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Ottoman Sultan Erdogan the First | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The country of the wonderful “Ottoman Sultan” has strong political, economic and military ties with Israel to the extent that observers considered Turkey the Muslim state with the strongest ties to Israel. He is the same “Ottoman Sultan” who, through actions and not words or slogans, sent his humanitarian fleet to break the Gaza blockade. He is also the same Sultan who explicitly and courageously declared in the Turkish city of Konya that he told the US that he never accepted classifying Hamas as a terrorist organization. As for the rest of his comments, it was as if they were made by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed al Fatih, rather than by a Turkish leader who rules a country where all aspects of life are dominated by Ataturk’s extremist secular regime. Erdogan said, “Ramallah, Nablus, Rafah, Khan Younis, Bethlehem and Jenin are not separate from the Turkish city of Konya.”

Erdogan is not responsible for the establishment of diplomatic and military ties with Israel, nor was he the one who planned and implemented the strategic coalition that linked his country to the US and NATO. These thorny and complicated files are the legacies of his ancestors, the guardians of the Ataturk regime. In fact being subjected to any of these dangerous “mines” at this particular stage might thwart his plans to allow Turkey to take on the appropriate international role. With the wisdom of an experienced statesman, Erdogan managed to shift his country’s complicated relations with Israel, the US and NATO from pressure tools being used against him into pressure tools of his own for his political project. For this reason, when Arab and Islamic nations noticed the development and political leaps taken by Erdogan’s Islamist government, they realized how wisely he dealt with such thorny issues. Unlike some depressing Arab “revolutionary” models, neither Erdogan nor any of his government members issued ostentatious statements or made empty threats against Israel or its US ally by threatening to throw the former into the sea or cut off the latter diplomatically. Rather, he used a more effective tactic that had a greater impact. The sending of a humanitarian flotilla was a “masterstroke” that struck Israel, the US, Western states and Iran.

Patrick Cockburn who writes for the Independent said that the recent Israeli confrontation ended with a victory [for the convoy’s organizers] beyond their wildest dreams, as the Israeli blockade became the focus of the world’s attention, and so international calls to end it heightened after the world’s interest in this issue had dwindled. His colleague Adrian Hamilton asked whether the attack on the humanitarian aid ships to Gaza will mark a turning point in history as the moment when the international attitude towards Israel began to change and when the Israeli government could no longer rely on the West [to see through right and wrong].

As for the US, it was unfortunate that the Zionist criminal blunder against the humanitarian flotilla took place on the eve of the first anniversary of Obama’s speech at Cairo University in which he sought to establish new relations with the Islamic world based on respect and partnership in the hope that he may be able to repair the damage caused by his predecessor George W. Bush. However, Obama’s popularity has declined dramatically due to the lack of any slight positive change especially with regards to the pivotal Palestinian cause. The recent Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla and the shameful negative US position towards this crime was the straw that broke the back of Obama’s project to change the stereotypical image of the US in the Arab and Muslim mindset.

The Turkish President or the “Ottoman Sultan” Recep Tayyip Erdogan is like the famous Turkish sweet, Turkish Delight. For the first time, the nations of the Islamic world tasted the special and unique taste of the Turkish confectionery and wished these kinds of sweets would spread all over the Islamic and Arab world.