Turkish Reconciliation with Israel Could Happen, but It Won’t Come Easily https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2021/01/turkish-reconciliation-with-israel-could-happen-but-it-wont-come-easily/

January 27, 2021 | Lazar Berman
About the author: Lazar Berman, news editor at the Times of Israel and a reserve infantry officer in the IDF, has written for the Journal of Strategic Studies, Commentary, and other publications.

In recent weeks, Ankara has made a variety of gestures that suggest a desire to reestablish its once friendly relations with Jerusalem, which have deteriorated since Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002. On Monday, unverified reports circulated in the Western press that Turkey is prepared to expel Hamas, which has had its main base of operations there since 2015. Erdogan’s reasons for seeking to make amends are not hard to divine: he faces a hostile White House, tensions with the European Union, a sputtering economy, and a rocky relationship with his sometimes-patron in Moscow. But, Lazar Berman writes, much has changed since 1949, when Turkey became the first Muslim-majority country to recognize the Jewish state:

A more constructive relationship with Israel would help dampen anti-Erdogan sentiment on Capitol Hill and in the Biden administration, in Turkey’s calculation. . . . Israel also has positive reasons to turn the page with Turkey. Syria, Iraq, and Iran all border Turkey, and renewed defense ties with Ankara would enhance Israeli military and intelligence activities in the region. . . . But Turkey is discovering that Israel is not jumping at the opportunity to restore close ties.

Israel’s burgeoning diplomatic and security relationship with Arab states has strengthened Israel’s position in the region. Israel has other avenues to engage diplomatically with the Muslim world, has new trade partners, and can now fly over Arab airspace to go east instead of being forced to rely on Turkey’s.

[I]t is likely that Israel will have three main demands in talks with Turkey. The first is an old demand: Turkey must cease allowing Hamas to plan military activities from its soil. . . . Israel will also want Turkey to be more transparent about its activities in eastern Jerusalem. . . . With the cooperation of Muslim Brotherhood groups in the city, Turkey is actively asserting itself in Arab neighborhoods and on the Temple Mount by initiating and funding cultural and political activities. Jordan and other Arab countries have reportedly asked Israel to do more to curb growing Turkish influence in Jerusalem.

Finally, Israel will also likely demand Erdogan and Turkish officials tone down their harsh anti-Israel rhetoric, particularly around Israeli policies in Gaza.

Read more on Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/boxed-in-turkey-tries-to-rekindle-ties-but-israel-can-now-play-hard-to-get/

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