Sunday, 2 October 2011

Israel Matzav: Why not an anti-Turkey alliance?

Why not an anti-Turkey alliance?

Writing at Huffington Post, Sigurd Neubauer discusses Israel's booming alliances with Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and other Balkan countries. Neubauer attributes those ties to Israel's poor relations with Turkey that have forced it to seek alternatives. At the end, he comes up with this (Hat Tip: Joshua I).
While improved relations with Athens and Nicosia should be considered a significant foreign policy victory for Netanyahu, it remains unclear whether an alliance with Cyprus and the Balkan states can fully substitute for Israel's former strategic military partnership with Turkey. Given Greece's significant financial problems and Israel's own budgetary restraints, it remains also doubtful whether any of the two countries can "afford" prolonged military tensions presented by an (potentially) adversarial inclined Turkey. Additionally, unless a political solution is found to the 2010 Gaza-Flotilla, the Greek-Israeli military partnership could easily escalate into regional instability as maritime tensions in the eastern Mediterranean with Turkey could become inevitable. For those reasons, coupled with the current regional turmoil presented by the "Arab Spring," Netanyahu's diplomatic outreach to the Balkans and Cyprus should aim to maximize economic and military relations well short of establishing an "anti-Turkish" alliance.
Let's get this straight: Israel's relations with Turkey are over unless and until there is a significant change in the Turkish government away from Islamism and back towards secularism. At the moment, that is most unlikely for the foreseeable future. Israel must assume that its rift with Turkey is permanent, not temporary, and it must act accordingly. If forming an anti-Turkish alliance will keep Turkey in check, then by all means, let's do it. Maybe if Greece were not under constant threat from Turkey, it would not be such an economic basket case (admittedly, cleaning up Greece's taxation system would also help).

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from entering into alliances with others who are the subjects of Turkish threats.

Israel Matzav: Why not an anti-Turkey alliance?

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