Turkey’s role becoming clearer

Greg Sheridan has provided an excellent article about Turkey’s role in the Gaza flotilla and what it has gained.  

While the fixation has been on Israel, Dr Aaron Lerner appropriately asks that Turkey also be put under the global microscope in his article: Observation: Israeli investigation should focus on gross failure of Turkish inspection of vessel

Dr. Aaron Lerner IMRA

 The world calls on Israel to investigate the events that lead to the loss of life when Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara.

And indeed it should.

And, in the interest of the “peace process”, this investigation should focus on a development that could have the most serious ramifications vis-à-vis the viability of various proposed future arrangements for a Palestinian state: the gross failure of Turkish inspectors to prevent the loading of massive quantities of weapons on the ship.

Here is what the Turks say:

“Customs officials at the Port of Antalya have denied Israeli claims that weapons were detected on a ship taking humanitarian aid to Gaza that took off from Antalya on Sunday.

Officials from the Customs Directorate said all passengers that boarded the Mavi Marmara ship were screened and that not a single passenger was in possession of any weapon. “Forty-two passengers boarded in Istanbul and 504 passengers got on the ship here. They were screened. We spotted no weapons and there is no such record in our logs. We did not notice anything suspicious about the Mavi Marmara. Had our officers had any suspicions, they would have reported it,” an official, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said. ”

We need to find out at what level the Turkish inspection broke down:

1. Was this simply a matter of inept inspectors at the scene?

2. Did the inspectors actually see the weapons but ignored them?

3. At what level in the Turkish chain of command – if any – were they aware that weapons were being loaded?

4. At what level in the Turkish chain of command was a decision made to ignore the weapons.

Again, this is not a matter of trying to gain debater’s points.

We have here a situation that the Turks solemnly assured us that there would be no weapons aboard and we relied on their information.

And it is an undeniable fact that this was not the case.

Any agreement to create a sovereign Palestinian state would be loaded with various security arrangements that rely on the efficacy of third parties such as Turkey.

It is thus critical for the success of the “peace process” to get to the bottom of Turkey’s inspection failure in order to avoid a repeat of it should a sovereign Palestinian state be formed.

Israel should interview the passengers on the Mavi Marmara regarding the security inspection and follow up with Turkish officials.

Anyone who is truly interested in advancing the peace process should support this move.


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2 thoughts on “Turkey’s role becoming clearer

  1. Rafael - Sydney June 2, 2010 at 11:37 pm -

    Here’s a good line from Robin Shepherd
    “EU condemns use of excessive force, calls for investigation”.
    But why call for an investigation if you’ve already drawn your conclusion that the use of force was excessive? That, in fact, provides a pretty fair summary of the way in which most Western leaders have responded to this affair. They say that they don’t know what happened (therefore there needs to be an investigation) but condemn Israel all the same, thus saying that they do in fact know what happened. And that’s the price you pay for adopting the anti-Israeli agenda. It’s not just your basic political principles and values that get flushed down the toilet, it’s your capacity for reasoned discourse as well.”.. How do PM Rudd and Stephen Smith’s comments stack up?

  2. Rafael, I agree with you that the international response, including from Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith, is hypocritical. Here is a paragraph from an excellent follow-up article about Turkey from Greg Sheridan.

    “Not until after 20 minutes of clubbing and stabbing by the wonderfully misnamed peace activists did the Israeli soldiers fire in defence of their own lives. This was exactly what the protesters wanted and it has aroused the predictable storm of global protest, including from Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith. On these big global issues so much of Australian foreign policy consists merely of the sanctimonious restatement of conventional wisdom, a kind of high-toned channelling of the zeitgeist without any sign of serious moral or intellectual input.”