Some Turkish Friends' Thoughts on the Gaza Incident
When you travel the world you become more aware of its complexity and the constant dance of nations trying to get along. With the advent of 24/7 news coverage and so much news media competing for an audience, it can be hard to keep things in perspective. As tour organizers, we have groups all over Europe nearly all the time. We also have good partners and friends sending us their take on things as they unfold: volcanic ash, debt crises, strikes, political blow-ups, and so on. Here's an email we received today (June 1, 2010) from our guides in Turkey:
We just wanted to give you an update on the current situation here in Turkey [reactions to the Israeli raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza].
Once close allies, Israel and Turkey do seem to have clashing political agendas in the past few years. It sounds like this particular incident is not directly related to the tension between the two countries, although both sides are trying to make a statement out of the situation.
You have seen in the media, protests against Israel in Istanbul. A few thousand protesters gathered (mostly of Palestinian origin, or pro-Palestinians) to protest Israel's policies in the Middle East. This was an expected situation, and represents no threat to our travelers.
What the international media misses is that the vast majority of people in Turkey have a different focus, and that is Israel's military action (regardless of the political situation) on a Turkish vessel in international waters. Both the Turkish government and the public demand an answer, and the safe and immediate return of the passengers.
As we are writing to you, UN security council is still in session. I guess we will wait and see what the outcome is going to be. We will keep you informed if anything arises.
Have a nice day,
Lale & Tankut