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Friday, December 10, 2010

A little paranoia can be a good thing

Having lived in this region for 19 years, this makes complete sense to me.
Among the leaked documents is one in which the US Embassy writes about rumors that Erdoğan has multiple Swiss bank accounts in which he has more the $1 billion. As the Turks see it, Erdoğan must have been stunned by this revelation. Many believe that the US released this document in order to embarrass and humiliate him.

America had shown its power. Erdoğan therefore had no choice other than it submit to its dictates. How best to do that? A large number of Middle Easterners believe the Jews run America and the world. By this logic, now that America has thrown down the gauntlet, the best way for Erdoğan to redeem himself is to find a way to ingratiate hmself to the Americans and Israelis. This, accordingly, would help him come down off of a branch onto which he dangerously had stepped.

The opportunity presented itself very quickly. When Israel proved unable to handle the huge fire that was blazing in its Carmel Mountains, Erdoğan jumped at the opportunity to send two Turkish planes to help the Israelis put out the fire. This humanitarian gesture would surely signal to the Americans and world Jewry that he was not as bad as they thought he was. This gesture, they reasoned, would help Erdoğan back into the good graces of the Americans and the Jews, who together, "behind the curtain," run the world.

Moreover, given past history, it is very likely that Erdoğan and his cohorts also have a lurking fear that America and the Jews might have other tricks up their sleeves, and most certainly fear this Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu handled this situation adeptly: by personally calling Erdoğan and thanking him for sending the planes, he got credit for decency in the eyes of the world, and the Turkish nation in particular. Netanyahu also personally went and shook the hands of the Turkish pilots who came to Israel's rescue. Pictures of the Israeli Prime Minister were printed in newspapers and shown on Turkish television stations throughout Turkey. These pictures and the personal call to their Prime Minister touch deep cords in Turkey: showing warmth, hospitality, and gratitude are major characteristics in Turkish society. Netanyahu's actions demonstrated to the Turks that he is an extremely decent man, not the "killer" that Erdoğan and his colleagues have claimed the past few years.

Where does this leads us? Since the WikiLeaks and the fire in northern Israel, there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity behind the scenes between the Israelis and the Turks – seeking ways to patch up their differences. We should consequently not be surprised if Turkish-Israeli relations markedly improve in the coming months. By "intentionally" leaking documents about Erdoğan and those around him, the US has, from a Middle Eastern point of view, warned him that he had better find a way to step in line; that if he does not, the other shoe might drop.
Yes, of course, Erdogan is being paranoid. But sometimes a little paranoia is a good thing.

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