Editorial -  A Word to the Wise in Israel; Stay Away from Turkey’s Overtures - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Editorial –  A Word to the Wise in Israel; Stay Away from Turkey’s Overtures

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Editorial –  A Word to the Wise in Israel; Stay Away from Turkey’s Overtures

While terrorist forces continue to target Israel with deadly attacks as has been witnessed as of late, and the world remains transfixed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the egregious massacre of civilians, what is lurking under the radar is a matter that could redefine the geo-political arena of the Middle East.

As was reported by Lazar Berman for the Times of Israel, the charm offensive that is being offered by Turkey to Israel continues to take on a life of its own.

Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been a mercurial one, to say the least. On the international stage, as Berman writes, Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considered a vocal adversary of Israel and adopted a position of providing support and a safe haven for Hamas and other terrorists of that ilk.

In the early to mid-1990s after decades of highs and lows in relations between Israel and Turkey, things looked like they were on the upswing. After the commencement of the Madrid peace process, tourism and trade saw a significant increase and both Turkey and Israel exchanged ambassadors. It appeared that Turkey dedicated itself to establishing strategic ties with Israel when Iranian fundamentalism took hold and Syria’s backing of Kurdish fighters began to take root.

Military relations between the two countries also improved the late 1990s. The Turkish military chief of staff visited Israel and in Haifa warships from Turkey made a port of call. When conducting reconnaissance operations in Iran, Syria and Iraq, Israeli pilots took off from Turkish vases and trained there as well, as Berman writes.

In the early 2000s, things began to sour when Israel tried to quell the second intifada. Even though Israel was selling arms to Turkey from 2000-2010, Erdogan began to publicly and mercilessly attack Israel for its Gaza policies. The seething antagonism only increased significantly from there.

And in May of 2010, relations between Turkey and Israel really plummeted when the Mavi Marmara ship tried to break the Gaza naval blockade. On board the Mavi Marmara were ten Turkish anti-Israel activists. After being attacked Israeli commandos attempted to intercept the ship. In the melee that ensued the activists died and of course, the media painted Israel as the ruthless killers without supplying the truth about what really happened. Suffice it to say that in the aftermath of this incident, things really went south for the proverbial winter and remained that way until fairly recently.

As Berman writes, for the last two years, “Erdogan has struck a noticeably different tone toward Israel, expressing interest in improving ties with his erstwhile and possibly future ally.”

Thusly, the charm offensive continues unabated. The question is whether Israel is ready to embrace Erdogan’s Turkey, knowing full well that this “warm embrace” is predicated on its own selfish motives and has absolutely nothing to do with a love of an independent state of Israel that is comprised of Jews who have fought for its survival for over 70 years.

On Wednesday, Israel National News reported that  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Israeli reporters in a briefing that “Turkey is interested in improving relations with Israel, but will not remain silent when international law is violated vis-à-vis the Palestinians.”

“We expect Israel to respect international law on the Palestinian issue so that relations between us remain stable,” Cavusoglu said, according to the INN report.

“President Erdogan supports a two-state solution. Since 1949, relations between Israel and Turkey have known ups and downs only because of the Palestinian issue,” he added.

So, here you have it folks. Everything in life comes with a price tag and this is no different. Turkey’s agenda is to appease the Palestinians and those nations who still support them, while courting Israel in order that Turkey will no longer be dependent on Russian oil and gas.

The Turkish minister added that he would come with his country’s energy minister to visit Israel next month, in order to promote cooperation on the issue of natural gas transmission. INN also reported that the Turkish minister expressed hope that Israeli tourists would return to visit Turkey in large numbers as they had in the past.

Sure. Wouldn’t that be a nice windfall for Turkey. Another energy option at their disposal while eagerly collecting Israeli tourist dollars. And just think, Israel will have the pleasure of doing all this for Turkey, only if they accede to their demands of suicidal territorial concessions to the Palestinians who have Iranian backing.

It is clear that Israel has a choice to make in their foreign policy as it pertains to Turkey, and a big choice at that. Those who have learned from the past must know that this ploy by Turkey will never benefit Israel but will rather lead it to the kind of destruction that it never thought possible.

Enemies don’t just magically turn into friends and the same is true for Erdogan. He is a militant Islamist, or at least does a darn good job pretending to be one, and harbors a deep and abiding malevolence towards Israel and the entire Jewish nation. Erdogan has done little to hide that fact, so if one wishes to describe him as a vile anti-Semite, relentless Israel basher and vociferous Jew hater, one would be right on the mark.

A word to the wise in Israel. Stay away from Turkey’s advances. Israel has more than enough on its plate. We don’t need to hop into political bed with someone who is sharpening the proverbial knife to stab in our collective backs.

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