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Monday, December 20, 2010

Wikileaks: Israel's premonitions about Turkey, November 2009

From a new Wikileaks cable, November 11, 2009 (before the Mavi Marmara and the diplomatic row in early 2010):
The GOI [Government of Israel] raised the current direction the Government of Turkey has taken toward Syria and Iran -- and away from Israel. Israeli participants argued that Turkey has been supportive of Hamas in Gaza while pursuing a more "Islamic" direction with the goal of becoming a regional superpower. The GOI argued that the Turkish military is losing its ability to influence government decisions and strategic direction. After this past year, GOI participants said they have a "bad feeling" about Turkey. The GOI noted that the Israel Air Force (IAF) Commander in the past wanted to speak to the Turkish Air Force Commander, but his Turkish counterpart declined.
And in another cable that same month:
Israeli officials also expressed growing anxiety over the Turkey-Israel relationship after the Turkish cancellation of Israel's participation in the ANATOLIAN EAGLE joint exercise. They expressed their belief that the strategic relationship with Turkey is critical, but that PM Erdogan's views have increasingly penetrated into the military and have been part of the reason for the deterioration in relations as Turkey looks East rather than West. Gilad believes this is understandable as Turkey's EU accession prospects look increasingly doubtful, and they must balance their relations with both regions to succeed.

And another:
Israelis are deeply alarmed by the direction of Turkish foreign policy, and see Erdogan and Davutoglu as punishing Israel for the EU's rejection of Turkey while driving Israel's erstwhile strategic ally into an alternative strategic partnership with Syria and Iran.