The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

The Terrible Turk

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By Philip Giraldi
The Passionate Attachment
June 7, 2012

A Turkish court’s decision last week to press ahead with the criminal prosecution of four former senior Israeli military officers should be welcomed by everyone who agrees that some accountability is long overdue in response to the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) well-documented history of extreme brutality. Turkey has notified the Israeli government’s Justice Ministry of the charges of having “killed monstrously and tortured.” It has also informed Tel Aviv that the four men will be expected to appear in court when the trial begins on October 6th. The Istanbul court is prepared to produce a reported 490 witnesses to the Israeli attack on the Turkish owned and manned ferry Mavi Marmara, which was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza to deliver relief supplies. Nine unarmed Turks were killed when Israeli commandoes boarded the vessel in international waters. Turkey has demanded a full apology plus compensation and, with the court action, is making clear that it will not let the issue go away. Israel has refused to apologize and has agreed to only limited compensation.

If the Israelis do not appear for trial (the Netanyahu government has instructed them to refuse cooperation) an international arrest warrant will be issued which can be served in any country that the four men subsequently travel to, including the United States. One of the Israeli officers is Gabi Ashkenazi, former chief of staff for the IDF and another is Eliezer Marom, former commander of the Israeli navy.

It will be interesting to see how this latest development plays out in the US Congress. Back in 2010, numerous congressmen first blamed Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident and then threatened retaliation. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada, who has never hesitated to put Israeli interests first, turned the incident on its head by declaring that “Turkey is responsible for the nine deaths aboard that ship. It is not Israel that’s responsible. If Israel is at fault in any way, it’s by falling into the trap that was set for them by Turkey.”

But today, post-Arab spring, NATO member Turkey has a booming economy and is a major player in the Near East. Some might say Ankara is the essential United States ally in the region while Israel is being increasingly seen as both a strategic liability, a money pit, and a potential instigator of unnecessary armed conflict. Of course that equation will not necessarily influence either congress or the mainstream media but it is undeniable that Turkey is an important country while Israel is not. It will be interesting to see if for once realpolitik can triumph over AIPAC.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 7, 2012 at 6:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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