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Turkish-Israeli rapprochement may change balance of power in Middle East

Turkish-Israeli rapprochement may change balance of power in Middle East

Significant improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel should be expected in the near future, according to Israeli media reports.

"Israel and Turkey maintain secret contacts aimed at restoring bilateral relations. It is planned that the ambassadors of the two states will return to work immediately after the autumn holidays in Israel," Yediot Ahronoth newspaper reported on September 17.

The two states have a lot to discuss and coordinate against the backdrop of the dramatic events taking place in the Middle East.

It will be false to try to explain the need for resuming diplomatic relations with concern about the state of bilateral economic relations.

After the 2010 events (Israel's attack on the Turkish Freedom Flotilla), as well as after the withdrawal of ambassadors in May in protest against the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the trade between the two countries only grew.

The matter of rapprochement rather lies in geopolitics. Both Turkey and Israel are, directly or not, military participants in the conflict around Syria. Both are interested in maintaining an alternative to the Assad regime, each for their own reasons. However, there are common interests as well.

If Idlib falls, there won’t be any strong internal opponents left for the Syrian regime, except for small and scattered groups of resistance. Assad, if he regains full power, will be dangerous for Israel by protecting the growing influence of Iran, as is the case in Iraq today.

Establishment of Iranian military and intelligence infrastructure at the dangerous vicinity from Israeli state borders under the guise of investments and reconstruction activities in Syria in the post-war period might be a fatal danger for Israeli national security.

For Turkey, the biggest threat at the moment is the problem of refugees.

If Ankara fails to prevent the influx of about one and a half million refugees from Idlib to Turkey in addition to the 3.5 million already sheltered there, it would entail unpredictable consequences for the national security of Turkey.

Another headache for Turkey is the YPG / PKK armed troops, which control a vast territory in the North-East of Syria. It was Kurds whom President Erdogan had in mind in his article for the Wall Street Journal, when he called to stop the offensive of the Syrian government forces and their allies in Idlib. The Kurds offered their enemy Assad military support in the capture of Idlib, hoping to get preferences in the post-war peace process.

Also, Turkey, claiming to be the leader of the Sunni world, does not want to allow the strengthening of the Shiite influence of Iran and the gradual “iraqization” of Syria – a country where Sunnis make up two-thirds of the population.

In fact, there is a struggle for what will be the political nature of power in new, post-war Syria.

If politicians close to the Muslim brothers and the Turkish AK Party in their ideology come to power in Syria, it will meet both Turkish and Israeli interests.

Why Israeli? Because it will be much easier for Israel to negotiate with moderate Sunni Islamists on regional issues rather than with pro-Iranian Alawite regime of Assad.

In this context, interests of Tel-Aviv and Ankara coincide.

Perhaps, the US has not been alien to the Turkish-Israeli rapprochement, as it can change the existing balance of power in the region in favor of Washington.

 

Masaim Abdullayev,
“Khalq qazeti”

 

19 2018 10:24 -

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