Monday, October 12, 2009

Turkey confirms it barred Israel from military exercise because of Gaza war

In recent months, since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage in Davos in January 2009, Israeli officials have quietly emphasized that they do not consider Turkey a suitable mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite Erodogan's offer to play that role. Nonetheless, Israeli officials see their alliance with Turkey as a crucial component in their strategic posture, and they have been loathe to jeopardize the alliance by criticizing Erdogan or Turkey. This apprehension was echoed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak in his reaction to the news that Israel has been disinvited from a military exercise. The Israeli-Turkish alliance has been a strategic priority for Turkey, but Israel's much condemned campaign in Gaza has has sowed anger in Turkey, and any distancing from Israel wins public approval in Turkey.

It is unlikely that the alliance will be abruptly ended by Turkey, but the latest signal from Turkey has apparently discomfited Israeli strategists. Turkey has made its point, which is not a bad thing.

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