More on Turkey and Israel
I know this is supposed to be a gun blog, but there is a possibility of a full blown war here, so it kind of has my attention.
Via Big Peace:
Ankara’s Star Gazete says country’s new F-16 radar system modified to recategorize Israeli targets as hostile. Order said to come directly from PM Erdogan’s office; naval, submarine radar systems to be changed next
Yes that is the same Prime Minister Erdogan who is in the midst of an anti-Israel speaking tour of the Middle East.
Before going to Egypt, Erdogan fired off rhetorical broadsides against Israel, saying in an Al Jazeera interview taped last week and broadcast on Sunday night that the Mavi Marmara incident was a casus belli.
“The May 31, 2010, Mavi Marmara event, the attack that took place in international waters did not comply with any international law. In fact, it was a cause for war. However, befitting Turkey’s grandness, we decided to act with patience,” Erdogan said.
His interpretation is completely at odds with that of the UN Palmer Commission report, a commission the Turks pushed hard for, which said not only was Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza legal, but so was its interdiction of ships trying to break the blockade.
Erdogan also repeated what he said immediately after the Palmer Report was issued, that Turkey’s warships will be seen more often in the eastern Mediterranean.
And yes, that’s the same Prime Minister Erdogan who said Turkey is prepared for war.
One theory is that Erdogan’s saber-rattling is an attempt to distract from Turkey’s dire economic circumstances. Blaming Israel for, well, everything, is a longstanding tradition of Muslim leaders, with a few exceptions. Another theory is that Erdogan has aspirations towards reviving the Ottoman Empire by manipulating the “Arab Spring” (because the Arabs sure did love that old Ottoman social order /sarcasm). It could be both, but whatever his motivation he might not actually be trying to provoke a war. Simply put, Turkey can’t afford to lose any Turks.
Turkey’s economic problems are a discomfort; its ethnic problems, by contrast, present an existential threat in the long run. In a quarter of a century, Kurdish will be the cradle-tongue of nearly half of all Turkish children, as Kurds have four to five children per family while Turkish-speakers have just 1.5. At some point, Turkey in its present form will cease to exist. Kurdish nationalism is stronger than ever; as Omar Aspinar  of the Brookings Institution wrote on September 11 in Zaman Online:
Kurdish political aspirations have reached unprecedented levels in the last 10 years … Kurdish ethnic, cultural and political demands are fueled by a young and increasingly resentful generation of Kurds who are vocal and frustrated not only in Eastern Anatolia but also in Turkey’s large Western cities including Istanbul, Izmir, Mersin and Adana. Turkey’s nightmare scenario is Turkish-Kurdish ethnic violence in such western urban centers.
The Kurds know that the demographic future belongs to them, and that Erdogan’s frantic calls on Turkish women to have more babies will do nothing to change matters. “The Kurdish issue,” warns Aspinar,” remains Turkey’s Achilles’ heel.”
Of course, Turkey is also part of NATO now, so that muddies the waters too.