by Felix Quigley

January 18, 2010

Nothing shows better the crisis in Israeli leadership more than their whole relationship with Turkey. This analysis by Debkafile is most important as to the future of the very existence of Israel. We will discuss this in more detail later

[Begin analysis of Turkey here]

Israeli-Turkish relations dropped to another low Wednesday, Jan. 13, when Jerusalem was forced to send a letter of apology to Ankara Wednesday, Jan. 13, by Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul’s threat to recall the Turkish ambassador from Jerusalem. Turkish prime minister Tayyep Recip Erdogan, buoyed up by his power to force Jerusalem to bend, is reported by DEBKAfile‘s sources to be planning to intensify his campaign for grinding down the Jewish state, playing to the radical galleries in Tehran, Damascus, Gaza and Beirut. He is targeting Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak for a share in the ignominy.

The crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations was only temporarily defused late Wednesday when prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu forced deputy foreign minister to write a letter of apology to Ankara according to a script virtually dictated by the Turkish president on pain of the recall of the Turkish ambassador the next day.

Most of the day, foreign minister Lieberman and Ayalon refused to add to the half-hearted regrets they voiced earlier over the incident Tuesday, in which Lieberman and Ayalon, who saw red over the Turkish prime minister’s constant abuse, summoned the Turkish ambassador for a dressing-down.

Their foolish maneuver for putting Ankara in its place was to seat the ambassador on a sofa lower than his Israel hosts and calling TV cameras to witness his disgrace.

Ankara hit the ceiling, blowing the incident up into a major row. Netanyahu, rather than fire the foreign minister and/or his deputy for pointlessly fueling the crisis, exposed his weakness to outside pressure and succumbed to Gul’s ultimatum. Not only Turkey, but its new allies, Syria, Iran, Hizballah and Hamas, watched every move and drew their own conclusions.

The aftershocks rocked other parts of the Middle East: President Mubarak found himself wondering how to respond to Saudi King Abdullah’s effort to bring him over to Riyadh Thursday, Jan. 14 for a fence-mending encounter with Syria’s Bashar Assad. By folding under Turkish pressure, Israel strengthened the hand of Erdogan’s partner, the Syrian ruler, which meant that Mubarak would have to run an extra mile to settle his quarrel with Assad and oblige the king. This was more than he had intended.

In other words, by kowtowing to Ankara, the Israeli prime minister effectively pulled the rug from under the moderate Arab Middle East bloc and awarded points to the radical Turkish-Iran-Syrian coalition; the corollary is a stronger hand for the extremist Hamas against the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority.

A high-ranking Turkish official confided to DEBKAfile at the end of the day: “I didn’t know you Israelis were so stupid. You’ve made Erdogan’s sweetest dream come true.

Israel’s letter of apology may calm the crisis for a short period, during which Jerusalem will act as though the old friendly relations are back to normal, while the Turkish prime minister gets his next move ready to slap down when Israel has its next vulnerable moment.

DEBKAfile‘s sources disclose Erdogan is now working on a scheme to break the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He recently approached Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and South African president Jacob Zuma with a plan for each to organize aid ships for the Gaza Strip. Because the expeditions would be led by the two presidents, he reckons that Israel and Egypt would hesitate to deny them access to Gaza for fear of a mighty international dust-up.

DEBKAfile reported Tuesday: Israel’s leaders, and some of its military and security chiefs, refuse to recognize that it is no good expecting Turkish prime minister Tayyep Recep Erdogan to stay friends with Israel while eagerly rushing into the arms of the radical anti-West Ahmadinejad, Assad and Chavez.

Jerusalem’s fond illusion is shared by the Obama administration which too refuses to accept that the Erdogan regime has divorced itself from the pro-Western bloc of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel and plunged headlong into the new “Northern Islamic Alliance” club, alongside Iran, the Lebanese Hizballah and the Palestinian extremist Hamas.

The linkage of Israel with Obama above needs to be challenged…FQ

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