Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week warned Lebanese leaders that Israel may be planning an attack on its northern neighbor, Lebanese sources told the London-based Arabic language daily A-Sharq al-Awsat on Thursday.
At a meeting in Ankara with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Suleiman on Monday, Erdogan declared that Israel was endangering world peace by using exaggerated force against the Palestinians, breaching Lebanon’s air space and waters and for not revealing the details of its nuclear program.
Erdogan called on the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to pressure Israel over its nuclear program in the same way that the international community has been dealing with Iran. “Israel never denied that it has nuclear weapons,” said Erdogan. “In fact, it has admitted to such.” [continued…]
As Turkish-Israeli relations turn sour, Turkey has lifted the visas to all Arab countries neighboring Israel and a political-economic integration is being pursued.
This means being a “center of power” in the region.
But if you pay attention to Erdoğan’s remark on Israel the other day in the press conference with Hariri, you realize that Turkish Prime Minister said: “Israel says ‘I am the power of the region’ because there is an imbalance of opportunities. We never approve of this picture. We will continue to be with the aggrieved.”
Against a state that declares itself to be the power of the region just because of having more opportunities than the others, Turkey gathers the “aggrieved” around it, lifts visas, engages in serious economic ties and does all these by applying “soft power” only.
We should expect more reactions to come because Turkey and its prime minister have made serious moves against Israel and have caused debates both at in the region and outside it. [continued…]
Diplomatic crises are a dime a dozen these days, but the most recent one, orchestrated by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, has delivered a gut-wrenching blow to Israel’s dignity.
The Turkish television show that enraged the Foreign Ministry is indeed insulting, and somewhat reminiscent of an earlier crisis involving Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. In that case too, the Foreign Ministry came out with guns blazing. A silly and wholly unsubstantiated tabloid article that could have gone totally unnoticed was turned into a battle with the Swedish government.
Like the Swedish tabloid article, the Turkish television show was given more credibility by Israel’s vehement response to it. However, the crisis with Turkey had far more devastating results, as it ended with an official apology to a state now widely viewed as biased against Israel – a state which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes is inching closer to Iran every day. [continued…]
Ayalon’s office said later Wednesday that “now, following President Peres’ appeal and with respect to his request, a letter has been sent from the deputy foreign minister to the Turkish ambassador to Israel.”
The deputy foreign minister addressed the Knesset on Wednesday evening and said that “Israel will eventually benefit, and I believe that the relations between Israel and Turkey will also benefit” from the diplomatic incident.
The deputy minister was asked by Knesset Member Carmel Shama (Likud), “Was everything that happened preplanned?” Ayalon responded, “I think we should leave an element of surprise for our rivals and enemies… Let’s leave it, let them decide.” [continued…]