MURAT YETKİN > Israeli elections and relations with the US, Iran and Turkey

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It seems that the Israeli political landscape has further fragmented and leaned further toward the right wing following the Jan. 22 elections. There is almost a consensus among international media that Israeli politicians have left aside the solid problems of the Israeli people like the Palestinian issue, economic problems and illegal migration and stuck to the rather ideological issue of how to threaten Iran best.

What Israeli politicians are doing is actually blackmailing the United States over the Israeli lobby there by saying that Israel might do something so terrible to Iran that the Americans might have to clean it up later.

It has proved successful so far. Especially in the run-up to the U.S. elections in November 2012, President Barack Obama tried to soothe Benjamin Netanyahu with a policy that can be summed up as “You stay calm, I’ll take care of them if necessary.” Obama won the elections and none of his second-term choices for critical positions were Israel’s best choice. John Kerry in the State Department and Chuck Hagel in the Pentagon are known for more balanced political stances regarding Middle East issues. They, just like Obama, are aware of the fact that Iran has nothing to do with Afghanistan or Iraq, which, by the way, are not success stories yet. The U.S. system has already generated enough open material available on the web showing that an Israeli-style hit-and-run sabotage attack could only delay an Iranian nuclear program, but would also agitate them further for a nuclear weapons program. It is impossible to believe how smart people like Israeli politicians cannot see that Iran is a big country (in physical terms), with resources, history and tradition. It would be very unlikely that Obama or any other U.S. government would like to get engaged in a war with Iran, not only because of bitter memories of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but because of its new strategy: economy-focused competition with China and Russia in the Pacific region.

There are certain precautions that the U.S. has taken for the Old World contingencies. The Missile Shield project is one of them; its early warning radar is based in Turkey. The MS radar in Malatya has become a new strategic asset for Turkey after the straits and the İncirlik NATO base. The fact that the U.S. has committed itself, along with Germany and the Netherlands, to deploy Patriot anti-missile batteries to Turkey apparently to deter any attack from civil war-hit Syria is another sign that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan will be among Obama’s best friends for some time longer.

But Obama also wants Israel and Turkey to be friends again. Israeli politicians are giving decoy statements one after another saying they are ready to get relations back on track ignoring Turkey’s demands about an open apology because of nine Turks killed by Israeli commandoes on their way to take humanitarian material to the Palestinian territory of Gaza under Israeli blockade in 2010.

There were indications that Netanyahu wanted to apologize to Turkey and try to normalize relations with Ankara, which is to the benefit of Israel more than Turkey, considering the changing political atmosphere of the region. Will the new Israeli government, possibly a fragile coalition, be able to do that? It is not possible to make a prediction from today, partly it depends on how seriously the U.S. would want this and also on the stance of the Israeli lobby in the U.S. changing. We have to wait for another few weeks to see.


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mara mcglothin

1/23/2013 7:17:52 PM

MURAT Friendship is a mutual use and Turkey needs Israel just as bad as Israel needs Turkey.

mara mcglothin

1/23/2013 7:16:46 PM

Spot on SAM STEVENS Wouldn't it be ironic if Israel came to Turkey's defense against Iran in the future? Hasn't Iran/Persia had a long history of double crosses with Turkey and others? Stranger things have happened. ILKER You can't have too many friends, and enemies are not good for your future or your reputation. RTE's behavior is not that of a statesman. Where are the statesmen of Turkey hiding. We need them now.

Lior Uziel

1/23/2013 3:20:14 PM

Send Murat to do his homework as this article is up side down The elections proved that the centralist are gaining power

sam stevens

1/23/2013 11:47:45 AM

This is a biased report of the elections, the result is not moving right but centrist ! Secondly why should Israel apologise so that Turkey can save face ? Any apology would be hollow & it's time the demand was dropped. I see no apologies from Turkey for any of her aggression or Erdogan for his appalling bad manners ...... the whole government shrieks of hypocrisy

dangor Gor

1/23/2013 11:30:12 AM

Murat is wrong almost on all accounts. Israel has moved strongly to the left/center. The next government even if lead by Netanyahoo, will be much less extremist. There is almost a consensus among international media and Israeli politicians that Iran has not been an important issue in this elections. In fact according to the polls the most important issues are: economy and the Palestinian problem. Only 11% of the voters thought that Iran is the most important issue facing Israel today.

Stanko Barac

1/23/2013 10:26:21 AM

Israeli politicians are giving decoy statements one after another saying they are ready to get relations back on track ignoring Turkey’s demands about an open apology because of nine Turks killed --- Murat, what happened to Turkey’s demands about lifting Gaza blockade?

dogan kemal ileri

1/23/2013 9:47:32 AM

Because of their conduct towards the Palestinian Arabs, the Israelis will always remain personas non grata to the Turks whatever government they elect and if they were to attack Iran it will be their quagmire.

rich bind

1/23/2013 9:01:50 AM

If anything the Jan 22 Israeli election moved the political landscape to the left, as more seats went to center than was anticipated. As to Israel blackmailing the US, how is that any different than Turkey demanding that NATO jump into the Syrian civil war because of Turkish hostility toward Assad. But at the end of the day, it is Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States & France that are also demanding the US act to deter an Iranian A-bomb. Even Turkey has threatened to get atomic bombs if Iran does.

ilker avni

1/23/2013 5:01:40 AM

Elections over,back to another five or four years of fun and games,Obama,Erdogan and many other World leaders dislike Netanhayu and his Zionists chum Lieberman. Bloomberg columnist Jeffry Goldberg quoated Obama as having said privately Netanhayu as a political Coward.he warned that Israel under netanhayu is becomeing a Pariah and Netanhayu is a long term threat to Tel Aviv.America is not pushing Turkey to mend ties with Israel any more,Turkey has no need to mend ties with Zionists

David Bensoussan

1/23/2013 12:49:15 AM

It is unfortunate that Turkey, just like Iran, tried and continues to try to build political gains in Arab countries by displaying an anti-Israeli stance. This happens exactly when local leaders - not Israel - were accused of the prevailing situation during the Arab spring. Turkey's position tries to bring back the Middle East at the time of a rhetoric that is outdated, counterproductive and destructive. Turkey lost its potential role as a broker of peace in exchange for short term propaganda gains.
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