Turkey’s Terrorism Problem, and Israel’s

The New Year’s Eve shooting in Istanbul is additional grim testimony to the upsurge of terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past two years. Behind most of these attacks have been the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, and Islamic State (IS), which has claimed responsibility for the most recent. Nimrod Goren explains Turkey’s vulnerability, and how its response might affect its relations with Israel:

The growing motivation of both [the PKK and IS] to carry out attacks against Turkey, alongside their easy access to the country in light of its long borders with Syria and Iraq, are the main reasons for the dramatic rise in terrorism in Turkey. Additionally, Turkey’s growing involvement in Syria, including in military operations that Turkey had avoided in the early years of the conflict, . . . increases the desire and the sense of urgency among its enemies to carry out attacks against it, on its territory.

The Turkish defense establishment has had difficulty responding to this phenomenon so far. The consequences of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July, including the arrests of military and police officers, are not making it any easier to deal with the problem. . . .

Turkey is dealing with these challenges at a time of ongoing tension with its traditional Western allies. While Turkey enjoys security cooperation with these countries by virtue of its NATO membership, it seems this is not enough.

Given Turkey’s reality, some expect that the reconciliation with Israel will help with the war on terrorism. Although the Israeli government is highlighting natural gas as the central factor in its decision to normalize relations with Turkey, Turkish interests [in reconciliation] were focused on renewed security cooperation with Israel.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: ISIS, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, Turkey

How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy