Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turks claim they didn't know a blockade means you can't enter?

Here's an article written by two of the Turkish Jews who translated for passengers on the Mavi Marmara.
Israeli media labeled all those on the boat as Islamist radicals. Turkish and Arab media portrayed them as a group of peace activists massacred by Israeli villains, akin to Nazis. According to what we saw, there were both activists and radicals on board, but the majority of the passengers fell into neither category. They were simply religious people motivated by their consciences to help the Gazan children whose pictures they had been seeing on television for years. Their humanist desire does not make them political activists nor does their faith make them Islamists.

We discovered from listening to the Turkish passengers that many of them were recruited through local humanitarian and civil society organizations and not the IHH, the Turkish group that organized the flotilla. The IHH, Insani Yardim Vakfi or Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms in English, is a Turkish NGO. In international media, some describe the IHH as a humanitarian organization offering services in over 100 countries while others describe it as a charity that funnels money to terrorist organizations. In any case, the IHH organizers understood the politics of the flotilla.

Most of the people actually onboard the ship, however, were not affiliated with the IHH, and did not have a political agenda. When we talked with them, most had no idea that an embargo actually bars entrance to Gaza. Many asked us in astonishment: “Isn’t Gaza a country of its own? Does Israel control Gaza?” When asked why they came on this mission, their answer was “To bring humanitarian aid.” One seriously injured man we spoke to in the hospital said that he was an orphan and boarded the ship to help Gazan orphans. The people we talked to were fellow Turks familiar to us–they were no radicals.
This sounds like the people on the lower deck and not like the terrorists on the upper deck. Still, portraying them as that naive strains credibility. This part strains credibility even more.
Keeping in mind this summary characterization of Turkish and Israeli perspectives, the events on the Mavi Marmara look different. When the Israeli engagement began, what devout Turkish Muslim passengers saw were armed Israeli “baby-killers” dropping onto their ship from helicopters. When masked Israeli commandos opened fire, the Turks did not know that the weapons were paint-ball guns; all they saw and heard were “non-stop gun shots.” Crucially, many of the passengers’ wives were below the deck. Not only were the men afraid for their own lives, but they also felt the need to protect their wives and honor. In the scenarios familiar to them from Turkish television, vicious Israelis would kill them all, rape their wives and use the humanitarian aid to celebrate. So the passengers attacked the Israeli soldiers, with the only weapons they had: sticks, kitchen knives, and metal rods that they “cut off the ship.” When these people were being processed in Ashdod, we even heard some who refused to drink Israeli water because they truly believed that it had been poisoned.

From the Israeli perspective, the commandos, armed only with paint-ball guns and pistols (the latter to be used only in self-defense), were dropped into a mob of angry people. What the soldiers saw were Islamic terrorists, since in their minds, aggressive Muslim men with long beards and long sticks can only be terrorists. Under very real attack, the soldiers resorted to using their only actual weapons, their real guns.
Except that we've all seen the video and we know that the metal rods were cut hours before any Israeli commando dropped onto the ship. And we know that the electric saws were brought to cut those pipes in the first place. I can buy the first item I quoted - with a bit of difficulty. I don't buy the second one.

What do you all think?


At 11:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If they had offered no resistance, there wouldn't have been a world outcry. They wanted to end the blockade. Their intentions were of a political anti-Israel and not of a peaceable humanitarian nature.

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scurrilous at best. And for all their attempts at whitewashing with this article, do they not see the irony of mentioning that Turkish television frequently shows rape-happy murderous Jews? Surely all aboard weren't planning on singing kumbayah in Gaza when their mental image of an Israeli is a modern-day Viking with a Galil.

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Mr. Gerson said...

Potentially it has some truth to it for some of the passengers, but it doesn't make anything better. If they thought Israeli's were demon baby killers who poison water and attacked them, it doesn't change a thing. And the fact remains from the video footage, they were gearing up to attack the Israelis long before Israeli troops arrived.

At 1:54 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

Having seen the Turkish videos of imams stirring up religious hatred, of the Khaybar chanting and brandishing of knives BEFOREHAND, it's just the usual lies and propaganda.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Mervyn Doobov said...

An interesting article that depicts a different viewpoint that I would take with a large grain of salt.

The depiction of the passengers may well be accurate, when it comes to the bulk of them; ie they are innocent and ignorant dupes who have been misled by recent Turkish television representations of murderous Israeli soldiers.

But this cannot apply to the jihadist iron-bar wielders.  One does not arm oneself in the midst of an affray that might have lasted 30 minutes, at most, by cutting metal rods from the ship.  These were prepared ahead of the soldiers' arrival (there is video evidence of this).

The Israeli "love affair" with Turkey didn't end only because of the Mavi Marmara incident; it was just the straw that broke the camel's back.  (And it was only ever a marriage of convenience to both sides, but, I think, more so to Turkey.)  It has been abundantly clear that Erdogan has been working for years to end the alliance, and also to undo the Ataturk secularisation.  The rejection of Turkey by the EU finally gave the green light to Erdogan to get on with re-Islamising the country and proceeding to towards retrieving its "rightful" place as a regional hegemon, as in the days of the Ottoman Empire.  Israel, that had been useful in trying to establish European Power credentials (but not useful enough) became an impediment to the regional power role.

I remain puzzled as to how Erdogan has managed to neutralise his army, hitherto the guardian of the  Ataturk legacy.  Either they will awaken from their torpour, or Iran will become worried by Turkey's outflanking them in the regional stakes, or both.

It's also worth noting that the writers are employed at the Van Leer Institute, a left-wing organisation that has its own barrow to push.


Post a Comment

<< Home