Hassan Haidar
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

It seems that Israel is unable to comprehend the transformation that took place in Turkey. Or rather, it did comprehend it but lost its temper because it refuses to believe that it is about to lose a key ally in the region in the blink of an eye. Turkey seems confident, firmly implementing the new course of its foreign policy without clamor or awkward positions like those of Iran. Instead, it deals in its capacity as a regional superpower that relies on its history and present, and seeks to contain the junior players in the region, including Israel.

This issue does not pertain to a vengeful act due to the European Union's continued closed doors before Ankara, but because the latter has rather discovered that it no longer has to pass through the Israeli gate to maintain normal relations with Europe and the United States. The Turkish leaders are convinced that the present and future of their country is contingent upon a strong economy and good economic and political relations with its direct periphery, not upon made-up gates. For this reason, they opened up to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and Armenia, and opted for a problem-free choice.

They do also realize that the West's mood is changing vis-à-vis its "pampered child." Since the rise of this intruder-state more than sixty years ago, the West has embraced and adulated Israel in order to make up for the atrocities of the World War Two against the Jews and to put an end to its feelings of guilt, as well as Israel's strategic role in the era of international axes as it was a "disciplinary" tool for the Arabs leaning to Moscow.

During all that time, Israel succeeded in playing the role of the victim that is surrounded by enemies from everywhere. As a result, Israel escaped condemnation every time it used its war machine, particularly against civilians. But its barbarity, which was atrociously reflected during the Gaza war, is condemned and denounced today, as Goldstone's report pointed out. As such, the Americans, who insist on the two-state solution that is hindered by Israel, are talking – albeit implicitly – about overcoming the diplomatic pressures and imposing financial sanctions.

Some sides believe that the Americans benefit from Turkey's position and use it as an indirect pressuring tool on Israel. This means that the racist behavior of the Israeli foreign ministry towards the Turkish ambassador was also an indirect message to the Americans in particular, and the West in general; a message to the effect that Israel will not accept anything less than the absolute support to which it has been accustomed.

The Turkish position is very harmful for Israel because it does not bring about Western sympathy through its calmness and firmness, and because in condemning its behavior, this position does not follow the Iranian way of provocation. For instance, Ankara did not deny the Holocaust and did not threaten to annihilate the "usurping entity". It neither considered that Israel will cease to exist, nor did it say that its missiles can reach the strategic Israeli positions or that these missiles are directed at it. All what Turkey wants is that the Hebrew State controls its behaviors and become a "normal" state in the region, one that does not impose itself and its interests by the power of arms, but is rather committed to a genuine peace that gives the Palestinians and Arabs their lands and rights. Turkey's leaders realize how to tease the Israelis. Erdogan talked about the Israeli nuclear power which he considered a threat to the region, which no Western leader has dared to say in public. This is because he knows that the West, which is mobilized against the Iranian nuclear program, cannot object to any statement on the Israeli military arsenal.

Nonetheless, the wishes of some Arabs will certainly not be fulfilled. Turkey disagrees with Israel in the framework of limits and standards which it realizes very well. Its protest is aimed at curbing Israel's political and military positions and will never turn into enmity regarding the very existence of Israel itself.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017