Media and NGOs have always been quick to condemn Israel, yet are often silent about real and much more extensive human rights abuses in other countries.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that news that the Turkish military had killed approximately 100 Kurdish people, while wounded more than 80, and done so across an international border was barely reported in the media.
Turkey claims that those killed were rebels of the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party), however, the PKK claim that no rebels were killed and that many innocent lives were lost.
It seems somewhat strange then that Turkey champions the Palestinian right to self-determination, yet denies its Kurdish civilians that right.
Turkey is also demanding an Israeli apology and compensation for killing nine Turkish civilian activists who took part in violence during the IDF takeover of the “Mavi Marmara” during last year’s Gaza flotilla, which sought to break the Gaza blockade. But do not expect a Turkish apology for any Kurdish civilians killed.
The Turkish demand for apology was discussed as part of Israeli-Turkish negotiations prior to the release of the UN Palmer report into the Mavi Marmara incident which is widely expected to conclude that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal.
Turkey’s double standard also highlights how Muslim nations often wrongly blame Israel as the cause of all Muslim problems in the Middle East, while ignoring the fact that vastly more Muslims have been killed by fellow Muslims – yet such deaths never generate even a fraction of the outrage caused by deaths attributable to Israel.
For example, Prime Minister Erdoğan has declared more than a few times that the main obstacle to peace in this part of the world is Israel, once calling the Jewish state “a festering boil in the Middle East that spreads hate and enmity.”
Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil (‘Why Golda Meir Was Right’, Hurriyet Daily News) compares the numbers of Muslim casualties in the Israeli-Arab conflict and in inter-Muslim violence, he writes:
“… some 11 million Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, (0.3 percent) died during the six years of Arab war against Israel… In contrast, over 90 percent who perished were killed by fellow Muslims… the total number of deaths in conflicts all over the world since 1950 numbering around 85 million.
Of that, the Muslim Arab deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict were at 46,000 including 11,000 during Israel’s war of independence. That makes 0.05 percent of all deaths in all conflicts, or 0.4 percent of all Arab deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict… only Saddam’s Iraq, Jordan, the elder al-Assad’s Syria, Iran-Iraq war, the bin Laden campaign in Iraq, the Iranian Islamic revolution and the Turkish-Kurdish conflict caused 1.65 million Muslim deaths by Muslims compared to less than 50,000 deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1950, including fatalities during and after Operation Cast Lead… For those who don’t have a calculator ready at their desks, allow me to tell: 50,000 is three percent of 1.65 million.”
Therefore, while the Muslim world is again condemning Israel’s response to another terrorist attack in Southern Israel as “Israeli aggression”, perhaps Bekdil offers some hope that someday, perhaps, more of Israel’s neighbours will be prepared to look at the figures without hate and prejudice and recognise that it in fact the main aggressors are amongst themselves.