Rival American Allies: Turkey and Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean
The contemporary dynamics between Israel and Turkey have been confrontational at recent times though this doesn’t seem to affect the relations in other areas as the trade balance advancing towards the $8 million shows. This article focuses on the relations between Israel and Turkey within the context of the East Mediterranean geopolitics. Reviewing its shift from a quasi-alliance to a stiff geopolitical rivalry in the region, the article explores scenarios for near future.
The Diary of Theodore Herzl, Vol.I, Page 378-379)
Michal Bar Zohar, Ben-Gurion: A Biography, Adama Books, (1986), pp. 88-9.
Merve Aydogan.“Turkey-Israel determined to double trade volume to $8 million in next few years”, Daily Sabah, 1 March 2017.
William Hale, Turkish Foreign Policy since 1774, (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 226-248; Philip Robins, Suits and Uniforms: Turkish Foreign Policy Since the Cold War, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002), pp. 239-269; Ofra Bengio, The Turkish-Israeli Relations: Changing Ties of the Middle Eastern Outsiders, (New York: Palgrave, 2004), pp. 127-157.
“President Johnson’s letter to Inonu”, Middle East Journal, 1964, 20 (3): 354
Kıvanç Ulusoy, “The Cyprus conflict: Turkey’s strategic dilemma”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2016, 18 (4): 393-406.
Douglas Little, “The making of a special relationship: The United States and Israel, 1957-69”, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 1993, 25 (4): 563-585.
Eyal Berelovich. “Turkish-Israeli military relations and security cooperation”, Turkish Review, 2014, 4: 616.
Umut Uzer. “Turkish-Israeli Relations: Their Rise and Fall”, Middle East Policy, 2013, 20: 97–110.
Ibid., Berelovich, p.617.
See, Anat Levin, “Turkey and Israel: Reciprocal and Mutual Imagery in the Media, 1994-1999”, Journal of International Affairs, 2000, 54 (1): 260 and Efraim Inbar, “The Strategic Glue in the Israeli-Turkish Alignment”, in Barry Rubin and Kemal Kirisci (eds), Turkey in World Affairs: An Emerging Multi-regional power, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001), pp. 116-127.
Michael Bishku, “How has Turkey viewed Israel?”, Israel Affairs, 2006, 12 (1): 177-194.
Nihat Ali Ozcan. “On Israeli-PKK relations”, Hurriyet, 23 November2011.
Alan Makovsky, “Defusing the Turkish-Syrian Crisis: Whose Triumph?” Middle East Insight January/February 1999; Saadet Oruç, “Turkey and Israel Take Wind Out of Syria’s Sails,” Hürriyet Daily News, Oct. 15, 1998.
Ocalan was sheltered in Syria since the early 1980s. The Hatay question was the long-lasting border issue between Turkey and Syria since its foundation as an independent country in the 1960s.
Turkey supported the process not only with strong diplomatic moves such as financial contribution to the Palestinian Authority, participating the Arms Control and Regional Security Working Group of the Madrid process in 1993 and joining temporary international presence in Hebron in 1997 but also with concrete projects such as the large scale water project, namely the peace pipeline to transport the Turkish water to Syria, Israel and Jordan.
Israel did not want the deterioration of its relations with Cyprus which had appointed ambassador to Tel-Aviv in 1993. Ekavi Athanassopoulou, Israeli-Turkish security ties: regional reactions, (Jerusalem: The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, 2001), pp. 18-21.
Nathalie Tocci and Daniela Huber, “Behind the Scenes of Turkish-Israeli Breakthrough”, IAI Working Papers, 1315, April 2013.
Sencer Ayata, “Changes in Domestic Politics and the foreign policy of the AK Party”, Lenore Martin and Dimitris Keridis (eds), The Future of Turkish Foreign Policy, (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2004) pp. 243-277.
Defending the electoral victory of Hamas was a matter of political integrity for Erdogan who portrayed the AKP as a conservative democratic party and himself as its leader challenging the secular status quo in a moderate way through using democratic mechanisms.
Burhanettin Duran, “JDP and foreign policy as an agent of transformation”, in Hakan Yavuz (ed) The Emergence of a New Turkey: Democracy and the AK Parti, (Salt Lake: The University of Utah Press, 2006), pp. 281-305.
Greg Myre, “Turkish Leader visits Israel, Restoring Friendly Ties”, The New York Times, 2 May 2005
“Turkish Prime Minister arrives ina bid tomend relations”, ArutzSheva, 1 May 2005; Greg Myre, “Ibid.
Erdoğan, accusing Israel of crimes against humanity during the Operation Cast Lead and vowing that he would never return to Davos, he stormed out the debate on Israel’s Gaza offensive. See, “Recep Erdogan storms out Davos after clash with Israeli president over Gaza”, The Guardian, 30 Januar 2009.
Receiving a hero’s welcome on his return to Istanbul after accusing Israel of "knowing very well how to kill" in Davos, Erdogan’s prestige increased in the Turkish public opinion. See, “Turkish PM greeted by cheers after Israel debate clash”, The Guardian, 30 January 2009.
“Turkish, Israeli, Indian ministers to meet for Med-Stream project”, Hurriyet (Turkish daily), 24 November 2008.
Julian Borger, “Turkey confirms it barred Israel from military exercise because of Gaza war” in the Gurdian, October 12th, 2009.
AP, “Israel snubs Turkish ambassador in public,” in Associated Press, January 12th 2020.
Moshe Maoz, “Strategic upheavals in Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern countries since the Arab Spring”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2016, Vol. 18 (4): 352-360.
Murat Yeşiltaş and Ali Balcı, A Dictionary of Turkish foreign policy in the AK Party era: A Conceptual Map, SAM Papers No.7, (Ankara: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2013).
Faruk Yalvac, “Strategic depth or hegemonic depth? A Critical realist analysis of Turkey’s position in the world system”, International Relations, 2012, 26 (2): 165-180.
Talha Köse, “Transformative conflict resolution in an unstable neighborhood: Turkey’s conflict resolution efforts in the Middle East”, Perceptions, 2013, 18 (4): 171-194.
Stephan Starr, “A Deeper Look at Syria-Related Jihadist Activity in Turkey,” in CST Sentential, Vol 7 #8, August 2014.
The UN Human Rights Council report issued in September 2010 underlined that Israel's military broke international laws, that the action by commandos, which left nine dead, was "disproportionate" and "betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality". Israel rejected the report as "biased" and "one-sided", See, “Mavi Marmara: Why did Israel stop the Gaza flotilla?”, BBC News, 27 June 2016.
“Israeli firms in Turkey border mine clearing bids”, www.globes.co.il, 2 June 2009; “At least 10 firms bid for Israel-Turkey gas pipeline: Report”, Hurriyet Daily News, 25 March 2014; “The Turks Are Back, and They’re Building Half of Tel Aviv’s Towers”, Haaretz, 29 April 2016; “Israel Gives Green Light to Six Foreign Construction Companies”, Haaretz, 26 October 2016; “Turkish, Israeli companies engage in big diamond trade”, Hurriyet Daily News, 18 September 2017;
Joseph Dana, “Turkey and Israel’s deep trade ties expose the emptiness of Erdogan’s rhetoric over Jerusalem”, Opinion, 21 December 2017.
Herb Kenyon, “Liberman: Turkish PM Erdogan is Nazi propagandist Goebbels' successor”, Jerusalem Post, 21 August 2013.
Hakov, Lahav, “ Erdogan: 'Ayelet Shaked has same mindset as Hitler” in Jerusalem Post, 15 July 2014.
Jpost Staff, “Turkey's Erdogan: Whoever is on Israel's side, we are against them”, Jerusalem Post, 28 July 2019.
Sibel Ugurlu, “Israeli statement 'dirty game' before polls: Turkey,” in Anadolu Agency , 26 August 2019,
Retired Turkish general Adnan Tanrıverdi is founder of Turkish security firm SADAT International Defense Consulting and has been a chief advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since August 2016. See, MEMRI, “Chief Advisor To Turkish President Erdoğan: 'The Islamic World Should Prepare An Army For Palestine From Outside Palestine,” in Special Dispatch 8389, 2 December 2019.
Ints Kalnins, “Turkey says Israel becoming 'racist, apartheid regime' with annexation plan”, Reuters, September, 15th, 2019,
Mustafa Deveci, “ Israel approves deal on EastMed gas pipeline project,” in Anadolu Agency, July 19th 2020.
Rina Bassist, “ East-Med undersea pipeline project now ratified by Israel,” in Al Monitor, July 20th 2020.
Ari Yehuda Gross, “ In first, Turkey leader’s hostility noted as ‘challenge’ in annual intel report”, The Times of Israel, 14 January 2020.
Joe Lauria, “Reclusive Turkish Imam Criticizes Gaza Flotilla,” in Wall Street Journal, June 4th 2010.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman “ Fethullah Gülen and the Jews: A different angle,” in The Jerusalem Post, July 10th 2026.
Ali H. Aslan, “ Israel and Turkey: a difficult couple,” in Today Zemen, January 23th, 2010.
Adnan Oktar was a TV preacher perceived as a cult leader known for giving televised sermons surrounded by young women he refers to as his “kittens”.
Press event with Oktar and Religious leaders, İsrail'e kim atom bombası atarsa Gökkubbeyi başına geçiririz, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHDp03jUadk
Daily Sabah, “Turkish police detain shady cult leader Adnan Oktar, search for 234 cult members” in Daily Sabah, July 7th 2018.
WikiLeaks report, “Gaza Situation Report, January 2nd 2009,” in Wikileaks, https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09TELAVIV5_a.html
Hassan Hanna, “Turkey’s changing war in Syria”, Al Monitor, 7 December 2017.
Stephan Starr, “ A deeper Look at Syria related Jihadist Activity in Turkey” in CTE Sentential, Vol 7, No. 8, August 2014.
Nir Boms, ‘Israel’s Policy on the Syrian Civil War: Risks and Opportunities’, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 11, no. 3 (2018): 327.
Benjamin Netanyahu (tweet) “Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies. Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people” in Tweeter, 10 October 2019.
Adnan, Aby Amr, “ Israel concern over the Turkish military operation against the Kurds,” in Middle East Monitor, 11, October 2019.
Ibid, Ari Yehuda Gross.
Yaakov Lappin, “Israel sells electronic warfare systems to Turkey”, Jerusalem Post, 18 February 2013.
Zvi Bar’el, “Israel to Grant Turkey Access to Gaza for Construction of Hospital”, Haaretz, 11 February 2013.
Harriet Sherwood and Ewen MacAskil, “Netanyahu apologizes to Turkish PM for Israeli role in Gaza flotilla raid”, The Guardian, 22 March 2013.
“Israel condemns Zionism comments by Turkey's PM Erdogan”, BBC News, 1 March 2013.
Bayram Balci, “Erdogan’s visit to Washington, D.C.”, Foreign Policy Journal, 21 May 2013; Kadri Gürsel, “Obama and Erdogan Edge Closer on Syria”, Al Monitor, www.al-monitor.com, 17May 2013.
The Iraqi constitution stipulates that all oil trade agreements must be approved by the central government.
Meliha Altunışık and Esra Çuhadar, “Turkey’s search for a third party role in Arab-Israeli conflicts: A neutral facilitator or a principal power mediator?”, Mediterranean Politics, 2010, 15 (3): 371-392.
Mehmet Yegin, “Turkey’s reaction to the coup in Egypt in comparison with US and Israel”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2016, 18 (4): 407-421.
Ari Rabinovitch, Tova Cohen, “Truck by truck, Israel builds trade gateway to Arab world,” Reuters, July 1st, 2014.
Sami Peretz, “An Angry Erdogan Stands to Harm Israel-Turkey Economic Ties” in Harretz, May 21st, 2018.
Michal Raz-Chaimovich, “Turkish Airlines to renew Tel Aviv flights this month” in Globes, June 12th, 2020.
John Irish, Robin Emmott, “ France-Turkey tensions mount after NATO naval incident,” in Reuters, July 7th, 2020.
Ynet, “"אחרי איה סופיה, ארדואן מסמן את אל-אקצה in Ynet, July 11th, 2020 https://www.ynet.co.il/article/HkfcXPP1w
Copyright (c) 2021 Estudos Internacionais: revista de relações internacionais da PUC Minas
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Autores que publicam nesta revista concordam com os seguintes termos:
1. Autores mantém os direitos autorais e concedem à revista o direito de primeira publicação, com o trabalho simultaneamente licenciado sob a Licença Creative Commons Attribution que permite o compartilhamento do trabalho com reconhecimento da autoria e publicação inicial nesta revista.
2.Autores têm autorização para assumir contratos adicionais separadamente, para distribuição não-exclusiva da versão do trabalho publicada nesta revista (ex.: publicar em repositório institucional ou como capítulo de livro), com reconhecimento de autoria e publicação inicial nesta revista.
3.Autores têm permissão e são estimulados a publicar e distribuir seu trabalho online (ex.: em repositórios institucionais ou na sua página pessoal) a qualquer ponto antes ou durante o processo editorial, já que isso pode gerar alterações produtivas, bem como aumentar o impacto e a citação do trabalho publicado (Veja O Efeito do Acesso Livre).