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Friday, June 04, 2010

Stop the Heron delivery

Israel has a contract with Turkey pursuant to which it has been delivering the Heron (pictured), Israel's most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle. The final four Herons are scheduled to be delivered in June or July. Israel should not go through with those deliveries.

The Turks think that they can treat Israel like a pariah country and get away with it. They were behind the flotilla of fools that confronted the IDF off the coast of Israel on Monday, and they are behind two more ships that are on their way here. And yet, the Turks have no expectation that they won't get the Herons (Hat Tip: Gates of Vienna).
"We expect the remaining Herons to be delivered in June or July," Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül told reporters in Parliament.

In January, Turkish officials said Israel would send four Herons to Turkey in March. The remaining six Herons are set to arrive in Turkey by the end of 2010, according to Turkish officials.

Turkey awarded the aircraft-building contract in 2005, ordering 10 drones from Israeli manufacturers Israel Aerospace Industries, or IAI, and Elbit.

The Heron UAV System is an operational fourth-generation, long-endurance, medium-altitude system based on leading-edge technology with new fully automatic take-off and landing features and can provide deep-penetration, wide-area and real-time intelligence either by day or at night. The Heron can climb to an altitude of nearly 10,000 meters, has a range of 350 kilometers and can fly continuously for at least 24 hours. It can carry out strategic reconnaissance and surveillance on six targets at once.
Why should Israel carry out this contract? Good question. Anti-semitism (and anti-Americanism) in the Turkish media is reaching levels not seen in Europe since World War II Nazi Germany (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness. Imagine 80 million or so people sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. They don't speak an Indo-European language and perhaps hundreds of thousands of them have meaningful access to any outside media. What information most of them get is filtered through a secular press that makes Italian communists look right wing by comparison and an increasing number of state (i.e., Islamist) influenced outfits. Topics A and B (or B and A, it doesn't really matter) have been the malign influence on the world of Israel and the United States.

For example, while there was much hand-wringing in our own media about "Who lost Turkey?" when U.S. forces were denied entry to Iraq from the north in 2003, no such introspection was evident in Ankara and Istanbul. Instead, Turks were fed a steady diet of imagined atrocities perpetrated by U.S. forces in Iraq, often with the implication that they were acting as muscle for the Jews. The newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's daily read, claimed that Americans were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that local mullahs had issued a fatwa ordering residents not to eat the fish. The same paper repeatedly claimed that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah. And it reported that Israeli soldiers had been deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and that U.S. forces were harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. "organ market."

The secular Hurriyet newspaper, meanwhile, accused Israeli soldiers of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul and said the U.S. was starting an occupation of (Muslim) Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Then U.S. ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman actually felt the need to organize a conference call to explain to the Turkish media that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. One of the craziest theories circulating in Ankara was that the U.S. was colonizing the Middle East because its scientists were aware of an impending asteroid strike on North America.

The Mosul and organ harvesting stories were soon brought together in a hit Turkish movie called "Valley of the Wolves," which I saw in 2006 at a mall in Ankara. My poor Turkish was little barrier to understanding. The body parts of dead Iraqis could be clearly seen being placed into crates marked New York and Tel Aviv. It is no exaggeration to say that such anti-Semitic fare had not been played to mass audiences in Europe since the Third Reich.

When I interviewed Prime Minister Erdogan (one of several encounters) in 2006, he was unabashed about the narrative.

Erdogan: "I believe the people who made this movie took media reports as their basis . . . for example, Abu Ghraib prison—we have seen this on TV, and now we are watching Guantanamo Bay in the world media, and of course it could be that this movie was prepared under these influences."

Me: "But do you believe that many Turks have such a view of America, that we're the kind of people who'd go to Iraq and kill people to take their organs?"

Erdogan: "These kind of things happen in the world. If it's not happening in Iraq, then its happening in other countries."

Me: "Which kind of things? Killing people to take their organs?"

Erdogan: "I'm not saying they are being killed. . . . There are people in poverty who use this as a means to get money."

I was somewhat taken aback that the prime minister could not bring himself to condemn a fictional blood libel. I should not have been. He and his party have traded on America and Israel hatred ever since. There can be little doubt the Turkish flotilla that challenged the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza was organized with his approval, if not encouragement. Mr. Erodogan's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is a proponent of a philosophy which calls on Turkey to loosen Western ties to the U.S., NATO and the European Union and seek its own sphere of influence to the east. Turkey's recent deal to help Iran enrich uranium should come as no surprise.
Why should Israel - of all countries - arm this type of regime. For that matter, why should the United States continue to protect it under the NATO treaty?

Since Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul took power, the excuse for protecting them has always been that the government did not protect the will of the people and if push came to shove the secular Turkish army would refuse to follow Erdogan's orders. There were even veiled hints of a coup being possible. Really? I see no indications of that.

Israel may not be able to push the Erdogan government out of office (although Erdogan aspires to push Netanyahu out of office). But at the very least, it ought not to be arming this hateful regime.

To those of you who are Turks (I know that some of you come by here from time to time), ask yourselves how your government would have reacted if the story had been reversed and if there were a flotilla coming to supply the Kurdish rebels. I guarantee your government would have just sunk the ships.

Read the whole thing.


At 10:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

My expectation is the Stupid Jews will arm Turkey. I would be very surprised if the Heron delivery was canceled.

What could go wrong indeed

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

reading the Turkish daily justification for why Israel broke international law was stupefying. According to the Turkish news the Israelis had to show their boats and then open fire before boarding them. not only is that just plain dumb because you put yourself out as a target to get fired at... it is also a lot less humane then Israel's attempt to not engage the flotilla in gunfire at first.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...


At 1:04 PM, Blogger Thermblog said...

They should be delivered ..... with some special, secret modifications.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Cancel the contract.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
From reading the comments i would say there might be another option "deliver them to explode on arrival".


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