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.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, World Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. ReluctorDominatus says:

    How very clear he has made their real position known. Every enemy of Israel should be an enemy of every true American. We have a purpose.




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  2. A poor choice of words, indeed. Of course, is it a translation? Even if it isn’t, one pressumes English is the ambassador’s second language.




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  3. Yea I don’t think the choice of words is as big a story as the fact that the entire statement just serves to confirm that Turkey is moving away from the West.




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  4. TangoMan says:

    The unstated implication of the ambassador’s statement is that Turkey would react differently if faced with the same set of facts. You know, that’s a testable proposition. Supporters of a Free Kurdistan can set out with a flotilla of supplies on a vessel staffed by Kurdish insurgents and set out to deliver these supplies, and let’s throw in some military supplies as well or at least hint at that possibility, to Kurds in Turkey. We should expect that the Turkish authorities will not prevent the vessel from doing so, will not inspect the vessel, and if their military inspectors are attacked while on the vessel they will not react in self-defense.

    If Turkey lives true to its pronouncements then that should give the Israeli’s pause and perhaps might lead them to reevaluate blockade procedures.




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  5. mattt says:

    Every enemy of Israel should be an enemy of every true American.

    Why?




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  6. Elizabeth says:

    “Final Status”, not “Final Solution”.

    Big Difference.

    Zio Propaganda.




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  7. Tano says:

    “Yea I don’t think the choice of words is as big a story…”

    And yet that was your headline, and your implication.
    I’m guessing that you KNOW without a doubt that he was not invoking a holocaust.

    As for Hamas – he is correct. Whether Israel should speak with them now, is a separate question. That their involvement in a final peace is necessary – is an obvious point.

    I think this is a reprehensible post.




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  8. Hamas gets to participate in the peace process when they (1) stop lobbing mortars and rockets into Israeli neighborhoods, (2) renounce the use of violence as a means of achieving political goals, and (3) accept the right of the State of Israel to exist




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  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Turkey needs to attone for its actions of 1906. Seems genocide is something they are familiar with.
    In my humble opinion, Turkey is the very last nation to criticize others when it comes to how they treat others.




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  10. Davebo says:

    I don’t think the choice of words is as big a story as the fact that the entire statement just serves to confirm that Turkey is moving away from the West.

    Seriously? Does “the West” now consist solely of the US and Israel?

    That’s quite telling.




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  11. Pug says:

    Every enemy of Israel should be an enemy of every true American.

    I’m getting tired of this kind of crap. Nothing against Israel, but I’m an American, not an Israeli.




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  12. Franklin says:

    It would be unfortunate if the only Muslim country that believes in the separation of church and state were to move away from the West. Turkey is one of the few places in the Middle East where Americans can travel safely, it’s a NATO ally, etc. In short, we need more countries in that region to be like Turkey, not less.

    In the meantime, Israel fell foolishly into a trap. It’s time to stop wasting our resources on protecting the “holy” land. This is bit radical and I’m feeling wacky, but we should just let all (non-terrorist) Israelis immigrate to the U.S., give the Palestinians an appropriate part of the state, and sink the rest (including Jerusalem) into the sea.




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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    I object as well and I’m an American of ethnic Jewish descent. Likud is not Israel, and we are not servants of Likud.

    At the very least this was stupid of Israel. We are not required to endorse every stupid thing they do. We spend enough time coping with our own stupidity let alone having to support the stupidity of our allies.




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  14. I agree that Israel’s response to the flotilla was dumb. They were being led into a trap and they fell for it.

    At the same time, I fully understand the blockade and I don’t think Hamas should be let off the hook until its complied with the conditions I outlined above.




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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    At the same time, I fully understand the blockade and I don’t think Hamas should be let off the hook until its complied with the conditions I outlined above.

    I agree. Although some of the specifics of the blockade look more like harassment than a real attempt to keep missiles and mortar shells out.




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  16. steve says:

    This is interesting. Know little about the source TBH.

    http://www.sabahenglish.com/politics/10075.html

    Turkey, which welcomed Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the World War II, was among the first Muslim countries to recognize Israel in 1948. The two countries grew closer after signing military cooperation agreements in 1996.

    Bilateral trade stands around $2.6 billion – roughly one percent of Turkey’s overall trade – and Israeli have given crucial support in recent years to Turkey’s efforts to prevent the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I from being labeled a genocide.

    Steve




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  17. Tlaloc says:

    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.

    Israel isn’t a serious negotiator and never has been. Consequently what they want is completely irrelevant. Time for the adults to step in.




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  18. Alex Knapp says:

    Hamas gets to participate in the peace process when they (1) stop lobbing mortars and rockets into Israeli neighborhoods, (2) renounce the use of violence as a means of achieving political goals, and (3) accept the right of the State of Israel to exist.

    Doug, if this is going to be the standard, I would argue that Likud doesn’t get to be allowed to participate in the peace process until (1) its government stops ordering the firing rockets into Palestinian neighborhoods (2) it renounces the use of violence as a means of achieving political goals, including the estoppel of free trade and economic liberty in the Palestinian territories and (3) it officially renounces its policy of “Greater Israel” and recognizes that a Palestinian state should exist.

    Fair’s fair, right?

    Or might we recognize that in the entire history of the world, the people who participate in peace talks are the belligerents, regardless of past actions or what their party platform says?

    I have zero desire to defend Hamas, but they’re the elected government in Gaza whether I like it or not. When you have peace talks, you talk to the folks on the other side who are in charge. Not the folks that you would like to have in charge.

    This position just doesn’t make any sense. It seems to me to be just an excuse to not have peace talks at all by hanging on to the delusion that the only bad actors are on the Palestinian side.

    The reality is much more complicated than that. Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed horrible acts of brutality. Sometimes in self-defense, sometimes not. Both sides have legitimate grievances against the other. There’s some pretty horrible racism on both sides. Both sides have escalated the rhetoric to appeal to the worst instincts of their respective populations.

    On the other hand, there have been a lot of good acts and legitimate working towards peace on both sides, too.

    It’s a horrible, f**ed up situation, but I don’t think that unilaterally writing off Hamas as a peace partner is at all realistic. You use the PLO example, but let’s be honest–that didn’t work, did it?

    You know, there’s absolutely zero justification for Hamas’ anti-semitism or support for terrorism or their kids shows that forment hate against Jews. But on the other hand, the reason they gained support in the first place is because they were providing services that the Palestinian government was too corrupt to provide. Help for the poor, for widows, for the sick, the hungry, etc. These conditions were exacerbated by Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian territories, which prevented free trade and economic development, trapping the Palestinian territories in a desparate poverty of the type that, historically speaking, almost always radicalizes the population. Hamas is a natural outgrowth of Israel’s policies towards the PLO that you applauded.




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  19. TangoMan says:

    This position just doesn’t make any sense. It seems to me to be just an excuse to not have peace talks at all by hanging on to the delusion that the only bad actors are on the Palestinian side.

    The reality is much more complicated than that. Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed horrible acts of brutality. Sometimes in self-defense, sometimes not. Both sides have legitimate grievances against the other. There’s some pretty horrible racism on both sides. Both sides have escalated the rhetoric to appeal to the worst instincts of their respective populations.

    Alex, you know there is a way to analyze this situation without anchoring the analysis in moral equivalence and without resorting to whipping out the boogey-man of racism. For instance, you could argue that the Israeli’s aren’t tempering their responses with the disputed notion of proportional response and at least that approach gives your analysis some legitimacy even if you’re invoking contentious concepts. You’ll have ground to stand on with regards to moral equivalency when Hamas, for instance, engages in unilateral disengagement in a fashion that is tailored to their situation and capabilities (not necessarily land, but something like a change to their charter or some other difficult show of good faith):

    Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan (Hebrew: תוכנית ההתנתקות Tokhnit HaHitnatkut or תוכנית ההינתקות Tokhnit HaHinatkut in the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law), also known as the “Disengagement plan”, “Gaza expulsion plan”, and “Hitnatkut”) was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank.

    Those Israeli citizens that refused to accept government compensation packages and voluntarily vacate their homes prior to the August 15, 2005 deadline, were evicted by Israeli security forces over a period of several days.[1] The eviction of all residents, demolition of the residential buildings and evacuation of associated security personnel from the Gaza Strip was completed by September 12, 2005.[2] The eviction and dismantlement of the four settlements in the northern West Bank was completed ten days later.

    You don’t need to invoke moral equivalency in order to make your points about the realpolitik notion of having to negotiate with the enemy that exists rather than the enemy one prefers. You know, really, it’s OK to say that the Palestinians have consistently been bad actors throughout even in the face of Israeli efforts to bring resolution to this issue, and still argue that Israel needs to bend even more. I grant you that you weaken your argument by doing this but, depending on the remainder of your argument, the weakened state of your position need not be completely detrimental. Isn’t it far better to present a partial but solid, argument than a full but completely hollow argument that is easily discarded in its entirety? At least the partial, but solid, argument can stand on its own merit.




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  20. Alex Knapp says:

    TangoMan,

    I supported Sharon’s policy of universal disengagement, but don’t forget that that was a policy that the current Prime Minister of Israel opposed, and which has been actively undermined by the imposition of the Blockade on Gaza.

    I agree that both the PLO and Hamas has acted in ways contrary to agreements between Israel and Palestine. But so have the Israelis. I agree that Palestinians have often been bad actors, and probably more so than Israel.

    But I would also argue that many Israeli policies with respect to the treatment of the occupied territories, have been detrimental and unnecessarily brutal. And I would argue that these policies have, as their logical historical result, led to a more radical population that has been more willing to support terrorism. I would agree that there have been times in which Israel has bent over backwards to accomodate the PLO on some issues and that there really aren’t too many parallels going the other way.

    I think that Israel needs to accept that Hamas is a group that must be negotiated with in order to develop a lasting peace, and that they have to do so now–not when Hamas has adopted some arbitrary set of conditions. (Though a ceasefire of some sort would almost certainly be necessary prior to negotiations.)

    I also think that the Gaza blockade has been a monumental failure, having done virtually nothing to achieve any of its stated goals while radicalizing the Gaza population and hindering Israel’s relationships with most countries in the Middle East — including Egypt, though I know they’re participating in the blockade as well.

    I would argue that Israel has a greater obligation to be accomodating for two reasons–one, they have a more cohesive, stable government which is capable of greater levels of commitment. Two because Israel has a much, much greater military capability.

    I think that the best steps Israel could take towards a lasting peace, though, may not be outright negotiation at first. I think that they ought to reverse the Gaza blockade and actually provide humanitarian assistance and the means for the Palestinians to develop economic self-reliance. Free trade, loans for small businesses, funds for education, etc. A self-sufficient population will form a much more stable peace partner than a desperately impoverished one led by radicals.




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  21. Tano says:

    “Hamas gets to participate in the peace process when…”

    This is ridiculous. Participation in a peace process is not some honor or prize to be bestowed in exchange for some good behavior. Participants in a peace process need to be the relevant players in a dispute. The more polarized and nasty the dispute, the more the need for efforts to make peace.

    The listing of preconditions like this is a transparent attempt to not engage in peace. That has been the strategy of the far right in Israel for a long time. Always find some excuse not to engage – meanwhile keep building “facts on the ground”.




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  22. TangoMan says:

    But I would also argue that many Israeli policies with respect to the treatment of the occupied territories, have been detrimental and unnecessarily brutal. And I would argue that these policies have, as their logical historical result, led to a more radical population that has been more willing to support terrorism. I would agree that there have been times in which Israel has bent over backwards to accomodate the PLO on some issues and that there really aren’t too many parallels going the other way.

    When the Israeli leaders are making decisions there is never, or usually never, a clear cut choice of options. What I believe you’re seeing is the outcome of one policy avenue and that you’re presuming that another choice would have resulted in a better, or less radicalized, outcome. I don’t know whether that would really be so. Sure, in some cases it would be as you say and I acknowledge this simply on the basis of probability. From my perspective as a, mostly disinterested, observer what I’ve seen a lot of is the “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” type of response from the Palestinians. If that pattern would have continued in this alternative decision path you advocate I’m not sure how the outcomes would have been more favorable to Israel’s interests and how the Israeli-Palestinian relationship would have been less rancorous. Yes, there is the possibility that you’re right but I don’t actually see any evidence in support of this alternative conclusion because past behavior on the part of the Palestinians hasn’t shown a reciprocal escalation of good faith gestures.

    So, these leaves two basic decision paths, the Israelis made the right choices or the wrong choices. I think it improper to judge the outcomes that derive from existing choices and when those outcomes are negative to declare that they are negative because the wrong choice was made. I’m not convinced that a different choice wouldn’t have actually created worse outcomes.

    I supported Sharon’s policy of universal disengagement, but don’t forget that that was a policy that the current Prime Minister of Israel opposed, and which has been actively undermined by the imposition of the Blockade on Gaza.

    But it is a fait accompli and isn’t going to be undone. For the policy to be actively undermined we’d have to be seeing Israeli efforts directed towards resettlement and I don’t see that, so I’m not convinced that there is any connective tissue between these two issues.

    I think that Israel needs to accept that Hamas is a group that must be negotiated with in order to develop a lasting peace, and that they have to do so now–not when Hamas has adopted some arbitrary set of conditions. (Though a ceasefire of some sort would almost certainly be necessary prior to negotiations.)

    What I see too frequently are perspectives anchored on different axioms and this leads to all sorts of mayhem. Let me explain. You appear, to me, to be coming from the position that negotiations must start because they are a way forward out of this quagmire and any movement forward is better than miserable stasis. I’m assuming that you put stock in the negotiation process and that the parties will honor their resulting commitments. This is kind of like fighting by having one boxer following Marquess of Queensberry rules while the other boxer is unrestrained by such convention. We saw how this negotiation axiom disparity worked when the US was negotiating with Slobodan MiloÅ¡ević. Agreements would be reached, the US would proudly trumpet the agreement. The agreement would be upheld by MiloÅ¡ević only for so long as it served his short term tactical or strategic purposes and then would be abandoned the moment that inconvenience trumped convenience. This would set up the next cycle of negotiation. We actually see the same pattern with the Palestinians. So long as Hamas remains committed to the destruction of Israel, there is no obvious benefit to Israel to enter into negotiations for the ultimate end-goal of the Palestinians will be to destroy Israel. A temporary period of peace which allows Hamas the freedom to fortify and restock militarily only creates the potential for greater tragedy in the future. If Hamas is to be negotiated with then they need to present a convincing case that they’ve changed their axiomatic perspective on the nature of negotiated settlements, that is, they need to grant a convincing assurance that they too now, and forever, will follow the Marquess of Queensberry rules that Israel follows.

    I also think that the Gaza blockade has been a monumental failure, having done virtually nothing to achieve any of its stated goals while radicalizing the Gaza population and hindering Israel’s relationships with most countries in the Middle East — including Egypt, though I know they’re participating in the blockade as well.

    I go back to my earlier point. If the blockade is a failure that is not an argument that the alternative would have been a more positive outcome. In this conflict, I fear, the policy options often produce the best outcome from a quiver of really bad choices. Look back at what could have been. Go back to the Dayton Accords. It wasn’t Israel that has been pulling the plug on policy decisions which could build on existing and past successes in rapprochement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The root cause of the regression of relations comes down to the desire of the Palestinians to eradicate the Jewish State. So long as that is a deeply held conviction of the leaders and the people of Palestine, then we’re never going to have stable and peaceful coexistence, rather we’ll have periods of rebuilding and resupply in order to launch a new offensive and that yo-yo effect doesn’t really work to Israeli interests.

    I would argue that Israel has a greater obligation to be accomodating for two reasons–one, they have a more cohesive, stable government which is capable of greater levels of commitment. Two because Israel has a much, much greater military capability.

    Fair enough. How many times though does Israel have to have it’s fingers burned before it can take into account the likelihood of finger-burning being a reliable outcome to this path? Will Israel’s critics ever concede the point to Israel that they’ve been burned so many times that they stand on pretty solid ground with their predictions on future outcomes if the blockade is lifted?

    I think that the best steps Israel could take towards a lasting peace, though, may not be outright negotiation at first. I think that they ought to reverse the Gaza blockade and actually provide humanitarian assistance and the means for the Palestinians to develop economic self-reliance. Free trade, loans for small businesses, funds for education, etc. A self-sufficient population will form a much more stable peace partner than a desperately impoverished one led by radicals.

    You’ve intermingled a few points here. Reverse the blockade and what end do you predict will result? I predict a period of restocking and fortifying before Hamas feels strong enough to initiate a new offensive. I don’t see Hamas reassuring skeptics that this outcome won’t arise.

    Israel providing funding. Wouldn’t a better use for that money be to actually have a bonfire of banknotes in Tel Aviv? Money is fungible. Money that Israel provides for economic development or education is money that Hamas can free up for acquiring military hardware, work on tunnels and storage depots, etc. Why should Israel be supply the knife to an enemy intent on slitting its throat?

    Lastly, your point seems premised on the notion of Hamas being a peace-partner. When was this position articulated? I might have missed it as it fell through the news cracks. Let me turn the tables, if Israel does as you suggest and Hamas is not interested in becoming a peace partner, or the Palestinian people are not interested in that role, then what are the consequences to Israel of acceding to your suggestions?




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  23. anjin-san says:

    renounce the use of violence as a means of achieving political goals

    Hmmm. Seems that we use violence as a a means of achieving political goals (see “Iraq regime change”). Why is it ok when we do it and bad when someone else does it?




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  24. TangoMan says:

    Oslo Accords, not Dayton Accords.




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  25. Robert Colbert says:

    Michael Reynolds: ” Likud is not Israel”.

    Sorry Michael, but Israel=Likud=AIPAC=US Foreign Policy in the ME.
    I challenge you to show me evidence in Israeli, AIPAC or US policy the disproves this.




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