By Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute—
It has been more than a decade since Turkey and Israel, once strategic partners, broke up badly, with an angry Ankara passionately vowing to isolate Israel internationally. It has also been exactly four years since the two countries decided to give peace a chance once more and appointed ambassadors. They would have to pack up and leave after 17 months of trying to put things back together again.
The decade of animosity between Turkey and Israel, clearly a choice of Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has produced exactly the opposite of what Ankara had hoped would happen: The Abraham Accords produced a landmark opportunity for peace in the Middle East. Israel’s former Arab foes have lined up to end hostilities, one after the other, while Turkey, oddly, criticized the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Arab world and Israel, having apparently forgotten that it already had diplomatic relations with Israel since 1949.
The United States and seven other countries recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while Turkey campaigned for the “Palestinian capital Jerusalem.” Israel built a geostrategic alliance with Cyprus and Greece while Turkey’s tensions with the Hellenic states escalated exponentially. Turkey’s ties with fellow Muslim countries such as Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates sank from one nadir to another. Eventually, Turkey became the first country in the world that was officially sanctioned by Russia, the U.S. and the European Union. Turkey’s “isolate Israel” hysteria has practically turned Turkey into a monument of self-isolation.
As Erdoğan feels more vulnerable than ever in view of his country’s perilous journey, there has been speculation that Turkey and Israel may actually be normalizing their ties. According to Selin Nasi, an analyst:
“Turkish-American relations are expected to enter a tough period, at least in the short run, considering the Biden administration’s sensitivity toward issues of democracy and human rights… Given the anti-Turkish opinion prevalent in the US Congress, Turkey might be hoping that Israel can neutralize the opposition and help Turkey win Washington’s ear again.”
Mesut Caşin, foreign policy adviser to Erdoğan, told Voice of America:
“If Israel comes one step, Turkey maybe can come two steps… If we see a green light, Turkey will open the embassy again and return our ambassador. Maybe in March, we can restore full diplomatic relations again. Why not … Establishing peace and security is very important to Israel and Turkey.” Continue Reading….