Posted by: Morton A. Klein
June 7, 2010
News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Washington Post, Former Deputy National Security Advisor Abrams, Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick, New York Post’s Ralph Peters, Fmr. Israeli Ambassador Mazel Join ZOA Call For Investigation Of Turkey Over Gaza Flotilla

 


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Washington Post, former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams, Jerusalem Post Managing Editor, Caroline Glick, New York Post columnist Ralph Peters and former Israeli ambassador and Fellow at former Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold’s Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Zvi Mazel, have all joined ZOA’s call for an investigation of Turkey for its role in the Gaza flotilla, one ship of which violently resisted Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza and attacked the Israeli inspection group, leading to bloodshed. Hamas is on the U.S. and European Union terrorist lists and is committed in its Charter to Israel’s destruction (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7).


 


The Israeli blockade of Gaza and Israeli inspections of ships heading to Gaza are designed to prevent the flow of Iranian and other weaponry to the Hamas terrorist group that controls Gaza, while permitting all food, medicines and clothing to enter by truck from Israel itself. Hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid enter Gaza every week from Israel.


 


The ZOA already stated on June 1 that “Turkey should be investigated for aiding and abetting a violent maritime operation and attempted smuggling of weaponry against Israel, a country with whom it is formally at peace.” The ZOA has argued that such an investigation is necessary because it is in Turkey that the Islamist, terrorist-supporting organization assisting the flotilla, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi – IHH), is based; it is from Turkey that the flotilla set sail; the ship which defied Israeli inspection flew the Turkish flag; and it is Turkey which permitted the ship to sail, knowing it intended to violate the lawful Israeli blockade.


 


U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling for a complete and full investigation of the links between the Turkish-based organization behind the flotilla and Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Senator Schumer has asked Secretary Clinton to “immediately conduct an investigation to determine if the IHH is currently – or has in the past – provided financial, logistical or material support to any terrorist organizations listed on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) … Based on statements from U.S. State Department officials, IHH representatives have met with senior Hamas officials in Turkey, Syria, and Gaza over the past three years and international media reports have also referenced IHH’s “clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad”


 


The Washington Post editorialized, “the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan … has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO. On the opposite page today, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the “European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor” who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The relationship between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the “Union of Good,” a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the “humanitarian” supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization. Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. “All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year … The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history,” Mr. Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year’s fraudulent elections, but he called Israel’s actions “state terrorism” and a “bloody massacre” and described Israel itself as an “adolescent, rootless state.” His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that “this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey” — an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed. Mr. Erdogan’s crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil’s president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions. What’s remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan’s behavior be without cost?” (‘Turkey’s Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco,’ Washington Post, June 5, 2010).


 


Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams, interviewed on CNN by Fareed Zakaria, said of the Turkish role in the Gaza flotilla incident, “Israel interfered, thank God, this week with a group of armed Turks who came prepared for a fight with iron bars, night vision devices, ceramic vests, despite what, frankly, are the lies that the Turkish foreign minister told on this show today. Why is it that only Turks out of the 32 nationalities got hurt? It is because only Turks were involved in the violence. If there is to be an international investigation, it needs to start where the ships started, in Turkey. We need to know what the Turkish government did in helping this armed group of men hijack what was supposed to be a humanitarian effort” (‘Interview With Tony Blair; Interview With Turkish Foreign Minister,’ June 6, 2010).


 


Also, in the course of an article detailing several instances in which the Obama Administration has failed to stand up for Israel against it enemies within the United Nations, Abrams observed that the Israelis “understand that no one is going to investigate Turkey and its role, nor investigate the pro-terror groups on board those ships—not if the United States fails to insist on it” (‘Joining the Jackals,’ Weekly Standard, June 2, 2010).


 


Jerusalem Post Managing Editor Caroline Glick has written, “[Israel’s] representatives at the UN should demand an investigation into Turkey’s illegal sponsorship of the pro-Hamas flotilla. They should raise such protests in every UN forum and continue to protest until they are thrown out of the meetings, and then return the next day to relaunch their protests. The Justice Ministry should issue international arrest warrants against the flotilla’s organizers and participants and prepare indictments against them for trial in Israeli courts. Israel’s embassies throughout the world should call for their host governments to outlaw organizations involved in the Gaza flotilla movement … it is time for Israel to launch a counter-offensive. Its representatives at the UN should demand an investigation into Turkey’s illegal sponsorship of the pro-Hamas flotilla. They should raise such protests in every UN forum and continue to protest until they are thrown out of the meetings, and then return the next day to relaunch their protests. The Justice Ministry should issue international arrest warrants against the flotilla’s organizers and participants and prepare indictments against them for trial in Israeli courts. Israel’s embassies throughout the world should call for their host governments to outlaw organizations involved in the Gaza flotilla movement. The Justice Ministry should issue international arrest warrants against the flotilla’s organizers and participants and prepare indictments against them for trial in Israeli courts. Israel’s embassies throughout the world should call for their host governments to outlaw organizations involved in the Gaza flotilla movement. No, these Israeli efforts will not change anyone’s vote in any UN forum. But they will place these wholly corrupt institutions on the defensive. For decades Israel has taken for granted that the UN is hopelessly hostile, and left things at that. Israel’s willingness to declare defeat has emboldened UN officials. By putting them on the defensive, Israel will force them to devote time to staving off Israeli attacks and so have less time available for initiating new assaults against Israel” (‘Israel’s daunting task,’ Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2010).


 


New York Post columnist, Ralph Peters has written, “Nobody’s asked for a study of Turkish involvement. But if the National Security Council won’t do it, I will. In underwriting a terrorist-linked Turkish NGO’s mission to Gaza, the Turks had a strategic goal and a domestic goal” of making a bid for Muslim world leadership by championing the Palestinian cause and a domestic one creating a diplomatic incident that would permit him to cancel upcoming Israeli-Turkish military exercises (‘DC’s Turkish denial,’ New York Post, June 3, 2010).


 


Former Israeli ambassador and Fellow at former Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold’s Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Zvi Mazel, also wrote in the Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot, “The so-called “peace flotilla” episode raises many questions, and most of them have to do with the role of Turkey … But nobody knows exactly what went on in Turkey – how the operation was planned and what part the Turkish government played in its implementation … The latest incident began several months ago. IHH, a militant Turkish organization, announced its intention, together with a number of Islamic groups and far Left European organizations in the so-called “free Gaza movement”, to send several vessels carrying “humanitarian supplies” to breach the blockade and embarrass Israel. Israel immediately contacted the Turkish government, since the operation was planned from that country, to direct the ships to the Israeli port of Ashdod where the “humanitarian supplies” could be unloaded and transferred to Gaza. It reminded the Turks of the fact that dozens and sometimes hundreds of trucks cross daily from Israel into Gaza carrying essential supplies and medicine. Foreign visitors to Gaza have been able to see by themselves that the shelves are well stocked. Turkey refused to act … All involved in the flotilla repeated that theirs was a peaceful enterprise and that they would only offer passive resistance … It must be noted that according to reports in the Turkish press, some terrorists had declared before setting out that they intended to become “martyrs”, that is, suicide bombers. Two of them – who did find their death on the Marmara – even filmed a video clip according the well known tradition of Islamist extremists. The mother of one of them admitted it freely on Turkish television. … Let us now turn to Turkey. There is indeed an urgent need to set up an international commission of inquiry under the auspices of the United Nations to determine what exactly the role of Turkey was in planning and facilitating the event. IHH is an extremist Islamist organization created in 1992; according to the CIA it is a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaeda and to Hamas which has been involved in several terror attacks. This is confirmed by Jean Louis Bruguiere, a former French investigative judge and an antiterrorism expert at the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Union and the United Nations (UNODC). During a search carried out in 1997 in the movement’s headquarters in Turkey, munitions and incriminating documents were found. In recent years, IHH has reinforced its links to Hamas; it has financed the rebuilding of the port of Gaza and has bought two ships – including the “Marmara” to fight the blockade. It was obvious that what the organization had in mind was not a humanitarian mission but the breaking of the blockade. The international commission of inquiry will therefore have to investigate why Turkey let the organization operate openly on its soil and why it did not arrest its leaders. It will have to check the nature of the relationship between the Turkish government and IHH, especially while that organization was reinforcing its links with Hamas. It will have to clarify what Turkey did to assist IHH in planning and carrying out the operation in recent months. Also to be scrutinized is the way IHH secured its funding. Was the Turkish government one of the contributors? Another question is how the Turkish government let armed trained terrorists go unchecked on board the “Marmara” with thousands of dollars in their pockets. It appears that the Turkish government was involved in criminal activities in violation not only of international law but also of Turkish law. A thorough investigation is needed and only the UN can carry it out. Then, and only then, will the world be fully aware of the role played by Turkey” (‘UN must investigate Turkey,’ Yediot Ahronot, June 4, 2010).