By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
First came the murmurs. Then some spotty hints. Now we have confirmation.
On July 5 Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, will visit Gaza. This is big news. This is a very important statement from the Turkish prime minister.
Making the trip to Gaza is a domestic and an international statement. Erdogan is in the midst of a major civil crisis in Turkey, a crisis in which secularists are rebelling against his point of view and are upset by his Muslim-style shift away from the classic style of Ataturk.
Going to Gaza shows the citizens of Turkey that he, their leader, cares about the downtrodden.
The move also positions Erdogan as a Muslim player and a Muslim leader in the larger world. He becomes one of only a few world leaders who will have visited Gaza. The last Muslim leader to visit Gaza was the emir of Qatar. The emir visited for the same reasons. Of course, he also promised $8 billion in aid.
I am certain that Hamas will ask for money - and that Erdogan will comply. That part of the visit will not go over well at home in Turkey. The Turks have not had a good year economically. They want aid to be spent at home, not spread around abroad.
The people most hurt by aid given to Hamas in Gaza by Turkey are the students and the anti-Erdogan protests.
This trip is like taking two steps forward and one step backward for Turks, but one giant leap forward for the Muslim world.
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