Playing with Jewish Card by Erdogan; Double Edged Sword

2022/01/18 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online – Opinion: Turkey is leaving behind a difficult situation; from one side bad domestic economic situation, and on the other side foreign policy challenges of the country at international arena have placed Turkey in a difficult situation. Dr. Ghadir Golkarian, Professor, Near East University, Cyprus

In this situation, Turkey is planning to pass through a heterogeneous circumstance in international relations particularly in its regional relations. Amid all this, one of the recent measures taken by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey was his recent meeting with some Jewish personalities. While Erdogan has always tried to introduce himself as an opponent to the Zionist regime and on the frontline of supporting Palestinians and a defender of the campaign to struggle against International Zionism.

At present junction and despite some disputes that exist and continue to exist between Ankara and Tel Aviv, Turkish government led by Erdogan is planning to prepare the ground and to reestablish relations with Israeli regime through a meeting with Jewish Rabbis. In a way that in a part of his remarks addressed to Rabbis he clearly asked them to be a part of the solution. Turkish President said:” All of us should make effort to establish peace in the Middle East, we do not want to witness confrontations in this geographical area where is home to three monotheistic religions. I am confident that in Beit-ol-Moghaddass (Al-Quds) we can reach a solution that puts the sensitivity to all religious groups at priority”.

The meeting of Turkish President with members of the Jewish community in Turkey and the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States (ARIS) has been defined by many of the Rabbis as surprising. According to the news of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that follows the data and information on the Jewish community throughout the world, and is stationed in the U.S., the Rabbis members of ARIS who planned to hold their first meeting in a hotel in Istanbul, suddenly received an invitation extended to them by Erdogan for a meeting and a dinner reception at Presidential Compound called Beştepe, and they were dispatched to Ankara in a private plane.

Rabbi Mendy Citrik, Chairman of the Ashkenazi Jewish Community of Turkey in an interview with JTA said that he did not expect to be taken to Ankara in their two-day meeting in Istanbul and have a meeting with President Erdogan. Citrik, the chief Rabbi of Jews expressed that Erdogan had a nearly two-hour meeting with the Rabbis in the Islamic States and talked about many issues and asked them to be a part of solution. By arranging such a meeting, Erdogan was probably looking for sorting out his country’s economic problems to some extent through renewing the links with Israeli regime and further expand economic ties between Tel Aviv and Ankara. In his speech addressed at the ceremony, Erdogan called the necessity of renewing Turkish and Israeli regime ties as vital for both sides and had expressed that:” We need to be in solidarity in the fight against increasing Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, particularly in Western countries. …. I invite everybody to cooperate in strengthening the   environment of peace and stability in the Middle East”.

The most important part of Erdogan’s attitude in his meeting with Jewish Rabbis from political and international points of view can be found in a sentence he expressed in the private meeting with Rabbis. He said in the meeting:” despite the differences of opinion between Israel and us on Palestine, Turkish relations with Israel in economic, trade and tourism fields are progressing. Israel’s sincere and constructive attitude in the context of peace efforts will undoubtedly contribute to the normalization process!”. The remarks made by the President of Turkey will leave no doubt and ambiguity that he intends to exploit the opportunity to improve relations with the Zionist regime when his country suffers from bad economic conditions and being placed in political competitions at international and regional arena coincided with the emergence of economic crises, social protests and entrenchment of opposition parties vis-à-vis him. Increasing willingness to hold early election in Turkey has also made Erdogan gain winning cards in his foreign policy and to show their effects in his country’s economic and political structure. However, the continuation of present situation will undoubtedly push Ankara government towards passive conditions in other fronts particularly in Syria, Iraq and Libya more than ever in the past. This, by no means, is a favorable matter to the government arose from Justice and Development Party. In the meantime, it is not inconceivable that despite the policy of approaching Israeli regime has its own supporters, it provokes reactions among Muslim and anti-Zionist community of Turkey and Erdogan will be hurt by the front in the upcoming election.

Since the issue of Palestine and the cause of Quds liberation has a great importance for Muslim nations, the recent measure taken by Erdogan will not only damage his reputation among Muslims but also may affect the Turkey’s relations with some of Islamic states.

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