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A New View on Israel, Turkey, and Egypt…

September 19, 2011

Zvi Mazel, former ambassador to Egypt, has written a striking analysis on the inter-relation of Israel, Turkey, and Egypt, in the Jerusalem Post.   Here are a few highlights.

Turkey had been the first Muslim country to recognize Israel – in 1949. Ataturk had been dead a mere decade and the country was firmly launched on the path of secular modernity.


However, today’s ruler, motivated by religious fervor and the dream of restoring the country’s former empire, set himself on another path, with the active support of Davutulu, the minister for Foreign Affairs, author of a book in which he states that Turkey is on its way to reclaiming its authentic role and its hegemony in the Middle East.

It is well-documented that Erdogan has surrounded himself with fellow Islamists, and the recent upheaval in the military leadership further provides the Islamist elements in Turkey’s government more control.

Erdogan then tried to set up a strategic front under his leadership by strengthening ties with Syria and Iran. The ongoing popular uprising in Syria and Iran’s growing estrangement from the West and its support for Syria demonstrated the fragility of those alliances.

Though Turkey was now without any ally in the region, Erdogan went on boasting that it was the greatest power there and that its influence was felt in every country.


…the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdogan’s longtime ally, was offended by his recommendation to turn Egypt into a secular democratic state, and declared in no uncertain terms that Turkey should mind its own business.

To put it in a nutshell, Turkey is not only isolated, it is facing serious troubles. Its alliance with Iran and with Syria is in ruin.


Turkey has no real quarrel with Israel beyond rhetoric and religious extremism. Can reason triumph over passion? The situation with Egypt is singularly different. Israel and Egypt are bound by a peace agreement guaranteed by the US and have an extended common border. Ruled by the army today, Egypt is looking at a lengthy period of instability before new institutions are elected and steps are taken to revive a failing economy, a process which will take at least two years. Radical Islam could claim a significant victory and be part of the new government.


For the past 32 years peace with Israel and quiet on their long common border has afforded Egypt the stability it needed as well as substantial help.

Msr. Mazel puts an interesting new light on Turkey’s actual position in the Middle East with this analysis.  Read the full article here

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