Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FROM STRATEGIC COOPERATION TO REGIONAL RIVALRY: CHANGING TURKISH – ISRAELI RELATIONS, 1996-2010


Abstract
          This research focuses on changing dynamics of Turkish-Israeli relations from signing a five-year agreement renewable annually thereafter on military training cooperation between the two nations in 1996 to “one minute” crisis at World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 2009. It reviews recent developments in relations between Turkey and Israel through the exploratory analyses of military, strategic and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel, and regional rivalry between the two countries. Firstly, the research presents a brief historical account of events. Then, it focuses on the questions of why they cooperate and compete with the intention of understanding the relationship between Turkey and Israel in the Middle East. Finally, it concludes by the narrative of how the two non-Arab countries of the Middle East first became partners, then rivals. 

1.     Introduction
          The State of Israel and the Republic of Turkey has some special relations. `Turkey was among the very first states that recognized Israel.  Upon official recognition on March 28th, 1949, diplomatic relations was established at the level of Legation in 1950`( Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2010). Actually, the people of today`s Israel have some relations with Anatolian people historicly. Jews were one of the peoples of the Ottoman Empire since many Spanish and Portuguese Jews expelled from Spain in the late 15th century. During the Second World War, Germany`s fascist Nazi soldiers started to kill Jews and some of Jews accomplished to escape from Nazi Germany. Even, some of them came to Republic of Turkey, especially some scientists worked in Turkish Universities at that time. Moreover, there were Jewish citizens in the Republic of Turkey who came to Anatolia mostly in 15th Century. However, 1942 Varlık Vergisi (Wealth Tax) affected the non-Muslim people of Turkey, economicly. They were still controlling the largest portion of the economy in Turkey in 1940s. With this tax, non-Muslim citizens had to sell their properties on the cheap and the control of the economy transit to Turkish or Muslim citizens of Turkey. This situation also affected Jews, and they started to emigrate. On the other hand, the Republic of Turkey became among the first countries to formally recognize the State of Israel. Turkish-Israeli relations started to develop in important fields such as political, economic, technological, scientific, and militarily. The major improvements started in 1990s. The relations are at the zenith in 1990s. However, in 2000s, the relations worsened. Because of this, this research focuses on changing dynamics of Turkish-Israeli relations from signing a five-year agreement renewable annually thereafter on military training cooperation between the two nations in 1996 to “one minute” crisis at World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 2009. Firstly, it will try to examine the factors that form the infrastructure of the cooperation between Turkey and Israel. Then, it will analyze the causes of that so-called `one minute crisis` between Turkey and Israel through the real examples. Moreover, the literature and methodology is also included. In the conclusion, it will ensure overview of the analysis, briefly and it will try to mention about current situation in the relations.
1.1.         What are the reasons behind the developing the relations between Israel and Turkey in 1990s? 
The proverb of the enemy of my enemy is my friend is the best tool for explaining the relations between Turkey and Israel in 1990s.
 Possible Reasons  
  •             Rising PKK terrorism against Turkey in 1990s 
  •                         Iraq`s and Syria`s logistic support to PKK  against Turkey 
  •                        Historical rivalry between Turkey and Iran 
  •                        Need Jewish lobby in U.S. Senete against Armenian genocide claims 
  •                        Iraq, Syria, and Iran are possible enemies of Israel 
  •                        Need a strategic partner to reduce loneliness of Israel in the Middle East 
1.2.         What are the reasons behind the worsening the relations between Israel and Turkey in 2000s? 
  • ·         Turkey`s new foreign policy
o   Desire of being regional power
o   Zero problems with neighbors
o   Getting energy corridors
o   Winning minds and hearts of majority (Arabs) in the Middle East
  • ·         Ideology
o   Close relations with Muslim Arabs
o   Anti-Israilism (Not Anti-Semitism)
  • ·         Effects of aggressive politicians
                                                                                                                          Isa Burak GONCA
     
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