The Israeli-Turkey Apology Façade

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The Israeli-Turkey Apology Façade

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On March 23 2013 on the Tarmac of Ben-Gurion airport with Barak Obama, US president, by his side, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a thirty minute, three-way phone call for the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed 10 Turkish citizens and many others. After years of denying any responsibility and defending Israel's right to defend itself, this was a major reversal for the Israeli prime minister. Whilst the apology in itself does not change much, what it reveals is far more important. Israel from its inception has had the problem of normalising its presence and securing its borders. Israel is an artificial nation created by the colonial powers, the nation is so small that in any war scenario Israeli territory would suffer from significant loss and damage as it will have to fight from within its own territory. A hostile fighter could fly across all of Israel (40 nautical miles wide from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea) within four minutes. As a result Israel has desperately worked to gain permanent security by entering into treaties with any Muslim country. Alongside this in order to deter the Ummah and any Muslim ruler that held ambitions of war with Israel it has created a military force and adopted an aggressive posture to appear stronger then it really is in order to deter the Ummah and force her to accept the state of Israel over Palestine. The cover it has received from the West has also helped in this course. Turkey has been going through a decade of revival and is now a regional player. The Turkish model of governance has gained much publicity and notoriety. This model of governance has been praised by many a Western politician and secularist who believe the fusion of some Islamic rules with secularism is something the West can work with and would like to see across the Muslim lands. As a result in the Middle East Turkey has played a central role to bring the various parties together with Israel in the two state solution. Turkey played a central role in ensuring the US constructed architecture came together in Iraq through a policy of maintaining contact with all groups in Iraq. Turkish companies are the top investors in north Iraq. Similarly with Syria Turkey has played a critical role in housing the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Turkey under Erdogan has maintained close economic and military ties with Israel. Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel in March 1949. Cooperation includes Turkey being Israel's biggest trade partner in the region and it's second-biggest in the world, behind the US. While Turkey purchases high-tech defence industry equipment from Israel, amongst the goods they export are military uniforms and footwear for the Israeli army. Military relations have also expanded over the years until they were frozen over the flotilla incident. Israeli defense companies have helped to modernize the F-4 Phantom fleet of the Turkish air force. Other agreements included air, sea, land and intelligence cooperation, manufacturing of aircraft, armaments and missiles, mutual military visits, training and exercises, dispatch of observers to oversee military exercises, staff exchanges and military know-how. Whilst only a small segment from the political leadership and army pushed for relations with Israel in reality Turkey is in a position today where it is rapidly developing a its military industry and now even constructs its own avionics. There is no doubt Israeli actions against the flotilla were extremely heavy handed, however Israel deals with all security related issues in an aggressive manner in order to deter all future aggressors. This is its way of dealing with its insecurity where its existence is not even accepted by most in the region. This incident also took place when the Gaza strip was under an intense embargo and lock down by Israel and the flotilla was attempting to break this. As the West continually looks the other way when Israel carries out such aggressive actions, this has only emboldened Israel. The reality of both Israel and Turkey is they are two sides of the same coin for the US. Both nations have protected US interests in different regions of the world and it was the US who arranged the apology to defuse tensions allowing both rulers to save face. For Erdogan who did not nothing after the flotilla incident aside from

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The Israeli-Turkey Apology Façade
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issuing lots of rhetoric this apology allows him to shore up public support domestically, whilst for Netanyahu America imposed this upon him and this allows him to save face. Throughout the three years of tensions, both sides managed to leave room for gestures of reconciliation and pragmatism and managed to avoid escalating their differences to the point of breaking relations. In 2010, Erdogan did not hesitate to dispatch airborne firefighters to help Israel extinguish a major forest fire on Mount Carmel. Netanyahu reciprocated the gesture in October 2011 when the heavily Kurdish city of Van was hit by a destructive earthquake. The pragmatism was reflected in keeping a free-trade agreement—in place since 1996—untouched even as many of the military agreements were discontinued. In spite of the deterioration in diplomatic relations and plummeting Israeli tourism, trade between the two countries continued to grow after the 2010 crisis at a rate even higher than between Turkey and the EU. Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey highlighted what really took place: "Ob ama and Kerry worked on it the last two months, and they made the difference. With the whole region in such turmoil, it was very difficult that the two allies of the US in the region were not cooperating." Turkey over the last decade has been playing a role in the wider Muslim world, by not proposing new solutions or strategies but by partaking in implementing US plans. Turkey's role in the world was clearly outlined by Erdogan at AKP party group meeting: "Today Turkey is interested in most of the sub jects in the world that the USA is interested in. We share a common vision in a very b road spectrum from Afghanistan to Iraq, Palestine, and Balkans. But most importantly we are in a concrete cooperation. As Mister Ob ama stated in his visit we have entered a model partnership phase and we are acting accordingly. There are some things we can make pub lic and there are some things that cannot b e shared. Those who want to cloud the Turkish-American relations are ignoring the multidimensional quality and the depth of these relations." Similarly Israel has been a lynchpin in the region in protecting US interests and ensuring countries like Iran do not expand their influence. Whilst Erdogan and his party have used its Islamic flavour to partake in global issues the reality is this is merely a cover to conceal its true intensions of protecting US interests. The Wall street journal exposed in March 2013 that Turkish-Israeli talks have been on-going for months over a gas pipeline deal where Turkey will purchase billions in Israeli gas from gas fields stolen from the Ummah. The truth is Turkey under Erdogan is no different to the other pragmatic rulers who use Islam for their own ends. Hits: 444 Email This Bookmark Set as favorite

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The Israeli-Turkey Apology Façade

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