Home inContext Gaza Op Further Divides Secular & Islamist Turks

Gaza Op Further Divides Secular & Islamist Turks

Michael Sharnoff

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday strongly criticized Israel’s large-scale military response to Hamas rocket fire as “a crime against humanity.” Erdogan, the leading political figure for Turkey’s Islamist AK Party added, “Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.”

Last Wednesday, a basketball match held in Ankara between Israel and Turkey was cancelled after angry Turks, donning kaffiyeh¹s and waving Palestinian flags, pelted the Israeli players with lighters and coins. Blogger Jim Hoft provides commentary and video of this embarrassing event that the Turkish government seeks to downplay.

Turkey expert Soner Cagaptay notes how secular and religious Turks have clashed since the AKP came to power in 2002. Indeed, secular Turks have been increasingly alarmed over the Islamization of Turkey. Earlier this week, Turkish police seized weapons and explosives linked to a secularist coup against the government. The Hamas-Israel war in Gaza is exacerbating those tensions.