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Other translations from the Turkish opposition press on Israel’s offensive against Gaza

Other sample press translations from Turkish to English

The following article appeared in Evrensel on 13 February 2024. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

Original article:

What are our “Gaza Conquerors” doing?

Yusuf Karadaş

In the unrelenting occupation and massacres it is imposing on Gaza, Israel is preparing a “ground operation” against Rafah in the south of Gaza, the final refuge for some one and a half million Palestinians. While on the one hand Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a “peace treaty” with Israel at Camp David in 1979, is increasing its military build-up on the border to prevent crossings from Rafah, it is on the other hand warning that such an attack will spell the end of this treaty. Saudi Arabia has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council in view of Israel’s planned ground assault on Rafah. Even self-confessed Zionist Biden, so far the biggest supporter of Israeli aggression, is trying to halt Netanyahu who has proclaimed a “ground operation” against Rafah, unable to fathom its consequences for his own regional policies.

It was neither the Erdoğan regime, which has in a spirit of Ottomanism and pan-Islamism declared Gaza to be “native soil”, nor an Arab Gulf state that has brought proceedings before the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s crime of genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza and turned these crimes into a burning issue worldwide. It was the Republic of South Africa, renowned for its anti-racist struggle, that has filed an international case against Israel’s war and genocidal crimes and has displayed the most exemplary solidarity with Palestine despite the vast majority of its population being Christian.

Well, what until now apart from rhetoric have Erdoğan, who at the rally he held on 28 October declared a “holy“ war with the words, ”We are rising up for Gaza“, and his partner Bahçeli, who in the same period proclaimed, “I’ll be disgraced if I don’t strive to shield the children in Gaza” whom he called “an ancestral legacy”, done for Gaza or Palestine?

While spouting Ottomanist and pan-Islamist propaganda onstage as an adjunct to rising popular outrage at Israel’s massacres, offstage they have no compunctions over sustaining trade relations even in a period of onslaught and occupation. From MNG to Kolin and Limak to IÇDAS, the monopolies that have thrown in their lot with the regime have shown who they are really friends with by maintaining logistic support for Israel.

The reply proffered by the Ministry of Trade to claims that trade relations with Israel have thrived in a period of onslaught and occupation has amounted to a confession that these filthy and bloody trade relations are actually continuing. Leaving to one side the reliability of the announced figures, the Ministry of Trade says trade with Israel, having amounted to 2.32 billion dollars between 7 October-31 December in 2022, fell by 45 per cent to 1.28 billion dollars in the same period in 2023. These figures alone suffice for the realization and to reveal that, even while Erdoğan proclaims himself to be the “Prime defender of the Palestinian cause” as he tells the crowds, “Erdoğan is saying this because Turkey is not indebted to you”, he has not dared cut off relations with Israel along with the other regional regimes that collaborate with the US.

Erdoğan, on a visit to the UAE today, will go to Cairo tomorrow to meet Egyptian leader Sisi. Expected to meet with UAE leader Al Nahyan today, Erdoğan is known to have made visit after visit by way of apology to repair relations with the UAE, which he had previously branded the financer of the coup attempt. Tomorrow in Cairo, Erdoğan will visit Sisi, whom he had stated, “I will never hold discussions with” for having exploited the reaction of the Egyptian people to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Morsi to seize power in a coup. To enable him to realign his position in accordance with regional developments, Erdoğan is seeking reconciliation with regimes he had yesterday called “hostile”.

As such, the political situation that events since 7 October have brought to sight also lays bare claims that Turkey is the “leading country” in the region and the Erdoğan regime is a “play-making power”. US Secretary of State Blinken, who has visited regional countries five times since 7 October to resolve the Israel-Palestine problem on the basis of US regional interests, has only come to Turkey twice. And on these visits, meeting with Foreign Minister Fidan as well as Erdoğan, Fidan’s priority was Turkey’s ratification of Swedish NATO membership and the sale to Turkey of forty F-16 planes in return, not the Gaza issue. Given the US has got what it wants in this regard, Blinken’s most recent visit to the region did not take in Ankara. So, despite Erdoğan’s efforts to create a contrary impression, the US does not consider it worth consulting the Erdoğan regime on the Palestine problem.

On the other hand, the Erdoğan regime, whose position in terms of international law on the Kurdish problem does not differ greatly from Israel’s with its attacks and occupations, even if the violence and extent of the attacks differ, is following a policy of forbearance regarding all these things, feeling itself obliged to negotiate and cooperate with US imperialism to further its regional expansionist aspirations. Those who claim otherwise need to reply to the question of why the Erdoğan regime is trying to exploit the purchase of forty F-16 planes for 23 million dollars to create a “spring atmosphere” with the US as the Palestinians are threatened with a monumental assault at Rafah.

Those who advocate for similar policies against the Kurds while raising their voices against Israel’s aggression towards the Palestinian people can neither be the friends of the Palestinian or other oppressed peoples, nor stand up to the imperialists. Hence, so as to step up solidarity with the Palestinian people and enable the promotion of equal rights and peace for the oppressed peoples of the region, the reactions being expressed against Israel’s occupation and massacres must be combined with the struggle against the collaborative regional reactionaries and imperialists.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton