I Criticized Terror group Hamas and My Life in 'Islamist' Turkey Became a Nightmare. (MEForum).by Burak Bekdil
My greatest sin was to argue: "The fact that there are no Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means Hamas, for the moment, cannot kill."
It was a beautiful, sunny day in December 2006 when I met Shimon Peres at his Tel Aviv office. At one point in our conversation, he began to talk about how things were beginning to go wrong in Turkey. He said: "Do not forget ... when holiness begins, reason ends." I knew he was right.
In 2006, the then Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was widely viewed as a Muslim democrat, a pro-EU reformist, a pro-business liberal; or, at worst, a postmodern Islamist — not just an Islamist.
In reality, I argued in my Hurriyet column, he was just another Islamist zig-zagging between his ideological and pragmatic selves. He was successfully deceiving much of the Western world.
Less than a decade later, having consolidated his power using a blend of nationalist, Sunni-Islamist rhetoric, populist sound bites and nods to Ottoman grandeur, he has been labelled "arguably the most virulent anti-Israel leader in the world." Read my story here.