PACE: Turkey is set to undermine Israel’s hegemony in the middle east
One would have considered Syria, Iran or Lebanon when it comes to naming Israel’s credible adversary. However to everyone’s delightful surprise it is Turkey that clinch the honour of confronting Israel with a challenge the latter could not simply dispense with like she habitually does. Israel could not thumb her nose this time because it’s a diplomatic row with one of the most reliable and strong ally. A complaint from a noisy neighbouring Arab country can be quickly silenced by a chide. Egypt and Jordan for instance has been completely neutralized and are ever ready to do the Zionist bidding. Egypt’s appalling stance and loathsome acts against the people of Gaza is a testimony that she is submissive to Israel’s security needs.
Turkey on the other hand occupies a very strategic position in the middle east and Europe. It has strong ties with Israel and has conducted frequent joint military exercise in the volatile region. Israel can count on Turkey to ward off security threats coming from the north. Israel is also highly dependent on the gas pipelines that passes through Turkey from Russia.
The fall out from the May 31st attack on the aid flotilla on the highseas has changed all that. Racep Tayyib Erdogan recently said that the gas pipelines to Israel has been scrapped and is no longer on the table. Turkey has demanded Israel to allow independent investigations into the assault on Mavi Marmara that has seen 9 of her unarmed citizens killed. The demand for Israel to admit to her criminal acts cannot be likened to that endorsed by the docile United Nation Resolutions or the deliberations of the International Court of Justice. Even the report on Israel’s indisputable acts of war crime on Gaza by the prominent Jewish lawyer, Richard Goldstone endorsed almost unanimously in the UN general assembly falied to unnerve Israel. This time around, when Turkey’s foreign minister reproached Israel and warned of a possible breaking-off relations, even the US remained on the sideline, a complete contrast as to how she reacted towards the Goldstone report. Apparently, behind closed doors Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister has spelled out the possible sanctions that Turkey will impose on Israel for failing to admit to the killings. Eventually if Israel fail to provide a satisfactory answer to the question, a diplomatic break-off is inevitable.
What would be the implications? Will it affects Turkey’s plan and acceptance into the fold of EU? What would be the reaction of the US, also an important ally of Turkey. To these questions, Ahmet laid down the principles. Turkey has always been part of Europe as it has been part of Asia. The logic of seeing Turkey as an object that can be embraced or discarded from Europe is wrong to start with. Turkey is for human rights and equality, democracy, economic empowerment and interdependency, peaceful co-existence which has been the values championed by EU. These are the principles that will create an environment of ‘zero problem’ with your neighbor. ‘Zero problem’ with your neighbor is only workable when those principles including human rights and sanctity of lives are duly respected by all. Now Turkish citizens were murdered on the high seas by Israel. No person of the right mind should expect Turkey to just ignore these violations and cling on to the meaningless ‘zero problem’ slogan with your neighbor.
Under the leadership of Racep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey can now assume the stewardship role of the civilized world. Muslim countries around the region can again look up to the leadership of Turkey in providing directions to the seemingly complex middle east political quagmire. One thing for sure, Israel can no longer has her own way without considering Turkey’s ever watchful eye. Israel has met her nemesis.. which she has to reckon with.
Assoc Prof Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor
PACE (Palestine Centre of Excellence)