It was the days when the Arab Spring started to rise as a big wave in the Middle East. As Anadolu Agency, we started broadcasting in Arabic. We went on a promotion tour. I was with Turan Kışlakçı, the founding editor of the Arabic service. The year was 2012.
We started off from Morocco. It was a tour covering Tunisia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. We were meeting with media authorities, politicians and opinion leaders everywhere we went and introduced the agency and its Arabic service. We were surprised by what we saw on the streets.
This was the situation:
The unbelievable situation in Arab countries
In those countries, there were Turkish ships at their ports, Turkish TV series on their televisions, Turkish contractors on construction sites, posters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in their homes and Turkish flags in their cars. We became the center of attention when people discovered that we were from Turkey. Everybody had a strong feeling of love and friendship.
Lebanon was our last stop. We opened a map of the Middle East at the news meeting of our office. This is what I said:
“Let’s assume the civil war in Syria is over. A person entering Syria from Gaziantep with a car can easily travel around the entire geography and easily go from Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean. In all countries’ power, he/she will see Ikhwan in terms of idea and Turkey in terms of economy and politics.
It seemed flattering to me, but at the same time it seemed like a frightening situation. Because this situation means the end of all the interests of the West in the region. Moreover, the only country which is cramped and stands alone in this entire geography is Israel. They won’t let it remain like this.”
The press meeting that changed everything
In November of the same year, then Prime Minister Erdoğan visited Cairo. The Cairo office of Anadolu Agency was opened during this visit by then Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Erdoğan and Morsi held a joint press meeting in the big hall of al-Azhar University.
Israel had bombed Gazza a short time ago. That’s why, both leaders made a common emphasis:
“Israel should know that the countries in the region are not the same old countries and their leaders are not the same old leaders. It has to suffer the consequences of this.”
This statement made on Nov. 17, 2012, unequivocally clarified what the Arab Spring meant for the region, for Israel, for the U.S. and for the West
In my opinion, the Western states, Israel and the old Arabic regimes decided to turn the Arab Spring into winter that day.
A secret meeting note the incidents following
The chief of Anadolu Agency’s Cairo office sent me a special message in December. Top figures of Israel and western countries held a secret meeting in the United Arab Emirates that the prince of darkness Dahlan, intelligence chiefs of the old regime, businessmen and politicians attended. The aim was to stop the Arab Spring. Turkey was among the targeted countries. The person who revealed this information was an Arab businessman attending the meeting and did not disclose his name.
We all know what happened later on. The fall of Syria was not allowed and the Arab Spring was stopped at the gates of Damascus. Then, a coup took place in Egypt, and in all countries, parties in power were overthrown.
They wanted to overthrow Turkey with the Gezi incidents, the operation against the undersecretary of National Intelligence Agency (MİT), a judicial intervention on December 17/25 and the July 15 coup attempt, but they failed.
A Cry from Palestine: The Israeli Spring is taking place
A group of parliament members from the Palestinian Friendship Group visited Palestine last week. They held various official talks. One of the people that they visited was Jenin Governor Ibrahim Ramadan. He told the president of the Friendship Group Hasan Turan,
“They turned the Arab Spring into winter. The world forgot about Palestine. Now the Israeli Spring has started.”
When Hasan Turan called me, as storms were breaking within him, the process swam before my eyes.
As Turkey was the strongest, mightiest and most peaceful country in the region during the Arab Spring, Israel is now the most comfortable, strongest and most peaceful country in this climate that has turned into winter.
It was so comfortable that it has formed political relations with the government of all Arab countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, and even had a fatwa issued by Saudi clerics that “fighting Israel is not haram.” Arab journalists and clerics on televisions supported by the United Arab Emirates said that the “promised lands” were the right of Israel and that there was no such a place as Palestine.
Netanyahu’s unforgettable statements
Israel backed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is living through a spring. However, Netanyahu’s statements are interesting:
“Israel’s relations with the Arab world have never been better than they are today. The biggest obstacle stopping peace is not the leaders of our neighboring countries. The obstacle is public opinion on the Arab street.”