Erdogan’s games with Russia and Israel

Erdogan’s turn to Israel is a diplomatic defeat for Turkey and an attempt to limit the damage it has suffered diplomatically in previous years. The shift is the culmination of a long-running process with Turkey desperately trying to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel, which have been frozen for at least a decade.

It must be emphasized that Turkey does not gain anything substantial from this normalization of relations, on the contrary, it is a big change. Since Turkey’s demands six to seven years ago were very high, not only for Israel to formally apologize and pay compensation to the families of the victims of the “Mavi Marmara”, but also a bunch of other open issues used by Turkey to pressure Israel. Characteristic examples are the issue of Hamas and the Palestinians.

So now Turkey is coming to terms with the normalization of diplomatic relations without getting anything at all from the Israeli side. This is a major diplomatic defeat and an attempt to limit the damage that Turkey has suffered diplomatically in all the previous years.

As far as Israel is concerned, this turn by Turkey is a diplomatic victory as it normalizes its relations with Ankara, without paying the slightest price. We must not forget that Turkey is important to Israel for exports and in general for trade relations, which amount to many billions. It must be emphasized, however, that the diplomatic relations in the Eastern Mediterranean are not being rearranged. Suspicion towards Turkey, the creeping anti-Semitism of President Erdogan and the AKP party will always be one of the big thorns.

See also  Alexandroupolis is straining Turkey's nerves - The first NATO soldiers arrive in Strdos "Giannouli"

But apart from the shift in Turkish policy towards Israel, the issue of Turkey’s supply of Russian S-400s is also very important. In all probability, this is the completion of the contract that Ankara had signed with Moscow when it procured the first array. It is not a new agreement, but it shows how Turkey is moving. Obviously, in this particular case there is perhaps a bad calculation by Turkey, that it will be able to possibly exchange the cancellation of the second array with the upgrade of the F-16s.

In this way it expects to maintain the first array of S-400s. If this is the pursuit it is a miscalculation. Tolerance in important power centers in Washington is exhausted towards Turkey, and such a move will put those few supporters of Ankara in a very difficult position in the US State Department or even in the US Congress.

At the same time, it certainly demonstrates what many of us have been supporting for a long time, that Ankara has entered a path of satelliteization and dependence on Russia, from which it will hardly come out. Turkey depends on Russia in Syria, to some extent in Libya and for military supplies it cannot get elsewhere. Ankara also needs Russia’s consent to appear to play a meaningful and constructive role in Ukraine. All this makes Ankara’s vaunted strategic autonomy less autonomous than President Erdogan and the AKP leadership would like.

* Mr. Kostas Yfantis is a professor of International Relations at Panteion University, director of IDIS

See also  St. Citizen-Rear Admiral: We must be militarily ready to face Turkey

Related Posts