Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Erdogan, the New Hero of Islamic World
By Kourosh Ziabari
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, June 7, 2010
By championing the cause of the subjugated nation of Palestine,
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is gaining worldwide popularity
as a charismatic Muslim leader. He has called for the categorical punishment
of the Israeli leaders and now is backing the global efforts to end the
3-year-long siege of the Gaza strip. In this article, I discussed the
growing reputation and popularity of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stirred up
international appreciation after he courageously blasted the Tel Aviv
leaders for the bloody massacre of the peace activists aboard the Freedom
Flotilla convoy of humanitarian aids which was heading towards the besieged
Gaza strip to break the three-year-long blockade of the war-stricken
The beleaguered Gaza strip has been grappling with
deteriorating economic and social situation over the past three years and
needs urgent humanitarian aids to be disentangled from the growing crisis
it's facing. More than 80% of the Gaza strip's 1.5m population lives under
poverty threshold. The unemployment rate of the enclave hit 41.3% in 2008.
According to the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP), some 70 percent
of Gaza's population is food insecure and the vast majority is dependant on
assistance from the United Nations to cover its basic needs.
According to the World Health Organization, 98 percent of industrial
operations in Gaza have been shut down and there are acute shortages of
fuel, cash, cooking gas and other basic supplies due to Israel's blockade of
the enclave since 2007.
Israel's military operation in Gaza in the
late 2008 and early 2009 led to the destruction of more than 7,500
Palestinian homes and displacement of some 3,500 families; however, Tel
Aviv's prevention of the entry of infrastructural and building materials
have impeded the reconstruction of the ruined homes and those 3,500 families
are still living without any shelter and protection.
the Gaza-based freelance journalist and photographer Sameh Habeeb, the
Israeli forces launched a massive attack on Gaza's infrastructures in June
2006 after an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was incarcerated by Hamas.
Shalit is the only Israeli prisoner being kept in the jails of Palestinian
authorities while the Israeli regime is keeping 7,383 Palestinian prisoners,
340 of whom are Children.
Habeeb reported that the key bridge linking
the southern and northern areas of Gaza was totally devastated during the
Israeli assault. The sole power plant of the Gaza strip was also destroyed
after the Israeli military raided the city with heavy F16 squadrons. The
only key motorway of Gaza, Salah El-Din was another vital construction in
Gaza which the Israeli forces destroyed altogether. Although the Japanese
government had proposed a plan to reconstruct the motorway, Israel never
So far, all the international efforts to reconstruct
Gaza and renovate its dilapidated infrastructures have been hindered by Tel
Aviv. The majority of Gazans are deprived of sanitation, electricity, proper
education, pure water and sufficient foodstuff.
Minister had previously complained that Israel did not allow the entry of
construction materials in the Gaza strip to accelerate the renovation
"This construction is still not allowed [by Israel]. Turkey is
not allowed to build schools, houses, hospitals. The Israelis allow food and
medicine to pass, but not the rest," he had told the Philadelphia Inquirer
in a 2009 interview.
As a harbinger of political transformations and
ideological revolution in Turkey, the Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan
who rose to power by the virtue of AK Party's Muslim backgrounds has set off
serious efforts over the past years to champion the cause of Palestinian
people. He has become an outspoken critic of the Israeli regime and
lambasted Tel Aviv on various occasions. In 2009, he inspired widespread
global admirations after he walked out of a televised debate with the
Israeli President on the sidelines of the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland. In a reference to the tragic massacre of the Palestinian
citizens in the Gaza war, Erdogan told the Israeli President that he is
"killing people" and then stormed out of the debate in presence of the UN
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, blaming the debate moderator's refusal to
allow him reply the fallacious statements made by Shimon Peres.
Canceling his visit to the Latin America in the wake of recent incidents in
the Gaza strip, Erdogan stated before the Turkey's parliament that Israel
should be severely punished for its vicious massacre of the peace activists
in the international waters: "The bloody massacre of Israel, committed
against ships bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, is a massacre deserving
every kind of curse and condemnation."
Trying to appeal to the Jewish
minority of Turkey, Erdogan implied that his country's response to such
violent acts would be hard-hitting and decisive: "Turkey's friendship is
valuable; on the other hand, its enmity is violent. No one should test
Turkey's patience. The Turkish nation has always been in a historical
friendship and collaboration with Jewish people. Here Jewish people
understands who is the true culprit of these events."
Erdogan's message to Israel was unambiguous and clear: "A bloody regime, now
in power in "Israel", must be surely punished. Even pirates and bandits do
not touch unarmed people, children, elders, and they did it. And these
people try without shame to justify themselves."
Turkey which has
cancelled its recent joint military exercise with Israel is the only Muslim
state which maintains full diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv. The
parliamentarians of the country have called on the government to take
practical steps to narrow its ties with the Zionist regime and, the
government equally seems to be inclined to the restriction of ties; however,
it seems that tourism and financial transaction with Israel which benefit
Turkey monetarily are the only reasons which impede the way of Ankara's
detachment from Tel Aviv.
According to the Turkish Ministry of
Culture and Tourism, Israeli citizens comprise more than 2.1% of the 20
million tourists who visit the country annually.
Erdogan who has determinedly warned Israel that it might lose one of its
most important friends in the Middle East is gaining a growing popularity in
the Muslim world due to his recent categorical statements about the Israeli
regime. Reuters published a report on June 2, titled "Israel tension boosts
Turkey's popularity with Arabs" in which the rising esteem of Turkish Prime
Minister has been discussed. The report reads: "Already popular for
championing the Palestinian cause, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has
further enhanced his status through calls for the Jewish state to be
punished for the sea raid. The U.N. Security Council has condemned the
Anyway, it seems that Israel, as a globally hated regime,
brings popularity and reputation to whoever contests its unilateral,
hypocritical and atrocious policies and actions.