Erdogan, Davutoglu shed tears for Gaza, but do little else
by Zülfikar Doğan Al Monitor 25 April 2016
The closing session of the recent 13th summit of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held in Istanbul, experienced a diplomatic scandal, set in motion by the host's economic finger-pointing. The proverbial shoe would soon, however, be on the other foot.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, chairing the summit April 15, referred to the widely discussed financial problems of the OIC as the cause of the organization's passivity and ineffectiveness. He went on to declare that Turkey would be donating $2 million to help make the OIC the influential organization suggestive of its name. Erdogan then began to read the names of member states that had not paid their dues. But Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Assaf stated that “Such issues are solved inside the organization. It is not proper to expose the countries that have not paid their dues.”
By coincidence, just as Erdogan revealed delinquent OIC member states, the World Bank in a report April 19 exposed Turkey to the world as one of the countries that had not fulfilled their pledges to help with the reconstruction and development of Gaza after Israel’s intense bombardment in July 2014. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which frequently invoke the Palestine issue and the plight of Gaza for domestic political advantage, were embarrassed by the disclosure.
Since 2013, Erdogan has been expressing his intention to visit Gaza, but he has been unable to do so because of tensions in Israeli-Turkish relations. Karel Valansi, foreign affairs writer for Istanbul’s Hebrew-language newspaper Shalom, noted that Erdogan could only go to Gaza "only with the knowledge and approval of Israel, but that was not likely to happen any time soon." Valansi also pointed out that Erdogan couldn’t go to Gaza via Egypt because of problems between Ankara and Cairo and therefore would have to travel via Israel. Of course, it would be up to the Israeli government to approve any such journey.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/04/turkey-palestine-did-not-pay-its-pledges-for-gaza.html#ixzz47Fe1RzKW