37 thoughts on “Carmel Fire Thaws Israeli Relations With Turkey – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Let’s face it, it’s also a major climbdown for Turkey not to get an explicit apology from Israel.
    This is called diplomacy, as it was clear all along that both countries are interested in stragegic relations between them, and are both relieved to have the opportunity to climb down from their high horses, each without losing too much face.
    Also remember that Turkey “owed” Israel a humanitarian favour after Israel sent much help after the Turkish earthquake.

    You’ll see that in the not too distant future Israeli tourism will return to Turkey (much needed income for Turkey), and the Turks will renew the strategic military allience with Israel, and the Mavi Marmara will be a forgotten and insignificant incident of the past. And Israel will keep the Armenian genocide out of its school textbooks, on Turkey’s request.

    1. I hope, you will be right! But I’m not convinced that a settlement of the Mavi-Marmara-case will automatically lead to the “status quo ante” in Israeli-Turkish relations. Why? “It’s history, stupid!” to say it with Bill Clintons words. Turkey, facing a rejection of it’s membership ambitions from the “Christian Club EU” in the near future, is remembering more and more its glorious past as the Ottoman Empire, who stretched over a huge area around the Mediterranean and the Black seas, the Balkans, Near-East, Central-Asia and the corresponding people living there. The Ottomans were also the religious centre of Islam at this times. Prime minister Erdogan has succesfully lowered tensions with all neighbours of Turkey and developped remarkable trade with them. If Turkey wants to become a dominant regional player, it will sooner or later automatically run into confrontation with the US and of course the Israelis!
      A strategic alliance with Iran and/or Russia would even cause major problems to the US and Israel combined.
      Seen from this point of view, a US/Israeli strike against Iran would very probably also be seen and valued as a attack to turkish interests in general? Resume: I don’t think that a Mavi-Marmara-Solution will result in Israeli/Turkish relations as they had been in the past…

      1. I hope he will be wrong. Good relations between Turkey and Israel are not in the best interest of the rest of the region, or the world for that matter. In fact, they are only in the interest of Israel and no one else, including Turkey.

          1. I ask myself from time to time WHO ist isolating Israel?

            Maybe, it’s him: http://www.imemc.org/article/60186

            a knesset member from Likud, who wrote an total unnecessary(?) letter to turkish PM Erdogan, saying that all passengers on the Mavi Marmara should have been shot as terrorists, while Netanyahu hold secret talks in geneva trying to settle this case?

    2. Well Shmuel you Israelis seem in earnest believing that Israel is the bellybutton of the world. For Turkey the Israeli tourism as an income is rather irrelevant. In 2009 when relations were already bad Israel imported from Turkey goods with 997 million Euro and imported there with 771 million Euros. Balance of trade was in Turkey’s favour, which shows the dependence relationship.

      Israel needs Turkey and needs it desperately because of Turkey’s water resources and energy projects. Turkey is the only country in the neighbourhood that can offer solutions on those vital fields. Turkey on the other hand doesn’t any more need Israel. There is nothing that Israel can offer which Turkey could not buy elsewhere.

      Let’s look at the Turkish trade sums with Muslim countries and the region. Turkey imports form Iran with 2,429 million Euro, 3 times that what it imports from Israel. On the export side which is the more challenging Turkey exports to Iran and Arab countries with over 15 billion Euro. 15 times more than to Israel. And the potential to further growth is huge.


      Turkey showed with this incident Israel its place and that it is the regional dominant power, not Israel. It is stupid to think that the tightened Turkish attitude towards Israel is a religious matter. As the trade figures show Turkey’s future welfare and growth depends much of the economical success of Arab countries and Iran. There is no way USA and Israel can “replace” that.

      Israel’s influence and economical success has (and is) based in the chaos it could create in the region. Israel has basically no significant or vital trade with the region. Turkey and Israel have completely different strategic interests.

      Israel showed with its instant public jumping to “bed” with Greece that it is not a very reliable partner for Turkey. Also the conflicting interests with Kurds favour the outlook that the relationship will not return to what it was before. I suppose that even the pro-Israeli generals in Turkey understand this new reality. Turkey and Israel are now open rivals and the wish that 70 million Turks (and 70 million Iranians) would be willing to live under the dominance of a ten times smaller country is rather absurd.

      If Turkey in earnest makes EU and USA to choose between Turkey and Israel the outcome with high probability is not Israel. At least in the longer term.

      1. you Israelis seem in earnest believing that Israel is the bellybutton of the world.

        Standard point of view for narcissists, and Israelis really do suffer from collective narcissism.

    3. Turkey has not accepted by any means the proposed Israeli formulation of “regret,” so you’re putting yr cart before yr horse. I doubt Turkey will climb down either. Erdogan is tough, a lot tougher than that wimp who is the US president. Israel owes Turkey NOTHING since Olmert double crossed Erdogan & invaded Gaza when he could’ve had a peace deal w. Syria.

      Turkey doesn’t need anything fr. Israel, tourists or otherwise. It’s economy is doing quite well thank you esp. compared to those of Europe & the U.S. Turkey-Israel military relations will never return to their former robustness till Israel bites the bullet & ends the Gaza siege & stops making war on its neighbors.

      The Mavi Marmara will be long forgotten by you, but never by Turkey’s citizens.

      I find your delusion offensive since they’re so clearly propagandistic representing no other vision than yr own. Don’t make the fatal mistake of believing that what you want to happen in the world is what WILL happen. It won’t.

        1. Precisely right. They’re negotiating. Maybe close to an agreement. Maybe not. Don’t know if revealing the talks is a pressure tactic by the Israelis against the Turks. If it is, Bibi doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. Erdogan doesn’t need to bow to pressure as his constituency will want him to hang tough. It may be a Turkish leak pressuring the Israelis. Don’t know.

      1. @Richard: “Don’t make the fatal mistake of believing that what you want to happen in the world is what WILL happen. It won’t.”

        I think you’re doing just that (as well as i do) – much of this blog and its commentators often have these “fatal mistakes”, but the true judgement will be in the future when we see who was right in hindsight. Meanwhile my guess\prediction\opinion is no worse or better than yours or any of your commentators.

        The only thing that one prove is facts, the future has a crafty way of eluding us.

        Subjects that will be nice to look back on in, say, one year on, and see who was right:
        *Turkish-Israel relations
        *Israel-Palestinian talks
        *Palestinian state declaration
        *USA managing to put pressure on Israel
        *War criminals (allegedly) to Hague
        *Capture and trial of Mossad agent from Dubai
        *Hezballah takes over Lebanon

        and the list could go on.

        BTW, No bellybutton syndrome from my behalf, it’s just that Israel is the topic of this blog so not surprising that it becomes the bellybutton of the world here.
        If saying that Turkey needs Israel in any way is “bellybuttoning” then you still have to explain why previous Turkish administrations needed the tiny country so much and why they were so bothered that 3 million Israeli schoolchildren should not learn about the Armenian genocide even to the extent of threatening to withdraw its ambassador.

        1. Regarding the last sentence –
          I don’t have a link handy, but Juan Cole has pointed out that (at least in the U.S., don’t know about Israel) ‘recognition’ of the Armenian genocide will almost certainly trigger a spate of lawsuits targeting Turkey.

  2. I had actually expected Turkish-Israeli relations to become even more dire following the release of the embassy cables. Oh well. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. 🙂

  3. According to Livni, the Comptroller’s report will show justification for Bibi to step down and so she’s asked for his resignation already. Of course, this is a transparent usurpation.

    I find the national politics of Israel to be as complex as Iran’s, but the rubrics of having a coalition government prove somewhat troublesome. I can’t quite figure out if it’s beneficial to have this form of government, particularly in a State that cannot be isolationist and is not neutral enough to avoid regional conflict. Here, we see the impasse set by a coalition strung together and contingent on extreme right-wing views. When any approach is taken in even an iota from the right, the very existence of the coalition is threatened. So, the Knesset is fragile to normal State functions, like diplomacy. Instead, you have Lieberman and the Sovietskis playing that role with damaging results.

  4. It’s of a certain irony, that the simple existence of the Near-East-Conflict allowed Turkey to slip into the role of a neutral mediator between Israelis and Arabs. This role demanded a certain distance to the old turkish ally Israel.
    And the simple existence of a US- / Israeli- / Iranian conflict gives Turkeys role an additional importance in the Arab world.
    Just hundert years ago, the Arabs liberated themself with British-, American, French, Italian help from the Ottoman Empire. It looks sometimes like a joke of history, that this old Ottoman relations between Turks and Arabs are becoming more important again, because of the West?

      1. You must be joking? The Vatican may well be against a turkish membership but certainly not led by racist motives!
        Probably you overestimate the influence of Vatican in mainly secular Europe? The (Holy!) Roman Catholic Church of today shows the majority of its membership (believers?) ins Asia, Afrika and South America, no good places for european racists, I suppose?

        1. Thanks for the link, I read carefully! It’s all about power and influence and religion, but racism? The only (unwritten in this article!) connection to fascism is the fact, that the Vatican in it’s unique role as a political state, is a result of a treaty between the Roman Catholic Church and the italian fascist-dictator Benito Mussolini during the 20th of last century…
          By the way, the definition of Turkeys relation with the EU, just short of membership, is the original and official position of germanys cancellor Angela Merkel…

          Can you please tell me, where’s the “racism” in this?

          1. I can only assume that we don’t agree on a definition of racism. I believe the UN has a definition which you could probably “google” and find.

            For me it is self-evident that discriminating on grounds of religious affiliation is a form of racism, not unlike what we saw in another article on this blog from last week about the rabbis calling not to sell or rent homes to non-Jews in Zefat.

            The Vatican most definately wants the EU to be “Muslimfrei” and will probably wish it to be also “Judenfrei” should Israel be a candidate for membership of the EU in the future.

            If you feel that such discrimination should be termed “fascism” rather than “racism” – then so be it, does the nomenclature really make a difference? The idea is just as repugnant.

          2. For me it is self-evident that discriminating on grounds of religious affiliation is a form of racism…

            You are incorrect. Religion and race are two completely different things. discrimination on the grounds of religious affiliation is bigotry, not racism.

          3. @shmuel
            our different view of racism and bigotry (thanks, Shirin!) ist probably based on the definition of race, nation, state, citizen and religion?

            The nazis had seen the Jews as an race.
            The state of Israel has citizens of jewish, islamic and christian faith. The term “jewish nation” included only citizens of jewish faith – at leat for my understanding – excluded the arab and christian citizens of Israel.

          4. @Shirin and almabu:
            You both have to be wrong on this one. Do you really believe that discriminating on grounds of religion is not racism but “only” bigotry?! (the difference being that bigotry is not nice, but still legal, racial discrimination or incitement is illegal in most countries).

            Here is your opinion brought to the absurd;
            *A westerner who claims that the Muslims are all terrorists and a danger to the world (“Islamaphobia”) is only a bigot, but not inciting to racism.
            *The rabbis who put out a halachic ruling not to sell houses to non-Jews is only a bigot but not racially discriminating.
            *The form of Zionism which believes Israel should be a Jewish state is bigotry not racism.
            Shall I go on?

            And the corrollary:
            *If I don’t let Jew in America join my golf club, that’s only bigotry and not anti-semitism (=a form of racism per the UN)
            *If I don’t allow a Christian into a state funded Jewish or Muslim school I’m only a bigot?

            You’re walking on thin ice and very close to legitamising forms of anti-semitism and Islamaphobia by removing them from the definition of “racism” – be very careful!

          5. @ Shmuel
            Frankly, I’m afraid I don’t understand your point?

            For me, ANY discrimination is illegal and racial discrimination is a part of it. Why is there a split, a differentiation between age, sex, race, religion, if at the end, it’s all about race?

          6. You both have to be wrong on this one. Do you really believe that discriminating on grounds of religion is not racism but “only” bigotry?! (the difference being that bigotry is not nice, but still legal, racial discrimination or incitement is illegal in most countries).

            No, we are right, you are, by definition completely wrong. You also have virtually of your facts wrong, and your reasoning makes no sense at all.

            It is not a question of our belief, but of fact. Religion and race are by definition and in practice two completely different things. And where do you get “only” bigotry, and where do you get the idea that bigotry is merely “not nice”, but legal? It is no more legal to discriminate on the basis of religion than on race – except, of course, in certain countries that define themselves in terms of a specific religion, create tiers of citizenship on that basis, or have laws that discriminate on the basis of race or religion. I’ll leave you to figure out which countries those are.

            And where do you get the idea that racism is illegal and bigotry is legal? People are quite free to be racists or bigots as long as they do not discriminate on the basis of race or religion in ways that break laws against discrimination where such laws exist. Incitement based on bigotry is exactly as illegal (or legal) as is incitement based on racism, no less and no more.

            You might want to invest in a dictionary before you try to argue about the meanings of words and the concepts they represent. I also recommend you invest in some books on elementary reasoning and logic. If you study and understand them you will be less likely to make the kinds of mistakes you are making in your arguments here.

    1. the Arabs liberated themself with British-, American, French, Italian help from the Ottoman Empire.

      Liberated? Sorry, there was no liberation involved. The British, American, French, and Italians “helped” the Arabs to become part of the British, French, and Italian empires from which the Arabs have had to liberate themselves.

      1. The only time (and place) in history when Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together in peace was during the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps Turkey should recreate it?

          1. Well, I have at my elbow an unpublished memoir of a M. Schulmann (no relation) who contradicts what you claim. He describes his life in Djerba, Tunisia and Rabat, Morocco, where Jews thrived in education, business, the arts, and community life. They even served the court as advisors. There is no indication in this memoir that Jews were harassed or “shared fear under the iron fist of the Ottoman kalifs… “

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