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Why Europe can’t afford Turkey’s slide into authoritarian chaos


It wasn’t surprising to hear the conspiracy theories from the opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “The failed coup played into the hands of Erdoğan so it must have been plotted by him.” But it was surprising to see this claim, which was not backed by any empirical evidence, voiced by Western colleagues.

The conviction among some foreign observers in Turkey is understandable to a certain degree. This is a country they love and it pains them to see it slide into an Islamic authoritarian regime. The future of their children is at stake, so their emotions and antipathy for Erdoğan outweigh rational analysis.

But what about observers in the West? What made some of them voice these unproven claims? Unfortunately, I put it down to orientalism and ignorance, which made them think the head of state in a country like Turkey could stage a false coup, consolidating his power at the expense of seeing hundreds of dead.

In their eyes, Turkey is a Middle Eastern country, just another third world banana republic.

Following the failed coup in Turkey I have seen postings on Facebook saying things like: “Until now I tried to convince my friends abroad that Turkey is a European country, not a Middle Eastern one; I can no longer say so.”

In her article published on CNN’s website, Jenny White, a professor of Turkish studies at Stockholm University, wrote: “Until Friday afternoon, Turkey remained a competent and stable, if problematic, country that served as a buffer between Europe and the imploding Middle East and a partner for the United States. The military action, the results of which are still unclear, took Turkey out of Europe and placed it squarely in the Middle East.”

However, the fact that the coup failed proves that Turkey is not like any other Middle Eastern country, where power can change hands at gunpoint.

Having said all this, from the earliest hours of the coup some of us predicted that it would be averted but also that it would unfortunately consolidate Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule. That of course does not bode well for Turkish democracy.

If the erosion of democracy’s main tenets – like an independent judiciary, free media, free academia and freedom of speech – which started during Erdoğan’s rule accelerates further, it is then that we will see Turkey switch to the category of Middle Eastern-type Islamic authoritarian regime. While short-sighted Turkey skeptics in Europe may rejoice over that switch, it would absolutely be against the interests of European democracies.

The refugee crisis, as well as the terrorism of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has shown that Europe cannot remain immune to the implosion of the Middle East. The dialogue and cooperation that has taken place between Turkey and the EU has shown the former’s critical contribution to the security and welfare of the latter. In fact, the gains are reciprocal, since Turkey also suffers from the implosion in the Middle East. Such a win-win situation cannot continue unless Turkey remains democratic. It is delusional to think this could continue with an authoritarian Islamic regime in Turkey.

The current cooperation is possible only because there are still a significant number of people and institutions that have endorsed universal values in Turkey. The slide into authoritarianism will erode these institutions and lead to a brain drain from Turkey. The day might come when Europe has to face a country where mobs yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) to stop tanks will not even listen to their leader.

The EU and its member countries should give crystal clear messages that they stand with Turkey in its struggle against the Fethullah Gülen movement, which appears to be behind this coup. They should provide concrete support to substantiate this message.

At the same time, they should be extremely vigilant about voicing criticism wherever they see undemocratic moves. They should not wait, for example, for the Turkish Parliament to start discussing the reinstitution of the death penalty. But rather than voicing threats like “Turkey cannot be a member of the EU if it brings back the death penalty,” it should use all the channels of dialogue – both state and non-state – to explain why this would not be in Turkey’s best interests.



In Atmeh Camp


Robin Yassin-Kassab



This account of my visit to Atmeh camp was published at Foreign Policy. In deference to their new paywall, I’ve waited a week before posting it here, and I haven’t posted the edited version, which for a change is better than the original, and which includes a brief commentary on the proposed intervention after the chemical weapons attacks. (I think you can read a certain number of articles at FP before paying – though if you can pay, do. FP is a great resource. I may give up my subscription to the sadly orientalist London Review of Books and subscribe here instead).

At the north eastern corner of the Mediterranean lies what used to be called the Sanjak of Alexandretta. Historically part of Syria, the French Mandate awarded the territory to Turkey in the late 1930s. The Turks named the area Hatay, after the Hittites. The extreme Turkish nationalism of the time held that the Hittites, like the Sumerians and other ancient peoples, had been proto-Turks, and that the Hittite ruins in the area justified its annexation to the Kemalist republic. The Arab population of the province produced their own mythology in response. Zaki Arsuzi, one of the founding ideologues of the Ba‘ath Party (its slogan: One Arab Nation Bearing an Eternal Message), did much of his agitating in Antioch, the provincial capital. Ba‘athism appealed particularly to non-Sunni minorities throughout the Levant. Today a debased version of the creed provides ideological cover for Syrian president Bashaar al-Assad’s campaign of slaughter.

Reyhanli (Reyhaniyeh in Arabic) is a town in Hatay right on the Turkish-Syrian border. Its population of Turks and Alawi, Sunni and Christian Arabs has recently doubled with the arrival of Syrian refugees. The crisis has boosted the local economy but also brought tragedy – a car bombing on May 11th, almost certainly the work of Assad’s intelligence services, killed 51 people. It was the worst terrorist atrocity in Turkey’s history.

A hotel in Reyhanli served as my base in late June while I worked with refugees on the other side of the border. A pleasant respite from the dust and trauma of the camp, it felt something like the setting of a Graham Greene novel. Saleem Idriss, chief of staff of the Supreme Council of the Free Syrian Army, wandered in one evening. Expatriate Syrians, charity workers or weapons smugglers, smoked shishas in the courtyard. And an American called Eric, with no surname, introducing himself as ‘a researcher’, visited the charity offices outside.

The back streets feature Syrian women being promenaded in their wheelchairs. It happens frequently that you shake a hand and realise that fingers are missing. One of my first friends there was Malek, an eleven-year-old boy from rural Hama with a big smile, a scar on his cheek, and only one leg. The hotel staff included Muhammad from Kafr Zeita, who escaped Syria after a year and a half’s imprisonment and torture.

DSCI0044With well over a quarter of a million refugees now lodged in Turkish camps, displaced Syrians are no longer allowed to cross over. Instead they shelter in the fields and at roadsides nearby, including at the Atmeh camp, planted exactly on the border. The entrance from Turkey involves no passport control but only a gap in the barbed wire fence, where cars deliver the wounded into Turkish ambulances and, in the other direction, trucks of food and medical aid are unloaded and repacked into vans headed for Aleppo and Idlib. Unemployed men hoping to work in Turkey mingle here with kerosene smugglers and fighters from the various Free Army and Islamist militias.

One morning a Syrian jet bombed a village on a nearby hillside, then soared close to the camp. The crowded entrance space cleared in a matter of seconds. A war novice may wonder at the uselessness of running to flimsy tents for shelter, but the point is to disperse, so as not to offer a densely-packed target.

In a sense, Atmeh is Syria in microcosm. Over a quarter of Syrians are now persisting in similar or worse conditions – fled to neighbouring countries or displaced inside their own, living under trees, in abandoned apartments, in mosques and schools – making this a far larger crisis than the Iraqi tragedy of 2006/2007.

The camp currently houses 22,000 refugees from shelling, aerial bombardment, gunfire, torture and rape. They come mainly from the Idlib, Hama and Aleppo regions. Most are rural people, but there are middle class urbanites too. Some come from further afield. One man I met was from Adra in the Damascus suburbs. After four regime rockets struck his home, he moved his family in with neighbours. When the regime attacked the area with poison gas, he gave up on Damascus and moved north.

The camp isn’t an easy place. In the summer it’s cursed by a hot, dust-laden and energy-draining wind; in the winter knee-high rivers of mud flood the temporary homes.

Some tents are fire resistant, some are plastic, some are concoctions of canvas, blanket and mat. Some have been distributed by the UNHCR, some by Turkish and expatriate Syrian charities. There are tents pitched between the silvery olive trees, around some of which herbs have been planted. The area closer to the barbed wire, where tents are set unshaded on the baked and stony earth, is much grimmer. There are toilets (unpleasant, and not nearly enough of them), rough shower blocks, and daily deliveries of clean water. But there are also streams of green liquid filth, which the children fall into as they play. Many children have something that sounds like a bad smoker’s cough but is most probably tuberculosis, a disease, like typhoid and leishmaniasis (this last transmitted by the sand flies which breed in uncollected rubbish), once defeated in Syria but now resurgent.

There’s a ‘main street’ with stalls set up in tents selling cigarettes, cola and sandwiches for those who can afford them, and barbers in tents, and of course a tented mosque. A ‘ready meal’ breakfast is sent in by the Turks each morning, and a simple lunch – lentil soup, for instance – is prepared in communal kitchens and distributed in buckets around the camp. There’s no dinner.

Most impressively, a civil society infrastructure has been established – something which was effectively forbidden in Assad’s Syria. From the first days of the revolution, Coordination Committees were established in Syrian cities and villages to provide services the state wouldn’t, and to organise protests and media work. And the Atmeh camp too has its Committee. Over half the assembled members and speakers at the meeting I attended were women, a fact which illustrates both the expanded social role of women in the revolution and the disproportionate numbers of women (and children) in Atmeh, because so many men are dead, imprisoned, or fighting. The Committee addresses urgent logistical needs, works with charities based outside the camp, and manages the Friday demonstration. It also helps to set up schools for the camp’s children.

Revolution House School

Revolution House School

I saw three schools: the Revolution House school in a single-room concrete shack; the Ghurabaa (Strangers) school, run by Salafist-Islamists, and disapproved of by many because it entirely ignores the old Syrian curriculum in favour of a purely ‘Islamic’ education; and the Return School (the name a tragic reminder of the Palestinian expulsion), which serves 500 children, cramming 40 at a time in stifling tent classrooms. This was the school where I gave my storytelling workshop as part of the Maram and Karam Foundations’ Camp Zeitouna project, which included workshops in calligraphy, art, dental care and football skills. We were assisted by some of the school’s twenty unsalaried teachers, and inspired by the laughing and shouting children. Some of these have had only one month of schooling in the last two years. Some are physically scarred and emotionally traumatised. They responded well to the workshops, and of course to the football pitch and playground constructed by Maram. They responded best of all, simply, to attention.

One of the trip’s highlights was sitting in the dust on the new football ground being sung to by a group of boys and girls – a surreal mix of revolutionary nationalist, jihadist and romantic songs. One of the low points was meeting Manar, a woman whose two children died in a tent fire caused by a fallen candle. Another woman said she’d prefer to be dead than living in such conditions. Every teenager says such things in English, and it means nothing much. In Arabic it means a great deal.

Tamador the volunteer psychologist does her rounds. She advises a woman whose husband has abandoned her for another wife, but still turns up to take her money. She hears about a man who sexually abuses his son’s wife (the family shares a tent). Pre-existent social problems have been immeasurably exacerbated by war trauma, unemployment, entrapment, and the forced proximity of the extended family.

Muhammad Ojjeh, our football coach and professional photographer, went down on one knee with his long lens to shoot a picture of a child. The child screamed in terror, turned and ran. His mother shouted after him, “It’s a camera, stupid, not a gun.”

A woman welcomed us to her tent shamefacedly. “We’ve become Beduins,” she apologised. Deprived for so long of influence on the public space, Syrians of all classes take inordinate pride in their carefully ordered homes. Now this too is denied them.

An angry man reacted badly to the playground under construction. “What’s the use of this?” he complained. “We don’t want to stay here. The insects are eating us! We want to return to our homes. We need weapons. We need help.”

It’s probable that people like him will become still angrier in the coming months. Betrayed by a media which portrays the revolution not as a majority struggle for freedom against a genocidal minority regime, but as an equal fight between two equally barbaric armies – one Alawi, one Salafist – and by a global left which for the most part thinks only in terms of geopolitical chess, it’s unlikely that Syrians will receive any serious support soon.

DSCI0129Now that Hizbullah is openly fighting on the regime’s side, the West expresses an intention to aid the opposition just enough to ‘restore the balance’ – a balance which was anyway slaughtering a hundred Syrians a day. In any case, Britain, France and the US have failed to match their tepid rhetoric with weapons.

Part of the problem is Western fear of the opposition’s greatly exaggerated Islamist-extremist element. The irony is that the longer the tragedy lasts, the greater the empowerment of formerly irrelevant jihadist forces.

Atmeh village, on a hill behind the camp, has been turned into a barracks for the foreign fighters of Hizb ut-Tahreer, who are not, apparently, fighting the regime but waiting for ‘the next stage’. Syrians, including democratic Islamists, refer to them derisively as “the spicy crew” and shrug off the risk they represent. One assured me it would take “two minutes” to expel them once the regime falls. But sectarian hatreds, instrumentalised by the regime’s propaganda, its Alawi death squads and assaults on Sunni heritage, are certainly rising. This deliberate attack on the social fabric is perhaps the regime’s greatest crime. When tyrants light the fuse of sectarian war, they are unleashing passions which extend beyond politics. They are killing people who have not yet been born.

The Sunni backlash is apparent in the camp. We met a man whose wife and eleven children were killed in an airstrike, who plans to marry again and produce eleven more children, “just so I can teach them to kill Alawis”. There’s a teenager who boasted that “afterwards, we won’t leave a single Alawi alive.” There’s the commonly-heard argument that “We don’t hate them, but they have an ancient grudge. It’s in their upbringing to hate us.”

On the other hand, Shaikh Muhammad, an authority in the camp, told me how he’d accompanied Free Army militias as they overtook Alawi villages, how the men were investigated for membership of shabeeha militias and the women and children were left alone. “We aren’t Assad,” he said. “We’re better than that.” (Though some Alawi villagers, fearing revenge, have fled from the approach of the Free Army, there has been no mass slaughter of Alawi civilians to mirror the sectarian massacres and ethnic cleansings perpetrated by the regime.)

Aziz, an Ismaili from Selemiyyeh – a minority community which has been solid in its support for the revolution – was guardedly optimistic. “The regime will go, that’s certain. Then we’ll face a very difficult year, perhaps five years, perhaps even ten. After that we’ll live together as we did before, but better than before. We’ll live in freedom.”

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

September 5, 2013 at 9:46 am


Turkey calls for united response to stop Syria bloodshed

  • Turkey on Sunday called on the international community for a united response to stop …
  • Syrian's hold a huge image of President Bashar al-Assad during a rally in his support in the capital in Damascus on November 13. Turkey on Sunday called on the international community for a united response to stop the bloodshed in Syria and summoned the Syrian envoy to condemn attacks on its diplomatic missions by pro-regime protestersEnlarge PhotoSyrian’s hold a huge image of President Bashar al-Assad during a rally in his support …

Turkey on Sunday called on the international community for a united response to stop the bloodshed in Syria and summoned the Syrian envoy to condemn attacks on its diplomatic missions by pro-regime protesters.

“The attitude of the Syrian government … demonstrates the need for the international community to respond with a united voice to the serious developments in Syria,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkey summoned the Syrian charge d’affaires, the country’s envoy to Ankara, and submitted a diplomatic note, as it condemned the attacks on its diplomatic mission.

“Turkey strongly condemns… the loathsome attacks on its embassy in Damascus, consulate in Aleppo and honorary consulate in Latakia,” the foreign ministry said.

On Saturday night, thousands of protesters carrying knives and batons attacked Turkey’s diplomatic missions, furious over Ankara’s support for an Arab League decision to suspend Syria, state-run news agency Anatolia reported.

In Aleppo, protesters managed to break into the consulate building, Anatolia said, while in Damascus they pelted the embassy building with stones, plastic bottles and tear gas shellings, which the police used to disperse the crowd.

No one was injured in the attacks, however Turkey decided to evacuate the families of diplomats and non-essential personnel from Syria.

A Turkish Airlines plane brought a group of 60 people to Ankara, Anatolia said. Ambassador Omer Onhon and diplomatic staff will stay on in Syria, the ministry said.

Arab League foreign ministers earlier Saturday voted to suspend Syria over its failure to comply with an agreement to end the crackdown on a nationwide protest movement calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation.

Turkey on Sunday hailed the decision saying it was “on time and of common sense”, highlighting the “seriousness” of the situation in Syria.

Syria’s failure to fulfil its commitments to the Arab League is a “disappointment” for Turkey, the statement said.

“The Syrian government should read the message of the Arab League right and stop the violence against its own people,” it added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is to meet representatives of the Syrian opposition movement in Ankara at 1800 GMT Sunday, his ministry said.

“The Arab League took the right step … with this decision, we support it,” Davutoglu said Saturday during a visit to Serbia, media reports said.

Davutoglu said he would meet with the foreign ministers of Arab countries in Morocco on Wednesday during a Turkish-Arab Forum and would discuss Syria further, media reports added.

Ankara, once a close ally to Assad, has expressed frustration for his failure to listen to the people, whose almost daily pro-democracy rallies have been met with violent repression, at a cost of 3,500 lives, mostly civilians.

Turkey shares a long border with Syria of more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) in its south, and some 7,500 Syrians have fled to Turkey where they live in border camps in Hatay province.

As Turkey Freezes Israel Ties, Critics Decry “Whitewashed” U.N. Report on Gaza Flotilla, Blockade

click on image
Amy Goodman

Istanbul January 2011

Arrival of the Mavi Marmara at Eminönu, Istanbul

Turkish music

Next Time on the High Seas: Netanyahu’s Options


Written by: Palestine Chronicle


By Richard Lightbown

On 26 December thousands turned out in Istanbul to welcome the Mavi Marmara back to the port. A large banner on the starboard side featured photos of the nine martyrs from the Israeli raid. The ship had spent more than four months in Iskenderun where forensic experts had checked out the bullet holes that Israeli operatives had filled and painted over. Blood stained clothing and heaps of ransacked baggage have been cleared away. No doubt the railings cut by activists for the makeshift defence of the ship have now been replaced, and perhaps the six kitchens have been restocked with knives and utensils to replace those taken to display to the world’s media as proof of a premeditated ‘lynch’ of Israel’s well-equipped and highly-trained elite special forces.

Already it has been announced that the ship is to leave on the first anniversary of the raid on 31 May 2011 in a renewed attempt to break the blockade. The need in Gaza remains acute.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported on 18 October that Israel maintains a total ban on raw materials and construction materials necessary for reconstruction. (It is still unclear whether the 3,500 tons of cement from the flotilla was ever allowed to reach Gaza.) On 9 July the same NGO had stated that 86,000 homes and 900,000 tons of concrete were needed to make good the damage from Operation Molten Lead and provide for population growth.

Gisha reported on 21 December that bureaucratic delays to permits for construction materials had thwarted international projects to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure, while projects administered by the Hamas government were using materials entering through the tunnels from the Egyptian border. In the five months between July and December 744 truckloads of cement, gravel and steel had entered the Strip via the Israeli crossings, compared with 900 tons (equivalent to 36 truckloads) which pass each day through the 30-40 tunnels intended for construction materials.

Despite Israel’s well publicised easing of the blockade the number of trucks allowed into Gaza in October was on average only 34% of pre-June 2007 levels. The Palestinian Trade Centre reported on 14 October that fuel imports were markedly below the estimated needs. Cooking gas was particularly affected since it cannot be piped through the tunnels from Egypt. Exports allowed out of Gaza between January and September this year amounted to a mere 80 truckloads, stifling any meaningful recovery of the economy.

The Turkish government has made no objection so far to the announcement from the humanitarian organization IHH to make a renewed challenge of the illegal Israeli blockade. And why should it? As Huwaida Arraf explained at the Free Gaza press conference in Rome on 13 December:

“The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that Israel’s closure of Gaza is a violation of international law. States have an obligation to end this violation of international law. Therefore states have an obligation not to stop us, to let us go to Gaza.”

‘Us’ in this case refers to organizations from the USA, Canada, Norway, Holland, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Malaysia and Turkey. This is a far cry from two tiny vessels and 42 activists that began this snowball in 2008. Nothing it would seem is going to stop this movement from sailing for Gaza. But what will Israel do this time?

There will no doubt be diplomatic pressure. The Republic of Cyprus can be expected to again refuse access to the flotilla, and no doubt the U.S. administration will find some spurious reason to disapprove of the operation. Maybe the shambles that is the stalled peace process will be wheeled out once more as an excuse for disapproving of solidarity with the Palestinian’s claim for justice and human rights. We can expect at least three Nobel peace laureates to disgrace themselves and to side with injustice again.

The organizers will know to watch their vessels closely for sabotage. Both of the cabin cruisers suffered steering faults on the way to the rendezvous for the last flotilla and only managed to reach harbour with difficulty. One of them, the Challenger II, also had a problem with the bilge pump, and did not manage to set sail for Gaza. Sabotage to the Rachel Corrie’s propeller and exhaust also resulted in delays and repairs costing £37,000.

Mossad can also be expected to get at least one spy onto the flotilla this time. Advance information of the emergency channel on the Mavi Marmara would have been a major help to the IDF in its attempt to control media sources during the last raid. The Israeli government was seriously embarrassed by news headlines reporting 16 dead at 06:00 GMT on 31 May and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be keen to avoid a repeat of this negative PR. Both sides will have learnt lessons from their experiences last time and there will be a keen battle of wits to control information sources this time around. This time too major media outlets may even decide to come to the party since the story is becoming too big to bury. (For the sake of journalistic integrity it is to be hoped that the BBC will not chose to send Jane Corbin. However the presence of at least one BBC journalist on board may render it impossible for the corporation to fabricate another propaganda piece to match Panorama’s Death on the Med.)

The Free Gaza Movement is again declaring its intention to carry out non-violent resistance against any illegal assault. The IHH president, BülentYildirim, appears unrepentant for his previous statements, so a forceful defence of the Mavi Marmara will again be a possibility in the event of an Israeli attack. Israel will know this and will be evaluating the choices. These appear to be more limited this time. The diplomatic fallout with Turkey has still not cleared and the Turkish government remains steadfast in its demand for an apology from Israel. Legal actions are also underway in various European courts and in the International Court of Justice for compensation and criminal prosecution. The threat of legal action has already prevented Defence Minister Ehud Barak and deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor from travelling to Europe since the raid. The subject of ‘de-legitimisation’ was mentioned several times by witnesses to the Turkel Commission, to the extent that maybe even Benjamin Netanyahu will be starting to see a connection between Israel’s criminal behaviour and the way its citizens are welcomed overseas: (maybe!).

Mr Netanyahu’s first choice is to let the flotilla pass, and by doing so open up a seaway to Gaza for importing desperately needed construction materials, open up the export market which will stimulate the economy, allow Gazans their human right to travel, and allow the free passage of world citizenry into the enclave to see first-hand Israeli snipers attacking Gazan farmers and gunboats attacking fishermen. In effect this will begin the de-occupation of Gaza. (And why does Israel insist on occupying Gaza?)

His second option is to attack, risk a major military stand-off with Turkey (to the great embarrassment of NATO) and prove to the world that the first attack was not an error of judgment. This will do wonders for the BDS movement and might even kick-start it in North America.

Alternatively can the commandos attack it this time without wholesale bloodletting? Clambering up the stern from Zodiacs seems an impossible task when faced with defenders wearing gas masks (from the ship’s fire-fighting equipment) and using fire hoses. This proven defence will be difficult to overcome without the use of extreme violence. Or will the navy chief be willing to authorise live fire from helicopters before boarding on a second occasion, knowing that this has already been declared an unlawful act contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention by the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission (and knowing that he can personally be held criminally responsible)? If not, what other options does he have available to seize the top deck against persons determined to exercise their legal right of defence (and who know what strategy was employed on the previous occasion)?

The compromise might be to try to disable the ships. This is widely seen as a high risk strategy. Chief of the General Staff Gabi Ashkenazy told Turkel that there were no safe options to boarding, and commentators have questioned the safety of disabling a ship on the high seas that is carrying more than 600 civilians. If a bungled attempt causes the ship to sink or founder with serious loss of life Israel could become a pariah state overnight and the UN might be forced to oversee the sea route into Gaza.

An unstoppable force seems to have been unleashed here. As on the Indian subcontinent, in southern Africa and in the American south, this movement for civil rights is not going to be frightened off. It is not going to go away. It is not going to wither and die. That the vast majority of Israeli citizens were misguided enough to have supported the terrorism against the last flotilla only underlines the corrupting influence on Israeli society of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. For Israel to escape its internal decay and destruction it has to give up its role of occupying power and a defining moment in its history now approaches. If not with this flotilla, then with the next or the one after…At some stage soon, the unstoppable force will engulf the blockade. The sooner that happens the better it will be for Israel, the better for the opportunities for peace in the Middle East and the better for the tragic victims in Gaza for whom freedom and justice have been denied for far too long.

– Richard Lightbown has researched a review of media sources on the flotilla raid and a critique of BBC Panorama’s programme ‘Death in the Med’. He contributed this article to

About the author:Palestine Chronicle 

The Palestine Chronicle publishes news and commentary related to the Middle East Peace

The Rageh Omaar Report – Turkey’s new visionary

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