The ever-entertaining Turkish PM Recep Tayipp Erdogan recently announced that he would begin sending Turkish naval vessels along with those trying to illegally break Israel’s blockade on Gaza. Why? Apparently he claims this is for humanitarian purposes – to support the poor, hungry Gazans. Well, our own Jennifer Hanin has done her research, and in a recent article on BigPeace, she blows Erdogan’s fantasy world apart.
Erdogan, Send Your Warships To Niger Instead
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan recently raised eyebrows when he deep-sixed Israeli diplomats from Turkey. But it was his later remarks broadcast on Al Jazeera television that Turkish warships would accompany Turkish aid vessels to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that dropped jaws. Warships? Why would Turkish warships need to escort Turkish flotillas aiming to break Israel’s legal counter-terrorism naval blockade? This alone might lead some to believe Turkey has been first in line to aid Palestinians in Gaza. Not so fast. United Nations records show Turkey is not just conservative when it comes to aiding Gazans but rather stingy.
Similar to the US and the EU (incidentally UNRWA’s biggest donors), Erdogan would either have to remove his chokehold on his checkbook, go through official Israeli entry points or coordinate efforts directly with the Red Cross or UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) if he had a genuine interest in aiding Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. But don’t count on it. Erdogan’s actions of late go as far as to slap the UN in the face. Even UN chief Ban Ki Moon stressed that flotillas attempting to bring aid are counterproductive, and the UN supported that stance. What do other countries think? The US, Canada, Britain, EU publicly discouraged flotillas too.
This brings up the real question: what’s really going on with Gaza? UN officials repeatedly confirm there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Humanitarian goods enter Gaza daily. Besides, it wasn’t that long ago (2004 to be exact) that the Economist magazine ranked Gazan men as the 3rd highest in the world for obesity and Gazan women as 8th highest. And poverty? That answer remains anywhere but Gaza: Sub-Saharan Africa is the poorest region in the world, followed by South Asia, according to a new Multidimensional Poverty Index or MIP developed by Oxford University with support from the UN. For Gaza and the West Bank? Read on.