Follow by Email

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thomas Friedman's "Letter from Istanbul"

In an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times entitled "Letter from Istanbul" (, Tom Friedman observed that Erdogan's Turkey is abandoning the West and instead befriending Iran:

"There is nothing wrong with criticizing Israel’s human rights abuses in the territories. Israel’s failure to apply its creativity to solving the Palestinian problem is another dangerous vacuum. But it is very troubling when Erdogan decries Israelis as killers and, at the same time, warmly receives in Ankara Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the bloodshed in Darfur, and while politely hosting Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government killed and jailed thousands of Iranians demanding that their votes be counted. Erdogan defended his reception of Bashir by saying: 'It’s not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide.'”

For Friedman, this is a remarkable reversal of the opinion he expressed in his op-ed, "When Friends Fall Out" (, published only two weeks earlier.

Friedman heeded the wake up call: Turkey is no longer a friend of Israel. For that matter, Turkey is no longer a friend of the United States, as evidenced by its UN vote against sanctions to be imposed upon Iran. Moreover, as I observed in my prior blog entry, Turkey threatens to set the entire region afire.

What to do? Although Obama continues to behave as if nothing at all has happened, the U.S. Congress has grown alarmed by Turkey's conduct, and there is renewed talk concerning the need for Turkey to acknowledge Armenian genocide, but this is hardly enough.

Tourism contributed some $18 billion to Turkey's GDP in 2009. Until Turkey decides to stop flirting with international terrorists, it is time for each of us to remove Turkey from our list of vacation destinations. If a boycott of Turkey as a vacation destination is announced, I am certain that Erdogan will think twice whether it is in his best interests to continue to play with matches.


  1. I have spoken with my travel agency in New York, which has several branches, and they will no longer be marketing Turkey as a vacation spot.

  2. I canceled my vacation in Bodrum.