From changing the former church of Hagia Sofia from a museum into a mosque, to sending troops to Syria, Libya, Qatar, Somalia, and Djibouti, to provoking America by buying advanced surface-to-air missiles from Russia, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made clear his ambitions to turn his country into a leading regional power with influence well beyond the Middle East. Not just that, write Yossi Kuperwasser and Lenny Ben-David, but he has also acted like a “bully,” using various strategic advantages to get his way. They evaluate his activities and ambitions, and how they affect Israel:
Turkey . . . displays considerable hyperactivity in Palestinian and Israeli issues. Turkey stands in solidarity with Hamas, Turkey’s partner and protégé in the Muslim Brotherhood camp. Erdogan met on August 23, 2020, with Hamas’s leadership and granted Turkish citizenship and passports to a dozen Hamas activists, including convicted terrorists, . . . even though [Turkey] maintains diplomatic relations and a very extensive financial relationship with Israel, all the while trying to present itself as the Palestinians’ greatest supporter.
Turkish provocations against Israel are unrestrained and are [also] reflected in the Turkish opposition to Israel’s normalization of ties with the Arab world, its attempts to thwart the plan to lay a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe.
At the same time, Erdogan recognizes Israel’s military and political power (especially its relations with the United States, Europe, and Russia) and realizes that without relations with Israel, its ability to intervene in the Palestinian system would diminish. Turkey also recognizes the importance of diplomatic and economic ties with Israel. That is why Erdogan avoided irreversible moves that would damage his country’s diplomatic relations.
To prevent Erdogan from provocations against Israel, it must be made clear to him the limits to the actions that Israel is willing to tolerate. Legitimate criticism and political disagreements are certainly within the allowable limit, while harming Israel’s vital interests and aiding terrorist organizations may lead to a determined Israeli response.
Read more on Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: https://jcpa.org/article/turkish-hyper-activity-reverberates-throughout-the-middle-east/