Erdogan Image Building?

Erdogan Image Building?
by Stephen Lendman
No amount of lipstick changes anything about his dark side. He’s a world-class thug heading a despotic regime, fascist and vicious by any standard.
Fundamental rights in Turkey don’t exist. Democracy is pure illusion. Anyone criticizing regime policy or exposing its wrongdoing faces charges of espionage and/or treason, imprisonment following, at times death by targeted assassination.
Erdogan is a ruthless, dangerous rogue actor, a valued US ally, a NATO member – threatening regional peace, stability and security. 
He’s allied with America’s imperial enterprise, waging war on his own Kurdish population, murdering them in cold blood, his latest campaign ongoing for about two weeks, featuring wholesale slaughter and mass displacement – showing contempt for rule of law principles and fundamental human rights.
Erdogan’s spat with Israel over its May 2010 Mavi Marmara massacre in international waters, attempting to bring humanitarian aid to besieged Gazans, is more a tempest in a teapot than major diplomatic break between both countries.
Negotiations to resolve things and resume overt normal ties remain ongoing. Behind the scenes, business as usual largely continues. 
The incident is more of a distraction than major disruption. Much greater issues are at stake. Both nations are allied with Washington’s imperial enterprise, waging war on Syria, aiding ISIS and other terrorist groups, profiting hugely from the spoils of war.
At the same time, talks between Ankara and Israeli officials continue. According to the Turkish broadsheet Hurriyet Daily News, both sides seek “to accomplish the normalization process by sealing a long-negotiated (Mavi Marmara) deal.”
Erdogan got the apology he demanded, despite its weak-kneed nature showing little conviction. Two remaining issues remain unresolved – compensation for families of victims and unrestricted Turkish access to Gaza on the pretext of providing humanitarian aid.
Is Erdogan trying to burnish his badly tainted image? His imperial ambitions, regional warmaking and despotic rule belie his pretense of concern for beleaguered Gazans.
What he hopes to accomplish by “unrestricted access” to Gaza has nothing to do with aiding its people. Bilateral talks don’t relate to Hamas – even though days after news broke about both sides meeting, its political leader Khaled Mashal met with Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara.
According to a local source, Erdogan will let “the entire negotiation process…collapse” without free access he demands. Is it about a new market for Turkish products?
Regime Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci predicts “(i)f agreement can be reached between the two countries, Israel will allow Turkish origin products and aid material through Turkey into the Gaza Strip.”
“Israel will remove obstacles surrounding the movement of goods from Turkey to the Gaza Strip.” Days earlier, Prime Minister Davutoglu said Israel shows flexibility – still short of an agreement.
Haaretz reported a senior Israeli official saying it “isn’t even half-baked.” According to Hurriyet Daily News, another issue involves “secur(ing) a deal on the transport of (stolen Palestinian gas reserves in Gazan waters) to European markets via Turkey through a pipeline.”
Is Erdogan really after a Turkish/Israeli energy partnership and perhaps other lucrative economic ties – letting him, his family members and other regime officials profit hugely along with access to discounted gas and perhaps oil, humanitarian concern for Gazans a duplicitous smokescreen? 
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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