Turkish Ambassador: Hamas Should Play A Part In “Final Solution” Of Middle East Conflict
A rather odd choice of words today from the Turkish Ambassador to the United States:
In an unfortunate turn of phrase, the Turkish ambassador to Washington twice said Friday that the terrorist group Hamas is a necessary and important part of the “final solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Final solution” was the phrase Adolf Hitler adopted to describe his plan to exterminate the Jewish people.
“For a final solution, you cannot ignore Hamas. That’s what we are saying,” said Ambassador Namik Tan. “This is not the first time that we are trying to bring this into the discussion. We have told this to the Israelis, to our American friends, to our international interlocutors, everyone. How could you imagine a final solution without Hamas?”
Tan’s choice of words aside, his comments highlighted the yawning gap between the positions of the Turkish government and that of the American and Israeli administrations, as tensions linger following this week’s Gaza flotilla incident.
Only yesterday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization. I said the same thing to the United States. I am still of the same opinion. They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”
Later in the day, Ambassador Tan had more to say about the quickly deteriorating relationship between Israel and Turkey:
At his embassy Friday afternoon, Tan railed against Israel, made broad threats about the Turkish-Israel relationship, and professed deep disappointment with the Obama administration and its handling of the crisis.
“Israel is about to lose a friend … This is going to be a historical mistake,” he said, calling on Israel to make a public apology if its wishes to keep its ties with Turkey. “The future of our relationship will be determined by Israel’s action.”
Calling the Israelis “criminals,” he reiterated Turkey’s call for an international investigation. “It’s all criminal … Can you imagine a criminal investigating its own wrongdoing?”
I’d like to think that Tan’s use of the phrase “final solution” was just a mis-statement rather than a conscious invocation of the Holocaust. I’d like to think that, but the Middle East has been a theater of insanity for decades now and it does appear that the Turks are making their appearance on the stage.
But the rhetoric isn’t nearly as important as the fact that Tan and the Turks are suggesting that Hamas should be considering a legitimate negotiating partner on the Palestinian question. For decades, Israel refused to negotiate directly with the PLO because of its stated commitment to the destruction of the State of Israel, and it was only until Arafat and the leadership backed away from that idea that peace of any kind started to become possible. I don’t think it’s all that unreasonable for Israel to demand the same concessions from Hamas before they are considered a serious negotiating partner.
Most important of all, Turkey now seems to officially be in the Arab camp. What that means is a question I’ll leave to the experts.