Islamists renew their faith with Palestine

The Palestinian cause is like the confessional box of political Islamism. Every time a genocidal war against Gaza begins, it opens its curtain to its believers. The greatest harm that could be done to the Palestinian cause would be to reduce it to a religious war. Turkish President Erdoğan did this by saying, “This is a cross-crescent issue.” Palestinian Christians are also victims of the occupying colonialist and genocidal war.

The faith of Islamists, who do not raise their voices against oppression and injustice unless they identify the oppressed with their own identity in Turkey or abroad, was once again renewed with Palestine. However, their voice does not benefit Palestine.

The political Islamists have not raised their voices while their opponents were rotting in prisons for decades.

They were silent while Saturday Mothers, who were looking for their disappeared children, were attacked.

They did not care while Armenians and other religious minorities were living in a dovelike disquiet. The conscience of political Islamists became blind when Hrant Dink was murdered and his murderers were being protected.

This conscience favored the state while miners were dying, worker fatalities were increasing everywhere, laborers were assaulted, village life was destroyed with hydroelectric power plant (HES) projects, and forests were handed over to mining companies.

This conscience disappeared while women were being murdered, homosexual individuals were being humiliated, university students were being beaten with police batons, and child molestation scandals broke out in dormitories belonging to religious cults.

This conscience, while the suffering of the Kurds have not changed from generation to generation, has not made an issue of any lawlessness, murder or tyranny.

This conscience looked from the government’s point of view when thousands of Kurdish villages were burned down in the 1990s, when the Roboski massacre in which 34 people died was covered up so as not to harm the state, when Sur and Nusaybin districts were razed to the ground for political survival in 2015-2016. While one side was being subjected to political genocide, this conscience said “Cheers.”

This conscience composed epics for the government as the occupation expanded in Syria, as people in Afrin were displaced, as their homes, businesses, olive groves and forests were looted by jihadists, as the people of Hasakah were left without water, as villages were constantly bombed or assassinated by armed drones.

This conscience saw everything that the region was going through as deserved when the bombardments that caused the evacuation of hundreds of villages in Iraqi Kurdistan under the name of the fight against terrorism continued, when tourists were massacred in Perah with artillery shells, and when Sinjar was bombed.

This conscience was not bothered in 2014, when ISIS massacred Yazidis and sold the women in slave markets. It was also silent when ISIS bombers, seen and monitored by the state, carried out massacres in Suruç, Ankara Train Station and Diyarbakır.

The list is so long and suffocating! Except for a very few, the conscience of Islamists has never raised a voice for this black list. Loyalty to the state before the AKP period and embracing the state after the AKP came to power provided excuses for organized evil. 

Mazlum-Der, the human rights organization of Islamic circles, was also transformed with a 'trustee' so that no one from the community could point out the criminal record of the government. The victimizations grew like an avalanche. So did the noise, manipulation and lies that drowned those who objected. 

In order to protect the gains and interests achieved with the AKP, civil society in the Islamic circles not only withdrew all criticism of the system, but also turned into spokespersons who produce consent for the government in any case. That is why the tears shed for Gaza have no effect on the people.

The Palestinian cause is like the confessional box of political Islamism. Every time a genocidal war against Gaza begins, it opens its curtain to its believers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued his embrace of Hamas in Germany, which remains Israel's staunchest supporter after the United States. He taught Olaf Scholz, Germany's most incompetent chancellor ever, a lesson and gave emotional satisfaction to his own base. 

Erdoğan's outspokenness can simply be attributed to his personality. But aren't there other reasons for his rhetoric? Like what he has done for Israel and what he has failed to do for Palestine. The things he said cover these things badly. Hasn't the AKP been faithful to its military agreements with Israel, let alone its commercial agreements? Didn't the Israeli pilots who bombed Gaza increase their flying experience in the skies over Konya province during the AKP rule, at least until 2008? Haven't more than 300 cargo ships from Turkey docked at the ports of Ashdod and Haifa since Oct. 7? Didn't the oil from Kurdistan/Kirkuk feed Israel for years through illegal agreements? Today, doesn't Israel meet 40 percent of its oil needs through the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline? Doesn't a significant portion of Israel's iron and steel needs come from Turkey?

Erdoğan writes blank checks on behalf of Palestine, while failing to come up with any concrete response that would put Israel in trouble. He has no meaningful reaction to push Israel and its biggest supporter, the US, to stop the war. It would not be surprising if tomorrow, as a continuation of the scenario in which the resistance will be eradicated, he becomes a partner in the proposal to leave Gaza in the hands of an international force. It is clear that initiatives at the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organizations have no effect on Israel. 

There are those who believe that Erdoğan, who monetized the blood of the victims of the Mavi Marmara and closed the file, will sue Israel in the International Criminal Court. He did not show any stance required by the One Minute stance. He was excited by the plan to transport Israel's natural gas from Turkey to its Western partners until Oct. 7. As I have pointed out in many of my articles, the AKP has been a subcontractor to American plans to purge all the countries in the region that disturb Israel.

Moreover, the inconsistent Palestinian discourse of political Islamists is not without its counterproductive effects. Parallel to the prominence of Islamist movements in the Palestinian cause, a strange indifference has taken hold in leftist and secular circles regarding this issue. 

Since Oct. 7, there has been another transformation in the state of apathy on Palestine: Those who are bitter against the AKP for several reasons are siding with Israel. There can be no excuse for supporting the genocidal war of an occupying and colonialist power. Neither morally nor conscientiously. As a new curtain opens on the 75-year policy of extermination against the Palestinians, the shy ones who cannot express their support for Israel prefer to see it as an “Israel-Hamas war.” In essence, this means accompanying the scenario presented by the Netanyahu administration. Moreover, Arab hatred, which has been fueled by the issue of Syrian refugees, seems to have been freed from all its restraints with the war in Gaza.

The instrumentalization of Islamists, who became contaminated with the AKP rule, on Palestine has a share in the transformation in favor of Israel. When the Palestinian resistance was on the shoulders of the left, the Islamists' interest in the cause was limited to discourses on the sanctity of Jerusalem. What would have happened if a non-Islamist organization had been the locomotive of the resistance?

At the end of the day, the greatest harm that could be done to the Palestinian cause would be to reduce it to a religious war. Erdoğan did this by saying, “This is a cross-crescent issue.” Palestinian Christians are also victims of the occupying colonialist and genocidal war. The protests from London, Dublin, Athens, Madrid, Stockholm, Cologne and Belgrade say something else. The voices of the Jews who stormed the American Congress demanding an end to the war are becoming louder. In many places Jews are joining the voices of Palestinian Arabs. By portraying this as a religious war, Erdoğan insults the memory of people like Rachel Corrie, an American Jew who gave her life for the Palestinians. No Muslim organization has made the contribution that B'Tselem has made in documenting the persecution of Palestinians. The courageous articles in Haaretz have more impact than the entire Muslim media. There are Jewish academics who have dramatically exposed the genocide and apartheid regime in Palestine. And they are more influential.

Any commentary or attempt to narrow the references of conscientious and moral stance to their own religious mold do not help the Palestinians. On the contrary, it harms them.