Many in the international community, including mainstream media outlets, have labeled Turkey's reaction to Israel's interception of a so-called "aid" flotilla to the Gaza Strip a few weeks ago as exaggerated. The latest news out of Turkey reveals that the criticism against Israel is also highly hypocritical.
Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Israel over the deaths of nine activists aboard one of the flotilla ships after they attacked the Israeli boarding party. He accused Israel of crimes against humanity, and has led the international charge for an investigation and sanctions against the Jewish state. Erdogan's government has decided to downgrade relations with Israel over the incident.
Since the flotilla raid, Turkey has engaged in its own "war on terror" with little or no attention from the international community, and certainly no calls for independent commissions of inquiry.
On the same day as the flotilla raid, Kurdish rebels attacked a Turkish naval base, killing 12 soldiers. Last week, Erdogan's government responded with air strikes on Kurdish positions in northern Iraq that killed 120 people, including a 7-year-old girl.
There were no condemnations of Turkey for using "disproportionate" force, and no UN Security Council meetings regarding the latest flare-up of a 26-year conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.
Some 30 million Kurds live in adjoining portions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Together, these areas make up Kurdistan, the ancient homeland of the Kurdish people, a distinct ethnic group without a country of their own.
For decades, Turkey has oppressed its Kurdish minority of 14 million people by forbidding the use of the Kurdish language and other symbols of national identity in state schools and government institutions. A Kurdish parliamentarian, Layla Zana, was expelled from parliament in 1994 and imprisoned a year later for daring to utter a single sentence in Kurdish from the podium.
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