- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The recent article, “Israel could lose a major Muslim ally” (Geopolitics, Monday) inaccurately describes Turkey’s falling-out with the West as a rift between Turkey and Israel which developed “over a recent raid on a flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip.”
 
The rift began opening in 2002 with the election in Turkey of the Justice and Development Party, established by former members of the banned Islamic Virtue Party. Sine the party’s reelection in 2007, Turkey has moved further away from its secular democratic legacy and Western orientation.
 
For years Turkey has been attempting to gain membership in the European Union and has been rejected in part because its practices do not seem to match those of the E.U. For example, Turkey suppresses a third of its population, the Kurds, including restricting their ability to vote.
 
Recently, Turkey has been reaching out to the Arab League and Iran. The Turkish “humanitarian” group, IHH, whose members provoked the flotilla raid, was shown by a Turkish government investigation to be a violent, militant organization. On June 9 at the U.N. Security Council, Turkey voted against U.S.-backed sanctions on Iran to impede its illicit nuclear weapon program. Iran also supplies Hamas, the intended beneficiary  of the blockade busters, with weapons to carry out anti-Israel terrorist activity.
 
Therefore, while Ibrahim Kalin, chief advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Omer Celik, vice chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, “accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to derail relations with Turkey,” this flotilla incident was more like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
 
As the recent embrace of Mr. Erdogan and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggests, it is Turkey that has “fallen out” with Israel and the West, not the other way around.
 
TRACI SEIGEL
Research Intern
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Washington, D.C.