Why Turkey May at Last Be Ready to Mend Fences with Israel

The Israeli president Isaac Herzog’s visit to Ankara this week is not the first time Turkey and Israel have attempted reconciliation. While those previous efforts achieved little, Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak sees reason for cautious optimism for the simple reason that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist Turkish president who bears the brunt of responsibility for the rupture, now genuinely desires rapprochement. Playing a key role in this shift is the United Arab Emirates, which, like the Jewish state, takes umbrage at Erdogan’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas.

Facing the erosion of the Turkish lira and the lack of foreign investors, Ankara was forced last November to normalize its relations with the United Arab Emirates. The emirates, recognizing Ankara’s economic weakness, were quick to announce a $10 billion investment in the Turkish market. In doing so, Abu Dhabi in effect procured the turning point in Turkish foreign policy towards it—and demanded that Ankara abandon its contrarian foreign policy, which also contradicts the spirit of the Abraham Accords.

Over the last two weeks, Turkey, like other countries, has been appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This made it appreciate the fact it is part of the NATO alliance, of which it was dismissive in the past. The war in Ukraine will probably see Ankara return to the traditional pro-Western foreign policy we saw during the cold war.

These circumstances mean that this is the first time in the history of bilateral relations that Israel has the upper hand. This means that Jerusalem must make the most of this momentum while not relenting on principles such as demanding that Hamas terrorists be expelled from Turkey. We must also make it clear to Erdogan that Jerusalem is closely monitoring the aggressive, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel public discourse in Turkey, and any attempt to delegitimize Israel will be considered a serious breach of trust between the two countries.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Abraham Accords, Isaac Herzog, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria