This new, more aggressive Turkey is incredible.
I don’t think that anyone quite knows what Turkey will do next, but it’s pretty clear to me that she’s given up on NATO and the EU and has firmly put her sights on becoming a major player in the Middle East. And, there’s no easier way to become a ‘player’ than to threaten Israel. The problem is that Turkey seems to believe what it’s saying, and that’s worrying to those of us who don’t want another catastrophic war on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.
And, since the Arabs always lose badly whenever that happens, you would think that they’d be reluctant to play that game again. Apparently, the Arabs have short memories.
Anyway, there are six articles that have caught my attention, so let me exerpt them briefly.
From Geostrategy Direct:
Egypt-Turkey alignment against Israel ‘most important shift since 1949’
WASHINGTON – For the first time, Egypt and Turkey have formed what could become an alliance against Israel, a report said. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said two U.S. allies in the Middle East were forming a partnership that could result in war against Israel. In a report, the institute said that Turkey, for the first time since 1949, has become hostile toward the Jewish state. “For the first time, the two major states of the eastern Mediterranean are aligning against Israel,” the report said.
Israel realizing Hamas has become a truly international organization
Officials said Turkey has arranged for training of Hamas police and security forces despite being listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.
Hamas has established close ties with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, including Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.
(Gotta love that face)
From The Ottowa Citizen:
By David Warren
The greatest threat to the world’s peace, at this moment, comes from a man named Recip Tayyip Erdogan. He is the prime minister of Turkey, at the head of the Justice and Development Party (“AK,” from the Turkish). A former mayor of Istanbul, he was arrested and jailed when he publicly recited Islamist verses (“the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets,” etc.), in defiance of the old secularist, Ataturk constitution, which made it an offence to incite religious and racial fanaticism.
From Pajamas Media:
by David P. Goldman
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan brings to mind the story about the housewife who calls her husband during rush hour. “Be careful driving home on the Beltway, dear,” she advises. “The news says that there’s a maniac driving in the wrong direction.” “What do you mean, ‘a maniac’?,” he replies. “Everybody’s driving in the wrong direction!”
Now that Turkey has threatened Europe with a “freeze in relations” if Cyprus (as planned) assumes the presidency of the European Union in 2012, it must seem to Erdogan that everyone is driving in the wrong direction. Earlier this month Turkey declared “null and void” the United Nations’ Palmer Commission report, which supported Israel’s right to enforce a blockade against Gaza. That was a minor gaffe, because United Nations dicta have the authority of revelation to the liberal media, except, of course, when they support Israel. It’s one thing for Turkey to freeze relations with Israel — we take it for granted these days that everybody hates Israel — but the Europeans? Everybody likes the Europeans, who have replaced their defense ministries with an answering machine that says, “We surrender.” And over Cyprus? Even Russia, Turkey’s key trading partner and the host for millions of Turkish guest workers, is aghast at Erdogan’s tantrum. Russia has strong ties to Cyprus.
Russia is Turkey’s key trading partner?
From The Jerusalem Post:
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Ankara is seeking a partnership between Turkey and Egypt that will create a new axis of power in the Middle East at a time when US influence in the region is waning.
“This will not be an axis against any other country — not Israel, not Iran, not any other country, but this will be an axis of democracy, real democracy,” Davutoglu said in an interview published in Monday’s New York Times. “That will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan,” he added.
From the New York Times:
By Anthony Shadid
ANKARA, Turkey — A newly assertive Turkey offered on Sunday a vision of a starkly realigned Middle East, where the country’s former allies in Syria and Israel fall into deeper isolation, and a burgeoning alliance with Egypt underpins a new order in a region roiled by revolt and revolution.
The portrait was described by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey in an hourlong interview before he was to leave for the United Nations, where a contentious debate was expected this week over a Palestinian bid for recognition as a state. Viewed by many as the architect of a foreign policy that has made Turkey one of the most relevant players in the Muslim world, Mr. Davutoglu pointed to that issue and others to describe a region in the midst of a transformation. Turkey, he said, was “right at the center of everything.”
Back to Pajamas Media:
Prime Minister Erdogan has launched a bid for ownership of the Palestinian cause.
by Jonathan Spyer
On a bright, cold day in mid-January, 1998, I stood with a group of Turkish journalists at the water’s edge on Haifa Bay. A shape appeared on the horizon. It was a Turkish warship, beginning its approach to the Israeli coastline. One of the journalists handed out cigars as the ship slowly drew nearer. We toasted the friendship between Israel and Turkey — and the transformation of the Middle East’s strategic balance.
I was a young official of the Israel Prime Minister’s Office at the time. The Turkish journalists were our guests. They were in Israel to cover the Reliant Mermaid naval exercise. Reliant Mermaid, a joint maneuver involving the Israeli, Turkish, and U.S. navies, launched the strategic alliance between Turkey and Israel which formed a lynchpin of the pro-western dispensation that marked the post-Cold War Middle East.
How things have changed. Turkish navy ships may soon once again be sailing to the eastern Mediterranean. This time, however, they will do so with the real possibility of a clash with their former Israeli comrades in arms. This sentence sounds absurd even as I write it. Yet it is accurate. What has transformed these friends into enemies?