Monday, June 21, 2010

Erdogan can withstand Western Media Smear Campaign

By Abdel Bari Atwan

"At the time of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in late 2008, the Western media and its politicians were heaping praise on Turkey and upholding it as a shining example of how Islam and democracy can co-exist.

This praise has now evaporated and turned instead into an intensive media and diplomatic campaign to discredit Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The American right, and many European newspapers, are intent on re-packaging Erdogn as 'hostile' to the West's middle Eastern agenda and interests in the region.

The reason for this shift is Israel, the compass that determines who is friend and who is foe for the West. When Turkey played the role of mediator between the Jewish state and Syria, for example, or hosted rounds of indirect peace negotiations, it was described as a bridge for rapprochement between East and West.

When it flew the banner of the Islamic nation, however, and spoke out against the blockade of Gaza and the murder of peace activists by Israel on the high seas, it joined the list of enemies at breakneck speed.....

Just as they did with Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein, the West and Israel are now trying to tighten the ring on Erdogan, working hard on character assassination, and attributing all vices to him and his party.

The problem is that Friedman and his ilk want Erdogan to be a copy of most Arab leaders, ie, to become leader of a corrupt dictatorship guided by the compass of Israeli demands to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip, sending gunboats to sink ships at sea.

Thankfully there are few signs that Mr. Erdogan will follow this path, nor that he will bow to the media and diplomatic campaign against him. He has started a change in the region and an awareness that the Arab people do not have to meekly accept the injustice and bullying meted out to them by Israel and America."

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