Socialist Worker

United mass protests in Turkey shake up the region

Issue No. 2134

The anger at Israel’s assault on Gaza has reached new heights across the region.

One indication of the growing pressure on Israel and its allies is the change in language among politicians long considered friendly to Israel and the West.

Turkey’s prime minister Recep Erdogan told a recent rally that Israel is “perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction.

“Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.”

His statement led one Turkish newspaper to comment that this was language normally associated with Libya and Iran.

Erdogan, who staked his reputation on mediating talks between Israel and Syria, is said to be refusing to pick up the phone when the Israeli leader Ehud Olmert calls.

Turkey is a key Nato power in the region and has close military links to the Israeli army.

The change in tone has been described as “unprecedented”.

But so have the huge demonstrations against Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Turkish society has been divided between the ruling Justice and Development Party which emerged out of the Islamist movement, secular opposition groups, nationalists and the left.

The country has also seen deep divisions between Turks and the Kurdish minority.

These have been set aside for now.

Demonstrations and rallies, from small gatherings to tens of thousands strong, have been organised across the country.

Despite Erdogan refusing to cut all ties with Israel, one Israeli analyst warned that “all the good will has been used up”.

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