Turkey Must Be the Focus of Any International Investigation

(Washington Post) Editorial - There was no fighting with five of the six boats in the flotilla fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic "charity" that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The relationship between Erdogan's government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the "Union of Good," a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the U.S. in 2008. Turkish officials insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization. Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Erdogan. "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan," IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah's Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state. Erdogan's crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new UN sanctions. What's remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide.

2010-06-07 10:13:01

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