Using its temporary membership on the United Nations Security Council, Turkey is showcasing the ill-fated Gaza flotilla to promote its new eastward-looking agenda. A Muslim-oriented Turkish government — with a repressive record on the rights of its Kurdish minority and now excoriated for abuses against women by a recent judgment by the European Court of Human Rights — has forfeited its chances of joining the European Union.

For those Europeans who still believe that the EU must be something more than an economic arrangement and should also represent Western principles of human rights, Turkey is becoming an anachronistic society slipping deeper into its seriat (sharia) past. It has no place in Europe.

As Turkey’s window on the West closes, Turkey has been looking eastward. Turkey is not dreaming of remaking the Ottoman Empire, but it does want to become a regional power. And most of all it wants to build support in the Islamic world for a permanent seat on the Security Council.

No political event has a single agenda. The naïve leftist militants who thought they could weaken Israel by breaching the blockade of Gaza were a perfect vehicle for Turkey’s program. Like the politically immature Rachel Corrie, who was a sacrificial lamb for the International Solidarity Movement, the flotilla members were perfect fodder for Turkey’s ascending role as a regional Islamic leader.

There is more than adequate food and medical supplies in Gaza, and the Hamas elite and international media, who have helped perpetuate the fiction of a desperate Gaza, dine in fine restaurants along the Gaza coast.

The leftist militants, who year after year have initiated such flotillas, sought to weaken Israel by breaking Israel’s Gaza blockade or by precipitating a public relations crisis for Israel by making it appear that Israel is denying food to starving children. Those who seek to weaken Israel’s ability to defend itself believe that Israel has no right to exist.

Typical of these militants is Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, California, a local leader in the International Solidarity Movement.  Larudee was among those flotilla participants who were safely and without incident towed to the Israeli port of Ashod, where Israel unloaded their cargo for transport to Gaza.

Not to be deprived of a strike against Israel, the Larudee family, according to Jane Stillwater, of the Israel-obsessed Berkeley Daily Planet, sent out emails stating that Israeli Consul General in Jerusalem (sic) Andrew Perkins (who is actually the U.S. consul general in Tel Aviv) informed them that a badly beaten Paul was languishing in an Israeli jail refusing food and medical treatment. Ironically, as the story of the badly injured Larudee was making its email rounds among our local leftist militants, San Francisco radio news was reporting that Larudee was among four local area residents released unharmed by Israeli authorities and already on his way back to the Bay Area. It remains to be seen what, if any, injuries Larudee will be sporting for the cameras upon arrival at SFO.

Hamas and Israel are in a state of war, and Israel, under the Oslo Accords, controls the Gaza coast.  You won’t hear this in the mainstream media, but under international law a nation-state can stop vessels on the high seas and inspect them if its sovereignty is going to be breached. The U.S. Coast Guard stops hundreds of vessels every day in international waters without Mexico demanding an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.