Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's visit to Turkey garnered a lot of attention -- it was in each and every newspaper -- as it marked his first official trip abroad since his Islamist movement took over the Palestinian strip in 2007.
Haniyeh visited on Monday the Mavi Marmara, a ship that took part in an ill-fated 2010 humanitarian flotilla operation from Turkey that sought to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, and declared, “The blood of Mavi Marmara martyrs and that of Palestinian martyrs is joined for a hopeful future.” In their joint article, Sebnem Aksu and Ethan Bronner wrote in The New York Times that “Ismail Haniya [sic], the Hamas prime minister of Gaza … sought Monday to strengthen ties with the Arab and Muslim world in the wake of regional uprisings that have produced a rise in Islamist political strength. … Turkey backs Egyptian-led reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah that began in May but are moving slowly. Israel says that if Hamas joins the Palestinian Authority, there can be no peace talks. At the moment, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and head of Fatah, is caught between reconciling with Israel and reconciling with Hamas.”
The Associated Press announced that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has visited Iran to discuss Iran's nuclear program and the developments in Syria and Iraq. Even though it is a regular meeting held twice a year between the two countries' foreign ministers, according to AP, “The visit, however, comes amid increased friction between the two neighboring nations over Turkey's decision to host a NATO missile system designed to counter Iranian missile threats, and also over their opposing views on the Syrian uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad.”
In The Wall Street Journal in their joint article, Yeliz Candemir and Marc Champion said, “Turkish inflation broke double digits in December to reach its highest level in three years, topping analysts' expectations and fueling debate over whether one of the world's fastest-growing economies could be headed for a hard landing.”
Writer Graeme Wood criticized Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish member of parliament who heads the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), for comparing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, writing in his New York Times blog: “‘A leader who kills his own people has lost his legitimacy,' Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey said of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in September. Now Selahattin Demirtaş … finds Erdoğan's words delicious. ‘Now I say the same thing back to him,' Demirtaş said. ‘This was no accident: it was a massacre.' … He considered the killing caused by Wednesday's airstrike to be an Assad-level crime.”
Wood continued with his analysis: “It's a preposterous and self-discrediting comparison: Erdoğan and Assad resemble each other in little more than their mustaches. The first people to acknowledge the differences between the two should be the Kurds themselves: Erdoğan's government has in many ways improved upon the nationalist Turkish governments of yesteryear, and the Kurds of Syria have always suffered far more grievously than the Kurds of Turkey. In the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] camps of northern Iraq, Syrian Kurds are overrepresented -- the result of especially zealous oppression by the Assad regime. … A movement that has spent the last couple of decades mastering the art of patience shouldn't now sideline its own cause with a faulty comparison to a more desperate one.”
Turkey has always been center of attention and always will be. As you see, 2012 didn’t start so well for Turkey. However, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” says Albert Einstein. I hope lessons are leaned and there will be more positive news about Turkey, soon.