According to the official position of the State of Israel, Turkey actively cooperates with Hamas and supports radical Islamic terrorist organizations such as “Muslim Brotherhood.” This became clear from a statement by the Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Shaul Khamisa Raz. He took part in a discussion titled: “Situation in the Middle East and implications for the State of Israel.” The Ambassador admitted that the rapprochement of Turkey to terrorism in the Middle East has begun with the coming to power of current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Currently, namely Turkey is the major proponent of aggressors against Israel. Raz believes that this country’s support for terrorists in Gaza has reached “very dangerous levels.”
In the summer of 2010, Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship, which, pretending to carry humanitarian aid, attempted to transfer money, fighters and materials needed for Hamas’ military activities in Gaza. This led to a breakdown in diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, although years ago already, the Balkan country had started to actively support the Palestinian military wing. This is done mainly behind the guise of Islamic charities, which, however, have been detected to be in communication with al-Qaeda and radical movements in North Africa. These organizations also operate on the Balkans, and data from special sources show that they play an active role in the illegal drug channels to and from the Middle East towards Europe.
The Turkish Prime Minister repeatedly met with the leader of Hamas and Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, who was on a formal visit both to the government and to the Majlis. One can say that precisely Turkey is starting to replace Iran and Syria in the balance of influence over radical Islamic paramilitary organizations classified as terrorist by the EU and the US. At the same time, Turkey’s membership in NATO and its status of EU candidate are a complete paradox, considering this turn in its foreign policy. For the first time, Turkey refused to NATO and the US the use of its territory and airports for bases during the attacks against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein.
After the impossible condition, voiced by the political leader of Hamas Mehmed Meshaal, that they will not stop the attacks until Israel disarms completely, it is clear that the conflict is flaring and is escalating to a permanent and bloody war. None other than Turkey, with all its potential and the personal involvement of its current dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared on the world stage as keynote speaker, advocate and assistant of the Islamist group. This inevitably reinforces the positions of Hamas and heralds adverse consequences for Israel. The first shock is already there, after the country’s airspace was declared dangerous because of Palestinian rocket attacks. This forced the suspension of flights of airline companies and practically put Israel in a situation of isolation for the first time since 1967. It will not be an exaggeration to conclude that with its hyper-active support for one of the sides in the conflict in Gaza and voicing ultimate conditions for the practical elimination of Israel, Erdogan and Turkey started to provoke a military contagion that can easily explode into global cataclysm.
Only a few months ago, Erdogan threw into turmoil neighbors Bulgaria and Greece, by openly declaring that he considered all lands in Thrace and Macedonia to be Turkish property. Erdogan removed with one stroke of his hand the entire Kardzhali region from Bulgaria, while the statement of the Government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski on the issue was both toothless and too late. Only anti-Bulgarian and anti-Greek Macedonia did not react to the scandalous declaration, though it was also listed as Turkish province. Gruevski’s regime there is actively supported by Turkey, politically and economically. Some of the biggest investments in the Western Balkan countries in recent years have been made precisely by Turkish companies. Turkey has even built a large modern airport in Skopje, which was named by the local government “Alexander the Great”. Recently, the two neighbors of Bulgaria demonstrate increasingly close ties, both in external and in domestic political terms. On the Balkans, only in Turkey and Macedonia, we are witnessing clear repression against inconvenient to rulers journalists who are sent to jail in order to be silenced. Turkey is ranked 148th in terms of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, even behind Afghanistan. The Turkish Prime Minister made the list of world’s dictators after he banned access to social networks like Twitter and YouTube on grounds they published data and evidence of high corruption and misuse of public funds he was linked to.
The economic aid that Turkey provides in Gaza is also evident. A number of industrial enterprises and a large hospital have been built there in recent years with Turkish money.
A fact, which reasonably causes concern, is that a few days ago Erdogan, himself, publicly called Israel a “terrorist state”. In this same statement, the Turkish leader pledged help by all means for the enemies of Israel. With his official support, Erdogan is actually lifting international responsibility of Hamas for its terrorist actions against Israeli citizens and Jews. Erdogan’s position is met with full solidarity by the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Flying Turkish flags, along with those of Hamas and the Palestinian State, can be seen more and more frequently on buildings in the Gaza strip. The aligning of the positions of a regional NATO force, such as Turkey, and a radical organization, such as Hamas, aiming to abolish the State of Israel, becomes a nightmare for the North Atlantic military alliance. As a member of this organization, Bulgaria should be more skeptical about NATO guarantees for our territorial integrity and national security. The neglected by a number of governments impotence of our armed forces to effectively protect the country against threats from the southeast is starting to look like national treason. The withdrawal of Turkey from the NATO project to build a shield on its territory against Iran ballistic missiles is hardly accidental. If such a missile is able to fly over Turkey, it is not even necessary to specify which country, geographically, should be the next one to be threatened.
It is no secret that in the last 10 years, Turkey has made a huge leap in its economic development. According to respected analysts, Erdogan’s regime is funded generously with hundreds of billions of dollars from countries near the Saudi peninsula and other Asian Islamic States.
The discussion at the Israeli Embassy led to the crystal clear conclusion that we are witnessing a serious turn in the geopolitical situation and in the role of some countries in operations in the Middle East. As the terrorist activity of radical Islamic terrorist organizations is global, this change is expected to have a global resonance. Bulgaria has already felt the horror of terrorism on its territory with the bloody attack in Burgas on Israeli tourists. The identity of the direct perpetrator and his links with the militant organization “Hezbollah” have not been conclusively confirmed, and it is not yet clear to what extent the organization of this terrorist attack was logistically supported locally. Experts are adamant that the group that organized the explosion could not achieve its goal in Bulgaria without significant external support. Bivol has information that residents of different Islamist organizations and Turkish fundamentalists operate undisturbed in the Burgas region and the territory of the Sunny Beach resort. Such information about the existence of these cells that are threatening our national security is blurry as it was consciously and deliberately ignored before and after the terrorist attack, during the term in office of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB), by special services of the National Security Agency (DANS) and foreign Intelligence. The situation with these operational cells has not changed with the coming to power of the coalition between the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the party largely representing the Turkish minority, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). We can definitely say that Bulgaria is currently an open door and free territory for residency of any Islamist or terrorist groups that are using our territory for invasion of the EU.
Because of the growing distance between the two countries in recent years, part of the flow of Israeli tourists was redirected from Turkish Black Sea resorts to Bulgaria. Precisely such a group became the target of the bomb attack at Sarafovo Airport, which in turn led to shock and exodus of tourists after the initial boom. The terrorist act near Burgas played its role of psychological “watershed” for our country’s image as a safe and secure from terrorism destination.
According to observers of processes in Turkey, the unbearable refugee influx in the country from Syria and other Islamic States has been unofficially provoked precisely by the Turkish authorities who are providing seamless traffic and access of such groups to the Bulgarian border. The access of thousands of “refugees” inside the country is further facilitated by the impotence of local border police to effectively stop illegal human trafficking. As it turned out that, according to the signed agreements, Bulgaria must take on its territory the entire refugee flow from the Middle East to the EU, our society is expected to collapse very soon over the disproportionately high number of Muslim immigrants. We are seeing massive irresponsibility of the government in connection with this potentially-explosive problem and the cumulative effect will affect our demography, economy and tourism.
The words of Ambassador Khamisa Raz come at a time when in Bulgaria a government, strongly dominated by the pro-Turkish party DPS, fell from power and whose lawmakers caused a severe banking and political crisis. The financial, political and economic ties with the Saudi region of individuals, who imposed in the country a plutocratic regime of oligarchic type, still languish non-transparently in Bulgarian society.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian