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First We’ll Take #Jerusalem

First We’ll Take <a class="hashtagger" href="">#Jerusalem</a>

Then we’ll take the Vatican… In an age that dictates that ignorance and ideological dogma are bliss we are taught to think that Jerusalem belongs to Islam.

Never mind if Jerusalem’s pre-Islamic period of 3300-1000 BCE appeared in the book of Genesis — the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ancestors were probably hunters in the steppes of Central Asia. The years 1000-732 BCE marked the period of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Never mind, either, if the Quran recognizes the “Land of Israel,” and that reference certainly does not come with any mention of ancient Mongolia or some faraway Pacific island.


But take the Muslim anger over President Donald Trump’s decision from the brighter side: It has reunited an otherwise deeply divided Turkey. Besides, the controversy may spark some cultural illumination in the land of the Crescent and Star: some mainstream newspapers felt the need to publish info boxes with the title “Where is Jerusalem?” Thanks to that effort, the percentage of Turks who can successfully spot the holy city on the map may well rise sharply to one percent from half.

In addition the Turkey-led campaign over Jerusalem may succeed in conquering the city without a single shot. The loud-and-repeat-mention of “Jerusalem-is-our-red-line” and “we-don’t-accept-this” can cause mass killings in the enemy camp by means of laughter spasms.

Despite all that good news there is, as always, the hypocrisy side of Jerusalem’s religious identity. Mr Erdogan argues that the U.S. might does not make Mr Trump right. Right? Right. Might does not mean righteousness. Now, can we apply the same principle to the Ottoman conquests of which Mr Erdogan never hides his pride? No. Ours was holy conquest. Other nations’ are evil occupation.

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Just like the Turkish choruses that condemn Mr Trump for behaving like a “populist politician” with his “making America great again” appeal but wholeheartedly endorse Mr Erdogan’s pro-Ottoman populism based on “making Turkey great again:” Their populism is bad; ours is nice.

Or just like Mr Erdogan’s reminder of UNSC Resolution No. 478 (on Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem) as the legal basis of his argumentation, and his no-mention of UNSC resolutions 541 and 550 (on the Turkish occupation of Cyprus). Some UN resolutions are good, and some are not.

What to do now? Mr Erdogan should follow the guidance of Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, the eternal darling of Ankara, who called on the Muslim world to boycott the Trump administration. Why not? Mr Erdogan should give this a serious thought: Recall the Turkish ambassador to Washington, downgrade the diplomatic representation to the level of charge d’affaires and freeze all ties with America. Like it internationally isolated Israel in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara crisis in 2010 Turkey can now internationally isolate America (and the Trump) administration.

In all the controversy over Jerusalem, one question remains unanswered by the Islamists: Would the Muslim nations that attacked Israel in 1967 have agreed to leaving western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had they won the war, captured all of Jerusalem and annihilated Israel four decades ago?

About The Author

Burak Bekdil

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based Turkish political columnist who wrote for Hurriyet Daily News [formerly Turkish Daily News] for 29 years. He has covered Turkey for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. Previously, Bekdil worked as Ankara Bureau Chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He contributes to annual national defense sector reviews for anti-corruption institutions like Transparency International and Global Integrity. Bekdil is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Gatestone Institute and Middle East Quarterly. He also contributes to Perspectives, a journal of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv. James Cuno, art historian and President of the J. Paul Getty Trust, describes Bekdil as "a frequent critic of Prime Minister [now president] Recep Tayyip Erdogan." In 2001, a Heavy Crimes Court in Ankara sentenced Bekdil to a suspended, 20-month prison sentence for his column in which he satirized corruption in the judiciary. Bekdil's comments, quotes and articles have been published in international media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Commentator, New York Times, Kathimerini, National Review Online, Algemeiner, NPR, Washington Times, Die Presse, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Toronto Star, Financial Times, Al-Monitor, Le Figaro, ABC, El Pais, Stern, Al-Arabiya, Helsingin Sanomat, Racjonalista, Defence Greece, Moyen-Orient, Courier International, ISN Security Watch and Coloquio (of Congreso Judio Latinoamerico) and the Jewish Chronicle (London). (Born: Ankara, 1966; Undergraduate: Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; Post-graduate: Department of Economics, University of Surrey, United Kingdom)

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