With the possible exception of Syria, Turkey is the most welcoming and friendliest country in the Mediterranean. It is also the Islamic country that is on the friendliest terms with Israel. It predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, had a distinguished history of providing a welcoming sanctuary for Jew persecuted by Christians, particular those in Spain. But beneath their gracious exterior, there is a strain of national pride and a stubbornness that is as strong as any country I have ever visited. Turks are very proud of being Turks. Everyone with a modicum of intelligence in the eastern Med knows that if you insult and push a Turk into a corner; be he a low level peasant or a minister, he will get his dander up and dig in, and you will have a real problem on your hands.
That is why Israeli Foreign minister Ayalon’s outrageous personal insult to the Turkish ambassador was so stupid. As anyone who knows the Turks would expect, the Turkish government swiftly reacted with a harsh unequivocal ultimatum — “Apologize or else.” Israel blinked and was quick to back down — and Turkey set an example for the world, particularly the United States.
The attached article by Uri Avneri, a hero of the 1948 war and Israel’s leading peace activist is the best summary of this revealing incident I have yet read.
Phi Beta Iota: Chuck spends two third of the year sailing the Mediterranean. We are long past due eliminating all foreign and private sector lobbying of our legislators. Israel is far and away the most arrogant, high-handed presence on the Hill. The dual-citizenship Israelis in senior US policy positions are ripe for a full-scale counter-intelligence investigation, our belief is that at least half of them will be found to have committed offenses that warrant impeachment and conviction–but then, we don’t “do” counterintelligence, we just give it lip service.
“Kill a Turk … “
The Turkish Incident
By URI AVNERY
Phi Beta Iota: This has to be read in its entirety.