Daily Israel Report

Expert: To Counter Erdogan, Offer Gaza

Israel should offer Turkey control of Gaza imports, says Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor, who also explains Erdogan's behavior.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/4/2011, 10:17 PM

Middle East expert Dr. Guy Bechor revealed a surprising suggestion for handling Israel's crisis with Turkey in a Sunday interview with Arutz Sheva. Instead of just reacting to Turkey, Israel should take the lead, he said – by offering Turkey an active role in Gaza.

Turkey could take charge of bringing humanitarian goods to Gaza – a role Israel has filled for the past several years – under NATO guidance.
The arrangement would be in Israel's favor for multiple reasons, Bechor explained.

For one, Gaza would no longer be Israel's responsibility, but would remain under international supervision.

Secondly, he said, the arrangement would lead to tension between Turkey and Hamas.

“Up to this point they've been running the game, dealing the cards, and we've been reacting,” he said of Israel-Turkey affairs. “Why shouldn't we deal the cards?”

If Israel wants to try something else, he said, a second option would be ignoring Turkey while working with the United States and NATO to prevent any Turkish naval maneuvers.

'Erdoganistan' and the Kurdish Problem
Israel must realize that Turkey has become “Erdoganistan,” Bechor said; a territory under the total rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As proof, he pointed to Erdogan's recent decision to bomb Kurdish regions in Turkey's north, simply because he personally had lost patience.

Erdogan's problems with his country's Kurdish population are going to make his estrangement from Israel particularly painful, Bechor predicted. Turkey previously enjoyed military ties with Israel, of which Erdogan had made use to gain equipment that helped him thwart the Kurds' desire to declare independence and split Turkey in two.

But now, with ties with Israel frozen, Erdogan has few options left in his fight to keep his country united, Bechor said. The United States once assisted with information on Kurdish rebel activities, he added, but will soon be unable to do so, due to the pending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Erdogan's recent attacks in Kurdish regions have destabilized Iraq, Bechor noted, upsetting the Americans.

Erdogan cannot rely on the strong ties he has forged with Syria and Iran, as both countries are dealing with their own inner struggles, he added. It is this lack of support that has led Erdogan to take such a tough public stance against Israel, Bechor opined.

With Iran and Syria fading, he said, Erdogan hopes attacking Israel will bring him public support from new corners of the Arab and Muslim world.