Erdoğan's Not-So-Sublime Porte

The Muslim and Arab world smells blood.  Like sharks circling their prey, many in most of the world's 57 Muslim states are eager and willing to commit genocide against embattled Israel.

With the Palestinian Authority's leadership pressing ahead with their unilateral bid at the United Nations for a declaration of statehood (by willfully abrogating the Oslo Accords, which required them to negotiate a final peace treaty with Israel), war and Arab violence will now subvert any hope of true peace.

The ridiculously touted Arab Spring has fast degenerated into an Arab Hell.  Mobs screaming "death to the Jews" broke into Cairo's Israeli embassy while the police just stood by.  The Muslim mob would have torn the embassy staff to pieces if they could, just as a Palestinian mob did with two hapless Israelis in Ramallah during the so-called intifada in 2000.

In Turkey, Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdoğan is deliberately ratcheting up an anti-Israel policy that may soon spin out of control.  Erdoğan is resurrecting the old Ottoman Turkish Sublime Porte -- the old Ottoman government in Constantinople, named after the symbolic "elevated gate" and the Ottoman Empire's position as the gateway between Asia and Europe.  Millions of Christians in the Balkans and Greece endured Islamic domination during that time.  But Erdoğan forgets that the same Sublime Porte became known also as the "sick man of Europe."

In response to Erdoğan's growing anti-Israel threats, Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has decided to come to the aid of the hard-pressed Kurds who are battling Turkish forces.  But this should not be done merely as a response to Turkey's aggressive posture towards the Jewish state.  It should be done as a moral imperative, regardless of Turkey's aggression against Israel.

Indeed, under the administration of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, such early attempts to support the Kurds in their struggle for liberation and long-overdue statehood did take place.  Israel supported Kurdish aspirations diplomatically and militarily until such support was nixed by U.S. pressure in 1975.

From the time the current Kurdish liberation struggle began in 1961, the Jewish state was the only nation to actively support Kurdish aspirations.  According to Mordechai Nisan in his book Minorities in the Middle East, published by McFarlane in 2002, the Kurdish leader in 1966, Mustafa Barzani, told a visiting Israeli emissary, Arieh Lova Eliav, that "in truth, only the Jews cared about the Kurds."

Mr. Nisan also added that in 1980, Menachem Begin revealed that "from 1965 to 1975 Israel provided weapons and military advisors to the Kurdish resistance fighting against powerful Arab enemies."

One of the Israeli advisors was Rehavim Ze'evi, who was murdered several years ago by a Palestinian Arab in a Jerusalem hotel.  During the period when Israel was assisting the Kurds, the United States became involved and, for a while, helped facilitate the support.  But in 1975, America abandoned the Kurds, forcing Israel to follow suit.

Israel has supplied Turkey with UAVs, which Turkey used against the Kurds.  This was before the increasingly Islamized Turkish government turned on Israel.  Under left-leaning Israeli leaders, including Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, and Tzipi Livni, the Jewish state had copied the mendacious policies of other nations -- namely, putting political and economic expediency above morality.  These leftist leaders should have known of the agony the Kurdish people were enduring, then as now, not only from Turkey, but also from Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

Of all the current stateless people in the Middle East, the 35 million Kurds -- whose territory straddles a landmass from Iran to Turkey -- deserve more than any others a sovereign, independent homeland.

An article some years ago by James Lewis in American Thinker was titled "Can Israel make it alone?"  In it, Mr. Lewis suggested that "[n]ations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests - like survival."

With an Obama administration which is profoundly unfriendly towards Israel, Lewis suggested that "[i]f the United States abandons the Jewish State, Jerusalem will have to seek new alliances."

President Barack Obama acts in just such an unfriendly way.  Moving forward, however, any new Israeli alliances should include the restoration of a profoundly just, moral, and enduring pact with the Kurdish people, further including assistance towards them in creating a future independent State of Kurdistan.

I received a plea two years ago, before Turkey's infamous flotilla campaign, from a Kurdish friend who is very supportive of Israel's struggle to survive among its hostile Arab neighbors.  He is very supportive of the Jewish people; he knows of the shared ethnicities that exist between Jews and Kurds dating back millennia.  He wrote:

I wish the Jews in Israel and abroad would know better about the policy of their leaders concerning the Kurds, because it happens in the name of Israel, and that should matter to all Jews. The cooperation by Israel with the Turkish military is no secret, but Turkish oppression of the Kurds is unknown to most Israelis.

It is hard for me to understand how Israel's cooperation, which benefits Turkey, does not take into account the misery that it imposes upon the Kurdish people who yearn, as the Jews have for centuries, to be free from terror and persecution. We Kurds remember fondly the Jews who lived with us for centuries. But the Turks waxed and waned in their attitude towards the Jews; sometimes they were tolerant and sometimes hostile. There are many Turks today who share Islamist ideas and proclaim hostility towards the Jewish state. Within Turkey lies the same pestilence of anti-Semitism that exists throughout the Arab and Persian world.

Arming Turkey, our people's oppressor, is morally and geographically not to Israel's advantage. Israel's cooperation with Turkey is, in reality, a misguided support for political Islam and its oppression of the Kurds. The legitimate arguments and rights Israel has are the same rights and truths it denies in its official policy towards the Kurds. For now and for the future, everything looks black. I fear the worst for us. The whole world is against us, and on the Turkish side there is no change[.]

Though Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is correct in now supporting the Kurdish struggle against Turkey, he is coming to the table late.  Support by Israel and the West for the Kurds must never be part of a geopolitical maneuver; it must be done in recognition of a matter of paramount moral justice.  

Turkey's Erdoğan is planning soon to send Turkish warships in support of a new and aggressive flotilla towards Gaza, thus inflaming already dangerous acts of Turkish brinkmanship.  But the world should be reminded that in 1974, a different flotilla set sail from Turkey.  No, it wasn't destined for the Gaza coast, carrying thugs and jihadists masquerading as human rights activists -- as ill-armed Israeli commandos discovered to their cost.  No, this was a flotilla of naval ships sailing towards Cyprus as a full-fledged invasion force, illegally employing U.S. arms and equipment.

After Greek Cypriot resistance had been crushed in the north of the island, Turkish forces began to ethnically cleanse almost half of the island of its Greek population.  The Turkish military employed hundreds of U.S. tanks and airplanes and 35,000 ground troops, with the result being a land-grab by Turkey of 37.3% of Cyprus.  Turkey later sent additional flotillas to the island -- ships containing 150,000 Turkish settlers, who proceeded to colonize the land after 200,000 Greeks had been driven out and made into refugees.

The capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia, remains today a city divided, with barbed wire marking the border like an ugly scar.  Though relatively quiet today, pockmarks still cover the walls where bullets struck civilians and snipers held sway.

This was how Jerusalem and its Jewish population suffered during the illegal Jordanian occupation from 1948 until 1967.  This division of the holy city left its eastern half and the biblical and ancestral Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria, known by the world as the West Bank, under Arab occupation.  Jews were driven out, and only Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordan's annexation.

In a truly moral world it would be eloquent justice for flotillas containing true humanitarians to sail towards Turkey and publicly demand restoration of the national integrity of Cyprus and removal of all Turkish military occupation.  It would also be eminently just to demand the rights of the Kurdish people for an independent State of Kurdistan as well as to finally require that Turkey admit the horrors it perpetrated against the Armenian people.  Finally, Turkey, which is fast becoming Erdoğanistan, must come to its senses by accepting Israel's inalienable right to defend itself against Arab and Islamist aggression emanating from Gaza.

Victor Sharpe is the author of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.

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