Talking now with Turkey, but to what end?

After last week’s disastrous fires in northern Israel–and the surprise help from Turkey—reports have emerged of the Netanyahu government making renewed efforts at restoring amicable relations between the two countries.

It is certainly appropriate for PM Netanyahu to issue public and private thanks to Turkey and to PM Erdogan for the assistance.

But what has surprised observers is the way the occasion is being used to get back to the diplomatic table. Yet more surprising is Netanyahu’s apparent willingness to apologize for the Mavi Marmara incident in order to get on Turkey’s good side. That idea is not going over so well. Some members of Israel’s government (including the Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister, and various & sundry MKs) have pointed out that if anyone owes anybody an apology, it’s Turkey that ought to apologize to Israel for sponsoring last May’s attack by hired thugs on Israeli naval personnel.

The way this is being handled calls into question the sincerity of Turkey’s help in fighting the fires. Then again, in international politics and relations it should not come as too much of a shock if one country’s aid to another in a time of crisis is really not so much out of humanitarian concerns as it is to gain some sort of public advantage.  We may consider this especially so on the part of a regime with a less than honorable track record.

And then there’s the component of Islamic religious zeal on the part of Erdogan. It’s difficult to get inside his head, but certainly most of his anti-Israel rhetoric of late has been couched more in religious terms than in terms of practical political or diplomatic considerations.

But then again, how much of that is merely in consideration of internal as well as international politics? Quite a lot, surprisingly or not, according to this recent report in the Turkish media. (Thank Wikileaks once again for the insider information.)

And while I was composing this I saw an analysis by Professor Barry Rubin of how the Arab media and Arab leaders talk and talk and talk about fighting Israeli “aggression,” but when push comes to shove, they have a tendency to sit back and hope somebody else will do the dirty work. True in 1948, true in 1956, and still true in 2010. True of Jordan, true of Egypt, true of Turkey…

Bibi_Lieberman So what is Bibi trying to accomplish by going hat in hand to Erdogan? And if you can answer that, my next question might be, is it worth the effort? Israel will be, with or without Turkey’s (or Jordan’s or Egypt’s or the US’s or anyone else’s) good will. Other than that, I don’t have the answers, either.

So we wait, and watch, and hope.




Filed under Perspectives, World against Israel

2 responses to “Talking now with Turkey, but to what end?

  1. Hassan Ali

    This viewpoint is so one sided and warped that it may be pointless to comment at all but one point is really infuriating–he says: “… if anyone owes anybody an apology, it’s Turkey that ought to apologize to Israel for sponsoring last May’s attack by hired thugs on Israeli naval personnel….”

    Is this guy, and the Israeli Foreign Minister, living in an Alice in Wonderland world? The Israeli Navy attacks a civilian Turkish ship on a humanitarian mission, in international waters, and kills several civilians– and Turkey should apologize to Israel?? Are you guys really that warped and sick?? Perhaps Jews should apologize to the Germans for what the Nazis did?

    • Lineman

      Thank you, Hassan, for you comment. It affords an excellent example of just the sort of falsehoods I am making an effort to deal with in this blog.

      I would like to offer you the benefit of the doubt and think that you’ve been honestly misled by the false claims you repeat.

      The established and well documented facts regarding the Mavi Marmara are that it was not at all a civilian humanitarian mission, but was, according to the expedition’s own organizers, a paramilitary mission intended to break the internationally recognized Israeli-Egyptian military blockade of Gaza. The Israeli Navy also did not “attack” the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli authorities boarded the ship, weapons holstered, after repeated attempts to instruct its operators to divert to a civilian port and off load its cargo peacefully. At that point, the Israeli personnel were viciously attacked by the armed Turkish mercenaries who had been posing as civilians, and after sustaining several casualties were then allowed to use lethal force in self defense, as should be the case in any police operation.

      I do not intend to at this point to get into a ‘he said, she said’ debate or into a ‘Did not! Did too! Did not! Did too!’ verbal volley. Anyone who is honestly interested can research the facts for themselves, or just watch the video at

      The reason I maintain this blog, and the reason I am responding to your comment, Hassan, is because I believe that there are people out there—a great many people out there, I hope—who honestly want to know the truth, but who can’t know the truth if all they hear, see, or read are the lies which are perpetuated in comments like yours.

      After all, you found me; why shouldn’t I hope there are others? It is written that there will be people who refuse to love and accept the truth, and that because of this God Himself will make sure that they are fooled into believing a lie. All of them will be punished because they would rather do evil than believe the truth. That’s pretty scary stuff. It is also written that those who love and make lies will be cut off from the tree of life in the next world. I do not want ever to presume that some person I meet fits into those categories—who am I to know their heart?

      So I would like to think that you Hassan are a good and honest person, like most people I know. If you would like to continue to argue the facts over the blockade running incident, please find yourself another debating partner; I’m not interested. But if you want to know the truth, drop me a line, privately if you wish, and we’ll talk.