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Posted at RIEAS web site (www.rieas.gr) on 13 June 2021.
"Originally posted at theperiscope.substack.com and shared here by permission."
Note: The article reflects the opinion of the authors and not necessarily the views of the Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS)
Israel is a country obliged to look at the world through specially cut precision lenses. Its very existence is still the target of a host of fanatical Muslim regimes, while its relations with the rest of the “civilized” world often stumbles upon intrinsic anti-Semitism carefully camouflaged behind diplomatic pantomimes and theatrics.
It is thus no surprise that Israel has had a rocky relationship with Turkey since the very beginning. Brief intervals of “amicable” relations had nothing to do with anything truly “friendly;” they were, in essense, breaks in an otherwise long tradition of Turkish instinctive rejection of “the Jew” and his post-WWII unpardonable “invasion and occupation” of Palestine—a Jewish land since time immemorial.
More recently, Israel, nevertheless, did try to play along with the fanatical Islamist Erdogan regime, whose government began via a deceptive period of “civilized European internationalism” serving as cover of modern Turkey’s established tradition of genocide and flirting with the Nazi monster. It was, however, a matter of time before the Golden Palace neo-sultan would drop his mask, and the turning point was the false flag 2016 coup d’état, which led to the decapitation of the secular Kemalist state, and the continuing sweeping persecution of those Turks who reject Erdogan’s pushing their country back into primitive Mohammedanism.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The analysis presented here highlights the long-delayed end of illusions regarding Turkish-Israeli “friendship.” Even if Erdogan disappears tomorrow, Turkey, now an Islamist rogue terrorist state, will continue as an ugly clone of the Iranian regime devoted to the physical destruction of the Jewish state and the “elimination of the Jew.” Thus, Israel must shift — and the shift should be permanent.
Rethinking Israeli-Turkish Relations
Executive Summary: Bilateral relations between Turkey and Israel have existed on various levels for many years. Today, relations between the states hinge primarily on trade, as mutual distrust prevents any meaningful progress despite periodic attempts at an easing of tensions. But the Guardian of the Walls operation proved once again that anti-Israeli sentiments exist not only in Turkey’s Nationalist/Islamist/Leftist circles but in Kemalist/secularist circles as well. The extent of anti-Israelism in Ankara is so extreme as to be difficult if not impossible to bridge. Israel should expect no change in this sentiment, not even during the first stages of a post-Erdoğan era.
This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Efraim Elrom, Israel’s Consul General in Istanbul, who was abducted and murdered after three days in captivity by a radical leftist Turkish organization. At the time, the affair raised serious questions in Israel about the country’s relationship with Turkey. Some members of the Israeli diplomatic corps criticized Turkey’s attitude toward the affair: Ankara saw the Elrom affair as just another in a string of terrorist assaults, in contrast to Jerusalem, which viewed the saving of Elrom’s life as top priority.
That was during the Cold War, and Turkish-Israeli relations have had their ups and downs over years ever since the establishment of the State of Israel. But the Elrom Affair, like other cases over the decades, highlighted the fact that relations have hardly ever been based on trust and true friendship.
One exception was the decade of the 1990s, during which Israel and Turkey cooperated on security issues and deepened bilateral relations. Israel signed pacts to upgrade Turkish tanks and sold Herons to Ankara. Yet even in the 1990s, it would have been far-fetched to call the Turkish and Israeli societies “friends.”
Tourist relations—meaning visits by Israeli Jews to Turkey, as Turkish tourists have scarcely ever visited Israel—began to flourish in the 1990s and reached a climax in the first decade of the 2000s. Relations between the countries deteriorated seriously in 2008, after Erdoğan’s attempt to mediate between Israel and Syria failed and Israel conducted Operation Cast Lead. Other incidents that soured relations were Erdoğan’s “one minute” speech in Davos in 2009 and the Mavi Marmara and “low seat” incidents of 2010. Relations worsened even further after Operation Protective Edge in 2014, at which point almost no Israeli tourists were visiting Turkey. The relationship continued to disintegrate, reaching a nadir in 2021 with Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.
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