Erdogan was imprisoned in 1998 for four months while a member of the outlawed Islamist Welfare party. In August 2001, he formed the AK party and led it to victory in the February 2003 elections. In March 2003, he became Prime Minister of Turkey.
A report drafted by the research department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and published by Israeli daily Haaretz notes that “Ever since his party took power, Erdogan has conducted an ongoing process of fashioning a negative view of Israel in Turkish public opinion. For Erdogan and some of those around him there is no distinction between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jewish.’ Erdogan also turns a blind eye and grants legitimacy to anti-Israeli television programs of an inflammatory and anti-Semitic nature.”
In 2006, the Turkish production Valley of the Wolves: Iraq sparked an outrage in the Jewish world. It depicted Jewish doctors harvesting the organs of Iraqis and transferring them to Israel for transplants. The upcoming episode of the same production titled Valley of the Wolves: Palestine due to be screened in January 2011 tells the story of a Turkish agent named Polat Alemdar who goes on a mission to Israel to extract revenge against the Jews – pay back for the Gaza flotilla. In one scene Polat is asked “When did you come to Israel? He responds, “I didn’t come to Israel, I came to Palestine.” In another scene he is told, “You know you won’t make it out of the Promised Land,” and he replies: “I don’t know what part of this land has been promised, but I promise you six feet under.”
Turkey canceled a military exercise with Israel last year, and Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on October 18, 2010 that Erdogan won’t attend a Mediterranean Conference on climate change in Athens if Netanyahu is there. According to Ha’aretz, Erdogan said that he “does not want to talk to a prime minister who supported Israel’s raid on the Gaza-bound ship in which nine Turks were killed.”
Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister – a former foreign relations professor, and the chief ideologue of the AKP, believes (according to a 11/28/10 report in Israeli Hebrew daily Maariv) that “Israel will not be able to remain an independent state, and that in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River a bi-national state will be established where Arab-Palestinians and Jews will live together”. He reiterated repeatedly in a meeting with academicians and journalists prior to the flotilla incident his vision that Turkey will become the dominant factor in the greater Middle East and that the bi-national state will become in the next few years a Turkish dependency.
In Davutoglu’s assessment, Israel will be unable to sign peace treaties with its neighbors, including the emerging Palestinian State. Davutoglu’s conclusion is that Israel as an independent state is illegitimate in the region, and it is bound to disappear.
Erdogan and Davutoglu are advancing a new regional order in which Erdogan through stronger ties with Iran and Syria, and Davutoglu through an ideological platform, seeks to create a new regional order in which there is no place for an independent Jewish State.
Since his reelection in July 2007, Erdogan has strengthened his ties with the Muslim world, particularly with neighboring Iran and Syria (Note: all three countries oppress their Kurdish minorities) while cooling his relations with the West.
It appears now that Erdogan is trying to outdo Iran’s Ahmadinejad with his burning hostility towards Israel, as he seeks to gain a leadership position for Turkey in the Muslim world.
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