Two days ago I wrote a post called Erdogan wants a fight.
Now this video has emerged, and with it, new details about a scuffle between Erdogan, and a UN guard at UN Headquarters in NY last week as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was delivering his speech.
So what happened? According to the NYT:
Erdogan was meeting President Jalal Talabani of Iraq when he heard that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was about to make his speech demanding full United Nations membership for a state of Palestine.
Mr. Erdogan rushed toward the hall where Mr. Abbas was to speak, but the prime minister found himself at an entrance to a crowded visitors gallery, and United Nations guards refused to let him in. He tried to enter anyway and, by most accounts, Mr. MacFarquhar reported, a guard pushed him.
The ensuing fight sent one guard to the hospital with a rib injury, and there were unconfirmed reports of bloodstains on the floor.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apologized — quickly and profusely, it seems — and suspended half a dozen security guards.
So let’s break it down:
Erdogan realizes he’s late for Abbas’ speech. He needs to be in the room for that speech, seeing as he has taken it upon himself to champion the Palestinian cause [if he really cared about Abbas he wouldn’t support Hamas], so that he can win friends and influence people in the Middle East. To do this, he has to bash the Israelis, which he is doing daily, with relish. So Erdogan heads for the UN General Assembly plenum and decides to go through the first door he sees. He’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, after all. He can go wherever he wants to. Rules and boundaries at the UN don’t phase him, guards doing their duties don’t phase him, he’s going through that door. What would it look like to the Arab world if he, Erdogan the Great, was not in the hall when the Palestinian leader was speaking? The Arabs would accuse him of not really caring for the Palestinians’ plight, but merely using them as a springboard for influence in the region [something akin to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran]! That would be a disaster! So the man, surrounded by his guard detail, tries to break through a lone UN guard who was doing his job guarding a protected access point. And when the guard stands his ground [like Israel stood its ground against the Turkish flotilla in May 2010 and is still standing its ground against Erdogan’s daily attacks] Erdogan simply tried to shove him out of the way. Still the guard stood his ground and pushed back. And that’s when Erdogan’s security detail jumped in and beat the living daylights out of the guard, broke his ribs and sent him to the hospital. This security guard should be commended and given a pay raise. He showed courage and strength, AND HE DID HIS JOB.
So why did UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apologize to Erdogan so quickly, instead of sticking by his man? And what’s more, the UN chief suspended the UN guards who came to their colleague’s assistance!
Your guess is as good as mine. But it is painfully clear that Ban Ki-moon is spineless.
The incident is a poignant example of how Erdogan sees himself these days, how he sees others these days, and what he is likely to do to anyone who stands in his way.
I hope the right people are taking notes.