Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have Israel & Turkey Reached a Breaking Point?

This is not an encouraging sign.

Israel has taken Turkey's acting envoy to task for a television series currently airing in Turkey that depicts IDF soldiers as bloodthirsty killers of infants.

This comes days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had barred Israel from a NATO military exercise in protest of its defensive incursion into Gaza last December and January. Israel and Turkey have a long standing history of conducting both bilateral and NATO military exercises together.

You might recall Erdogan walking off stage during a panel discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos this past January.

On the other hand word has come that Turkish soldiers have arrested dozens of al Qaeda terrorists planning attacks on Israel.

So the problem isn't with the Turkish military. The problem is Erdogan. He is moving away from Turkey's secular traditions and becoming chummy with both Syria and Iran. The Turkish military has periodically seen fit to remove leaders who stray too far from the Turkish constitution which was written in the spirit of Ataturk. Despite the Turkish military's history of restoring democracy in short order such a move would undoubtedly raise the ire of the Obama Administration so methinks it is not likely to happen.

Israeli-Turkish relations might not be at a breaking point but they have certainly been bent in the wrong direction.

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