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Turkey and Israel: 'On' Again, Only to Be 'Off' Again - The Gatestone Institute - 08.12.22

by Burak Bekdil


Turkey's Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears to be on yet another hoax charm offensive: he is faking the restoration of diplomatic relations with Israel and Egypt, and even signalling peace with President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.


He needs to look pretty to his Middle East nemeses to A) avoid further Western sanctions, B) wink at Washington, and C) raise some international cash flows into the badly ailing Turkish economy that threatens to end his reign after two decades of uninterrupted rule.


Erdoğan and his ministers pledged to isolate Israel internationally. Instead, it was Turkey that was isolated by the international community, including the European Union, the US, Israel, Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.


There will always be the risk of Turkish-Israeli friction, including the possibility of a new break up, as long as any Islamist regime in Turkey refuses fully to respect the Jewish state's sovereignty and admit that Hamas is a terrorist entity that aims to annihilate Israel by any means necessary (see Hamas charter).


Come May 2023, with the commemoration day of the "Nakba" ("catastrophe") -- meaning the loss by five invading Arab armies of the war they had initiated to try to destroy Israel in 1948 -- there is likely to be a new escalation of hostilities with a fresh wave of Hamas violence, and Israel's response to Hamas's violence, then Turkey's response to Israel's response. Erdoğan will try to exploit this in Turkey's June presidential elections.


Once again Erdoğan plans to be shining as the anti-Zionist, Islamist neo-Ottoman sultan, the savior of oppressed Muslims!


Turkey's Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appears to be on yet another hoax charm offensive: he is faking the restoration of diplomatic relations with Israel and Egypt, and even signalling peace with President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria -- in addition to his earlier reconciliation efforts with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


He needs to look pretty to his Middle East nemeses to A) avoid further Western sanctions, B) wink at Washington, and C) raise some international cash flows into the badly ailing Turkish economy that threatens to end his reign after two decades of uninterrupted rule.


It is true that foreign policy is often more about interests, rather than love and hate. Erdoğan, however, represents a school of his own: pragmatism in dire times blended with high doses of ideology and emotion. He once suggested that Zionism must be designated a crime against humanity. The civilized world was shocked.


He also called then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "an invader, a terrorist, an oppressor and a thief" in 2018. Erdoğan's foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, not to be outdone, called Netanyahu a "baby killer."


In 2018, Erdoğan said he did not deem Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, a terrorist organization, and repeated his earlier words:


"Our support to the resistance of the Palestinians upsets them [Israelis and the West]. But in this context I do not deem Hamas a terrorist organization. Hamas is one of the resistance movements working to liberate the occupied territories of the Palestinians."


May 2010 was a landmark that history will probably not soon be able to change. The pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement and the pro-Hamas Turkish Humanitarian Relief Fund organized a six-ship flotilla to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza to break Israel's blockade of the territory to prevent proscribed offensive weapons from being smuggled in. The ships refused an Israeli offer to deliver the goods via the port of Ashdod.


On May 31, Israeli naval special forces intercepted the convoy in international waters. They took control of five of the ships without resistance. However, some activists on the Mavi Marmara, a large Turkish passenger ferry that was the main ship in the flotilla, attacked the Israeli commandos.


The confrontation resulted in nine Turks and one Turkish-American killed, more than 20 passengers wounded, and 10 Israeli commandos wounded. Of course, the Mavi Marmara, turned out to be loaded with offensive weapons.


Erdoğan prescribed punishment for Israel: "Today (May 30) is a turning point. They once again showed their ability to perpetrate slaughters ... Israel had to 'absolutely be punished by all means,'" he said.


For the full article in pdf, please click here:

Turkey and Israel - 'On' Again, Only to Be 'Off' Again - by Burak Bekdil for The Gatestone
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https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/19179/turkey-israel-erdogan


Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.



Pictured: Erdoğan on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Adem Altan/AFP via Getty Images)

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