Meet WikiLeaks, ‘The Zionist Conspiracy’

While Turkish reaction to WikiLeaks is varied, the belief that Turkey has been explicitly targeted is widespread, and many commentators and politicians have pointed the finger at Israel.

Tensions between Turkey and Israel were already high, especially with the flotilla raids fresh in the public’s mind. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed in May when their ship—part of a Turkish-sponsored flotilla attempting to break Israel’s embargo on Gaza—was raided by Israeli soldiers. Israel insists the soldiers acted in self-defense, but Turkey rejects the claim and has recalled its ambassador from Israel. While Turkey awaits a formal apology and compensation for the lives lost, Israel would like a guarantee that its soldiers will not be prosecuted.

Once a good friend to Israel, Turkey has since shifted gears and now seems to be chumming with Syria and Iran.

Meanwhile, the timing of the release of the WikiLeaks cables has raised suspicions in Turkey, with many believing it to be the work of Israel.

A rather widely believed conspiracy theory involves Israel, Jewish-American lobby groups, American neo-cons, “slanderer” diplomats, and a power hungry oppositional Republican People’s Party (CHP) hooked onto the “WikiLeaks bait,” determined to hurt the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The “bait” is a chunky one, and difficult to resist. According to WikiLeaks, 7,918 of the 251,287 cables come from Turkey—the most out of any country. The information in these cables is overwhelming, with much of it shedding unfavorable light onto the AKP and its leaders, through accusations of corruption, incompetence, arrogance, and paranoia.

The anti-Israeli statements were to a degree foreseeable. The “Zionist conspiracy” theory, coupled with explosive comments (such as that from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that Israel’s raid on the Gaza flotilla is “Turkey’s 9/11”) make the possibility of reconciliation difficult.

The current anti-Israeli rhetoric in Turkey (and elsewhere) is sick in the core, stemming from deep-seated prejudices. This is not a new phenomenon in Turkey, as similar claims have been proffered in regards to the extermination of the Armenians in 1915, which has been attributed by some to a Jewish conspiracy. Rifat Bali discusses this in his book A Scapegoat for All Seasons: The Doenmes or Crypto-Jews of Turkey.

So, meet WikiLeaks, “the Zionist conspiracy,” straight from journalists’ and politicians’ mouths…

‘Covert operation against Turkey’

“The WikiLeaks bait,” writes Today’s Zaman columnist Huseyin Gulerce, is leading the opposition astray. “Everything has been done to trigger contention between the government and the opposition. Continuous efforts are being invested in the destabilization of Turkey… Indeed, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) took the bait immediately.”

“There is a simple question that we must ask. Given the fact that this is a covert operation against Turkey, Muslim countries, and the Obama Administration, who would benefit most from attacking Obama—who has been frequently portrayed as a Muslim in the U.S. media—and from rendering his relations with the Muslim world ineffective? What are the positions of the neo-conservatives of the Bush era as well as the Jewish lobby that is particularly influential over the U.S. secretary of state, with respect to this operation?” he asks.

Gulerce’s comments are but an echo of a widely discussed theme in Turkey. Similar questions and even outright accusations have come from top Ankara officials, proving that these conspiracy theories aren’t merely sensational stories written to up viewer ratings, but are beliefs that have started to take root in the public consciousness.

Inside voices

One of the more discussed comments is that of AKP’s deputy leader and spokesman, Huseyin Celik, who publicly hinted that Israel could be behind the leaked cables. “One has to look at which countries are pleased with these. Israel is very pleased. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents,” Celik was quoted as saying.

“Documents were released and they immediately said, ‘Israel will not suffer from this.’ How did they know that,” asked Celik, adding that “Turkey, with its efficiency and foreign policy, has treaded on someone’s fields. The prime minister is known as a dominant leader not only in Turkey but also in the world.”

Similarly, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay expressed his “surprise” at the cables’ contents, noting that Israel was the only country that was spared. “Israel seems to be the only country in the Middle East which is not mentioned in the WikiLeaks documents. It also seems to be the only country in whose favor the documents came,” he was quoted as saying.

Even Turkish President Abdullah Gul was reported to have said, “I think it has a system, it seems that it has an aim,” about the leaked cables.

Meanwhile, according to Today’s Zaman, Erdogan’s chief consultant, Yalcin Akdogan, suggested that Israel was trying to damage U.S.-Turkey relations. “Israel’s main target is the Erdogan government. The fact that the documents include allegations aimed at discrediting the government doesn’t seem to be a coincidence.”

Turkey’s former prime minister and leader of the Felicity Party (SP), Necmettin Erbakan, has proposed a variation on the Zionist conspiracy. Erdogan and Gul, he said, “do not know they have been serving Israeli interests.” His interviewer, Abdullah Bozkurt, added that Erbakan “criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), saying it is in the hands of the worldwide Zionist movement. He implied that the rise of the AK Party was helped by the international Jewish conspiracy and vowed that he will fight back to stem the Zionist grip on the neck of Turkey.”

Erbakan, who plans on bringing his party to power in next year’s general elections, said, “This is like a jihad for us, and it is incumbent upon every Muslim to order ‘the good’ and avoid ‘the evil.’”

‘Turkey’s 9/11’

The flotilla raid continues to reverberate in Turkish society, providing additional fuel to anti-Israeli sentiments. Add to it provocative and emotionally charged comments and it seems like Turkey is ready for an “Operation Israeli Freedom”—post 9/11 U.S. style.

However, all is rhetoric for now. Erdogan’s recent friendly gesture towards Israel—sending two firefighting aircrafts to Haifa to help put out deadly fires—was a much-appreciated first step. It was followed by a meeting between Yosef Ciechanover, a senior Israeli diplomat, and Turkish Foreign Minister Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu. Hurriyet quoted an anonymous “Israeli diplomatic source” as saying, “Netanyahu sees great importance in improving [Turkish-Israeli] ties, but above all he’s determined to see that IDF [Israeli Defense Force] soldiers and officers will not be open to lawsuits and arrests around the world.”

In addition to the issue of legal consequences, there is the issue of “apology” versus “regret.” Turkey has demanded that Israel “apologize” for the Turkish lives lost during the flotilla raid. Israel would rather use the word “regrets,” maintaining that the IDF acted in self-defense.

“Sending aid for the fire in Israel was a humanitarian and Islamic duty for us,” said Erdogan. “Now some are saying, ‘Let’s start a new period.’ First our demands should be fulfilled.” And those responsible for “martyring” nine people during the Gaza flotilla raid must be punished, he explained. “First, an apology must be offered and compensation paid.”

The issue, however, has become much greater than the flotilla raid. Turkey’s nuzzling with Israel’s arch-nemesis Iran, its stance on the Palestinian issue, and the anti-Israeli slogans make the Israelis uneasy. On the other hand, the Palestinian-Israeli issue (a solid card in the hands of any Middle Eastern government eager to gain points domestically), and the perceived notion that Israel will attempt to weaken any powerful Muslim state, hardly endear it to the Turkish public.

Outside voices

Iran has also attributed the release of the WikiLeaks cables to Zionist elements. “Undoubtedly, the Western governments and the Zionist regime were involved,” Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

Turkey’s closeness to Iran and hostility towards Israel have affected Israeli public opinion. In an article published in the Jerusalem Post, NYU professor of international relations, Alon Ben-Meir, noted, “Even more than the heated rhetoric or the fatal flotilla incident, Turkey’s posture regarding Iran has left no doubt among Israelis that it can no longer be trusted,” adding that “The perceived Turkish shift toward Iran further undermines Ankara’s ability to serve as a mediator in the region.”

Turkey could very well be one major target of the WikiLeaks cables. However, the “Zionist conspiracy” seems to be rooted in prejudices. No evidence has backed these accusations—at least none that has been made public. Moreover, with the flotilla raid still unresolved, the “Zionist conspiracy” adds fuel to the fire and projects an unflattering image of Turkey.

15 Comments on Meet WikiLeaks, ‘The Zionist Conspiracy’

  1. This observer is enjoying watching the controlled demolition of the Old World Moral Order and the birthing of the New World Ethical Order. 
    Watch the power struggles ensuing all the way from the family unit clear up to the top brass at the Vatican, as all institutions are crumbling making way for a renewal.
    Enjoy your journey within the illusion of the time and space continuum ^_^

  2. erdogan or el duce of turkey is a blowhard who soon will understand what turning against the west entails. sorry turks you are neither that powerful or indespensible.

  3. Turkey is a lost cause.  It’s a third-world semi-Democratic, semi-Authoritarian institution that bans You-Tube because it offends some cult-like politician who has been dead for the past 80 years.  If Turkey is so afraid and does not trust its own self how does it expect other countries to trust it?  It cannot even admit to some 100 year-old history, if some very uncomfortable history.   Don’t they understand that it’s a sign of WEAKNESS not STRENGTH?  As is blaming all their problems on some imaginary Zionist, Armenian and other lobbies.  Turkey is a third-world country not because of any of these lobbies.
    I, as a Jew, personally find it shameful that local Jewish leaders and Israeli politicians are putting geopolitical necessities as a priority.  Israel is a small nation and cannot afford to loose “friends” but truth is truth and we, as Jews, should know this kind of truth better then anyone.

  4. For once I agree with Turkey

  5. “Once a good friend to Israel, Turkey has since shifted gears and now seems to be chumming with Syria and Iran”
    Turkey chumming with Syria and Iran,  Hmmmmmm……  Any common denominator? :-)))

  6. Lou, I’m with you.

  7. avatar Greg Arzoomanian // December 18, 2010 at 11:35 pm // Reply

    Re: “The current anti-Israeli rhetoric in Turkey (and elsewhere) is sick in the core, stemming from deep-seated prejudices. This is not a new phenomenon in Turkey, as similar claims have been proffered in regards to the extermination of the Armenians in 1915, which has been attributed by some to a Jewish conspiracy.”
    There was more direct Turkish prejudice directed at Jews in 1915.  Alexander Aaronsohn wrote about Turkey expelling thousands of Jews from Palestine during WWI: “Driven from Russia, they come to seek shelter in Turkey; Turkey then casts them from her under pretext that they are loyal to Russia.”

  8. Israel, your enemy is the Turk… who is playing childish games with your leaderships, what I would call PLOYS…. day to day, week to week…. you cannot figure which way their “wind”is blowing.  So the Iranian leader spoke out against the Israelis…  and you do deserve to be tolded off…   You get pie headed and difficult too. 
    But it is the Turkey who is playing the Israelis for fools… with their PLOYS, onoging/unending… and you don’t seem to mind too much from the Turkeys, but you seem to ‘enjoy’ fearing Iranians…  Turkey is playing rings around the Israelis,,, and,
    sadly, you have fallen into another Turk ‘trap’  ongoing/enending.

  9. I, as an Armenian, respond to Mike: God Bless you, mate…

  10. There are hundreds of columnists and politicians in Turkey. By quoting a few of them, you can’t prove anything. Look at the policies of the government. Do they really turn away from the West or even Israel?
    By the way, this government is really sincere in reconciliation with Armenia. They really want to open the border and establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. The nationalist opposition and military are the obstacle. By the way, nationalists and military are the best friends of Israel in Turkey.

  11. Mike, I really appreciate your comments.  I wish your attitude reflected the leadership of Israel and the Jewish organizations in the diaspora.  As you say,’truth is truth,’ and we Armenians and Jews should stand together on the issue of holocaust and genocide.  We both know the dark underbelly of this crime and carry the scars of attempted annihilation followed by despicable ‘denial’.  Coalescence on this should be a no-brainer, but politics, as we know, makes strange bed-fellows.

  12. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Greg Arzoomanian for finding and posting the link to Alexander Aaronsohn’s deeply moving account of his experiences in World War One, “With The Turks In Palestine”.  It may be of interest to the general readership to know that the same plague of locusts that he so eloquently describes [in chapter 7] figured prominently and dramatically in the events leading up to the siege of Musa Dagh.

  13. I have read some lines here in this web site written by Armenian citizens claiming that the relationship between Armenia and Iran has been real good, and they seem to support this kind of good relationsgips in the future. That I think it is a good idea.
    As the relationship between Iran and Armenia can be good, but why not between Turkey and Iran couldn’t be good. What’s wrong here, I don’t understand. Even the Europeans who accuse Iran of having nuclear powers, wait at the doors of Iranian officials licking their lips in expectation of some doing business there.

    The Europeans and Americans are doing business with Iranians, but Turkey can not. Wow, what a good example of double standart.

  14. avatar palestinian armenian // December 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm // Reply

    armenians suffer under the israeli occupation-what is wrong with you all commenters who betray us? we have died and bled out under the boot of the israeli occupation, yet you side with the bullies, the occupier????????????????????

  15. i am with you hun. i am working all i can to liberate all palestinians including palestinian armenians, from israeli occupation.
    some amergahyes are brainwashed, they are born in america and raised as american, and israel controls america and american media, that is the problem

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