Turkey-Israel Part B (January 2016)

Yesterday I uploaded an article with the statements of the Israeli Minister of Defence, according to which ISIS is funded with Turkish money. See “The Geopolitics of Anti-Semitism”

http://iakovosal.blogspot.gr/2016/01/blog-post_26.html

Map 1

Map Middle East.JPG

I was also saying that the only way to interpret this statement is as public support to Russia over the Turkish-Russian rivalry. What else could it be? Everyone who is following even a bit the international news knows that in the Syrian war Turkey is supporting the Syrian Sunni Islamists, and in the Iraqi war Turkey is supporting the Iraqi Sunni Islamists. To be more accurate Turkey is supporting a part of the Iraqi and Syrian Sunni Islamists, because another part is supported by Saudi Arabia.

Therefore it is obvious that the Israeli Minister of Defence did not want to improve our understanding over the wars in the Middle East when he was talking about the connections between Turkey and ISIS. Neither he wanted to cause further deterioration to the Turkish-Israeli relations. The only thing he could possibly wanted could be to please Russia. By pleasing Russia the Israeli army can keep targeting in Syria the arms sent by Iran to Hezbollah in South Lebanon.

Moreover the statement of the Israeli minister should not be interpreted as something final for the Israeli-Turkish, the Israeli-Russian, but also the Russian-Turkish relations, given how much Israel and Russia need Turkey. These events should be examined on a day to day basis rather than used to make long term predictions, because things change very quickly. In the past the Turks have asked the Israelis to lift Gaza’s naval blockade in order for the Turks to consider normalization of the Turkish-Israeli relations, and also the possibility of importing Israeli natural gas.

Map  2 Gaza

Gaza Strip

I was under the impression that the Israelis could not agree to lift Gaza’s blockade because they would effectively allow Turkey, Qatar and Iran to send Hamas thousands of rockets, and Hamas would soon become a second Hezbollah. The reason Hezbollah is so more powerful than Hamas is because it is much easier for Iran to arm Hezbollah through Syria, something not possible for Hamas since Gaza is blockaded by Israel and Egypt.

However I read an article by Al Monitor, which says that there are voices in Israel which are in favour of lifting Gaza’s blockade in order to normalize relations with Turkey. They mean of course that Israel should at the same time control all the ships reaching Gaza in order to prevent Turkey, Iran and Qatar from sending rockets to Hamas. See “Why hasn’t Israel lifted the Gaza blockade”, January 2016

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/01/israel-gaza-blockade-bennett-objects-failure-netanyahu.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+%5BEnglish%5D&utm_campaign=bafcac2404-January_22_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-bafcac2404-102393785

Therefore lifting Gaza’s naval blockade is not a black or white thing, and according to some Israelis it should be put on the table, in order to please Erdogan. Erdogan would use the lift of Gaza’s blockade to present himself as the leader who freed Gaza, and that would greatly enhance in the Muslim world. However the Egyptians have asked the Israelis to keep Turkey out of Gaza, because Turkey, Iran and Qatar do not use Gaza to only attack Israel, but also to attack Egypt. See “Egypt asks Israel to prevent Turkish involvement in Gaza”, January 2016.

http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_report-egypt-asks-israel-to-prevent-turkish-involvement-in-gaza_409116.html

I do not think that the Israelis would risk to hurt their cooperation with the Egyptians against the Islamists. But remember that after the discovery of the Egyptian gas field (Zohr) in August 2015, Egypt might want to export gas to Turkey, and Turkey might want to import gas from Egypt. Turkey actually said that she would consider recognizing the Egyptian President al Sisi if the Egyptian socialists were willing to relax their stance against the Egyptian Islamsits. See “Turkey agrees to recognize Sisi in exchange for Brotherhood pardon”, January 2016

http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_turkey-agrees-to-recognize-sisi-in-exchange-for-brotherhood-pardon_409989.html?utm_source=Active+Subscribers&utm_campaign=88bc0e2b53-MR_012016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_35c49cbd51-88bc0e2b53-64197533

Therefore everything is open in the Russia- Israel- Turkey triangle, and predictions are very risky. What I want to say with all the above is that the statement of the Israeli Defence Minister about Turkey and ISIS definitely meant to show Israeli support towards Russia over the Turkish-Russian confrontation. But one cannot say for sure whether this was a “gift” that Russia will reward in the short term by tolerating Israeli operations in Syria against Iran and Hezbollah, or whether it shows a willingness of Russia and Israeli for a longer term cooperation against Turkey. I would say that it is probably the first. After all it seems that nowadays international relations exist only in the short term. Everything changes very fast to talk about long term international relations.

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