Turkish PM May Visit Gaza on Route to Egypt
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan advanced this week on Tuesday the idea of trying to arrange a visit to Gaza Strip, a move that would put Israel in a very serious spot, considering that relations between Turkey and Israel are already very tense.
Erdogan’s visit would bring to Gaza the highest international leader, and Israel feels that this would give Hamas some international recognition, which it has been attempting to prevent for years, since 2006, when the group, considered by Israel a terrorist organization won the parliamentary elections.
Since then Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, whose declared purpose was preventing the new authorities from smuggling weapons into the region.
In the back of their mind, though, it is possible that those who made that decision had thought that as the blockade went on, the shortages would make the people of Gaza turn away from Hamas.
The result however was reversed, and brought the people and the leadership together in the struggle to survive the embargo.
Now, Turkish Prime Minister wants to take a trip to Egypt and plans to stop in Gaza before arriving in Cairo.
Turkey is a major player in the Middle East region, especially now that the Arab states are collapsing both in the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa.
As a Muslim state who once was the Caliphate of all faithful of Allah, and at the same time as a secular state that shares the Western values, Turkey is one the most influent states in the Muslim world, and that was plenty apparent in the case of Libya, where the Turkish proposition was the one who won, when the decisions were made as to how to proceed further in the African state.
Experts in foreign policies in the Middle East deem Erdogan’s bold stance on visiting Egypt and Gaza as part of a game of dominance in the Muslim world, played by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, who take advantage of the Arab Spring to make sure they become the undisputed leaders of this vast and resources-rich region of the globe.
Turkish government had poor ties with the regime of Hosni Mubarak, who had played a very pro-Western card, and entertained a relation to Israel that led it to participate in the blockade on Gaza and other decisions that made Mubarak so little respected in the Muslim world.
Now, Turkish PM is taking a trip to Cairo to discuss the matters with the new leadership, a provisional one, which stands a month before the programmed elections in September, when power will be transferred back to the people, and a very important role will be played by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic party.
The spokesman for Israeli Foreign Ministry was very cautious not to criticize Turkey, saying that the entire decision to let Erdogan pass into Gaza belonged to Egypt, which has a common border to the province under blockade.
However, the foreign ministry warned against legitimizing Hamas, and said that that depends upon who the Turkish PM would meet there, if he gets there.
Turkish Foreign Ministry said that no date of the visit was set given that Egypt is still jolted by popular unrest, while the Egyptian spokesperson for the foreign ministry said the details could not be set yet, since the ministry has no minister, as a result of the resignation of the former Egyptian minister of foreign affairs.
The announcement made by Erdogan comes at a time when the Israeli Navy stopped, without incident, the only vessel of an entire flotilla that wanted to breach the blockade imposed on Gaza, a blockade deemed last week by the Turkisk PM, who demanded Israel an official apology and compensation for what happened on Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010, as illegal.