Erdogan pounced. He raced home from a Latin American junket to issue a firebreathing public condemnation. “Israel cannot clean the blood off its hands through any excuse,” he railed. “It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israel’s lawlessness. This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse.” The flotilla incident, he added was a “turning point.” The Israelis “once again showed their ability to perpetrate slaughters,” and should “absolutely be punished by all means.”
For his part, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (the hugely influential Muslim Brotherhood sharia jurist and IHH patron discussed in Part I) inveighed against the “barbaric and unexpected crime” in which “the Zionist gang … attack[ed] activists and volunteers on board a defenseless ship.” He hailed the “great Turkish stand” in defense of the Palestinian cause, a brand of heroism, he said, that put Arab countries to shame by comparison. The sheikh later issued a statement, co-signed by Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rashid Ghannouchi and several other prominent Brotherhood figures, urging individual Muslims and Islamic countries to show their appreciation to Turkey by favoring it with tourism and trade.
Hamas’s Sugar-Daddy: It’s Just Politics, Not Terrorism
Upon their return to Turkey, the IHH flotilla jihadists were received as heroes by the Erdogan government. Their plane was personally met by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, and the wounded “humanitarians” were subsequently visited by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and by Erdogan himself – with photos of Erdogan being embraced and kissed circulated throughout the Islamic media.
The prime minister was just getting started. He threatened future Gaza flotillas that would be accompanied by the Turkish navy, raising the specter of firefight on the high seas between Jerusalem and Ankara’s formerly allied naval forces, to say nothing of a broader regional war.
In championing Hamas’s case to the U.N. panel that probed the Mavi Marmara raid, Erdogan’s government insisted that the ship’s passengers were mere humanitarian activists illegally confronted in neutral, international waters by an Israeli government seeking to vindicate an illegal blockade of sovereign Gaza. This was a remarkable argument in light of Turkey’s own aggression in Cyprus.
As Daniel Pipes points out, since invading Cyprus and terrorizing Greek Cypriots in the mid-Seventies, Turkey has effectively annexed the northern third of the country – occupying it with 30,000 troops and purporting to establish the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (which no country other than Turkey recognizes). It has walled the occupied territory off from the rest of Cyprus, even as it condemns Israel’s sealing of the Gaza border. While dismissing Israel’s right to act in international waters to protect its own citizens and coastline from guaranteed terrorist attack, Turkey has threatened to use its own navy against Cyprus if it attempts to conduct oil exploration in international waters – especially if the drilling is in cooperation with Israel.
As noted in Part I, the U.N. panel rejected Turkey’s contention that Israel’s blockade violates international law, citing the well-known Hamas terrorist threat. Erdogan reacted bitterly. To the cheers of Islamic supremacists across the globe, the AKP government conclusively ended all military ties to Israel. On the two-year anniversary of the flotilla incident, the regime’s prosecutors filed an indictment against four Israelis commanders involved in the raid, seeking multiple life sentences – ranging from 8,000 to 18,000 years’ of imprisonment – based on the discredited theory, popular in Islamist circles, that Israel has no right of self-defense. [ACM note: Reportedly, these preposterous were to be dropped in exchange for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apology but, having secured the apology, there are now indications that Erdogan may renege on the dropping of charges.]
In 2011, moreover, Erdogan, made a startling pronouncement on Charlie Rose’s PBS program: “Let me give you a very clear message. I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization. Hamas is a political party. And it is an organization. It is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation. So we should not mix terrorist organizations with such an organization.” Erdogan has since hosted Hamas’s leaders – both Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal, on separate occasions – in Ankara. And in late 2011, a website belonging to Sheikh Qaradawi’s terrorist organization, the Union for Good, was ecstatic to announce the news that Erdogan had directed his finance ministry to donate $300 million to the government of Gaza. That is to say, Turkey is now bankrolling Hamas. Erdogan has taken his country from NATO ally to terror sponsor. [ACM: Immediately after Netanyahu’s apology, Erdogan called Hamas’s leaders in Gaza to brief them. Hamas instantly issued a statement congratulating Erdogan on bending Netanyahu into apologizing. Meanwhile, IHH leader Yildirim, after lauding Erdogan’s success in eliciting Netanyahu’s apology, promised that "the struggle will continue until the blockade is lifted."]
 Merley, Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla p. 75-77.
 Merley, Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla pp. 10, 20, 37.
 The boat was sold to IHH by a company called IDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri – the Istanbul Sea Bus Company), which is owned by the Istanbul City Municipality Transportation Corporation, for 1.8 million Turkish lira (about $1.15 million). The Turkish newspaper Aydnik reported that IDO insisted on selling the boat at a loss. According to the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a computer file later recovered from the boat discussed the IHH purchase of the Mavi Marmara from IDO.
 Yaakov Katz, “Erdogan and Turkish Government Supported IHH” (Jerusalem Post , Jan. 24, 2011); see also Merley, Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla pp. 10, 20, 37; IHH Preparations for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers Aboard the Turkish Ship Mavi Marmara (Aug. 6, 2010).
 Merley, Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla pp. 90-94.