Πέμπτη, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2012

The stalemate in Turkish-Israeli relations

By BANU ELIGUR30/09/2012
How the rise of Turkey’s JDP party has reshaped Ankara’s foreign policy and its ties to Jerusalem.
ANKARA – Last July, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with a group of Turkish journalists in an attempt to restore the broken Israeli-Turkish relations in the aftermath of the May 2010 flotilla incident during which nine Turkish citizens died, while dozens were injured as well as several Israeli soldiers. Some analysts in both Israel and the US have emphasized Israel’s growing isolation in the Middle East particularly in the post-Arab Spring period and urged the Israeli government to find an accommodation with Turkey. They suggest that Israel’s declaration of a clear apology to Turkey for the IDF’s killing of those Turkish citizens would be a good start to mend the bilateral relations.

Yet, Israel’s apology is not likely to resolve the crisis between the former allies. And one needs to analyze the deep causes of the stalemate in the Turkish-Israeli relations, namely the Justice and Development Party’s (JDP) Islamist foreign policy toward the Middle East and the fact that the 2003 Iraq war ended the sources of the Turkish-Israeli strategic partnership.

The JDP, which has roots in political Islam, became the party of the government by securing 34.3 percent of the popular vote in the 2002 general elections. The party further increased its vote share to 46.6% in the 2007 general elections, and won the presidency following the elections. The JDP further increased its vote share to 49.8% in the 2011 general elections. The party has successfully mobilized against the secular-democratic state, and has reformulated Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East according to its Islamist perception of brotherhood among Islamic countries.

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