Monday, January 11, 2010

The breach between Turkey and Israel


You know this is going to play well in Turkey.
[Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny] Ayalon [(Well known to this blog for his claim that we're getting UN Security Council sanctions on Iran this month)]refused to shake [Turkey's] Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol's hand when asked to do so by journalists attending the official reprimand at his office, and said in Hebrew that "we just want it to be seen that he is seated below us and that there is only one flag here".
A breach is developing between Israel and Turkey. I'm trying to be careful not to overstate it. It is impossible to know how long Erdogan will remain Prime Minister and who will secede him in office. Ayalon is not helping, but the problems are more structural.

Tensions between Turkey and Kurdish separatists have increased dramatically since the US invasion of Iraq. It seemed to me that until late 2007, around the time of the NIE about Iran's nuclear program, that the US was actively working to leave the Kurds of Iraq effectively independent. That policy changed late in Bush's term and Barack Obama inherited and continues a policy of holding Iraq together which means limiting the independent power of the Kurds to the degree possible given the commitments the US had made to them earlier. But there is a sense in which the damage is already done.

A Turkey that is angry at the US has even less patience for Israel or the US project of making sure 5 million Jewish people have a secure majority state in a region of over 200 million people that do not consider it legitimate.

Turkey's foreign policy has historically been devised and implemented by Turkey's military independent and even superior in rank to Turkey's civilian leadership. Turkey's foreign policy has, under Erdogan and his AKP party been coming increasingly under the purview of the civilian leadership. This is a process that is ongoing and possibly still reversible to some degree, but Turkey's voters are less pro-Israel than its generals.

It seems that Turkey's move away from Israel is structural. There will be swings back and forth but by the end, Turkey's foreign policy will reflect that Turkey's voters empathize with the Arabs of Palestine just as strongly or more strongly than US voters empathize with the 5 million Jewish people in Palestine.

4 comments:

Lysander said...

Haaretz has an article about how FM Lieberman really wants to keep tensions high with Turkey. I can only think of 2 reasons.

1) He truly believes Turkey needs Israel more than the other way around and thinks he can force Turkey to come crawling back to Israel.

2) He cares less about Israel's interests than he does about his political career. Such slap downs play well among his ever-expanding base and he wants to be Prime Minister someday.

Probaly its the latter though in his mind perhaps he rationalizes with the former.

Arnold Evans said...

One thing is that when Bush was deciding what to do with Iraq, the most important advocate for independence for the Kurds and Iraq's dissolution was Israel, while the most important advocate for Iraq's government being centralized was Turkey (though the other neighbors all agreed).

I saw it as pretty close to a Turkey vs Israel fight over US policy. And Turkey won because the Israel lobby has sentimental reasons to keep Israel happy, but the Generals have strategic reasons to keep Turkey happy.

I am very unimpressed by Ayalon and also it looks like by Lieberman. There is ego involved, maybe political career considerations, but smarter foreign policy people would probably reach the same objectives less clumsily.

Putting in the press that you had Turkey's ambassador sitting beneath you - that's just crazy.

GeneralOreo said...

Genocide in darfur never made turkey flinch, but israeli crimes? Oh boy!

At the end of the day, turkey is another third world muslim country, and Israel is this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/opinion/12brooks.html?em

With a population that is a fraction of turkey and a much smaller fraction of the muslim world.

However that ayalon fellow is certainly a moron and the FM a fascist douchebag, no questioning that.

And yes I was just looking for an excuse to post that brooks article in a bitter anti-israel and anti-semitic blog. Reality can be quite painful for this bunch. :p

lidia said...

Oreo? is it not a name of a very unhealthy cookies? :)

By the way, I hope that he/she will stay here for long enough to understand that NO ONE really is interested in reading stale Zionist prop, and being rude does not make someone right