You're likely familiar with Türkiye's approach to the Aqsa Tempest initiated by Hamas on October 7. Türkiye has been cautious with its choice of words. It recognizes that the cycle of violence is not confined to just Palestine and Gaza; it's concerned about the safety of civilians and urges restraint from all parties. President Erdoğan has expressed Türkiye's readiness for mediation to stop the clashes.
There's no doubt that these messages have been conveyed to the relevant parties in the midst of intensive diplomacy. President Erdoğan discussed the crisis with many leaders, including Israeli President Herzog and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Foreign Minister Fidan also engaged in discussions with his counterparts.
Following Fidan's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, an incident drew attention. Blinken was forced to delete a social media post. Upon examination, it appears that the U.S. requested assistance from Türkiye for the release of hostages held by Hamas. However, this must have been removed to prevent detection. Subsequently, it was reported in the press that Ankara had established contact with Hamas to secure the release of civilians.
It seems that there's another matter that worries Ankara: the presence of global and regional actors chasing geopolitical maneuvers. Third-party intervention would exacerbate the conflict and increase the dimensions of the disaster. Therefore, Ankara is conveying a clear message to the parties: "Third countries should not get involved."
If you don't establish the cause-and-effect chain correctly, you won't see the whole picture. The cause of what is happening today is not Hamas' unexpected attack on Israel on October 7. It is the result of Israel turning Gaza into an open-air prison over the years, grave human rights violations, an unnamed apartheid regime, and similar developments. Unfortunately, the humanitarian tragedy will grow with Israel's counterattack. It is clear that neither Palestine nor Israel will see the light of day before a two-state solution is implemented.
Let's underline this basic premise.
The events of October 7 are a defeat for Israel. Tel Aviv's security architecture has collapsed. Mossad's deafness and the unpreparedness of the Israeli army have been exposed. In preparation to renew its deterrence strategy, Israel is preparing to target the civilians living in Gaza. It is likely that the humanitarian dimensions of the conflict will exceed our estimates.
When Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, it fears that Hezbollah (Iran) will open a front from the north. In the second stage, it aims to target Iran's elements in the region. Israel has invited the U.S. to intervene in the event that the tension shifts to the Israel-Iran dimension. Washington has sent an aircraft carrier and a naval fleet to the Mediterranean. This is an unmissable opportunity for the U.S., which, until recently, was in conflict with the Israeli government and lost control over Saudi Arabia. The escalation of the conflict suits the U.S. Ukraine war, which has taken Eastern Europe under its wings. With its aggressive stance on Iran-Hamas relations, the U.S. will seek to reestablish its hegemony in Israel and the Arab world.
Iran is presenting the Aqsa Tempest as a response to Israeli attacks in Syria (many attacks have occurred on Iran's interests in Syria over the past two years). It's no secret that Iran is closely monitoring the normalization processes between Türkiye-Israel and Israel-Saudi Arabia. It was expected that there would be a confrontation between the U.S./Israel and Iran in Syria's east. With the Aqsa Tempest, Iran's hand is now free. Israel and the U.S. are dealing with Palestine, not Syria. Tehran will try to keep the tension in Israel's immediate vicinity and confine the conflicts to the Lebanon-Israel-Palestine axis.
Türkiye is not a country that benefits from tension and war. It never has been. In this new process, diplomatic efforts are underway/ongoing for the conflict to end and for there to be no civilian casualties. Ankara has concerns that Israel's use of disproportionate force and an increase in civilian casualties may undermine its moderate position. In that case, the normalization process with Israel may be damaged.
In all of this, we must not forget the terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria. Last week, the Ministry of the Interior was subjected to a terrorist attack. Following this, in cross-border aerial operations, one of our drones was shot down by the U.S. President Erdoğan stated that aerial operations will continue to intensify. Conditions are maturing for a ground-based blow to the terrorist infrastructure in northern Syria.