'If serious, Erdoğan must end all economic and military relations with Israel'

Turkey reacted to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by calling an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that called for countries across the world to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Academic and author Fikret Başkaya answered Ahval's questions on the issue.


Can we start with the question of what happened, how it happened, and why?

In fact, what is happening in Palestine is a Zionist colonisation. Unfortunately, people are not paying much attention. They don't know much about the crisis there. This ignorance is not an accident, it is by design.

People don't know what exactly that Zionism is as a political ideology since it is considered a taboo subject. Taboo means protected by prohibition … Anyone who dares to talk about the tragedy of the Palestinian people is accused of being an anti-Semite and excommunicated.

To the point that even on Western university campuses conferences on Palestine or Zionism are censured. The organisers of the events are threatened with death, the handouts are torn up and the banners instantly removed ...

It is important to remember that not every Jew is a Zionist, and not every Zionist is Jewish. The most fanatical Zionists are Christian Zionists. Once again, I must emphasise that there is a considerable anti-Zionist Jewish population in the world ...

In short, there is no correlation between religious affiliation and being a Zionist. The bottom line is, Zionism is a political ideology. For example, both the United States and the West's new favourite, Saudi Prince (Mohammed bin) Salman may well be regarded as Zionists.

Are you saying that Palestine is subject to Zionist colonisation?

Yes! And that's not the half of it. Colonisation in the known sense is to invade a country to exploit its resources. In Palestine, we are talking about kicking millions of locals out of their own land. Let me explain what I mean, today there are about 10 million Palestinians in the world living in West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, 3.7 million of them are kept hostage by Israel. The rest are living without a state like refugees in their own land.

In fact, the tragedy of the Palestinian people is not unlike that of the Armenian people.

Another unusual characteristic of Palestinian colonisation is that while colonialised peoples around the world gained their independence precisely the opposite happened in Palestine. It was anachronistic.

Historically, what was Turkey's attitude towards Israel?

Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognise the Zionist state ... Arab nations always sided with imperialism when they were challenged by the imperialists. Could (Turkey as) a NATO member choose to do otherwise? For example (Turkey) sided with the British and the French during the Suez Canal crisis as well ...

Of course, that was the real situation, yet the rhetoric was very different. (Turkish governments) hypocritically pretended to side with the Muslim populations. They tried to create the impression that they were on the side of Palestinian people, that they were supporting their case, but it was mere hypocrisy.

What does Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel mean?

In fact, it was expected. The U.S. Senate adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 to move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But the decision gave the president authority to postpone implementation every six months. And they always did. Trump decided to sign the act since it was a campaign promise.

In fact, this is a hostile decision against the Muslim-Arab world. Maybe it is good that it happened. Now the hypocrisy is out there for the world to see.

Now it is clear that the so-called peace process was primarily a diversion. Now the U.S. approach to the solution is clarified. The West never actually wanted to solve the problem but they were creating an illusion that they were impartial.

Their interests lay in the continuation of chaos, terror, conflict, confusion and hostilities in the region. Yet that is not sustainable forever.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said "Jerusalem is our red line". Will there be a change of policy now?

It will not take much time to figure out what colour the line is. These are just words, actions will show what the actual policies are.

(If Erdoğan) intends this to be a counter-measure, he must immediately end all commercial, economic and military relations with Israel and cut diplomatic ties. Is there such an intention? Can they do something like that?

It would be easy if words could solve problems. I think (Erdoğan) is saying most of these things for domestic audiences, for votes, to win future elections.

Can the OIC call for the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine change the U.S. and Israeli positions?

This organisation was founded during the Cold War and was never a forceful presence, especially about the Palestine issue.

This last meeting does not mean anything for the peoples they supposedly represent, but it creates a tourism opportunity for the participants. Nobody should expect anything more than that.

If Muslim nations want to really deal with the Zionist regime and imperialism, they will have to change their corrupt leaders.

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