Friday, November 4, 2011
The U.S. administration had a very tough week defending its decision to cut UNESCO funding following the Palestinian membership vote.
In the most vital foreign affairs issues, the division within the U.S. legislature and its parting with the administration help the executive power to glue its own winning coalition to pursue America’s core national interests.
The U.S.’ relations with Israel unquestionably present an exception to this principal and lack that type of check within U.S. governing bodies. President Barack Obama tried a tough love attitude toward the Netanyahu government to fill that vacuum in his first two years to no avail. As the elections are a year away, Obama joined the bipartisan Congressional pro-Israel stance of giving Israel more than it asked, consequently sinking his credibility and approval rating among Arabs.
Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, plainly summarized Palestinians’ demands at a gala dinner of the American Task Force for Palestine, a young and strong pro-Palestine lobbying group in Washington. He said Palestinians demand “a viable, sovereign state on 22 percent of the land. All we want is freedom from Israel, not freedom to vote in Israel.”
At a time when the Palestinian Authority makes its case to international bodies and gains the favor of the vast majority of other U.N. member states and international public opinion, the Obama administration appears to conform to the “unwritten” rules of the U.S. re-election campaigning season to keep strong Jewish lobbies happy.
At a time when the Middle East is in great need of a mediator to reduce regional strains, the U.S. finds itself more isolated along with Israel and uses its precious diplomatic capital to chase down tiny U.N. members to expand its small coalition against the heightening pro-Palestinian tide.
Washington’s out of control love affair with Israel nowadays is even more risky given the seriousness of a potential Israeli air attack on Iran. The U.S. State Department refused for an entire week to oppose the idea of such an attack, instead using its response to argue for the need of more pressure on Iran to add to the flames.
Bringing Israel back to friendship circle
However, since its ties with Israel are broken, Turkey, which is considered to be the biggest winner of the Arab Spring so far, appears unable to play any role amid escalation of regional tension. Ankara has been arguing for stability and peace of the region for years, but in this critical juncture, even though it faces potential exposures to repercussions of an Israeli attack ensuring a regional conflict, it is currently secluded from being a factor to make any difference.
According to Congressman Gregory Meeks, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia who visited Turkey twice within the past few weeks, “There are encouraging signs about better relations between Turkey and Israel.” In an interview this week, he said “Officials from both countries told [me] they want to repair ties” following the start of the tragic earthquake dialogue. Turkey’s trade with Israel reached over $2.1 billion so far in 2011, another sign that economic ties have been resilient despite the political fights.
Turkey also rapidly assured Washington on Thursday morning that it will not send any naval ships to accompany flotillas sailing to Gaza, despite a clear promise by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the past that it would do so.
On the other hand, Turkey finds itself at odds with Iran much more often than a year ago, and its friendship with Syria all but collapsed, costing Ankara one-and-a-half allies.
Now with the Arab transition, democracy and human rights, values that Turkey, Israel and the U.S. claim to deeply share, need to be defended against Bashar al-Assad with great caution and cooperation.
By bringing Israel back to the friendship circle, Turkey can gain leverage in the peace process, help to build a stronger coalition against al-Assad and may even fill the role of “check” on Israel’s unpredictable behavior.
It is not easy. It requires statesmen to read the quickly changing Middle East landscape and adapt to it to seek the best national interests.
Friday, November 4, 2011
33 Comments PRINTER FRIENDLY
Guest - SAS
Turkey should not bother to try to mend fences with an occupier like Israel. For Turkey to seek Israel's friendship would send the message that Israel can get away with its brutal treatment of Palestinians. In any case Israel is isolated, not Turkey
Guest - delia ruhe
Turning an irrational actor into a friend can be just as dangerous as having him as an enemy. Look where it's got the US. As Scott McConnell writes: 'The United States is in the position of a wife whose spouse is acting erratically. A “panicked and unrestrained Israel,
Guest - raoul
Why should the US taxpayer support UNESCO in its attempt to take a political stand against its own charter? The Palestinians have plenty of 'friends' who can donate our share in perpetuity.
Guest - ManInTheMIddle
The author's narrow view of Iran-Turkey relations serves to push Israel on Turkey again. Going from "being at odds" with Iran to writing off the converging geopolitical and economic interests of Iran and Turkey is a cheap way of lobbying for Israel.
Guest - moshe the jew
reasonable and nice
Guest - Turkic Voice
This is not a cut, it is unfordable for the USA
Guest - Hamid
"democracy and human rights, values that Israel and the U.S. claim to deeply share". Are you sure about this? Million Iraqi killed by the US and the Gaza war was genocide. Turkey host radar for NATO (read Israel) and expect Iran does nothing. Shame!
Guest - Observer
To keep strong Jewish lobbies happy? This shows deep ignorance about American politics. Jews have different views on the Palestinian issue. Evangelical Christians are why the majority of Americans support Israel. Cliché conspiracy is bad journalism.
Guest - runner
Why should we bring Israel back to Turkey’s friendship circle? Because these are the only 2 reasonable democratic countries in this part of the world. They should shoulder eachother instread of fighting.
Guest - AL-HILAL
We agree with the contributor 100% excepting last 2 paragraphs that seems to us contradictory to the essence of the piece.
Guest - babadog
Israel has hijacked the USA to such a level that it cannot represent the interests of its own people before putting the interests of Israel above it.The people of the USA need to claim their country back.Meanwhile Turkiye should keep up the embargo.
Guest - Sarastro33
Please note that the US, despite many friendly ties and tens of billions of aid in cash and weapons, has HOW MUCH MORE influence over the Israeli gov't policies than Turkey? While Israel holds to the far right, the current status is far preferable.
Guest - imilton
Does anyone know what on earth the second paragraph of the above article means?
Guest - Levent
Fully agree with Mr. Tanir; repairing ties with Israel strategic move urgently needed.
Guest - ANDY from Canada
Fayyad neglects to mention that while they want only 22% of the landmass of mandatory Palestine, they also want 7 million Pal refugees absorbed into Israel proper rendering it into yet another Islamic state. No deal.
Guest - Johanna
"and may even fill the role of “check” on Israel’s unpredictable behavior." Israel's "unpredictable behavior"? Sorry, but under Erdogan, I see only Turkey as unpredictable.
Guest - Murat
Turkey did not harm any Israeli citizens or even their interests. Israel did the killing, can we just ignore it? They decorated the killers. What friendship? They need to earn it.
Guest - Jason
You wrote: "Israel's unpredicatble behavior". Nothing is unpredictable about Israel when it comes to the SECURITY of the people of Israel and rightfully so!
Guest - Israeli Atheist
Turkey can influence Israel a lot as a friend, not as an adversary. If Turkey wants to help the Palestinian it should be a friend of both sides. Israel was never Turkey's enemy, on the contrary.
Guest - Israeli
Turkey had a good chance in being a major player in the peace process. Erdoğan's behavior and the flotilla fiasco damaged the relation so bad that currently Israel will not trust the Turks as mediators anymore, even if they want to mend the relations
Guest - Nageyec
Surely, this article summarises more political chess game than I can comment. One thing I can assure for every one is that the middle east political maps are going to be different in few years time. The winners are those who make the right prediction
Guest - steve1
Turkey, which is considered to be the biggest winner of the Arab Spring so far!!!! Since when and how did you come to this conclusion!
Guest - Yussuf Yakub
..as a result of : firstly, the lack of knowledge in the nature of the dividing issues. Secondly; the unneutrality in dealing with the regional issues. Thirdly; involving and sometime imposing their own values regardless the unneeded outcomes....
Guest - Yussuf
Mr Erdogan and his team have decided to change rules of the match. They have unbelievably succeeded in changing the regional impression about the Turkish position and the possible role in ME. However, they failed to maintain that course as a result
Guest - Yussuf
For decades, the military rulers in Turkey have build up a very high barrier between Turkey and the normal geographic neighbors preventing own usual citizens from understanding many facts. They took Turkey towards a world which will never accept it.
Guest - Yussuf Yakub
Undoubtfully ; Israel has strengthened it's ties with Turkey in order to enhance it's position in the Middle East politically and militarly. Turkey did the same for the same reason; actually to be closer to the west and EU. New Facts have emerged!.
Guest - hmp49
"The U.S. administration had a very tough week defending its decision to cut UNESCO funding following the Palestinian membership vote." False. There was nothing to defend. The U.S, administration was following U.S. law, could not do otherwise.
Guest - devy
The best favor that Turkey can do Israel is not an artificial friendship but build a genuine relationship based on mutual respect starting again from the base. Bulling a friend is very unproductive so rather lets reconsider the policy again. Shalom
Guest - Allen
The Palestinians are trying to receive recognition by UN as the Palestinian State, without any peace agreement with Israel. It means “no negotiations for peace with Israel”. That’s why US is against acceptance of Pl. in UN, before peace agreement!
Guest - musa
So basically the article states, "to reign in a butcher (Assad) we must get in bed with another butcher (Israel). If this is the reality, butchers with nukes scare me most. Odd times we live in.
Guest - Jewison
This again proves that Turkey needs to act with brains on how to choose her friends in politics. Turkey may loose more than the past, if she keeps alienating Israel.
Guest - joseph
Its very interesting reading the Turkish media, regarding Israel and the US. Turkey or at least the politicians should understand, that Israel has the right to protect its citizens just like Turkey is doing against the PKK,
Guest - jdenver
Israel cannot trust Turkey so there can be no friendship as before. Now Turkey has zero problems with no neighbors and that is where it belongs as this is the troubling result of the AKP foreign policy so vociferously pursued. Good luck and good bye!