“Just as it was in the past, if a leaf trembles in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus or Central Asia, Ankara will be the first to hear it and respond to it,” Turkey’s then-Foreign Minister and current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a speech in the Turkish parliament on July 1, 2010.
He also declared his stance on ?Jerusalem:”Jerusalem is our issue. East Jerusalem is part of the state of Palestine, not Israeli territory, and consists of territory that was invaded in 1967.”
Jerusalem, he added, was a Turkish issue because of its period of Ottoman rule.
“Even the religious sites in east Jerusalem are administered according to the Ottoman precedent. There is no other practice. There is no other law. The Ottoman precedent is still valid there,” he said.
Davutoglu said Al-Aqsa Mosque also made Jerusalem Turkey’s issue.
“Al-Aqsa Mosque is not Israeli territory and it will not be,” he said.?
“When the invasion of 1967 took place, and when the Israeli flag was flown over Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, the first and strongest reaction was made by our ?consul-general there. He said, ‘If that flag is not removed from here, Turkey will reconsider all its relations with Israel.’ And he was right in saying that.
“When Israel declared Jerusalem — east Jerusalem — its capital in 1980, Turkish-Israeli relations were reduced to the level of charge d’affaires. And that was the right thing to do, as well.”
Davutoglu also said Turkey was responsible for the destiny of a region much larger than its own territory. ?
“I would like to repeat the words of our [former] prime minister [Recep Erdogan]: ‘The destiny of Jerusalem, the destiny of Baghdad, the destiny of Bishkek, the destiny of Samarkand, and the destiny of Sarajevo are our own destiny,'” he said. “If there is order in those places, the Anatolian territory will be the leading territory. If there is not order there, we cannot stay in the Anatolian territory comfortably.”
Davutoglu’s speech revealed much about the foreign policy, ideology and dreams of the Justice ?and Development Party government.?
In July 2014, Davutoglu was still making similar statements on Jerusalem. One month before his appointment to the post of prime minister, he said: “[The Palestinian] issue is, first and foremost, our own issue.
“Turkey’s president and politicians cannot be indifferent to the Palestinian issue. And when it comes to the Palestinian cause, our stance is clear. No matter what they say, our stance is supporting Palestinian people and saving occupied Jerusalem.
“If there is an occupied land where the honor of Islam is at stake due to occupation and where our historical heritage is also present, if you say, ‘I will not take sides,’ you are on the side of the occupation.”
Commenting on a telephone conversation he had with Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, Davutoglu said: “They [Hamas] are aware of our support for them. They are sure of that. Their ?demand from us is that we should raise our voice in the international community and relate the ?concerns of Palestine during our contacts. And we already do that. We have always done that ?and will keep doing that from now on, too.”?
When Davutoglu became the 26th prime minister of Turkey on Aug. 28, the Hamas government in Gaza was ?one of the first to congratulate him. Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas member of parliament and spokesman, said he hoped to see Davutoglu follow the same path that Erdogan ?had followed to improve Turkey and the “ummah” (Islamic nation).
While Hamas has openly declared that its aim is to destroy the State of Israel and kill all the Jews living there, authorities of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party have openly expressed their support for Hamas on several occasions.
On July 29, Davutoglu said in televised comments on a local TV station: “Turkey stands by Hamas. There is a relation of trust between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal. And we will do our best with the Palestinian side, depending on this relation of trust. But we will also see the steps to be taken by the Israeli side.”
On July 22, at the end of the monthly meeting of the Council of the European Union, the 28 foreign ministers of EU member states called for the disarmament of Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
“All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields,” the EU statement said.?
But Davutoglu disagreed.
“The disarmament of Palestinians will not fit any international norm while Israel has the right to attack with arms any time,” he said in an interview. “They stay silent on the fact that Palestinians are killed every minute in a way that they almost allow this [to happen] but even though the rockets stopped by the anti-aircraft [Iron Dome] system in Israel do not kill anyone, they present [those rockets] as a big crime.”
Based on Davutoglu’s public statements on Hamas, we can conclude that there are three basic truths that Turkish state authorities fail to understand:
The Jews, Israel’s indigenous people, have returned to the land of Israel, re-established their state and have become a sovereign nation in their ancient homeland. Muslim ?countries need to learn to accept this.
Instead of being obsessed with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, they can focus on coming up with solutions for their own numerous, appalling issues. They can start by telling the authorities of Saudi Arabia that the rest of the world is in the 21st century, and urge them to stop flogging, beheading or stoning their citizens as a form of punishment.
According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia executed as many as 22 people in the space of two weeks in August. U.N. observers have said that at least eight of those ?executed were beheaded. Evidence used to convict the Saudi detainees is mostly based on confessions obtained through torture. But we have not seen a single protest, parliamentary speech or U.N. resolution that condemned those egregious beheadings, and Israel is the ?primary focus of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Ottoman Empire, which was a prison of peoples, has collapsed. It no longer exists, and will never be established again.
Aside from the Kurds, almost all peoples that lived under the empire’s rule have managed to liberate themselves by establishing their own states.
The Republic of Turkey, established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, has been a NATO member since 1952 and claims to aspire to membership in the European Union.?
The EU is a union not only of commercial interests but also of certain moral values and democratic principles.
Neo-Ottoman and pan-Islamist foreign policies do not correspond with EU values or with reason. Davutoglu, who has made Turkey’s ascension bid to the EU a strategic target for his government, must know this.
EU values include the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, such as the Kurds’ right to self-determination; ending illegal occupations, such as the ?Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus; removing blockades on neighboring countries such as the blockade on the Republic of Armenia; rejecting anti-Semitism and condemning ?hate speech, for example by bringing to account Turkish columnists who have openly expressed their admiration for Hitler and the Holocaust; protecting the religious sites of all faiths, such as the churches in Turkey and Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus that have been looted, destroyed or turned into mosques, stables, or casinos; and fighting against terror groups such as Hamas and ISIS, which pose a mortal threat not only to Israelis, Gazans and the West but to all of humanity.
Turkey, a NATO member and supposed “ally” of the West, however, openly supports Hamas, ISIS and other Islamic groups that commit all sorts of atrocities in the lands they invade, and that have been designated as terrorist organizations by the EU and U.S.
It is evident that there is a huge gap between the values and principles of the West and those promoted by Turkey.
If Turkey cannot respect and practice the values of its Western allies, without delay or alibis, the West should reconsider the privileges it has provided for Turkey. Those privileges have created disastrous consequences for the entire region for decades.