16 thoughts on “What’s Cookin’ With Turkey? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Right now, I think Turkey is more worried about what’s going on in Syria than anything else. Establishing cooperative relations with Israel and (more importantly) the US would help in that regard.

  2. Wait and see. Precisely because Turkey is, in fact, a democracy, Erdogan’s liberty to get cozy with Israel has limits.

  3. The ‘host the conference’ bit is for public consumption. What is the real deal? Something similar to the Ukraine deals …

    Be our friend and we will ensure that you can join the EU? Hmmm, Turkey wanted it, but the EU is now very shaky. However, if it did go ahead and the collapsing EU took down Turkey as well that would be a double win. Looks good then.

    Maybe a nice nuke deal similar to that offered India (shades of the deals that Valerie Plame was chasing before she was outed)? – nah, far too risky for the The Only Democracy in the Mid East.

    Maybe Bibi has offered them the oportunity to sit at the feet of more Israeli diplomats – an offer they surely wouldn’t refuse!

  4. This is from Ynet:

    Report: Turkey pressing Hamas to accept Fayyad as PM

    The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi has reported that Turkey summoned Hamas’s politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, in order to press him to accept the appointment of Salam Fayyad to the prime minister of a Palestinian unity government.


    Could be a connection there, maybe?

    1. God, I hope Hamas doesn’t fall for accepting Col. Nicholson (Bridge of the River Kwai) or better yet the Manchurian Candidate Fayyad as P.M.! That’ll be the end of Palestinian sovereignty and the Right of Return for the refugees!

    2. What leverage would Turkey have over Hamas esp. after the former abandoned the Gaza flotilla? BTW, some Arab news media sources are notoriously shoddy so believe very little you read w. an Arab media source unless you can confirm it independently fr. a more reliable source.

      1. What is the nature of the relationship between Turkey and Hamas? I thought it was, at least, pretty cordial. Does Turkey’s status as a regional power give it any degree of leverage here?

        With respect to your other comment, which Arab news media sources would you say are the most reliable?

        The Palestinian sources that publish in English that I am aware of are Wafa, Ma’an News, and Palestine News Network. Can any of these be considered reliable?

        If not, can you identify a few Palestinian news sources that you feel confident referencing?

        1. Turkey has some leverage over Hamas as it has championed its cause over the past 2 yrs. But that seems to be fading as Turkey can’t, as they say in Yiddish, have one tush sitting at two weddings. It’s either Israel or Hamas. Erdogan seems to have chosen Israel for now.

          Maan is a very good independent source.

  5. I notice this too. There is definitely something fishy going on. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Turkey is right now in a strategic position to affect regime change in Syria.

    All I know is that Bibi’s sudden mealy-mouthed praises for Turkey and Erdogan are making me sick to my stomach and I just know something’s up. Something I won’t like.

    I find all these theatrics disgusting and I’m quickly starting to lose all respect for Erdogan because not only is this looking very bad for Palestinians but I feel like conniving Israeli Zionists are again getting away with “murder”.

    The truth will come out eventually, it always does, hopefully not before it’s too late.

    I’m really glad you wrote this article and noticed this trend as I was hoping this would be discussed and someone might have some insight.

    The IHH withdrawing from the Flotilla was a big red flag for me and unthinkable considering the massacre on the Mavi Marmara…but Netanyahu’s praise…ICK. I’m afraid there’s more here than meets the eye and I can’t believe Erdogan is being sucked into it so easily. So knowing how devious the Israelis are, what could have possibly made Erdogan do an about face? It has to be big; I can’t believe he’s this naive or that he suddenly suffers from amnesia and forgot who he’s dealing with and all the humiliation and anguish Israel put the Turks through in the past few years.

    This is definitely something to watch.

    1. We watch and we wonder what does it all mean? I suspect we will learn some answers soon. In the meantime, as one who plans to sail with flotilla, I wonder how Israel could possibly justify committing any violence against us similar to what happened on the Mavi Marmara. We are truly an international group, 25 percent of us Jewish. Most of us over 50. Mostly white. A big blow for the IDF I should think, all reading and waiting for us with their attack dogs and their big guns and their big bags to collect all the booty.

  6. I’ve been pondering this issue since I wrote the last post. First of all Erdogan has just secured another decisive victory but fell 4 seats short of having the majority he needed to push through Constitutional reform without requiring votes from other parties. So he’s somewhat dependent for now on securing approval for his plan from other parties, and some politicians have been suspicious and critical of the “Islamic” character of his party.

    Second, Erdogan has very ambitious plans for Turkey. He wants to build a new airport and most importantly undertake a project of enormous magnitude that will cost billions which he stated would come from “private” funding but he has been very tight-lipped on the funding aspect so far only to imply that it would be open to bids worldwide. This project is called “Kanal Istanbul”, will provide an alternate to the Bosporus Strait and will in turn rake in billions. Such an achievement would add clout to Turkey’s standing in the region.


    With Egypt in a phase of transition and uncertainty, Turkey is strategically poised to rise as a major player in the region perhaps replacing Egypt in influence especially if Erdogan helps solve the crisis in Syria and Turkey becomes involved in the Israeli/Palestinian sham peace process. However, he must know that if Assad falls, this may dramatically affect the balance of power in the region and therefore he is in a “kingmaker” position as far as power in the region is concerned, and perhaps this is why he’s being courted, but Israel and the U.S. forget that Erdogan has ambitions of his own as far as the region is concerned. If he assists in regime change in Syria this would dramatically strengthen U.S./Israeli/Saudi influence and tip the balance of power against Iran which would only have partial influence in Lebanon and Iraq. So is it beneficial for Turkey to have that triumvirate with the hubris that all three wield?

    Is it favorable for Erdogan to help change the balance of power to benefit the triumvirate if later he may be left in the cold or be asked to sacrifice or compromise his own ambitions and or values as may be happening now to some degree? That is the question.

    On another note, the U.S. has always assured Erdogan assistance in combating the PKK and Erdogan has wanted to purchase drones for that purpose but Obama was not prepared to meet his request a year ago.

    So Erdogan even with this 3rd term victory appears to be playing it safe, perhaps not wanting to upset the apple cart with all he has at stake.

    However, if he thinks that being the fourth wheel in the U.S/Israel/Saudi triumvirate will make Turkey a major player; he’s dreaming. He’s being used as a tool to be discarded at the appropriate time later, since none of these players trust his motives or his ambitions as being totally secular.

    Perhaps he’s just exercising caution at this time in order to secure his own ambitions or maybe he’s been offered a significant incentive “bribe”, either way he must realize he’s being manipulated and see the reasons why.

    The stakes are high and that’s why Netanyahu has come a courting and is whispering sweet nothings in his ear. Erdogan would be foolish to allow that pretender to wrap him around his little finger after the true colors he displayed last year.

  7. I could be wrong, but I think the reason for Turkey’s sudden malleability may lie far from Israel.

    They absolutely don’t want Syria to collapse, with consequent floods of Syrian refugees into southern Turkey. Particularly militant Sunnis like you find in Jisr al-Shughur. They might stir up feelings in southern Turkey.

    Don’t forget the Turks filched the Hatay province from Syria in 1939, on a rigged referendum. There are still very large numbers of Syrian Arabs round Antakya.

    It is hardly surprising that the refugees who did cross the frontier were rounded up into closed camps. They were only opened up to international media when Angelina Jolie visited.

    But in general the refugees are being kept on the other side of the frontier. And since then they appear to have been rounded up by the Syrian army.

    I think you will find this is the dominant factor in Turkish policy at the moment. Although, of course, they are concealing it. And, as the issue does not enter into western prejudices, it’s not being mentioned by the media either.

  8. There could be a dozen reasons behind Turkey’s sudden shift. Turkey had to decide between being on the Syria-Iran team or on the Saudia, Israel and the US one. Perhaps you should look beyond Erdogan and the brotherhood in Turkey for the answer. Some Arabs are pointing to Gul’s long standing vocation of creating a pan-Islamic union with Turkey at its center while others point to Oglu’s dream of seeing the emergence of an neo-Ottoman empire even if only a cultural and economical one. Whatever they want, whether to be let into the EU or into something else, the way to getting there is much easier via Saudia Arabia, Israel and the US than via Syria, Iran and Hamas. Same choice had to be made by Egypt’s army and Brotherhood and the Gazans lost out with both. We have to keep in mind the close ties between the brotherhoods of Egypt, the Gulf, Turkey, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the ones currently participating in the Syrian uprising.

    Bit of background from a couple of years back:

  9. My thinking on Turkey veers further from any rewards it might expect (flimsy enough) but in the direction of threats it’s been subjected to. Not from Israel but from Israel’s vassal, the US. There’ no doubt in my mind that Turkey has received many strongly worded threat and pressure from America, which is eager to see a rapprochement with Israel, because that’s what the policy makers in the US want to see. And since the US’s entire foreign policy apparatus has been hijacked sometime ago, anything that happens in that arena, be it Libya or Afganistan or Syria, somewhere along the way, the zionist/Israel’s hand is in it. And israel only cares about one thing – getting away with the settlements. No conspiracy theory here, just a observing who plays what role where and who speak on behalf of America.

    The short of it is that Turkey has been subjected to a great deal of pressure, and America does have a few credible threats it can pull. Supporting a Kurdish state in Iraq is one, for starters.

    And speaking of pressure, I doubt we can even imagine what pressure is put on the PA to pull back from the brink. No need to count carrots there, just sticks. I expect that any day they’ll announce that they are withdrawing their plan for a state. Should that happen I would not necessarily be the first to throw stone at Fayyad or Abbas. It’ easy to dismiss the threats when we don’t know their full extent. But I think I have an idea of just how bad it is, hence my pessimism.

    Just like with Turkey. Though in this case, I hope Erdogan is wily enough to give just enough to get the monkey of his back and do what he needs to do in the quiet back rooms.

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