Turkey has unquestionably been the country which has used the bluntest and most uncompromising rhetoric regarding the Gaza events. Declarations made by Prime Minister Erdoğan have "unsettled" the West and created strong ripples in international circles and the mass media. Just a mere perusal of political cartoons published in the Arab speaking media over recent weeks illustrates the difference between Turkey's stance and that of some Arab regimes.
In comparison with the depth and gravity of the tragedy in Gaza, Turkey's "blunt" declarations seem almost moderate and diplomatic. What is surprising is not the vehement declarations of Turkey, but the silent attitude on the part of Turkey's democratic allies. One would have expected a more visible attitude on their part, in proportion of the atrocities committed, but this is either silence or an attempt to minimise their responsibilities, asserting even that the conflict has been "beneficial" to Hamas.
This scary attitude of countries and regimes established on the universal principle of a right to life and a duty to live will create important problems in the future. A whole generation of Palestinians, who have been subjected to such atrocities, will never want peace anymore.
However, a long and very interesting interview was published in Der Spiegel three days ago, which should perhaps incite all those who think that the Turkish PM is too brittle to have a deeper evaluation.
Yuval Diskin, who directed the Shin bet, the Israeli Internal Security organisation, for six years up until 2011, declared in this interview that he was extremely alarmed about a potential clash that could happen soon. According to Diskin, the main difference between the 1993 Oslo agreement and today is the fact that there are no real leaders left today. He does not think that either Abbas or Netanyahu are "true" leaders willing to take risks to establish peace.
Obviously, a politician should be evaluated by his deeds, not his words. In that sense, a "leader" like Prime Minister Erdoğan, who has brought a peaceful perspective to the Kurdish problem in Turkey, unresolved since the 1925 uprising, is an inspiration for a lot of politicians, including the Israeli government.
People's character strengths are reflected in the strengths of institutions and systems. Only under duress can one fathom their resilience. You cannot behave like Galileo in front of the Inquisition all the time, however one should stand by one's principles and deeds. Especially in politics, it is hard not to "fluctuate" sometimes because of your words and thoughts. Those who do not "fluctuate" become important leaders.
In 1993, there was Yasser Arafat on one side and Yitzhak Rabin on the other. Both were fighters, military commanders who have been fighting for their ideas and risking their lives. First Rabin was been assassinated, then Arafat. If they could have succeeded, today's Middle East would have been an altogether different place.
This unfortunately did not happen. Leaders who rely upon the support of their population, who take risks, who openly take blunt steps may be unsuccessful as well. Their misfortune becomes the misfortune of humanity, like in the situation of Gaza today. There are others who try to do politics in the shadows, who do not stand up for their beliefs and principles, who act hypocritically. If they become successful, humanity faces another misfortune again. We have seen that during the coup attempts of the recent months. If they fail, that is an open perspective for democracy and development. It has always been so, it will probably always will be.