Turkey’s Democracy Still Might Not Be Safe

Turkey’s Hamas-supporting president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hoped that Sunday’s elections would give his Islamist party an overwhelming parliamentary majority, allowing him to amend the constitution in order to have himself effectively made dictator. Although his hopes were dashed, his party nonetheless won a plurality, and the election results may not be sufficient to curb his tyrannical tendencies, as Michael Rubin writes:

While some diplomats may say that the elections prove that democracy can overcome autocracy, . . . optimism that the damage done by more than twelve years of one-party rule can be overcome may be misplaced. On key issues of concern to the United States — for example, Turkey’s indirect and even direct support for radical Islamist terrorist groups in Syria—Erdogan has delegated authority to organizations like the Turkish intelligence service which do not answer to any democratic authority.

Erdogan has also permanently altered the bureaucracy . . . and even Turkey’s military, [which is] purged and cowed so that it is a shadow of its former self. Add into the mix a steady diet of anti-Americanism and conspiratorial incitement, and Turkey will remain one of the most anti-American countries on earth.

If the elections lead to gridlock and new elections, expect the would-be sultan to take his gloves off. . . . Turks are at the precipice. To suggest smooth sailing from here would be naïveté of the same sort that brought us the “reset” with Russia, the notion that Bashar al-Assad was a reformer, or, for that matter, the idea that Iran could be a trusted partner.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Democracy, Hamas, Islamism, Middle East, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship