Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Will Turkey Clash With Israel in the Med?

In the wake of the leak of the United Nations report which largely exculpated Israel for the Mavi Marmara incident and confirmed the legality of the blockade against Hamas-controlled territory, the Turkish government has become increasingly bellicose. The Turkish press is reporting the Turkish Navy (largely supplied by the United States) will increase its presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. “A more aggressive strategy will be pursued. Israel will no longer be able to exercise its bullying practices freely,” one Turkish diplomat explained. Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States who once quipped about “the final solution,” joined the chorus, posting a fairly threatening tweet as well.

It’s no secret Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political party was behind the ill-fated flotilla, but recent statements suggest the prime minister may now be considering escorting a new flotilla to block the Gaza blockade. The irony that Gazans have greater health and welfare than Turks is an irony that escapes Erdoğan. Turkish bluster is not limited to anti-Israel sentiment. Turkey’s ruling party recognizes that bluster translates into popularity among the fiercely nationalistic Turks. Discussing a dispute with Cyprus over oil drilling, Egemen Bağis, Turkey’s minister for European Union accession (who I last wrote about here), threatened to use the Turkish Navy against Greek Cypriots. “That’s what a navy is for,” he told a Turkish Islamist newspaper last Friday. No wonder Turkey has been so ham-handed in its drive for European Union membership.

The question for American policymakers now is how to balance Turkey’s appetite for weaponry against the increasing likelihood Turkey will use such weapons for offense rather than defense. When it comes to arms sales to Arab countries, the United States guarantees how to balance their legitimate defense needs (against Iran, for example), with Israel’s need to maintain a qualitative military edge. While Turkey is a member of NATO, not every NATO member is entitled to an unlimited arsenal. It may be time for the Congress and the Pentagon to consider Turkey in the same category as Saudi Arabia or Egypt.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.