Turkey Must Tackle Its Anti-Semitism Problem If It Wishes to Reconcile with Israel

Ankara has been making efforts at repairing its relationship with Jerusalem, and simultaneously at displaying a more benevolent attitude toward Turkish Jewry. In one example, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made public his plans to act as a witness at a wedding in a synagogue in Istanbul. However, argues Aykan Erdemir, the Turkish government must do more than make a few public gestures if it really wants to regain its former ally:

Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Democracy Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, is attempting to paper over some ugly truths. The AKP is desperate to overhaul its failed foreign policy—including an ongoing crisis with Russia, fear of Iran’s rising regional hegemony, and the collapse of Turkey’s vision for Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and Syria. With its list of regional enemies mounting, the AKP hopes to steer Turkey back to its traditional allies: the European Union, NATO, and Israel. This is why Erdogan recently toned down his anti-Western rhetoric and miraculously came to appreciate the transactional relationships he can establish with pragmatic counterparts, rather than with the Islamists he was courting just months ago.

Turkey’s government, however, still offers frequent reminders of its hypocrisy on Jews and Israel. Following last month’s suicide bombing in Istanbul, a board member of the AKP’s women’s branch in the city tweeted her wish for the wounded Israeli tourists to have been killed. A few weeks before, a chief adviser to the president appeared in pro-government media to attack political rivals as “raising soldiers for the Jews.” The board member had to leave her post but the chief adviser is still serving. . . .

Turkish-Israeli rapprochement is important for regional stability. A sustainable relationship, however, cannot be built on hypocrisy and silence. Turkish society needs to recognize and confront the pervasive anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment that has taken hold of wide segments of the population, due in large part to the influence of the AKP. A future built on dialogue must start with genuine conversation about the wrongs of the past, but also about the dangerous politics that have led us to this perilous present.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, Turkish Jewry

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy