‘Hot air’ or ‘legitimate response’?
It appears Turkish colleagues, as well as officials, tend to ignore as “hot air” or “empty rhetoric addressed to Iranian domestic audience” the growing anger in Iran over the Turkish collaboration with the United States to provide Israel a defensive shield from much-feared attacks from the Islamist regime.
As odd as it was, while publicly ridiculing Israel, downgrading diplomatic relations to second-secretary level and condemning Israeli leadership as untrustworthy, the Turkish government approved American-designed NATO plans to deploy near a base in Malatya in eastern Turkey the radar system of an anti-missile defense system – obviously targeting not only Iran but most probably Russia as well – on the Turkish territory. It was nasty to hear in November from Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division, and last week Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, threatening to strike that “NATO installation” near Malatya.
Iran’s rather bombastic talk about wiping Israel from the map cannot be reconciled with present-day reality upon which any resolution to the Mideast quagmire must be built on. On the other hand, the right of Iran to acquire peaceful nuclear technology cannot be denied with the pretext of some strong suspicions or hallucinations Iran might be developing A-bomb capability given the absolute fact in this region there is already a country, Israel, armed to the teeth with nuke bombs. Indeed countries of this neighborhood should reconcile and turn this highly volatile region into a zone totally disarmed from weapons of mass destruction, including long-range missiles.
Whatever the pretext may be, however, if countries allow military defensive or aggressive installations to be established on their territory by “domestic” or “foreign” adversaries of their neighbors, it is difficult to talk of “good brotherly and neighborly ties” or about good intentions. Naturally, as insulting and unacceptable they might be – and even if Turkish authorities condemn them as “nothing but hot air” – expressions by senior bureaucrats and politicians in neighboring countries that they would defend themselves, striking the “center of evil” established within the neighboring territory, it is difficult to turn a blind eye to the legitimate right to response of that country to provocation by, what they might consider, “dastard provocateurs” contracted by their enemies.
Let’s hope Iran is not attacked and Iran does not attack an inch of Turkish territory, as such an act may prompt not only a legitimate and devastating Turkish response, but open a disastrous period for the entire region, if not the entire world.
While U.S. efforts to reconcile Turkey and Israel have so far remained inconclusive due to an absence of credible leadership capable of walking the painful road of apology demanded by Ankara, an adventure by the Jewish state on Iran, or worse, an American nasty undertaking against Tehran, might produce far worse consequences, the dimensions of which I am afraid cannot be pre-estimated.