Turkish flags in Palestine and Egypt: A new beginning

Turkish flags in Cairo and Gaza, and Palestinian flags in Istanbul and Ankara—things have come a full circle in about half a century. Turks and Palestinians are bound in blood, and the machinations of Lawrence of Arabia and the secularism of Kamal Pasha are now being overrun by events off the coast of Gaza City.

Iran was the most popular country in Palestine. President Ahmedinijad’s principled stand on Palestine has touched the hearts of Palestinians. Now another flag has fast becoming very popular in Palestine and Egypt—it is the red flag emblazoned with the white Crescent Star. The original Egyptian flag was a modified Turkish flag similar to the current Pakistani flag. The Egyptian flag was changed by Gamal Abdul Nasser and is today a non-descript tri-color with the Egyptian bird on it.

Blood is thicker than water, and after trying to disassociate itself from it former province, the Turks have once again come to the realization that Palestine lives in the heart of Turks and Turks live in the hearts of Arabs.

The flotilla trying to barge the Israeli embargo didn’t just happen. It materialized because of the hard work of Gul and Erdzogan. While 20 people were brutally murdered by the henchmen of Natenyahu, the ships were able to punch a hole in the brutal incarceration. While a new Irish ship sails with humanitarian supplies to the biggest jail in the world—Cairo is exploding with protest.

Turkey’s exponentially increasing diplomatic clout is definitely due to the opportunity of its location – for centuries a crossroads of trade routes between East and West, and for hundreds of years a symbiosis of Europe and Asia, for millennia an overlap of the Middle East and Central Asia—an extravaganza for people, ideas, trade, and now energy routes.

After decades of unbridled expanding economic growth, Turkey is being described the “new tiger of Europe. It underscores a sense of dynamism and confidence…. They are looking beyond the region.” Hampson

President Abdullah Gul traveled to Pakistan with billions of Dollars in cash, and set up plans to link up Islamabad to Istanbul by rail via Tehran. On a seminal voyage to Cameroon and Congo, he again took with him an entourage of some over a hundred businessmen increasing trade from $1.5 billion in 2001 to more than $10 billion last year.

Turkish Israeli relations are at an all time low. Defense relations are at a breaking point and economic relations are not improving.

In 1948 Turkey was the first country to recognize Israel, mostly as a reaction to the events of  1916-1922 at the demise of the Ottoman empire. 500,000 Arab soldiers had defected from the Ottoman Armies and sided with the revolt initiated by the British agent T. E. Lawrence “Lawrence of Arabia” circa 1916-1918.

The last Caliphs of the Ottomans had been offered a large sum of money and chance to continue this caliphate if they sold a Palestine to the Jews. The Caliphs refused and suffered the consequences.

The Ottoman Empire was broken up in 1918 and its parts parsed out to the European powers. Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Bosnian, Serbian were thrown to the wolves and suffered unimaginable atrocities at the hands of their enemies. They faced the worst type of ethnic cleansing in the Caucus–Chechnya, Tartaristan, and Dagistan which are now Russian autonomous republics have faced genocide since the Red October revolution of 1917. Stalin murdered 10 million Muslims and forcibly deported all the fierce Tartars to Siberia. Most died, but some found their way back. The Central Asian provinces of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan were handed over to the Soviets who tried to eliminate Islam fro these states.

After the Ottoman defeat The Turks went through a civil war. Some wanted to keep the Caliphate, others wanted to become part of Europe. Kemal Pasha’s forces supported by the European powers overpowered the popular Anwar Pasha who wanted to keep the Ottoman Caliphate. At the time the Europeans had promised Turkey that they would become part of Europe. However stirred of all her European possessions, Turkey has a rump presence in Europe.

Egypt – Tens of thousands of people across Egypt protested against Israel’s Gaza blockade on Friday, chanting pro-Hamas slogans in a sign of mounting rancour in the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state.

About 20,000 protesters gathered in the port city of Alexandria, waving Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian flags in response to Israel’s raid on an aid ship bound for Gaza.

The protest, organized by Egypt’s most powerful opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was unusual in a country where public demonstrations are often swiftly suppressed.

“Hamas, Hamas, you are the artillery and we are the bullets,” the protestors chanted, urging the Islamist group which rules Gaza to confront Israel.

About 10,000 people took part in a separate demonstration organized by the Brotherhood in Fayoum, a city south of Cairo, one of the rally’s planners said. A protest in the northern Sinai peninsula city of el-Arish drew hundreds more. Reuters.

The impotence of the pretenders in Cairo have been shamed by the common man into lifting the inhuman isolation of Gaza. Egyptian are up in arms and hopeful of the future, not because of Hasni Mubarak and his cabal—but because of the progeny of the Ottomans who still think of them as brothers. Palestinians now wish that the Ottoman Empire had been there to protect them from the ravages of the British Mandate, and the half a century of Israeli occupation.

The protestors carrying Turkish flags told the world that they prefer resolute rulers of Turkey to spineless corrupt presidents of Egypt.

  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Santiago, Chile, that his government was demanding the NATO council gather to address a crisis that has already seen Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Canada and Washington where he had been due to meet with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
  • Appathurai said in a statement that the military alliance is “deeply concerned about the loss of life” in international waters, with at least nine people — many Turks according to reports — killed and dozens more reported wounded.
  • “NATO does not really have instruments with which to deal with the follow-up from this type of affair,” said a diplomat.
  • “Turkey has not invoked article five which envisages all allies coming to the aid of a member country that is the victim of an attack.
  • “But, given that numerous Turkish citizens appear to figure among the casualties, it is understandable that (Ankara) triggers political dialogue with its partners,” the diplomat added.

Israel sparked global outrage when its military killed nine Turkish activists during the Monday raid. Relations with Turkey have plunged to their lowest ebb since the two countries forged a strategic relationship in the 1990s.

Turkey‘s diplomatic confrontation with the Jewish state has since boosted its popularity among Arabs who long to see their own governments show similar resolve.

“Turkey, a thousand salutations. Long live Erdogan and long live the Turkish people,” the protestors chanted in Alexandria, referring to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

This week Egypt, which made peace with Israel in 1979, opened its Rafah border to allow aid convoys into the coastal strip — a move widely seen as an attempt to deflect criticism of its role in the blockade.

Cairo, coordinating with Israel, has allowed only limited crossing of the border since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

A permanent opening would be a boost for Islamist Hamas, which shares roots with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and a blow to efforts by Israel and its Western allies to cripple them.

The Brotherhood is officially banned but tolerated by the Egyptian government. Its members, running as independents, hold a fifth of seats in the lower house of Egypt’s parliament. Reuters. (Additional reporting by Yusri Mohamed in el-Arish; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz in Cairo; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

For a century the Turks were lured with the promise of Europe. Now, for the past decade the Turks know that the ephemeral illusion of Europe was simply a mirage. Turkey has now turned its attention to the East and is looking at building relations with the Turkic states with which it shares linguistic, ethnic and religious ties.

Another impetus might be Turkey’s repeatedly rebuffed attempts to join the European Union, says Fen Osler Hampson, an international affairs specialist at Carleton University in Ottawa. “It’s a way to show the public there are other things this government can do to stand tall,” says Mr. Hampson.

The decline of Ankara’s relations with Tel Aviv are linked to the revival of Turkish nationalism. Muslims all over the world have been waiting for the Turks to lead the Muslims and revive their past glory. The flotilla is but a beginning. Pakistan has educated about 30% to 40% of Palestinians, and the Pakistanis have protested against Israeli aggression. “Aik he suff main kharay ho gayeh Mahmud aur Ayaz”.

“Neel keh sahil seh ta ba khak e Kashgar—aik ho muslim haram kee pasabni keh leyeh”

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