- Turkey wants closer ties with Israel.
- Israel is wary about Turkey’s motivations.
- Turkey has been accused of hosting senior Hamas leaders.
Israel is uncomfortable with Turkey’s motive for an alliance. This was revealed by a high-ranking Israeli diplomat who spoke to the Jerusalem Post this week. According to the official, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants closer economic ties between his country and Israel while maintaining a host of connections that are problematic for Israel and its allies.
Turkey has, in the past, been accused of harboring high-ranking members of Hamas, a radical Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist group, which has traditionally clashed and launched attacks against the state of Israel.
According to the official, Erdogan is trying to have it both ways and this strategy is ineffectual.
“You can’t strengthen relations with Israel and be the place in which Hamas operatives feel most comfortable,” he said.
The statement was made after a commentary by the Turkish president about this nation’s current relationship with Israel.
According to the Turkish leader, current ties with Israel are deficient because of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s draconian policies. He said on Friday:
“The main problem right now is about individuals at the top. The Palestine policy is our red line. It is impossible for us to accept Israel’s Palestine policies. Their merciless acts there are unacceptable. If there were no issues at the top level, our ties could have been very different.”
President Erdogan, however, underlined Turkey’s eagerness to forge warmer ties with Israel.
There have been reports of secret talks between the two nations in recent months which raised the anticipation of a normalization deal. Such a move would have huge potential gains for both nations.
Ankara is reported to have initiated dialogue a few months ago with Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, leading the efforts.
At the moment, Turkey seems to be moving away from its historically belligerent stance when it comes to dealing with Israel. Its previous disposition is becoming unsustainable in the face of increased normalization ties between the Jewish state and other Arab nations.
Israel, on the other hand, is worried about Turkey’s expansionist plans in the Middle East. This is because of Turkey’s sustained efforts to elevate its economic, political, and military standing.
Its sphere of influence currently spans from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. This has rattled some of Israel’s allies in the region which include Greece, and Cyprus.
Tensions between the two nations reached an all-time high about a decade ago when the IHH, a Turkish humanitarian group sent a ship with humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. The vessel was raided by Israeli military leading to the death of ten Turkish activists.
The Israeli government apologized and extended an olive branch to Ankara by compensating the families of the affected victims with a $21 million redress. The gesture was, however, not enough to smoothen relations.
As things stand, Israeli intelligence agencies continue to closely monitor Turkey’s activities in the occupied East Jerusalem. The transcontinental nation currently supports Palestinians through Tika, a state-sponsored humanitarian agency.