From Turkey comes a report today that its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country “had grown impatient about European tolerance on terror groups.” On the face of it, it’s good news, though in some respects quite surprising.
Recall that not so long ago, however, the same Erdogan issued an official invitation to the head of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, to visit Turkey. Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported on June 14, 2010 that Erdogan had been convinced by Hamas arch-terrorist and politburo chief Khaled Meshaal that a top-level Turkey/Hezbollah meeting
would increase the Turkish premier’s popularity in the Arab and Islamic world and would further embarrass Israel in the wake of its deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla… The Turkish government neither denied nor confirmed the report. At about the same time, Erdogan earned kudos from his Iranianfriends. The Turkish leader made public statements defending the Hezbollah terrorists against allegations that they were behind the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. This went over extremely well in Teheran. Iran’s notorious PressTV media channel quoted Erdogan speaking for the Lebanese terrorists:
“Hezbollah says it is Lebanon’s spirit of resistance, and even uses the term ‘al-Shahid (martyr) al-Hariri.’ No one can imagine it is linked to this thing… No one can imagine that Hezbollah is linked to the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.” Now, under the headline “Erdogan slams European countries over terrorism,” the Turkish news outlet Cumhuriyet announces this weekend that Erdogan’s patience has run out. Let’s note carefully what it is that has so irritated him. It’s
Europe’s tolerance on terror groups that targeted security forced and civilians in Turkey… [showing] “the urgent necessity to question relation between Europe and terror. Turkey will advance on this relationship with utmost resolve,” Erdogan told his AKP members in a meeting in Istanbul.
Erdogan also accused Europe of failing to show the necessary solidarity with Turkey in fighting terrorism, which he said had cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the past three decades.
“Certain European countries have been protecting murderers who are sought through international arrest warrants. Leaders of terrorists groups freely walk in Europe and they freely control their terror networks from abroad….” Erodgan said. A great pity that the Turkish anger over European “tolerance” of terrorists is so selective in its scope. Or to put it another way, what a shame this outspoken politician is so rarely criticized for his bald-faced hypocrisy on terrorism.
Parts of the Turkish media are fond of reminding their readers that
U.S. President Barack Obama named Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan among the five leaders that he has established relations based on confidence, in an interview with Time.
In an interview with Fareed Zakaria, the Editor-at-Large of Time magazine, Obama named Turkish PM Erdoğan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and British Prime Minister David Cameron among leaders that he was able to forge “bonds of trust…”
Obama said that the “friendships and the bonds of trust” that he has been able to forge with a whole range of leaders is “precisely, or is a big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy.” Note that Erdogan is the only one of Obama’s ‘most trusted’ leaders operating in our part of the world.
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