The leader of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, was given the floor at the United Nations in September 2019.
The brutal ruler who denies the Ottoman genocide of the Armenian people which killed over one million people, even while he accuses Israel of genocide for defending itself against Palestinian Arab terrorist resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Arabs, used the global platform to once again christen the halls of hate with a harangue of hypocrisy and hubris.
Erdogan took turns slamming various countries in the region. He dressed down competing Islamic countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia for their violations of human rights and democracy but did not blink in a moment of self-reflection at his own government’s incitement of terror in Israel and jailing of journalists in Turkey. He lambasted Saudi Arabia’s participation in the war in Yemen at its borders, and then showed the world how he planned on invading Syria to clear out thousands of Kurds to make room for millions of Muslims who had fled Syria to Turkey. A torrent of hypocrisy so full and rich, it left a moustache on his brow.
At 22:13 of his remarks, he pivoted to Israel, a long time favourite target, on par with the Kurdish people, both of whom he feels deserve no rights or lands. He pulled out a map of the region in an effort to portray Israel as gobbling up Arab land. “Where was Israel in 1947?” he asked the audience.
Where was Palestine from 1517 to 1917 one might wonder? It was part of the Ottoman Empire, his country’s empire. It stretched out from Constantinople (what the Turk’s call Istanbul today) to cover much of the region and was pared back after World War I, allowing countries like Greece, Lebanon, Syria – and yes, Israel – to emerge. Erdogan’s predecessors made no attempt to promote an independent locally-governed Arab country. No matter. His country’s failings and atrocities cannot be acknowledged.
Seemingly bored with his own hypocrisy, Erdogan pivoted his talk towards a mix of Jew-hatred and Fake History. He pointed to a map and claimed that “Palestine” (represented in green) in 1947 was everywhere where Arabs were a majority or where there were no people living at all. Places where Jews consisted of a majority were shown in specs of white, and said “there is seemingly no Israeli presence on these lands.” This is an echo of the antisemitic screed that only Arabs have ever been Palestinian, while in fact Jews, Christians and others also referred to themselves as Palestinian. The Palestinian Liberation Organization charter of 1964 created the new definition that only Arabs were Palestinian and connected to the land. Erdogan extended that foolishness by saying that any neighborhood which was majority Jewish was “Israeli.” Does he similarly think that current Jewish neighborhoods in Istanbul are “Israeli?” Heaven help those poor remaining Jews in Erdogan’s racist Turkey.
“The year 1947 the Distribution [Partition] Plan takes place, gets ratified, Palestinian lands start shrinking and Israel starts expanding. And from 1947 to 1967 Israel is still expanding; Palestine is still shrinking.”
Left out from Erdogan’s remarks was that the entire Muslim world rejected the Partition Plan. Ignored facts include that five Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948 to destroy it completely, but the Arabs lost and Israel took over more land in its defensive war. Omitted from his history lesson was that the remaining “Arab” lands were taken over by Egypt (Gaza) and Jordan which annexed the West Bank. Palestine was not just “shrinking,” it ceased to exist in any form.
If Erdogan really feels that international law is paramount and that Jews are the same as Israel, then why not acknowledge the international law of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, which called for “reconstituting their national home” of Jews in Palestine in the 1922 Mandate of Palestine. That law was for the ENTIRETY of the land he highlighted in his map – all of the green and all of the white areas – for Jewish settlement. And for Erdogan Jews equals Israel, ergo all of the land is Israel.
Erdogan was far from done. At 24:45 he went after Judaism’s holiest city, its capital in Jerusalem:
“The current Israeli government and the administration right next to these murders and atrocities is busy with intervening and attacking the historical legal status of Jerusalem and holy sacred lands and artifacts. As Turkey we have a very clear stance on this issue. The immediate establishment of an independent Palestinian State with homogenous territories on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital is the only solution. Any other peace plan other than this will never have a chance of being fair, just and it will never be implemented.”
Israel has been the only country to permit access and rights to people of all religions in Jerusalem. When Muslim Arabs ruled the city from 1949 to 1967, Jews were banned from entering or living in the city. The Ottoman Empire forbade Jews from even climbing all of the steps of Judaism’s second holiest location, the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron.
But beyond Erdogan’s fake history and selective memory is his long-standing love affair with hypocrisy.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and took over the northern half of the island-country. In the war, Turkey seized half of the capital city of Nicosia, in a move condemned by the United Nations and the world. To this day, Turkey continues to claim its rights to the seized lands including half of the capital, in a long-simmering dispute. Yet the world’s admonition of Turkey’s actions does not seem to bother Erdogan, even as he claims lands which were seized in an offensive war which were never deemed part of Turkey. Quite a bit of hypocrisy, relative to Erdogan’s stance on Israel’s reclaiming Judaism’s holiest city in a defensive war.
September at the United Nations is the hajj of hypocrisy, where Islamic tyrants and dictators lecture the world about rights and laws which they trample upon with abandon. Recep Erdogan has long been the hajj’s mascot.