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Monday, December 26, 2011

How Turkey sees Israel and what Israel should do about it

Unsurprisingly, Turkey sees Israel's groveling attempts at restoring relations as a sign of weakness. But there is a way in which Israel could reestablish the upper hand and do the right thing: It could support the Kurdish resistance in Turkey.
Although many influential Turks, among them Fethullah Gülen, who was instrumental in helping AKP to become the ruling party did not approve the anti-Israel turn, and although the UN Palmer committee in essence justified Israel in the Marmara incident, Israeli response was extremely cautious, as if walking on egg-shells. Israel largely did not follow the harsh language of Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Davutoğlu. What is more important, it did not object to US selling weapons to Turkey, as it usually does when arms are sold to unfriendly countries. It also might have influenced its friends in America not to object either. Cautious Israeli response was perceived by Turkey as weakness. It was damaging in the sense that it allowed President Obama and Prime Minister Erdoğan to forge a friendship, notwithstanding the anti-Israeli turn. It also gave Turkey the false impression that the influence of Israel in the US is wanning. The fact that, strangely as its sounds, the trade between the two countries flourishes and grew substantially after the Gaza flotilla incident, may have enhanced Israel's rather naive hopes.

Turkey made a strategic decision about Israel and it is difficult to see any advantage for it in reversing the turn, It is high time for Israel to accept the state of affairs with Turkey realistically and define its response. Many in Israel see, at least emotionally, in the more than 30 million Kurdish people an ally because of history of repression and common residence of being surrounded by hating neighbours. During the Sadam Hussein repression Israel maintained defense and intelligence relations with Mustafa Barzani and the Kurds in Iraq. Today in Iraqi Kurdistan operates an Israeli Kurdish educational institute with its own weekly publications.

Nobody claims that Kurds, unlike Palestinians, are invented people. They have at least a thousand years history, a language and culture of their own and national aspirations for an independent state, or at least autonomy. Iraqi Kurdistan is semi-autonomous since American invasion of Iraq. It is, so far, the only tangible achievement of this war. In Turkey, Syria and Iraq the repression of the Kurds continues. It is time bring about for Kurdish people too, a new spring. Israel can and should be a leader in such effort in the United States and other places. More independence for the Kurds will change the map of the Middle East, the position of Israel in it, and will contribute to peace, or at least to more favorable balance of power.

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At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of the USA helping the Kurds, we have helped Turkey and Iraq and I believe also Iran in killing them.


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