President Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been at the epicenter of an ongoing story for the last few weeks. While I don’t want to rehash what has already been reported, I did find one particular nugget of news relating to the development of Israel’s energy industry to be of potential significance. Read more
Barely a week has passed since a faction within the Turkish military attempted a coup d’état against the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The coup was a total failure, triggered a nation-wide purge of the military, academia, and Turkey’s judiciary. Thousands are under arrest for suspicion of supporting the putschists and alleged mastermind, Fethullah Gulen. Read more
Those who read my posts know that I write extensively (if not exclusively) about the benefits of Israel-Turkey rapprochement, as well as how a deal would benefit European and American strategic interests. In particular, the lack of cohesion between Washington’s two most critical allies in the Middle East has been particularly damaging for the Obama administration. For this reason, President Obama compelled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March 2013 to pick up the phone and apologize for Israel’s actions in the Gaza flotilla incident to his then-Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Read more
On Thursday, December 17, 2015, Israel’s Channel 10 correspondent Ayala Hasson reported that Israel and Turkey agreed to terms that would normalize diplomatic ties between the two states.
The reported terms of the deal are as follows:
1) Israel and Turkey will restore full diplomatic ties, including the return of ambassadors to Ankara and Tel Aviv, respectively.
2) The charges against former IDF officers involved in planning the commando raid of the MV Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 will be dropped (most likely via Turkish legislation to that effect).
3) Israel will establish a fund (to the amount of $20 million) that will be used as compensation to the families of those Turkish citizens who died aboard the MV Mavi Marmara.
4) Turkey will commit to no longer tolerate “terrorist activities” on its sovereign territory. In particular, Hamas’ Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas operative allegedly behind the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens (Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach) in the West Bank in June 2014, will be barred from entering Turkey.
5) Israel and Turkey will commence negotiations regarding the export of Israeli natural gas to Turkey, and the construction of a pipeline between the two territories.
Since the outset of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been the most visible and vocal opponent to a nuclear accord. But while he has lobbied repeatedly before the United Nations and US Congress in the last six years, these efforts have yet to yield the desired results. Worse, disputes over the details of the deal and the nature of Iran’s regime contributed to the souring of US-Israeli relations. I don’t think his grandstanding contributed to the negative aspects of the deal, but they certainly didn’t help. Read more
I am not about to guarantee that Israel and Turkey are going to normalize ties in the immediate future, but signs of a gradual warming have cropped up over the last few weeks and are worth reviewing. Read more
Only people who live under a rock are unaware that Israel-Turkey relations are at an all-time low. The diplomatic enmity is quite serious, and are unlikely to improve in the immediate future (despite the recent result in the Turkish general elections). Just check out the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Israel page and you will get a pretty clear sense of where things stand. Read more
The dust is finally settling on a dramatic election in Turkey. Basically all of the votes have been counted, and the ruling AKP received 41 percent of the national vote – a sharp decline from its 50 percent achievement in 2007. Just as important, the upstart pro-Kurdish HDP managed to surge past Turkey’s daunting 10 percent electoral threshold and enter parliament – a historic first. Read more
This weekend, two historic races are taking place. The first is the Belmont Stakes, where American Pharoah hopes to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978. The following day, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey’s AK party fights for yet another electoral victory – its third in a fourteen month period – an more importantly, a parliamentary supermajority that would allow Erdoğan to strengthen his presidential powers (more often that not, analysts make the parallel to how Vladimir Putin has consolidated power in Russia).
I am big on metaphors, so I began to think about how impressive a feat both Erdogan and American Pharoah are trying to accomplish and why they will both likely fall short. Read more
On June 7, Turkey will hold general elections for parliament. So it was only a matter of time before the world’s most vocal, non-Iranian critic of the Jewish State played the “Israel card” in order to gain a few more votes. Read more