whether Turkey wants to admit it or not.
After the suicide bomber’s attack in Istanbul, a member of Erdogan’s ruling AKP party, Ms. Irem Aktas, tweeted this on March 19th:
“I wish that the wounded [Israeli] tourists were dead.”
She was subsequently fired for tweeting that and the tweet has since been deleted. What’s more important is the fact that the actions levied against her do not change the hostile climate of Erdogan’s regime towards Israel; denouncing Ms. Irem Aktas’ negative tweet about Israelis was done because she put it on social media and got caught red-handed. Lesson learned for Erdogan’s AKP party members, if you want to keep your job, keep your hatred for Israel out of the public eye.
There have been many reports surfacing over the last months that Turkey has been engaging in oil trade with the Islamic State, something the Kurds have known for a very long time and now Russia officially recognizes as well. Recently, the Kurds seized Islamic State’s main supply route from Iraq to Raqqa, thus dealing a heavy logistical blow to the terror group. The route seized in Syria’s Hasakah province was also used to transport oil from the Syrian oil fields to Islamic State which there’s a high probability some of that oil ended up in the hands of Turkey (because this oil changes hands so frequently and goes through many middle men, directly linking Turkey and Erdogan to this oil is extremely difficult.) Turkey engages in plausible deniability coupled with their feigned ignorance of ‘who-really-knows-where-this-oil-comes-from’ position; they know linking oil sales to them is very difficult and has too many players involved.
Turkey’s fight against the Kurds has been ongoing for decades with the crux of their hostilities beginning during the Ottoman Empire centralizing its power. History aside, Turkey claims it’s fighting Islamic State while it continues its campaign against the Kurds with the latest carnage being in Cizre. To make matters worse, Erdogan has cracked down on Turkish media under the guise it’s participating in an attempted coup to overthrow his presidency when it’s clear he’s making an attempt to cover the atrocities that the Turkish military is inflicting on innocent Kurds.
There is no freedom of the press in Turkey; media outlets either report Erdogan in a favorable light or suffer the consequences, including civilians who protest the Turkish government crackdown of these media outlets (Today’s Zaman, Turkey’s largest newspaper was shut down by Turkish officials a few weeks ago).
Then there’s Iran, whose officials seems to be everywhere these days, extending the hand of friendship to Turkey; a major slap in the face to its fellow United Nations member, Israel. As if the tweet by AKP member, Ms. Irem Aktas wasn’t bad enough, President Erdogan meets with Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif days after a suicide bomber unleashes death and destruction in Istanbul.
Iran, the country with hatred so deep for Israel that they no longer recognize Israel as a state. A country who taunts Israel through its terrorist proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah. A country who writes “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew on two recently fired ballistic missiles. A country whose Ambassador to Lebanon offered payment to the Palestinian families of attackers to encourage “martyrdom.” A country who’s mantra has been “DEATH TO ISRAEL/DEATH TO AMERICA.”
This is who Turkey wants to get friendly with whilst its ties with Israel deteriorate rapidly. Turkey, a United Nations and NATO member and who, by virtue of its position in the United Nations, should at the very least make an attempt to strengthen ties with Israel before shaking hands with the very country who wants to wipe Israel off the map.
That’s the thing about terrorism, it has no religion, but it does have friends and by the looks of things, Turkey is well on its way to a long-lasting friendship in terror via its actions and the company it keeps in Iran.