ERDOGAN’S ANTI-ISRAEL RHETORIC, ISLAMIZATION, & AUTHORITARIANISM CONTINUE Posted on December 14, 2017 Printer Friendly Islamic Summit on Jerusalem Showcases New Mideast Alliances: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, December 14, 2017— Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called in Istanbul on Wednesday for unity among Muslim nations in opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Turkey’s Tantrum: Editorial, Washington Times, Dec. 13, 2017— The ability to respond smartly to controversy is a measure of responsible leadership. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan just flunked a test. Why Does the Average Turk Love Erdoğan?: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Dec. 10, 2017— Since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never lost an election, be it parliamentary, municipal, presidential, or a referendum. Countless theories, academic and otherwise, have tried to explain why he has remained unchallenged. Trump, Jerusalem, Arabs, Muslims: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017 — Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city aroused, unsurprisingly, a massive wave of opposition in the Arab and Islamic world for two main reasons – one religious and one nationalist. On Topic Links Erdogan and Abbas Bark About Jerusalem, But Their Threats Have No Bite: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2017 Erdogan Invokes Islamic Text Sanctioning Killing Jews at Party Convention: John Rossomando, IPT, Dec. 12, 2017 Reza Zarrab Reveals a Plot to Kill Him, and Is Accused of Rape: Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, Dec. 9, 2017 Turkey Ignores NATO Threats – Russian Air Defence System to be Delivered in 2019: David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 26, 2017 ISLAMIC SUMMIT ON JERUSALEM SHOWCASES NEW MIDEAST ALLIANCES Seth J. Frantzman Jerusalem Post, December 14, 2017 Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called in Istanbul on Wednesday for unity among Muslim nations in opposing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, the attendees at the emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation were not unified. The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates did not attend, sending a message that they would not be standing shoulder to shoulder with Iran. Eighteen heads of state attended the meeting, including those of Azerbaijan, Qatar, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan. In addition the prime ministers of Malaysia and Pakistan came to Istanbul. Leaders of several weak and failed states, such as Yemen, Somalia and Libya, showed up as well. Lower-level attendance was common from the allies of Saudi Arabia, the same group that cut relations with Qatar in June. The Egypt-Saudi-UAE alliance represents a new Arab core in the Middle East. In the strictest sense it opposes Iran and Iran’s proxies such as Hezbollah. However, this alliance also opposes Qatar because it views Doha as supporting extremism and terrorism, by which it means the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Turkey has recently grown closer to Iran, first via its alliance with Qatar, which it sent troops to protect in July, and also via its discussions on Syria that it had with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran at Sochi in November. Turkey has hosted Hamas and supported Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, even after he was deposed in 2013. These countries are not on the same side in Yemen either. There, Iran is with the Houthis and Qatar’s media highlights the civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun attended the Istanbul summit as well. He is an ally of Hezbollah. Outside the Turkey-Qatar-Iran and Egypt-UAE-Saudi groups are countries that straddle the fence. King Abdullah of Jordan was in Turkey on the day of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement last week and it is clear that he and Abbas see Erdogan as a key ally on the Jerusalem issue. Jordan and Turkey are also on the same side in Syria. Ostensibly Saudi Arabia is also on their side in Syria, which adds a layer of complexity to a complex region. Kuwait is an ally of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it too seeks to go its own way on the Qatar dispute. It is too geographically close to Iran not to know that it can be destabilized more easily than Riyadh. Why was attendance so weak from Central Asia and Africa? In Africa the OIC only garnered the heads of tiny Togo, Djibouti and Guinea. Of the five “stans” in Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan sent parliament speakers, it appears the other three didn’t. Russia and Venezuela sent observers. The poor attendance was not lost on commentators. Dr. Ali Bakeer, an analyst on the Middle East, noted that news media in Saudi Arabia showed the weather and economic news as Erdogan spoke. Ammar Ali-Qureshi, who tweets about a variety of topics, noted that in 1969 arson against al-Aksa Mosque had been a catalyst for founding the OIC, yet today the “low key attendance” by some members was telling. King Salman of Saudi Arabia made a point of addressing his Shura council during the OIC meeting. “The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve the regional crises. Foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.” The reference to “east Jerusalem” is a clear indication Saudi Arabia accepts the concept of Israel’s capital in west Jerusalem. The fallout from the OIC meeting is that its decisions on Jerusalem will lack wholehearted support from key play players in the region. The growing divisions in the region come as the war against Islamic State ends and the Syrian civil war seems to slow into a frozen conflict. In some ways it appears Iran has been successful in its outreach to non-Shi’ite states such as Turkey and Qatar. It would like to use the Jerusalem issue to solidify this pan-Islamic unity and fuel tensions on the border with Israel. That Jordan and the Palestinians are seeking leadership from Ankara, as opposed to Riyadh, is not encouraging for Israel. This is especially true given the Turkish president’s comments calling Israel a “terror state.” This could leave Riyadh more isolated unless it can achieve some kind of success, either in Yemen or elsewhere. Contents TURKEY’S TANTRUM Editorial Washington Times, December 13, 2017 The ability to respond smartly to controversy is a measure of responsible leadership. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan just flunked a test. The Turkish president-cum-caliph with a tart tongue has flown off the handle over the U.S. foreign policy turn toward Israel, demonstrating why he is an unreliable ally. Eliminating common ground undermines the basis for friendship. President Trump’s announcement that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem, endorsed by a succession of presidents of both parties and long delayed, was treated like poison in the Islamic capitals, where poison abounds. Better than that would have once been expected from Istanbul. No one should have been surprised that Mr. Trump delivered on the promise made by several presidents. The decision was classic Trump, somewhere between fearless and oblivious. And it is classic retribution that an ally of the Turkish strongman has placed a reward of $800,000 on the heads of two U.S. diplomats who dared condemn the Erdogan retaliation against supposed organizers of a 2016 coup attempt. Mr. Erdogan reacted with venom in keeping with his full salute to the forces that have conducted the siege of Israel in their long war to establish an adjacent Palestinian state from which to dislodge the Jewish nation. “Palestine is an innocent victim,” Mr. Erdogan said in a speech the other day to his masses. “As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist. We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.” If diplomacy is war by other means, such harsh language is close to the real thing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned a volley: “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran get around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.” Mr. Netanyahu’s rhetoric is fact-based. Mr. Erdogan’s is not. The difference is between defending one’s homeland and invading another’s. Turkey lowers itself by joining in the Muslim me-too campaign that blames Israel’s mere existence for disturbing the peace that never was. Mr. Erdogan might at one time have felt emboldened by the winds of change sweeping the Middle East. Then, a tack toward Islamism could have looked promising on the strength of fellow Sunnis and their ascendant Islamic State. But times have changed. Visions of a new caliphate shattered with the destruction of the ISIS army. Mr. Erdogan’s ambition to reverse the secularization of Turkey is hardly a worthy one. Turkey has been a sometime partner of the Jewish state in moderating the excesses of other Muslim regimes, but Mr. Erdogan’s failure to make even a whisper of reason about Jerusalem as the Israeli capital betrays a full about-face. For a nation that once proudly proclaimed its NATO membership as proof of an irreversible commitment to Western values, Turkey is moving the wrong way. Turks deserve better. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals that 63 percent of respondents in Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia believe Turkey is playing a greater role in Middle East affairs than it did 10 years ago. With elevated influence comes greater responsibility. The nation that was a bridge between East and West should think twice about blowing up that bridge. Contents WHY DOES THE AVERAGE TURK LOVE ERDOĞAN? Burak Bekdil BESA, Dec. 10, 2017 Since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never lost an election, be it parliamentary, municipal, presidential, or a referendum. Countless theories, academic and otherwise, have tried to explain why he has remained unchallenged. Erdoğan’s opponents, Turkish and not, blame Erdoğan and his one-man rule for the visible Islamization of the once secular country. In their view, Erdoğan has taken a nation of 80 million souls hostage. That is not true. A quick glance at Turkey’s facts and figures should explain why. There are remarkable parallels between the political sociology of the average Turkish voter and Erdoğan’s Islamist worldview. It can be argued that Erdoğan is, in a way, what the average Turk sees when he looks in the mirror. It is true that Erdoğan has won millions of votes through his impressive “mega projects,” including a huge mosque on an Istanbul hill; a third airport (one of the world’s biggest) for the city; roads, highways, and bridges elsewhere on Anatolian land; a third bridge over the Bosphorus; generous social transfers; and persistent economic growth (though Turkey looks more like a consumption-construction economy). But one must also consider the sociological profile of the voters. The number of families receiving free coal from Erdoğan’s governments rose from 1.1 million in 2003 to 2.15 million in 2014. Is this good news or bad? The rapid rise in the number of poor families means poverty was spreading, which suggests that millions should be unhappy about Erdoğan’s governance. Apparently it works the other way around: Turks are happy because they receive free coal to heat their homes. Turks seem to care more about free coal and other social transfers than about the embarrassing democratic credentials of their country. Turkey ranks 155th out of 180 countries surveyed on the Global Press Freedom Index. Nearly 200 journalists are in jail and more than 120 on the run abroad – but 60% of Turks say they believe media censorship can be legitimate. They do not much care about domestic tranquility, either. Turkey ranks 146th on the Global Peace Index. There are an average of 5.6 murders per day in the country, and that number excludes terror attacks. There are an average of 18 physical attacks on individuals per day. According to a 2014 survey, 11.3% of Turks do not view ISIS as a terrorist organization. But in the past couple of years alone, ISIS has killed 304 people in 14 major attacks inside Turkey. Of course, death does not always come via machine guns or bombs. In the 10 years leading up to 2016, more than 43,000 Turks lost their lives in fatal road accidents. The Turks have been living under emergency rule since July 2016, when a group of military officers staged an unsuccessful coup d’état against Erdoğan’s government. More than 50,000 people have been imprisoned since then, and 150,000 public employees have been removed from their positions. In the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup, the purge within Turkish academia was limited to 120 scholars – but more than 5,000 scholars were purged following the failed putsch of 2016. A top judge recently revealed that a total of 6.9 million Turks, or nearly 9% of the entire population, are under some kind of legal investigation. Let’s consider education. In Turkey, the average schooling period is a mere 6.51 years. In the age group 18-24, only 26.6% of male Turks and 18.9% of female Turks attend a school. The August 2017 OECD Regional Well-Being Index showed that Turkey came dead last out of 362 in the education area, and only 16% of Turks over the age of 18 are university graduates. The number of Turkish students studying to become imams, however, rose from a mere 60,000 in 2002 to 1.2 million in 2014. But who is your average Turk, sociologically speaking? Seventy-four percent of Turks identify themselves as people who perform “all duties” of Islam. Ninety-four percent say they have never had holidays abroad, and 70% say they have never participated in any cultural or arts events. Seventy-four percent identify as either conservative or religiously conservative – which, among other reasons, explains Erdoğan’s popularity, especially among conservative Turks. It makes mathematical sense that Erdoğan, who does not hide his hatred of alcohol consumption for religious reasons, is popular in a country where 79% say they never consume alcohol (per capita alcohol consumption in Turkey is as low as 1.5 liters, compared, for example, to 12 liters in Austria). And Turks are poor. Boasting barely $10,000 per capita income, the country has 92% of its population living on incomes between $180 and $1,280 per month – with 56% earning between $180 and $510 per month. But despite the country’s failings, happiness seems to be a Turkish word. In a 2015 survey, 56.6% of Turks said they were happy. In 2016, after thousands of terror victims, a near civil war, arbitrary rule by decree, poverty, tens of thousands of new prisoners, murder, attacks, and thousands of deaths by road accident, that number rose to 61.3%. The Turks believe they have a wonderful leader who makes their country great again. Don’t disturb their conservative peace. Contents TRUMP, JERUSALEM, ARABS, MUSLIMS Dr. Mordechai Kedar Arutz Sheva, Dec. 14, 2017 Trump's declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city aroused, unsurprisingly, a massive wave of opposition in the Arab and Islamic world for two main reasons – one religious and one nationalist. The religious reason is rooted in Islam's conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end, inheriting all that was once Jewish or Christian: Land, places of worship and people. In Islam's worldview, Falestin in its entirely belongs to Muslims alone because both Jews and Christians betrayed Allah when they refused to become followers of His prophet Mohammed, the punishment for that being expulsion from their land and the forfeiture of all rights to it. Throughout the history of Islam, Muslims turned churches into mosques, including: The Great Mosque of Ramle, the Beni Omaya Mosque in Damascus, the Hagia Sofia of Istanbul, and many Spanish churches. The reason for this is the belief that Christianity, like Judaism, was nullified by Islam, making churches unnecessary. The prophets revered by these obsolete religions are Muslims, according to Islamic tenets. That list includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and others – all of them Muslims. And, according to Islam, Solomon built a mosque, not a Temple, in Jerusalem. The fifteen hundred year gap between the reign of King Solomon and the birth of Islam is of no import to true believers. Jews and Christians can be protected under Muslim rule by being subservient to Islam in what is known as dhimmi status, deprived of the right to own land, bear arms and, naturally, not allowed to harm Muslims. Dhimmis are forced to pay a head tax (jyzia) and are to be kept in a downtrodden state, as is the Quran mandates. In Islam's view, Jews are not a nation but a collection of communities to be found in various countries: A Jew in Poland is a "Pole of the Mosaic religion" and a Jew in Morocco is a "Moroccan Arab of the Mosaic religion." Suddenly, towards the end of the 19th century, it all changed. Jews began coming to Falestin in ever increasing numbers and the Zionists invented a new nation, the "Jewish People" and decided that the land holy to Islam is their homeland and known as Eretz Yisrael. They built communities and a protective fighting force even though, as Jews, they were not supposed to be allowed to bear arms. In 1948, the Jews actually declared a state, although they were not allowed sovereignty either, and in 1967, they "conquered" Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. They now attempt to pray on the Temple Mount, making it a distinct possibility that Judaism has returned to being an active, live and even dynamic religion. This brings the very raison d'etre of Islam into question, as, after all, Islam came into the world in order to make Judaism obsolete. Muslims loyal to their religion and aware of this danger cannot possibly accept the existence of a Jewish state, not even a tiny one on the Tel Aviv coast. To them, Israel as the state of the Jewish people is a theological threat to Islam and only later a nationalistic, political, judicial or territorial threat. Along comes Trump and authorizes Israel's existence by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, a double blow for Islam: Trump, a Christian, has granted recognition to the Jews!! This must be a Christo-Judaic plot against Islam, and it infuriates the Muslim world. Trump's Declaration reminds them (and also several Jews) of the Balfour Declaration exactly a century ago, concerning which the Arabs continue to accuse the world, saying: “You made the promises of non-owners to those who do not have the right to be given those promises.'' Accordingly, during the week following Trump's declaration, we have seen Muslims all over the world expressing their fury at the stamp of approval granted the Jewish State, despite its very existence being opposed to that of Islam. Leader and ordinary citizens, men and women, have been going out to the streets to demonstrate their inability to live with the fact that Trump, a Christian, has recognized the capital chosen by the Jewish nation and by extension, the right to their own land. The disturbances in Wadi Ara, in central Israel, were another manifestation of Muslim fury, as rioters attempted to block the main road and damaged a public bus. The location is not surprising, because the Wadi Ara area includes the city of Umm el Fahm, where the main concentration of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement headed by the infamous Raed Salah is to be found. The Northern Branch has been declared illegal along with some of the smaller organizations it fostered, resulting in its members having no lawful way to express their fury at the existence of the state of Israel, so that they attempt to act in the public, open space as individuals – without an organizational identity. Anyone with eyes in his head and an active brain knows and understands that the entire raison d'etre of the Palestinian nationalist movement is based on negating the Jewish people's right to its land and state. The Palestine Liberation Organization was established in 1964 when the only "occupied" areas were Tel Aviv and Haifa. Its mission was to destroy the State of Israel, a goal Arabs expressed openly at the end of the 1948 War of Independence. Despite what certain naïve people think, the PLO has never amended its Charter calling for the destruction of Israel and the Oslo Accords and the agreements with the PLO that followed in their wake were worth nothing These babes in the woods included Yossi Beilin, Shimon Peres, Yitschak Rabin, Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and a good many others, who, despite proofs of Arafat and his inheritor Mahmoud Abbas' treachery staring them in the face, continued to foster the illusion of peace in the hearts of war-weary Israelis. This put the country to sleep, allowing it to be hit with a fatal plague while still drunk on the perfume of the very temporary peace those true believers had achieved… [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.] Contents On Topic Links Erdogan and Abbas Bark About Jerusalem, But Their Threats Have No Bite: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Dec. 14, 2017—At the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Extraordinary Islamic Summit” Wednesday in Istanbul, many leaders from Arab and Muslim-majority countries spoke out harshly about the US administration’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Erdogan Invokes Islamic Text Sanctioning Killing Jews at Party Convention: John Rossomando, IPT, Dec. 12, 2017—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invoked a Muslim hadith commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist supporters to sanction killing Jews during a party convention Sunday. Reza Zarrab Reveals a Plot to Kill Him, and Is Accused of Rape: Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, Dec. 9, 2017—Reza Zarrab, the star prosecution witness in the trial of a Turkish banker charged in a billion-dollar scheme to violate United States sanctions on Iran, was in his seventh day of testimony in Manhattan this past week when he revealed what he called a jailhouse attempt to kill him. Turkey Ignores NATO Threats – Russian Air Defence System to be Delivered in 2019: David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 26, 2017—There had been talk about whether NATO will somehow punish Turkey for its purchase of the S-400 air defence system. NATO is worried its own air defence systems could be compromised or interoperability could be hindered. It has warned Turkey about the ramifications of such a purchase.