NATO Member Turkey to Boost Ties with Israel?
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Meeting on the sidelines of the meeting of NATO’s Parliamentary Committee in Istanbul, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavosoglu as well as Israeli delegates, including Omer Barlev, a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, and Israeli parliamentarian Levi of Yesh Atid Party stated that the two country’s aim at boosting bilateral cooperation and coordination. Turkey and Israel have, despite occasional and superficial rows been the staunchest allies in the war on Syria and attempts to “restructure the Middle East”.
Addressing the press the Turkish and Israeli delegates said they discussed efforts to advance bilateral relations, including the resumption of security and military coordination in the attempt to restore them to the levels prior to the scandal that erupted when Israeli forces, on May 31, 2010, boarded and stormed the Turkish-registered Mavi Marmara while it was on route to Palestine’s Gaza Strip as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Little Known and Omitted facts about the Mavi Marmara Scandal
An nsnbc investigation, involving high-ranking Turkish military sources revealed that the “discontinuation” of ties following the incident in May 2010 was superficial.
Economic ties were silently restored within about six weeks and “security cooperation” continued even amidst then Prime Minister Erdogan’s most thunderous speeches about Israel’s piracy on the high seas.
Al-Harati, who is known for being a MI6 and NATO intelligence asset had, among others been tasked with aiding Israeli troopers in identifying targeted person on board the vessel.
It is noteworthy that the majority of the nine on board who were killed opposed the Turkish AKP government’s plan to launch a war against Syria. After the ouster of the Libyan government in 2011, Mahdi Al-Harati led the so-called Libyan Brigade in two major assaults on Syria via Jordan.
It is also noteworthy that the Mavi Marmara is owned by the Muslim Brotherhood associated Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). The IHH has been deeply penetrated by Turkey’s intelligence service MIT and receives substantial funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Joint State Sponsorship of Terrorists
One fact that betrays Turkey’s and Israel’s joint regional ambitions is their support of the same Islamist terrorist organizations. Turkey has been one of the main transit points for the supply of weapons to Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.
The organization recently, following a UN Security Council resolution that outlawed it internationally, to re-brand itself as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.
Al-Nusra has been one of the primary allies of the more or less defunct Free Syrian Army (FSA), which today had been reduced to a fig leaf that lends apparent legitimacy to. e.g. the invasion of Manbij in northern Syria by the Turkish Army and the FSA. Local sources reported to nsnbc that the bulk of the FSA troops there consisted of Al-Nusra fighters, many of them dressed up in FSA uniforms.
In 2013 Israel, for its part, allowed the opening of a several kilometer-wide corridor in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan and in the nominally UN Disengagement and Observer Forces (UNDOF) by Al-Nusra. A joint operations room between the “rebels” and the Israeli military in the Golan had, according to an Austrian UNDOF officer been established as early as 2012.
Israeli and Turkish / NATO regional ambitions also match with regards to the establishment of an “independent Kurdistan” in Northern Iraq, dominated by the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) and the Barzani clan.
Both Turkey / NATO and Israel also have a convergence of interests with regard to supporting the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Iran, which over recent month increasingly was involved in clashes with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
There is a slight divergence in Turkish – US – NATO plans for northern Syria. While Washington and several other core NATO members tend to support the Syrian PYG and its armed wings, the YPG and YPJ, Turkey considers the PYD as an ally of the Turkish Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PYD), which, ironically, enjoys more than just “sympathies” from Moscow and Tehran.
Both the PKK and the PYD could best be described as “competitors” to the northern Iraqi KDP. Israel could play a key role in assuring the continued support for Al-Nusra and so-called “Turkmen rebels” in northern Syria as Turkey increasingly becomes politically isolated from EU member States and in part the USA.
One wild-card in Turkish-Israeli relations is Turkey’s demand that Israel lift its siege on Palestine’s Gaza Strip. It has, however, never “really” put its money where its mouth is and severed economic ties with Israel in earnest.
Moreover, Egypt has repeatedly accused “elements” within the heavily Turkish and Qatari-backed Hamas of being part of the insurgency in Egypt’s North Sinai, that makes it difficult for Egypt to normalize the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged coastal Palestinian enclave.
CH/L – nsnbc 2011.2016