The leaders of a country tell a lot about a country. This is true for my beloved country too, and there is not point in hiding the truth. Prime Minister Erdogan, not only reflects the mentality of his voters, but also the country in general.
In my humble opinion, Turkey is still trying to come in terms with the trauma of the First World War. After seeing themselves in a giants mirror for hundreds of years, the Turkish people had to come in terms with losing a war, even after winning many battles, losing millions of sons. This came after almost a hundred years of losing territory, in the aftermath of the birth of nation states. There is a deeply rooted view in the Turkish society, that Turkey is "a giant sedated by the outsiders" and would be unstoppable once she wakes up. This results in a high level of distrust towards "others" whether or not this "other" are foreign countries, minorities, or simply people who are different. This has got to do with the feeling of "otherness" of the Turkish people themselves, but I will not dive into this.
One may wonder, how does this feeling survive after almost a hundred years? I think it has got to do with the Turkish character. Dostoevsky wrote delightfully - and maybe mockingly- about the "Russian character." I am not claiming in anyway, that I observed the Turkish people like the great Russian author observed Russian people. Maybe it is just my own character, and I am making an excuse by relating this to my nationality. Still, I think there is a tendency in the Turkish culture to "leave things to their natural flow" and leave things to a "never-coming future."
So, I think this has had the result of us never facing the realities of the world, and electing a prime minister, who reflects this feeling of being "a giant on sedatives." In the face of the elections, Prime Minister Erdogan has instrumentalised the Gazza conflict to -ignoring the danger and reality of anti-Semitism- to play these feelings and make a political gain. In the last round of -in my opinion unnecessary- harsh criticism against Israel, he had a war of words with Shimon Perez and left a live debate in Davos. He was welcomed by thousands in the airport, with Palestinian flags -adorned with the star and the crescent!.
Let me be clear on my thought on the topic. I am pro-Israel. I do believe the Israeli people have a right to have their own state. Furthermore, they as a sovereign state, they do have the right to go after enemies who fire rockets into their territory. This is not to say, their governments response to these rockets has been acceptable. It has been inhumane, and must be investigated in theInternational Criminal Court in The Hague. Furthermore, the government was responsible -and in my opinion guilty of- for their unjustifiable embargo on the Gaza strip, which created inhumane conditions in Gaza. Thus I believe they should be pressured by the international community, if such a community exists.
However, this is done most efficiently by diplomatics, and behind closed doors. Thus I find Prime Minister Erdogan's comments and actions insincere, politically motivated in the face of the upcoming elections in Turkey, and hypocritical. And there is a good reason why I think this way. Take a look at this picture:
Taken last year, this picture shows Mr. Erdogan with Al Bashir, the dictator who is responsible for the genocide of Sudan's non-Arab -and non-Muslim- population. Please tell me what this is, if not hypocrisy? Or is it true that Mr. Erdogan's feelings for the oppressed people of Gaza -which I share- has got to do with their nationality, or their religion?