Friday, August 18, 2006

Anti-Israel Sentiment in Turkey

This photograph taken by an Israeli visitor in Alanya, Turkey has been circulating in Europe, the US, and Israel. Anti-American and anti-Israel sentiment has been building up in Turkey especially in the past decade. Although the country is now regarded as one of Israel's staunchest allies, and ties continue to exist in the military sector, it seems to me that many American and Jewish observers are in profound denial. Antisemitism and fierce criticism of Israel have been gaining ground among ordinary Turks. Even if Turkey is not going fundamentalist, many Turks are increasingly emphasizing the Muslim component of their identity. Although they might oppose the veil, they see themselves as part of the Muslim world. The Iraq war was one of the earlier warning signs of this. Turkey was the site of huge protests against the American invasion, and the government too refused to allow the US to mount part of the invasion from the country. What happens in Turkey might also determine what transpires in a country that many are pitching as a strategic ally (for Israel and the US) in the Caucasus - Azerbaijan, which has been supported by Turkey, especially in the former's conflict with Armenia. Azerbaijan is currently run by a corrupt despot who has cultivated ties with Israel, and the US, while carefully hedging his bets and keeping the other options open (including Iran). He, too, of course, is not immune to public opinion. So far, he has resorted mostly to inflammatory rhetoric about the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute combined with widespread anti-Armenian myths and stereotypes to appeal to popular sentiment. But it's a small step from Armenians to Jews. See coverage of anti-Israel protests in Azerbaijan.

Thanks to Carmia for passing on the photograph.

20 comments:

Fern R said...

So, I guess a tongue-in-cheek comment about the sign's bad grammar wouldn't really be appropriate, would it?

Baleboosteh said...

Wow, that sign really shocked me! What is the world comming to?

Anarchistian said...

Um. You should be the last to talk about Azerbaijani and Turkish hatred of Israel. After all, both are your country's closest allies (especially Turkey), and the Jewish lobby is the primary tool in the Turkish attempts at preventing the recognition of the Armenian Holocaust. That, and the fact that Israel itself officially denies the Armenian Holocaust.

John said...

Why exactly should our blog be the last to talk about anything? We're not enlisted in anyone's service. Why should Israel's alliance with Turkey prevent us from criticizing that country or Israel's official policy of not recognizing the Armenian genocide for what it is?
I suggest you check out another blog authored by Amos that is specifically devoted to the issue of the Armenian genocide:
http://genats-lehayim.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

If there is any Anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey, this is just appearance. Turkey supports Israel 100%. Follow the link provided below and you will have wider oppinion about Turkey-Israel relations:
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060806&articleId=2906

John said...

There's a difference between the geopolitical calculations of the Turkish military establishment and the opinion of the majority of Turks.

Anarchistian said...

the opinion of the majority of Turks
The Islamist movement in Turkey is growing, but it is by no means the majority, not even close. The majority of Turks support full diplomatic relations with Israel. Otherwise we would've seen an uprising a long time ago against the current regime which is held together by the military. Turkey sells Israel water. Israel helps Turkey deny the Armenian Holocaust. A match made in heaven. Most Turks are not willing to give up on the genocide denial card.

tod0001 said...

"Israel helps Turkey deny the Armenian Holocaust."

How so? Please explain.

Anarchistian said...

How so? Please explain.
By putting into motion the Jewish lobby in USA; the Jewish lobby in the States does it because it perceives it is in the interest of Israel to have good relations with Turkey, which is a Muslim country and is of strategic value...

Anarchistian said...

Sorry, something wrong with my connection, didn't mean to post 3 of the same message!

Amos said...

Chenoragal em for your posts, anarchistian. I deleted the duplicate ones that were accidentally posted.

You're right that Israel, unfortunately, does not officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, like most other states in the world including the US. And yes, at least in the past two decades a strong alliance emerged between the Israeli and Turkish military establishments. Just like the US, Israel has been very wary of antagonizing the Turks and has therefore refrained from official recognition.

But don't you think it's a bit of an exaggeration to call Azerbaijan and Turkey Israel's "closest allies"? Aren't you forgetting about the United States, to mention just one? Anyway, like John, I don't understand why the fact that Israel and Turkey are allies should prevent us from talking about antisemitism in Turkey. We are neither representatives of the Israeli government nor employees of what you call "the Jewish Lobby" - as if it were one homogeneous entity.

Anarchistian said...

Amos - While Azerbaijan might not be one of Israel's closest allies, Turkey IS. That's undeniable. And Azerbaijan might just BE, with the latest row with Iran, and the growing rift between Iran and Azerbaijan (and the Azerbaijani minority in Iran is an additional element) on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

I did not say you should not talk about anti-Semitism. There is a difference between being anti-Israel and being anti-Semitic. By definition anti-Israeli feelings are not necessarily anti-Semitic in nature. I find it ironic that the Turks, who want to hide the skeletons in their closet, criticize Israeli war crimes (as if their history, which they deny, is much better), and as I mentioned, it's just as ironic when an Israeli criticizes Turks while completely ignoring the war crimes and ethnic cleansing (yes, that's what it is) committed by his/her own country.

Amos said...

So do you think people like Yair Auron and Yossi Sarid, who have written and spoken about the Armenian Genocide, should just sit down and shut up because they are Israelis?

Anarchistian said...

Yes, I think so. So long as their morality / code of ethics is selective and does not apply to innocent civilians on whom Israel has declared war (both in Palestine and Lebanon), I'd say I am not much interested in their "recognition". Though I'm not quite sure about Yair Auron, as I have little knowledge of his "other" political views...

Amos said...

Interesting.

I asked specifically about Sarid and Auron because - and I thought you would know this - they are long-time advocates of withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders. I don't know what Auron has written about the current conflict with Hizbullah, but I do know that Sarid opposed the war. I hardly think you could accuse either one of them of having a "selective" code of ethics.

Do you really think that it's productive to censor, based on their ethnicity, people who advocate recognition of the Armenian Genocide? Do you also think that Turkish human rights activists should be silent about their state's policies vis-a-vis the Kurds - even if they do not (for some reason or another) advocate genocide recognition?

How large would you make your essentialist categories? Can we censor any Arab who does not speak out against the genocide in Darfur?

Amos said...

BTW, you previously said that "both [i.e. Turkey & Azerbaijan] are your country's closest allies," not "one of the closest."

I think it is pretty funny that you seem to WANT Azerbaijan to be a close ally of Israel so that you can slot Turkey, Israel, and Azerbaijan into your own Axis of Evil opposed by Iran and Lebanon or whomever else, the true friends of the Armenians.

On the related question of Azerbaijan's alliances - I am hardly an expert, but I think it is too early to tell which way Azerbaijan will swing and what role the fact that Iran has a very large Azeri minority (20% of the pop'n?) will play in the two countries' relations. Don't forget the religious element (though one should not simplify too much, both are Shi'a). Finally, Turkey too is wary of Azeri nationalism, so it's not all that clear what will happen in the region and who will be allied with whom 5 years from now.

Anyway, I don't really need you to authorize me as someone who is permitted to advocate the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Israel and the US, and I will continue to do so regardless of what you say.

MadBadTurk said...

There can be no doubt that anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey is way up. I can find no reason other than religion for this; after all, Israel has acted exactly as we would have. Unfortunately, the insidious islamicisation of Turkish identity continues. So much so that a common or garden Turkish tradesman - generally all too happy to take anyone's money - appears to have taken a stance.

tod0001 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tod0001 said...

Israel, unfortunately, does not officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, like most other states in the world including the US."
I have seen no cover-up, nor any kind of censorship about the Armenian genocide.
"National Geographic Magazine" ran a detailed article about this several months ago.

Amos said...

Tod - you're right, it would be wrong to refer to it as a "cover up," other than in Turkey itself, where calling the events a genocide can still get people in legal trouble. However, we were talking about official recognition of the sort that the Shoah (or Holocaust, i.e., the genocide of European Jewry as well as of the Roma) has in the US. I don't know if I've made that clear enough.

In the meantime, have you read anything new about August 22?

All the best.