The complex, and often toxic, Israel-Turkey relationship - Israel News - Jerusalem Post
Since their inception, Israel-Turkey relations have been characterized by ups and . Israeli-Turkish Ties Have Important Implications for the United States. I will discuss the crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations within the context of the Furthermore, Turkey wanted the support of the U.S. Jewish lobby, especially to. In December, when President Donald Trump announced that the US was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Turkey hosted a meeting of.
It should also be mentioned that the climax of the downfall of the relationship was the Mavi Marmara incident of May 31,when an Islamist civil-society organization, called terrorists by a number of Israelis, torpedoed Turkish-Israeli relations. However, it should be added that, according to one analyst, "Political leaders in Turkey and Israel are mixing politics and personal sentiments" and pursuing policies against the national interests of their respective countries. Israeli President Shimon Peres was the first Israeli statesman to address the Turkish parliament, in Furthermore, visits by the respective defense ministers in are noteworthy.
These webs of mutual visits and the lack of them sincecoupled with a decrease in Israeli tourists to Turkey fromin toin ,11 are a function of the downgrading of relations.
One might label this drop in Israeli tourists an unofficial boycott, rising perhaps from fear or protesting Turkish policies toward Israel. Despite the cooling of the relationship, trade between the two countries has risen. In Maythe "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" sailed toward the Gaza Strip to break the embargo imposed by Israel and bring humanitarian assistance to the Gazans.
In total, there were eight ships, but one had mechanical difficulties and another was late. Nine Turks died and numerous activists and Israeli soldiers were injured. The Human Rights Council of the United Nations called the interception of the flotilla "unlawful," labeling its actions crimes, including willful killing and torture, and charging Israel with the use of excessive, unnecessary and disproportionate force. In fact, there were five Israeli citizens, including member of the Knesset Haneen Zouabi and Sheikh Raed Saleh from the Islamist movement in Israel, who were also interrogated by the Israeli authorities.
Having said that, however, the fact that there were no firearms on the ship and no threat to the Israeli soldiers13 makes the Israeli reactions to the Mavi Marmara unreasonable.
In retrospect, both governments mishandled the crisis: Both countries have lost from this fiasco. Israeli leaders claimed that they perceived the activists on the Mavi Marmara to be government-supported, violent, armed Islamist militants.
On the other hand, labeling and perceiving them to be terrorists made the defense of Israel essential — hence the harsh reaction. It was also striking that the order to attack was given by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. He was the sympathetic prime minister during the devastating earthquake in Turkey in who personally visited Turkey to open the Israel-Turkey village built for the victims of the earthquake.
However, the IHH's dispatching of the ships and the subsequent killings have destroyed relations for a long time to come.
The report found that the flotilla acted recklessly in trying to breach the naval blockade, and although the flotilla participants had "no violent intentions, there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objective of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.
Despite the fact that there was violent resistance from Mavi Marmara, the "loss of life was unacceptable. However, it concluded that there was no proof any of the deceased possessed firearms,29 and that the loss of life was unacceptable. He said he had killed a "terrorist" who was about to shoot at another soldier. Columnist Amos Harel argued that the incident was a failure for the Israeli government, as Israel's Gaza policy was reversed and its relations with Turkey were damaged.
Standing in front of the building, IHH chairman Bulent Yildirim said the case was not against the Jewish nation, but against Zionists and murderers. He added that, if Jews had lived in Gaza and faced similar persecution by Muslims, they would have tried to break the siege, too. He also questioned Israel's right to exist on occupied Palestinian territory.
While the Turkish foreign ministry said it was not a party to the trial, this process is bound to negatively affect Turkish-Israeli relations for some time to come.
Turkish-Israeli Relations: Their Rise and Fall
He referred to the "spirit of Sarajevo," emphasizing centuries of coexistence among Jews, Christians and Muslims, and Serbs, Croats and Bosnians — adding that he considered Sarejevo the Jerusalem of the Balkans. There were also cities transformed by numerous civilizations such as Istanbul,43 referring to its Byzantine and Ottoman past. He also presented Turkey as the protector of underdogs, such as the Palestinians, and noted the example of an African president, without naming him, who had requested Turkey's intercession to be represented at a G meeting.
There is nostalgia for the Ottoman past, though this worldview does not entail an expansionist foreign policy for Turkey. Nationalism is very weak among JDP cadres.John Kerry: Turkey and Israel must rekindle relationship
A highly sympathetic journalist who has also written his biography characterizes the JDP not as Islamist but "aiming to balance between different worlds. This policy was made possible by the rise of a conservative Anatolian bourgeoisie whose economic liberalism formed the backbone of the JDP,47 starting with its companies, subsidies to media outlets and promotion of schools.
From the s and s, there was a sense among Turks that Turkish and Muslim peoples in the former territories of the Ottoman Empire were discriminated against by the West. The "Bosnian genocide" and rejection by the EU were the catalysts for this neo-Ottoman identity,48 later shared and built upon by the JDP cadres.
Israel–Turkey relations - Wikipedia
Consequently, Turkish foreign policy became more sensitive to the demands of the masses, which have always been skeptical about relations with Israel. Of course, it is unclear how much Islam and Islamism as an ideology are shaping Turkish foreign policy, as opposed to national interests.
There is definitely an emphasis by policy makers on the OIC, and a perception in the Middle East that Turkey is aligning with the Sunnis against the Shiites in Iraq and elsewhere. Only after EU-Turkish relations reached a dead end did he seek closer relations with the Middle East, though there was some emphasis on this in the early days of the JDP government. Initially there was a tactful discourse towards Israel, and members of the government visited Jewish organizations in all their trips to the United States.
However, there is an increase in public expressions of anti-Semitism as a consequence of the ongoing crisis and the feeling that Israel is an enemy of Turkey. The current debate in Turkey revolves around Islamic, Ottoman, Turkish and regional identities among Turks, Kurds, Albanians, Arabs, Azeris, Armenians, Greeks and Jews based on the common "Ottoman experience they have shared and built together.
Turkey's increased engagement with the Islamic world was demonstrated when it gained observer status in the Arab League. He affirmed the two-state formula and called for East Jerusalem to be the capital of the independent Palestinian state. Having said this, however, pro-Arab policies are not entirely new, and pro-Palestinian sympathies are not confined to Islamists and conservatives. The secular prime minister Bulent Ecevit called Israeli actions against the Palestinians in Jenin in genocide.
On the other hand, Turkey recognized the Jewish state one year after its declaration of independence and has never totally cut off diplomatic relations or questioned Israel's right to exist. While the JDP was in favor of "civilizational dialogue" between Muslim and Western peoples, it did not shy away from criticizing the Islamic world as well. He did not present himself as a secular person, but rather as a Muslim who was the prime minister of a secular country.
He also noted, "unfortunately Turkey recognized Israel in Even though the first EU-OIC summit meeting was held in February under the tenure of Ismail Cem, the late foreign minister of the Democratic Left Party, the JDP continued these summits, perceiving them to be commensurate with their promotion of dialogue between cultures and civilizations.
Israel-Turkey relations | The Times of Israel
By moving away from the Islamist discourse, they opened up new spaces to play the political game domestically and internationally; they shielded themselves from criticism by secularists — including the bureaucracy and intellectuals — that they were an anti-secular movement by making the domestic reforms needed for EU accession.
Furthermore, they made a de facto alliance with the liberal intellectuals in the press and academia, who supported the government's policies of democratization and the softening of Kemalism. Consequently, the new Spanish prime minister proposed the "Alliance of Civilizations between the Western and the Arab and Muslim World" to the UN secretary general during a speech at the General Assembly on September 21,and invited Turkey to become a cosponsor.
In fact, Kofi Annan was adamant that a Muslim country should take such a role. It should be remembered that Turkey's participation in the OIC before the JDP government was rather restricted, due to the fact that it wanted to preserve a neutral position in the inter-Arab conflict, as well as between Arabs and Israelis.
While there is sympathy in the Arab world for Turkey as a result of the pro-Arab policies of the JDP and an interest in Turkish soap operas and tourist sites, there is no desire for Turkish leadership of the Arab world.
But Turkey's observer status in the Arab League could never have been envisaged under a more secular government, in which European direction and identity were paramount. It should, of course, be emphasized that it was the EU that pushed Turkey away. After years of waiting for membership in the EU, Turkey's people and its leaders felt cheated and moved towards the East. Increased trade also played a role.
At the domestic level, the JDP successfully devised a conservative populist narrative, promoting itself as the protector of the people against the elite. They mobilized groups within the center right, in addition to former Islamists and idealists one-time sympathizers of the Nationalist Action Party in their antipathy towards the military and its privileges. To date, these moves were mostly symbolic in nature.
However, they eroded the trust—which was already poor—between Israel and Turkey, stirred anger among the masses, led to verbal clashes between the countries on Twitter, and slowed down the attempts to inject new content into the relations that took place following the Israel-Turkey reconciliation agreement of June While he is reacting harshly to US and Israeli policy, most Arab leaders are keeping a low profile.
He did so in the past as well, for example when he confronted President Shimon Peres at the Davos Conference during Operation Cast Lead in and was later accepted as a hero in Turkey and throughout the Arab world. Anti-Israel protest in Istanbul Photo: AP The current crisis is somewhat different from previous ones because this time Turkey took diplomatic action also against the US, and not only against Israel. This may serve as a softening factor.
So far, the current American administration has not shown interest in Turkey-Israel relations, but it did invest efforts in blurring the significant controversies between the US and Turkey on Syria and in creating a framework for dialogue and coordination.
This should be leveraged to create a tripartite Israeli-American-Turkish policy channel that will first address the current diplomatic tension and later focus on other regional issues in which the three countries have shared interests — primarily moderating Iranian influence in Syria. However, even in such times of crisis, it is worthy to remember the strategic, economic and diplomatic importance of the relations between both countries.
These relations should not be casually waived. In the near future, action must be taken to contain the Israeli-Turkish crisis and prevent further escalation. This must be done through quiet, professional and efficient diplomacy while avoiding provocative measures intended to appease the public at home.
There are many in both Israel and Turkey—including in the business, policy, research, and culture sectors—who value the relations between the countries and are willing to step up and help reduce the flames, as they did in the past.