is the Wrong Partner to Fight Terror
By Burak Bekdil
November 28, 2015
Sadly, the free world feels compelled to partner with the
wrong country in its fight against Islamic terror.
The host of this year's G-20 summit, which came right after
13 Paris attacks, was Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his usual
Sunni supremacist language, he accused the victims of jihad rather than the
jihadists. "New tragedies will be inevitable," he said,
"if the rising racism in Europe and other countries is not stopped. Racism,
coupled with enmity against Islam, is the greatest disaster, the greatest
Yet Erdogan willingly ignores the rising racism,
xenophobia, and anti-western, jihadist sentiments that increasingly command the
hearts and minds of his fellow Turks. A quick look at a few sports games and fan
behavior in recent weeks would reveal much about the Turkish mind and heart.
On October 13, three days after a twin
suicide bomb attack in Turkey's capital, Ankara, killed more than 100
Kurds and pro-Kurdish, leftist and secular Turks, the central Anatolian province
of Konya, a hotbed of political Islam in Turkey, hosted a Euro 2016 football
qualifier between Turkey and Iceland. Before the kick-off, both teams stood for
a moment of silence to protest the bomb attack -- a typical gesture to respect
the victims. Sadly, the moment of silence was marred by whistles and jeers:
apparently the football fans of Konya were protesting the victims, not their
Anyone under the impression that the whole world stands in
solidarity with Paris should think again. Hundreds of Turkish fans booed
and chanted "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is greater" in
Arabic) during a moment of silence for the Paris attack victims before a
Turkey-Greece soccer friendly. Once again, the Turks were exhibiting solidarity
with the terrorists, not their "infidel" victims.
More recently, on Nov. 21, Turkish police had to deploy
1,500 policemen so that Turkish fans could not harm the visiting Israeli women's
national basketball team. One thousand five hundred police officers at a women's
basketball game! Despite that, Turkish fans threw
objects at Israeli players as they were singing Israel's national
anthem. Fans also booed the Israeli players while others applauded the fans who
threw the objects.
Unsurprisingly, Turkish fans waved Palestinian flags.
Israeli women basketball players were barred from leaving their hotel other than
for training and the game.
None of that is surprising although, at least in theory,
Turkey is a candidate state for membership in the European Union. A new study by
Pew Research Center revealed that 8% of Turks have a favorable opinion of the
Islamic State (IS), higher than in the Palestinian territories, where support
for IS stands at 6%, and only one point lower than in Pakistan. Nineteen percent
of Turks "do not know" if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion
of IS -- which means 27% of Turks do not have an unfavorable opinion
of the jihadist killing machine. That makes more than 21 million people! Of the
countries polled, Lebanon boasted a 100% unfavorable opinion of IS and Jordan,
94%. In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, 4% reported a
favorable opinion of IS, half of Turkey's.
This is Erdogan's "neo-Ottoman" and increasingly
Islamist Turkey. After the Paris attacks, this author saw tweets that called the
victims "animal carcass;" that said "now the infidels will lose
their sleep out of fear;" and others that congratulated the terrorists
"who shouted Allahu Akbar."
Meanwhile, and so funny, the free world cannot see that its
ally to fight the jihadists is another jihadist. How should Erdogan fight
Islamic terror – something he does not believe exists? One of Erdogan's famous
remarks is, "there is no Islamic terror." But he thinks that
"just like fascism," Zionism is a crime against humanity.
There is a Turkish saying that could perhaps describe the free world's alliance with Erdogan's Turkey against jihadist terror: "Kuzuyu kurda emanet etmek" ("to trust the wolf with the sheep").