Which Erdogan are we to believe? The man of the people, champion of the oppressed one who speaks out for Palestinians, Rohingya, Syrians? Or the realpolitik guy who brokers economic & political deals with Israel & Burma & violently represses Kurds; who houses US nuclear weapons on Turkish soil, allows US warplanes in Syria to use Turkish airbases, has the second largest army in NATO; makes unsavory deals with the European Union denying refugee rights to Syrians & other refugees trying to reach Europe; & who represses democracy protesters, raids newspaper offices & arrests reporters?
Did those Turkish naval ships he promised in May 2015 to rescue Rohingya refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea ever arrive? Did the millions in humanitarian aid he promised to refugees in Bangladesh ever get delivered? Did the humanitarian aid he promised to Gaza ever get delivered? Only the Turkish media controlled by Erdogan answers those questions in the affirmative because if they didn’t, they would be incarcerated.
Erdogan could be called a master of grandstanding empty gestures but his actions & inactions speak louder than words. This photo is a billboard in Ankara, Turkey in 2013 with images of Netanyahu & Erdogan celebrating their economic & political rapprochement. Turkey dropped the demand that Israel end the blockade of Gaza in exchange for an apology, some economic contracts, & $20 million compensation for Turkish activists killed by Israeli commandoes on the 2010 humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza. Erdogan eventually threw the organizers of the flotilla under the bus by publicly asking, “Did you even ask me before you set sail?”
Always in politics, there is the deed before the word.