TURKEY: Obama Cozies Up to Erdogan; Photos of Obama Praying in Mosque Released by WH


President Obama removes his shoes
during a visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul

CNS news reports that Obama characterized Turkey as “a great country” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "personal friend..." 

Despite the following:
-- In February, Erdogan stormed off the stage during a televised debate in Davos after a heated exchange with Israeli President Shimon Peres over Gaza. American Jewish organizations subsequently wrote to Erdogan, linking a spate of anti-Jewish incidents in Turkey to “the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials.”

-- In April, Ankara announced  it planned to hold its first joint military exercise with Syria, a prospect Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called “very troubling.”

-- In June, Turkish lawmakers aligned themselves with those from eight other Organization of the Islamic Conference member states in a resolution supporting Iran’s and condemning “interference” by countries critical of Iran’s conduct during and after its disputed presidential election.

-- In the fall, Turkey asked Israel to withdraw from a scheduled NATO air force exercise that it was preparing to host. After fellow participants U.S. and Italy pulled out of the Anatolian Eagle exercise to protest the move, Ankara canceled the event altogether.

-- At the U.N. in New York in September, Erdogan again voiced opposition to sanctions against Iran, while turning the spotlight on Israel.

-- Erdogan used the opportunity to accuse Israel of using “phosphorus bombs … a weapon of mass destruction” in Gaza and asked why Israel’s conduct was not being scrutinized by the Security Council.

-- In October, Turkey hosted Mohsen Rezai, one of five Iranians wanted by Argentina in connection with the 1994 suicide truck bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Despite the fact that Rezai, a former head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, is the subject of an Interpol “red notice,” he traveled freely to Turkey, where he held talks with President Abdullah Gul and other officials.

-- The same month saw Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other cabinet colleagues visit Syria, where they signed a bilateral “strategic cooperation” agreement and pledged to improve defense ties. Syria’s closest strategic ally is Iran.

-- Also in October, Davutoglu cancelled a visit to Israel, where he had been invited to take part in a major international conference in Jerusalem, hosted by Peres.

-- Several days later, Erdogan visited Tehran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly thanked him for his stance towards Israel.
 Yup, it all just makes you want to take off your shoes and pray in a Mosque, doesn't it?

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