Turkey's Slide toward Syria and Iran

(Ha'aretz) Itamar Rabinovich - A decade ago, Turkey was an ally of the U.S. and maintained extensive relations with Israel. In recent years, it has been sliding toward Syria and Iran and away from America, and has become a venomous critic of Israel. Turkey's foreign policy has undergone a transformation in the wake of developments upon which outside forces, including Israel, have no influence. The end of the Cold War eliminated Ankara's dependence on Washington as a shield against the Soviet Union, and the EU's de facto refusal to take Turkey in has weakened the part of the country that advocates a secular, modernist and pro-Western orientation. Most importantly, the Islamist party, which has gradually shed the moderate cloak it started out with, has been taking over the country's power centers. There is not much Israel can do under these circumstances. The main assets Israel still wields are mutual economic and security interests, the need of the Turkish ruling party to take into account the opinion of the army and pro-Israeli elements, and the country's goal of playing a central role in regional politics. The Turkish leadership realizes that to mediate between Syria and Israel, or to help the Palestinians, it must maintain a dialogue with Israel.

2010-01-19 09:07:24

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive