Relations between Israel and Turkey continue to deteriorate 21 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 11 years ago

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8458085.stm

Just for a bit of International News now to spice things up a bit

Israel has apologized to Turkey after a diplomatic faux pax committed on live air. The incident began a few days ago when the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, summoned the Turkish ambassador for Israel for a meeting over TV show which Israeli media called anti-semetic. When the ambassador arrived, Ayalon directed the ambassador to sit on a noticeably lower chair. The room also lacked a Turkish flag. Ayalon pointed out to reporters and media in the room about the ambassador being seated lower than everyone else in the room, the absence of his flag, and how no one is smiling.

One Israeli newspaper distributed an altered picture (seen in the article), captioning the lower height of the ambassador as "the height of humiliation".

Israeli media at the time had been covering a certain episode of a Turkish TV series "Kurtlar Vadisi" (Valley of the Wolves), in which one episode depicted Mossad secret agents operating within Turkey and abducting children. This was the episode in question that Ayalon summoned the minister over.

Before that, another Turkish series "Ayrılık" (Farewell), also angered Israeli media. The series depicted a conflict between the Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters, painting the Israeli soldiers as brutal oppressors. Most controversially, it showed an Israeli soldier shooting a young girl in cold blood.

Israeli media points out that Turks have "anti-Semitic" feelings, being fostered by the media, and the Turkish government is not doing anything about it.

Ayrilik

Valley of the Wolves- Mossad scene

This was a diplomatic faux pas in the fullest since of the word, with Turkish and Arab media widely condemning the unprofessional act, with Israeli media asplit over whether to condemn Ayalon's actions or not. One newspaper blasted Ayalon for behavior which continues to justify anti-Semitic notions, and another applauded him for acting like a true patriot.

Turkey demanded an apology from Israel over the snub, threatening to withdraw their ambassador if it was not received. Israel eventually issued it.

Problem over? Not quite. While this faux pas didn't sever links, it illustrates the problem between Israel and Turkey currently.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have steadily been falling since the 90s, but has dropped even more so in the past five years. Many Turks sympathize with the Palestinian cause and a lot of criticism of Israel's treatment towards Palestinians is heard from all over the political spectrum in that country. Criticism was especially high during Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and the more recent invasion of the Gaza Strip, which had many Turks turn out across the country to protest against what they saw as Israeli aggression.

This was most announced during the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan criticized Israel's actions in Gaza (which was just getting in to full swing) as a humanitarian violation. This prompted a very long monologue by Israeli President Simon Peres justifying the action, and Erdogan was only given a small two minute chance to rebuke. While trying to reason with the moderator that giving him two minutes was unfair and he was giving preferential treatment for Israel, he eventually pointed out to Peres and the rest of the economic forum that,

"I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian."

And then stormed out of the meeting, telling Peres that "You are killing people."

Turkish officials and media criticize Israel for their approach to the Palestinian situation (Gaza invasion, the construction of the wall, settlements, etc), while Israel in turn criticizes Turkey for fostering anti-semitism as well as their treatment of the Kurdish people. The old adage sums up the actions of their attacks towards one another- "the pot calling the kettle black".

Deteriorating relations between the two nations are of concern to the United States and their allies. In the past, Turkey and Israel served as pro-Western power houses which could counter the influence of the Soviets in the Middle-East. With the Soviet Union gone, the US attempted to gear this alliance as one to counter the rising influence of radical Islamic movements, but Turkey now sees little reason to continue working with Israel as it embarks on a campaign to improve relations with its other Middle-Eastern neighbors, such as Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt, and ultimately increase its standing in the Middle-East.

Israel's defense industry also sells a lot of weapons to Turkey (the largest army in the NATO besides the US).

Ultimately, with out Turkish support, it greatly complicates the US's plans in the Middle-East (Turkey had already condemned the Iraq invasion in 2003 and refused the US military land access to Iraq) and along with Israel, their actions against Iran.




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#2 11 years ago

I'd like to point out is that Turkey has been trying to join the EU, and courting countries like Syria, Iran, and other radically conservative Middle-Eastern countries is not going to get them very far since Europe has seen a rise in anti-Islamic sentiment as of late. Not to mention the fact Turkey doesn't like to get along with Iran and Iraq, since they control the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates, and are one of the only countries in the area who have reliable water sources.

Which in turn means they are going to want to have other allies in the ME, such as Israel. Of course, Israel also needs allies in the ME, such as Turkey. What I'm getting at is feuding is only going to weaken the position of both countries, unless Turkey is going to forsake it's secular government and start turning to radical Islam for it's position in the world. Doing that would mean inevitably giving up the chance to join the EU.

No simple answer here. Israel and Turkey would do well to remain allies, but ideological differences are going to make that hard. I guess both just need to decide what would benefit them the most and who they want to have as allies.




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#3 11 years ago

Isn't not just the stories of the oppression? IIRC Jerusalem has a Armenian quarter, and those are usually divided into religions, Christian, Islam and Judaism, so 1/4 the city is dedicated to Armenia, and Israel doesn't have even a Armenian minority, possibly in the hundreds, obviously it supports that the Armenian Genocide happened, otherwise there's no point in giving an quarter dedicated to Armenia.

Besides its the media, Israelis shouldn't blame a government for what the media is doing, otherwise relations between America and Canada would be far different.




Commissar MercZ

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#4 11 years ago

Afterburner;5212233I'd like to point out is that Turkey has been trying to join the EU, and courting countries like Syria, Iran, and other radically conservative Middle-Eastern countries is not going to get them very far since Europe has seen a rise in anti-Islamic sentiment as of late. Not to mention the fact Turkey doesn't like to get along with Iran and Iraq, since they control the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates, and are one of the only countries in the area who have reliable water sources.[/QUOTE]

Actually, Turkey has been trying to get better with its Middle-Eastern neighbors, particularly in light of the Middle-East's lack of a "big" nation. It has opened up a lot of business into Iraq, and is trying to reverse its thaw in relations with Syria.

The economic opportunities are also large for a nation that wants to begin exporting many of its goods.

Which in turn means they are going to want to have other allies in the ME, such as Israel. Of course, Israel also needs allies in the ME, such as Turkey. What I'm getting at is feuding is only going to weaken the position of both countries, unless Turkey is going to forsake it's secular government and start turning to radical Islam for it's position in the world. Doing that would mean inevitably giving up the chance to join the EU.

Of course it will, but I don't think Turkey would necessarily need to turn to "radical islam" to improve its standing with other nations of the middle-east.

[QUOTE=Warforger;5212324] Besides its the media, Israelis shouldn't blame a government for what the media is doing, otherwise relations between America and Canada would be far different.

The Canadian media is critical of American things, but I don't think they would make a series with American soldiers killing Iraqi's in cold blood, or abducting their children. Particularly in light of Israel's already shit position with many Muslim countries, those kind of things don't help with their PR.




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#5 11 years ago

I don't doubt there is great opportunity for Turkey in the Middle-East, but they are already on fairly rocky ground with the rest of the EU regarding their possible entry. I don't think expanding their influence into the Middle-East is going to help them seem more European.

So the question is, is it better for them to try to become a big-player in the Mid-East, or should they be focusing on their European connections. Or can they do both? Would the rest of Europe accept that?

And when I say radical Islam I don't mean blowing stuff up and terrorism, I just mean the brand of Islam you see across the Middle-East that ties religion and government together, and often has religious laws as the law. It seem like most countries in the Mid-East have this type of goverment to some degree or another, barring some of the oil states in the Arabian peninsula.




Commissar MercZ

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#6 11 years ago
Afterburner;5212349I don't doubt there is great opportunity for Turkey in the Middle-East, but they are already on fairly rocky ground with the rest of the EU regarding their possible entry. I don't think expanding their influence into the Middle-East is going to help them seem more European.

I think this is part of the reason why they are looking at their role in the Middle-East. They are getting the cold shoulder from the EU and it wouldn't be wise for them to invest all their efforts in to getting in there.

So the question is, is it better for them to try to become a big-player in the Mid-East, or should they be focusing on their European connections. Or can they do both? Would the rest of Europe accept that?

I think they can do both. And it would be in Europe's interest to have a mostly secular Turkish republic (ignoring current issues surrounding the AKP's ideology) become a large player in the Middle-East, to become a figure for other Muslim nations and to ultimately rival Iran's influence in the region.

And when I say radical Islam I don't mean blowing stuff up and terrorism, I just mean the brand of Islam you see across the Middle-East that ties religion and government together, and often has religious laws as the law. It seem like most countries in the Mid-East have this type of goverment to some degree or another, barring some of the oil states in the Arabian peninsula.

Syria, Egypt, and Jordan are not established along radical Islamic lines. Lebanon and Iraq have some problems with these groups but they haven't fallen into it. The only member of this group which would be at that level would be Iran itself. But ultimately they are Turkey's neighbors and it would be idiotic for Turkey to not at least find a place for it to have economic influence unrivaled. Particularly since Turkish businessmen can furnish another source of capital for Middle-eastern affairs.




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#7 11 years ago

Man, first they don't like crab and pig, and now turkey? Why such picky eaters Israel?

I get the impression that Israel tends to feel more comfortable using military power than diplomacy. What a clumsy, immature effort by the foreign minister.




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#8 11 years ago

Professor Dr. Scientist;5212383Man, first they don't like crab and pig, and now turkey? Why such picky eaters Israel?

I get the impression that Israel tends to feel more comfortable using military power than diplomacy. What a clumsy, immature effort by the foreign minister.

Uhh usually the Palestinians have attacked first, not to mention the Palestinians have elected Hamas to represent them, which obviously aren't Israel's friends.




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#9 11 years ago

Turkey isn't in an easy position. They want to join the EU and for that they have to show that they believe in similar values. But since they have their fair share of radical muslims they also have to pretend to condemn any violence directed at muslims if they don't want to risk losing to radicals in the next elections.

I'd say Israel is better off with a pro-western government in Turkey. If they want to reduce anti-semitism in Turkey they might want to consider changing the methods they use to win votes in their country.




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#10 11 years ago

As already said, it's the pot calling the kettle black. Turkey has it's own share of problems and issues but seems to gradually improve things such as their relation (equality) with the Kurds. But friction continues to excist (such as the Turks banning a Kurdish party from their parliament due to possible ties with radical Kurds... PKK that is).

Israel obviously has it's own fair share of problems, hostilities and oppression on various scales. So the "but you" line is quite weak and pointless and a fitting reply would be "yes, we do have some problems and we'll try to improve the situation but so should you. Perhaps we can even help each other out and mediate?"

Ultimately the general (global) public would like to see an end to friction between the Turks and Kurds, the Isrealis and the Palestinians. And to establish that "sacrifices" will have to be made. Which is a long process of minor steps by all parties, step by step, a few steps forward, then a couple back, a long pause, a few steps forward again.. as distrust ain't easily fixed.

As for this very issue: It's pathetic and quite counter productive to have a meeting like that between israeli and Turkish representatives. It would have been quite easy to have a room filled with the same chairs, same flags (or lack thereof) and granting the same amount of speech time. At the very least makes things set of on equal foot, and the public (turkish, israeli, other) may still easy take the statements/claims of one spokesman over that of the other. I doubt that many more Palestinians would have found the Turkish arguments/message more reliable if the guy was given an equal opperrtunity. Just as I guess not a whole lot more Turks would have found the Palestinian spokesman more reliable. People are bound to support their spokeman and easily dismiss the claims of the other as a lot of hollow words, falls claims, lies, ignorance or lack of understanding.

So yes, starting off with an obvious bias doesn't really lay down a path to pentrate through biased views of either side/people. And thus not very smart.

Commissar MercZ;5212348 The Canadian media is critical of American things, but I don't think they would make a series with American soldiers killing Iraqi's in cold blood, or abducting their children. Particularly in light of Israel's already shit position with many Muslim countries, those kind of things don't help with their PR.[/QUOTE]I guess that would depend on the message behind it, if it was an anti war film it would be much more acceptable and people would be likely to interpetet the film as "some US soldiers are animals, some Iraqies are animals, some... well there are animals all around, and there are plenty of people with the best of intentions, with noble hearts and all that around all around us... but war ain't pleasant, it's messy etc. etc." . But depending on the focus of the film it could sent out the message that " all americans are animals, bloody animals" (even more so if the film would picture all iraqies including radicals as just, fair people).

The same would apply to this Turkish material. If it sents out the message that "some Israeli soldiers are animals" and "some palestinians (fighters) are animals" it would be quite fair and true. As there are obviously rotten apples on both sides. Ranging from pure animals to those that "wish to have their revenge first ebfore I sign a peace treaty" , in which case you are stuck in the endless cycle of violence since one act of revenge will lead to an other, and another and another and another...

Personally I find the Isreali claims of "anti semetic" quite cheap. First of all since I doubt the director wishes to sent out a message that "all isrealies are pigs" or that "all jews are evil and must be killed" and also because the entertainment industry (media) is supposed to be independant. A goverment can do little unless the media violates some law, in which case it's up to the 3rd pilar of society, the justuce system, to take action and seek justice.

Just as the Danish goverment rightfully dismissed messages from abroad that it should do something about those cartoons, the same applies to this films and the Turkish goverment. And the same would apply if an Isreali media would do something simular that would provoke a given party (say, muslims).

[QUOTE=Warforger;5212385]Uhh usually the Palestinians have attacked first, not to mention the Palestinians have elected Hamas to represent them, which obviously aren't Israel's friends.

You do realize that this same message applies the other way around, do you?

"Uhh usually the Isreallies have attacked first" (and the Palestinians what revenge for their dead/injured/oppressed/besieged/../.. people). :o

Which causes the endless blame game, the endless cycle of revenge after revenge and "I wish to end this endless cycle but not before the others do so first!"

*sigh*

Ditto with electing hammas (we all know that hammas is mostly known for it's rather extreme views and actions and wanting to strike back). You could also argue the current Isreali goverment has various policies which cause a lot of hatred, pain, anger and such with the Palestinians and that aslong as there is no other goverment that will quite all these policies (say, the illegal settlements, checkpoints, cliams on all of Jaruzalem etc.) it will be difficult to come to an agreement. Again, the endless "well you started it" and "yes sure, but you make the first step in the peace process and stop X and Y!" .

Ultimately many thousands of innocents, avarage people are the victem in this, Isreali and Palestinia alike. And that is quite sad, as in the end we are all just people, humans.