Following the recent severing of diplomatic and some economic ties to Israel on the not forthcoming Israeli apology for the killing of nine Turkish citizens on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla vessel Mavi Marmara, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared on Tuesday, that Turkey will sever all military ties to Israel. Is Erdogan rallying public support to be used in a campaign against secular Syria? by Dr. Christof Lehmann
Last friday, after a U.N. report on the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla vessel Mavi Marmara, and the killing of nine Turkish citizens failed to trigger an Israeli apology, Foreign Minister Ahmed Davogulu told reporters that Turkey would send all diplomatic staff above the level of second secretary home by wednesday, and that Turkey would freeze military cooperation with Israel, saying ” All military agreements have been suspended”. Turkeys government also declared, that it would pursue the matter resolutely, and take legal action against the involved Israeli soldiers as well as officials that were responsible for the crimes. In spite of U.S. diplomatic efforts to encourage rapproachment between Turkey and Israel, Tayyip Erdogan informed the public on Tuesday, that Turkey would sever all military cooperation and agreements with Israel. Tayyip Erdogan is seemingly outraged over Israels unwillingness to issue an apology, leaving him in a precarious domestic situation.
Tayyip Erdogan and the current domestic and foreign policy dilemmas clearly depict the schizophrenic politics and selfperception of Turkey, it´s politicians, military and financiers. One could ask, if Erdogan is trying to dance to E.U. menuets, NATO Rock and his militaries demands for a secular state, and the calls from Domestic Minarets all at once without stumbling. At least so it seems, he can stop dancing to Kletzmer for a while? But seriously.
Both Israel and Turkey have a border to Syria. NATO special operations teams are on the ground in Turkey, arming MI6´s best friends in the Middle East, the Muslim Brotherhhod, in an attempt to provoke yet another NATO humanitarian no fly zone coup. This time in Syria. Turkey, for decades ambitious to become a member of the European Union, has to go far to serve his new money master, who, by the way, is about to default. NATO´s Syrian ambitions however, must necessarily include Israel. If not overtly then covertly, which becomes rather difficult if military ties to Turkey are severed. And yet, what the public does not know. The best possible analysis of the situation would be to say, that the rawl with Israel is a staged event, that is supposed to gain Erdogan the respect of his military and the respect of the Turkish populus, before he must openly announce, what could be the seed of his political defeat at home, namely a war against secular Syria. His military will certainly not like it. Is that one of the reasons for his recent rokade within the top brass of his armed forces? Certain is, that his support of the islamist Muslim Brotherhood coup attempt in Syria will gain him the sympathy of Islamist extremists in Turkey. He may even be able to gain the sympathy of his newly installed top generals, but at a cost.
Speaking about humanitarian issues, Turkeys new found enthusiasm for the human rights of the Palestinians does not match well with it´s oppression of Kurds, who according to a U.N. resolution from 1968 have the right to establish their own state. Turkeys reaction to the UN resolution was a massacre on the Kurds. Problem solved ? For more detailed information on the genocide on Kurds, read Martin van Bruinessens work. Again one can ask, is there a strain of schizophrenia in Turkish politics?
Turkey has had imperial ambitions before. Only then it was on behalf of the Ottoman Empire itself. A dance of death with Syria however, will be on behalf of the US, the Brittish, French, the EU, and NATO. How many legs will he need to stand on without committing domestic, political suicide.
What is far worse than his own ambitions and his ambitions for Turkey is the high probablility, that any overt attack on Syria, or an aggevation of the already tense low-intensity war, will lead to economic, and eventually military responses by Iran, Hezbollah, Pakistan, Russia and China. Is he willing to neglect the lessons of history and position Turkey once again as a sparkplug within a powdercake? For the hope of world peace, one can hope he has the litterature of his copatriote Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in his library, and uses some time on intense reading. Turkey functions well as a national state. As an Empire, it brings nothing but disaster to his own people and to her neighbours.
Dr. Christof Lehmann