Florentia Kallitsi
(RIEAS Internship Senior Student, Department of Asian and Turkish Studies, University of Athens, Greece)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

We are in a period in which Middle East has experienced the so-called ‘’Arab Spring’’, with whichever changes that means, ethnic, political and strategic power. World experiences significant evolutions in the region of Middle East and this period exactly another strained situation in Syria is noted, where the anti-regimes combat against the Assad’s regime. 


In the same time, within Turkey a policy for pacificatory settlement of the Kurdish problem begins, which has concerned especially not only Turkey but even more international politics. For the first time it appears that Turkish Prime-Minister, Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, commences the approach of the Kurdish problem through a pacificatory procedure.

After the visit of Kurdish deputies in the prison of Imrali, where is held prisoner Otsalan, the creation of the compositions of a committee in the Turkish Parliament follows, whose duty is the involvement in the pacificatory settlement of the Kurdish problem.

As it is observed from the above, Turkish Prime-Minister instead of fully departing from Kemalism, he applies one post-Kemalism politics, which as it derives is based on Turkish-Islamism and the emergence of Turkishness through Islam. Such a movement is characterized definitely diplomatic, since the so-called New-Ottomanism of Davutoglu collapses, and the fear and uncertainty concerning the situation in Syria exists.

The incidences of Arab Spring to the whole Middle East and the conflicts in Syria with the evolutions concerning the Kurdish problem have considerably expanded and affect in a direct way the internal security of Turkey. By the pacificatory above effort for the settlement of the Kurdish problem, the aim relates to the prevention of problems of internal security, and of problems in the exercise of foreign policy. There is a strong fear for co-operation or revolt of Kurdish mainly in Syria, where the situation is strained, but even more in Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

Erdogan propounds Islamism, namely religion, as a pacificatory means for the settlement of the problem of the hostilities and not the nation. It would be alleged that the Turkish Prime-Minister propounds a bold venture, at the moment that for the first time in historical data there is a regional coincidence which is in favor of Turkey. Definitely, it may be assumed that the internal policy of Erdogan concerning the Kurdish problem refers perhaps to a possible future control –in case that a political settlement takes place- of North Iraq and South-East Syria, namely of regions which consist of independent Kurdish entities.

Along with all those, there isn’t circumstantial the approach of Turkey by Israel. On March 22, Israeli Prime-Minister apologized to Turkey for the operational errors which took place in 2010 against the Turkish vessel ‘’Mavi Marmara’’, where 9 activists lost their lives. In fact, Netanyahu doesn’t apologize for the right of Israel for the use of force or his refusal to cease the blockage of Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu apologizes merely for the operational mistakes which led to the death of nine activists. Besides, even Organization of the United Nations, has declared that the blockage of Gaza Strip is legal. But in the case of ‘’Mavi Marmara’’ Israel exhibited excessive force.

But why does Israel approach Turkey this specific point of time after three years of strained relationships? In order to confront the situation and the upcoming developments in Syria, the increased authority and the leader role of Turkey is necessary, in combination with the amelioration of the relationships with Israel, focusing mainly on the strategic sector and the information sector. Turkey remains the most important strategic pillar in the region of East Mediterranean, and besides that it borders with Syria. In case of Assad’s collapse, Turkey is possible that will undertake primary role in the regulation of the future developments, since the fear for the change of the dynamic powers in the region.

The principal fear of Israel is the security of its north borders from the possibility of a total domination of radical Islamic organization in the after Assad era, and there is still anxiety in Israel and even more in USA, but even more anxiety in Israel and USA is caused due to the constant and gradual development of Iran in nuclear sector. There is a strong fear of prevalence of Iran as a nuclear power in Middle East and naturally this raises concerns in the international politics. Israel and USA worry for the future of the industrial arsenal in the after Assad era. Turkey, for both Israel and USA, consists of a powerful country geostratigically and geopolitically. The geographical positions of Turkey, which bias an easy communication and access but even more the bases of NATO inspire one image of protection for the other two countries. Turkey consists of an important link in the potential deterrent nuclear strategy of Israel.

As it is noted, Israel has a strong motive for a re-approach of Turkey. Definitely, it has not to be forgotten that another reason of the specific change is the Turkish veto which has been exercised in the frame of NATO against Israel. It seems that USA, which is detached from Middle East, is aware that the fall of Assad’s regime which will take place in the region is near. It wants that the new world order which will be realized in the region will be an effect of the consensus between Turkey and Israel and not between Russia and Turkey.

Therefore USA strongly observe the approach of Turkey from Israel, and besides that is appears that not only USA but even more Israel have altered their attitude towards the Kurdish problem, leaving this strictly to the internal policy of Turkish Prime-Minister. Finally, the approach between those two countries has not to be over-estimated, since it isn’t expected to be catalytic. Definitely, on behalf of Turkish side, there are still some prejudices and certain anti-Jewish cores, and as it is known

Turkey doesn’t consist anymore of the ‘’satellite’’ of Middle East for USA. Turkey and Erdogan are in a different way of foreign policy.     


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13.John Kerry Seeks to Bring Turkey into the Israeli – Palestinian Peace Process, Haaretz, 06 April 2013. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/john-kerry-seeks-to-bring-turkey-into-the-israeli-palestinian-peace-process.premium-1.513823#

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