Turkey’s deception: Ankara’s role in the Palestinian genocide

Turkey’s deception: Ankara’s role in the Palestinian genocide

May 2024
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The genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, which has entered an even more horrific phase after the Hamas attacks of October 7, has been loudly condemned by Erdogan and other members of the AKP-MHP regime that rules Turkey, and in recent days the Erdogan regime has taken more concrete steps, such as banning the export of Turkish exports to Israel and announcing that it will join South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice. As much as Turkey has expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, as much as Erdogan has presented himself as the leader of the Muslim world and champion of the Palestinians, one has to wonder what is driving the increasingly coercive relations between Turkey and Israel and Turkey and the Palestinians.
The genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, which has entered an even more horrific phase after the Hamas attacks of October 7, has been loudly condemned by Erdogan and other members of the AKP-MHP regime that rules Turkey, and in recent days the Erdogan regime has taken more concrete steps, such as banning the export of Turkish exports to Israel and announcing that it will join South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice. As much as Turkey has expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, as much as Erdogan has presented himself as the leader of the Muslim world and champion of the Palestinians, one has to wonder what is driving the increasingly complicated relations between Turkey and Israel and Turkey and the Palestinians.


Historical context of Turkish Israel relationships

The close relationship between Israel and Turkish state has its roots in the very first years of the creation of Israel. Turkey was the first state in the middle east to recognize Israel, in 1949. Since then, strategical relationship between the two have perdured until today. In the frame of its “periphery doctrine” Israel has seeked since its foundation to develop alliances with Turkey, among other to counter pan-arabism. Important military partnerships that include air, sea land and intelligence cooperation, manufacturing of aircraft, armamant and missiles, mutual training and exercice have been developed over the years. Remarkably, Israeli airforce pilots have been training in Turkey in the frame of joint exercises with Turkish forces. Despite superficial frictions, notably following the Mavi Marmara case which damaged a certain level of diplomatic ties, the relation between the states never ceased and economical exchanges further developed even during peak of rethorical clashes. The different NATO bases in Turkey have been vastly important for western imperialism in middle east, initially against the Soviet Union, then later for intervention post September 11 in the frame of the so called “war on terror”. Among those bases, the Incerlik military base has been reported to be used to support Israeli military in it’s current invasion of Gaza.


Turkish trade with Israel continues despite genocide

While Turkey presents itself as a defender of the Palestinians, especially through the rhetoric of Erdogan, it is revealing to note that Turkey stands as the sixth largest supplier of goods to Israel. Notably, 37% of Israel’s demand for Iron and Steel is met through imports from Turkey (2022)1. Since the beginning of the war in October until December, 700 Turkish ships went to Israel (8 per day!) to transport crucial material for the war (oil, steel, textile). Many of the companies involved have close to ties to the AKP and Erdogan2.

Despite genocide unfolding in Gaza, Turkey continued to supplied materials that may be directly used for the atrocities against the Palestinians in Gaza3. Moreover construction materials such as cement, steel, and machinery exported from Turkey might be used in building projects, including those in occupied areas. These materials find application in various construction projects, including infrastructure supporting settlements and the construction of the separation barrier, commonly known as the wall. When Turkey restricted exports from Turkey to Israel for the first time in April, more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, 2.3 million people were displaced and large parts of the Gaza Strip were reduced to rubble.

The total export ban announced by Erdogan on May 3 also does not appear to have been fully implemented until this day4. When this practice was uncoverd through journalistic investigations, the Turkish Ministry of Trade rowed back and introduced a three-month phase-out period for trade with Israel. Oil from Azerbaijan, Israel’s main supplier of crude oil (40% of Israels oil supply depends on Azerbaijan5), is apparently also still being shipped through a Turkish port in Ceyhan6.

Steps such as the recently announced export ban and the announcement to join the proceedings against Israel before the ICJ are not beeing done out of goodwill. Due to domestic political pressure from Islamist parties and movements inside Turkey, which accuse the Erdogan government of inaction and were thus able to snatch votes from the AKP in the regional elections in March forced Erdogan to act. This also becomes clear when looking at the brutal crackdown on protests against trade relations with Israel.


Turkey’s support for Hamas: Isolating Gaza

While Turkey maintains close economic ties with Israel and benefits from Israeli war technology tested in Gaza, Turkey maintains tight relations with Hamas. Until October 2023, many Hamas officials and high-ranking leaders were in exile in Turkey and Qatar. It was only after the Hamas attacks on October 7 that they were expelled from the country for fear of damaging Turkish-Israeli relations7. Hamas, which, like other Islamist movements, was also supported by the Israeli state in its early days8 in order to weaken Palestinian unity and marginalize socialist movements in Palestine, received political support from Turkey. With its support, Turkey has indirectly supported the Israeli strategy of isolating the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the Wets Bank.
Erdogan, who recently announced at a press conference in Greece that more than 1,000 Hamas members are being treated in Turkish hospitals9, has always used the Palestinian issue as a means of presenting himself as a mediator – as in the case of the Ukraine war – and maintaining the image of an important player in the region.


Expose the Turkish AKP-MHP regime

In shedding light on Turkish hypocrisy surrounding the Genocide in Gaza, it becomes evident that Erdogan’s maneuvers are nothing short of a facade. Turkey’s actions, on the surface seem to be in support of Palestine, but are overshadowed by its complicity in fueling the very oppression it claims to oppose. Erdogan’s attempts to paint himself as a champion of Palestinian rights ring hollow when viewed through the lens of Turkey’s strategic alliances and economic interests. It’s imperative that we unveil this hypocrisy and hold the AKP-MHP regime accountable for their opportunistic posturing. Turkish fascism, in the form of the AKP regime, does not offer any solutions. Neither for Palestine nor for the Middle East. The regime’s rhetoric in relation to Israel is both mere rhetoric and hypocrisy: While Turkey publicly blasts Israel for attacks on civilians, Turkish fighter jets and drones systematically destroyed civilian infrastructure in Rojava, North-East Syria in December and January10. By exposing Erdogan’s hypocrisy, we can empower progressive voices to confront Turkish fascism and stand in solidarity with the genuine aspirations of the Palestinian people and the people of Rojava.

Riseup4Rojava Network, 16.05.2024

1 https://oec.world/en
2 https://www.turkishminute.com/2024/02/28/more-than-100-ton-of-good-shipped-israel-from-turkish-ports-in-last-3-days-alone-journalist/
3 https://x.com/snarwani/status/1775525493627879678
4 https://medyanews.net/turkey-bypasses-total-trade-ban-with-israel-facilitates-azerbaijani-oil-shipments-via-ceyhan/
5 https://oec.world/en/profile/bilateral-product/crude-petroleum/reporter/isr
6 https://www.intellinews.com/turkey-reportedly-still-loading-azerbaijani-oil-for-israel-despite-total-trade-ban-323947/
7 https://archive.ph/FlkK6
8 https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123275572295011847
https://archive.ph/rwKYm#selection-1159.0-1159.313
9 https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2024/05/erdogan-rebukes-greek-pm-calling-hamas-terrorists-says-1000-members-being-treated
10 https://rojavainformationcenter.org/2023/12/update-turkeys-christmas-airstrikes-targeting-nes-civilian-service-facilities-and-infrastructure/
https://rojavainformationcenter.org/2024/01/turkish-airstrikes-on-suwaydiyah-power-station-documenting-the-damage/


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