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Has Israel lost its only Muslim ally or has Turkey found her lost identity?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-07-06 08:29:51
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The incident with the Gaza flotilla raid in May was not the end of a long honey moon between Turkey and Israel but the end of a fragile relationship that survived only because the Americans and their allies in the Turkish army status quo wanted it.

So the news have it that the Turkish government has threaten to break diplomatic ties with Israel if Israel doesn’t apologize or accept the outcome of an international inquiry into the raid. But that’s just the pick of the iceberg since it is very easy for a minor official of a minor Israeli ministry to appear tomorrow and apologize. That will definitely cover the obligation but it is not what the Turks ask and there is no way that the Israeli Prime Minister will do the apology. Coming to accepting an international inquiry’s outcome that is plainly impossible since Israel has refused to do so with any inquiry since the day of its foundation.

But as I said this is just the pick of the iceberg. Turkey – Israel relations have been an arranged wedding with a very high dowry for both sides and a dowry that comes in yearly doses until the eternity or better as long the Americans who arranged the wedding can pay. The problem here is that the two sides took this “eternity” literally; unfortunately the international situation has limited this “eternity” and has started the cuts otherwise …deep trouble! And I keep insisting in the money trail because in politics that’s were all the relations stand; they call it …geopolitics but this is pure semantics. And they both used the arrangement for really long time despite all the internal reactions.

You see from one side it is paranoid and schizophrenic Israel that sees Muslims as the red cloth, doesn’t matter how secular they are in the front and from the other side it is Turkey always with a hidden agenda for becoming a local superpower often including neighbour land to their plans. And Israel was serving the cause since it kept busy the Middle East neighbourhood.

But things have change internally for both countries as well and it is not the international financial crisis only that forces changes. Israel has somehow lost the bully attitude with a weaker leadership and strategic mistakes that confuse the supporters even the USA lobby while Turkey under the new leadership has an identity crisis not knowing if it continues as a secular state or an Islamic democracy that would love to veil any democratic sense.

For Turkey there is also another element that causes this new reality and it is the European Union candidacy. Turkey was expecting EU would just obey US and open the gates for a full membership without counting a constantly building negative reaction from the Europeans. And despite all the sad excuses for a Christian front against the candidacy the reality has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Turkey is not ready – and it will not be ready for at least another fifty years – to join the European pact and Europe is not able to afford the cost this membership has and here I’m talking about a financial cost again.

Now Turkey has realize that the exchange cost for the membership might be too high from what she was willing to pay and it might be time to look for new friends in a region that at least has cultural and religious ties. And what would have been a better prove for this change and get the approval of the neighbourhood than an aggressive attitude towards Israel. It is important to point that turkey is not exactly popular among the brother Muslim nations. Again follow the money trail. With the Americans slowly drifting away and the Europeans asking just too much where is the trail leading? Saudi Arabia and Iran. Don’t underestimate Iran’s power. Despite restrictions, embargos and decisions form the Security Council Iran is a major oil player and a financial power we like it or not and of course a possible …investor. So what the Turks do to please them? Break ties with Israel!

Israel form the other side knows the game too well and they are just too lonely in an aggressive and hostile neighbourhood to survive without a local ally, so they play along and don’t be surprised if in the next few weeks a minor director of the agricultural ministry will apologize to Turkey for the Gaza flotilla raid. In the meantime Turkey will continue researching for her lost identity between the suited secular west and the veiled south as long there are money in the end of the trail.

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