Israeli President Rivlin and Turkish President Erdogan (Photo: Amil Salman, AP, AFP)
YNetNews By: Eldad Beck
Op-ed: While Turkey and Israel begin to thaw their relations following the Istanbul terror attack, Israel should be wary of getting too close to a dictator such as Erdoğan too quickly, taking into account his anti-Semitism and and oppressive policies.
The murder of the three Israelis by ISIS in Istanbul gave Israelis hope that there would be a thaw in the relations between Turkey and Israel.
“Relations will return to normal, and the embassies will return,” Netanyahu promised. Erdoğan said, “Friendship between the two nations is important.”
Grueling negotiations then took place to bring the relationship back to its former level, which should lead to an agreement soon. Throughout this period, however, Erdoğan has slandered and attacked Israel and the Jews over and over to further his political career. Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement have proven to be great methods of recruiting a critical mass of support, even in light of the growing disgust within large segments of Turkish society with Erdoğan’s autocratic rule and his Islamist party.
The Turkish attitude towards Israel is very complicated. There’s a segment of Turks who view Israel as a successful example of the importation of democracy and westernization into the Middle East. There are also Turks who have an historical aversion to Arabs—stemming from a sense of superiority historically and culturally—which brings them closer to Israel.
Yet, most of the Turkish public is deeply anti-Semitic. This can be seen in the way they believe that Israel wants to take control of Turkey to erase and destroy its Muslim identity.