Following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain has also officially taken steps to normalize relations with Israel. What they call normalization is nothing other than to turn the whole of Gaza into a concentration camp and create an abnormal order through its inhumane practices, its abnormal resistance with respect to abiding by UN decisions, its occupation, its annexation of Palestinian lands, its human rights violations, its siege of Palestine by constantly opening new settlement areas, while Israel itself was, in fact, established in abnormally. In other words, this is attempt taken to join the aberration.
The normalization of oppression, irregularity and annexation is in question, and classifying participation in this as “normalization” is a complete disgrace. Yet, blatantly announcing their disgrace, which is, in reality, a major gain for Israel alone, shows that they have no association left with neither the Arab nor the Muslim world.
Moreover, the UAE-controlled media does not hold back from constantly bringing up Turkey-Israel relations as part of its efforts to “normalize” and legitimize this aberration. Since Turkey is the country that most criticizes the step they have taken, pointing out that Turkey’s has formal diplomatic relations with Israel since its establishment and that Turkey was the first state in the Islamic world to recognize Israel, they accuse it of being inconsistent, while also using this as an attempt to justify their own policies.
I directly encountered these questions during the numerous Arab television programs and conferences I attended. I tried to explain to the best of my abilities, and I will repeat my responses here as well. Turkey’s relations with Israel are nothing like the relation the UAE is trying to pioneer today. Though, unfortunately it is true that when Israel was established, those who were ruling Turkey back then acted with unnecessary haste in terms of recognizing it. The foundation of Turkey’s relations with Israel, which is current even today, was established in the past. However, in the following periods, even in the pre-Justice and Development Party (AK Party) terms, that relationship was not without problems.
Yet, while some Arab countries’ own official ideologies are based completely on anti-Israel sentiments, they continued their clandestine cooperation.
However, during AK Party’s rule, relations with Israel were not strengthened. On the contrary, they continuously atrophied. In fact, Turkey consistently tried to use the existing level of relations in favor of the Palestinians. In its relations with Israel, Turkey has, for the last two decades, been objecting, without ignoring any of its violations, injustices, annexation; it openly criticizes Tel Aviv and strives to activate the international community against it.
The state of that Turkey’s relations with Israel has come to in the last 11 years, which used to be quite normal in the past, is as clear as day. Deals between the two, such as the defense cooperation, the use of airspace for the training of Israeli pilots and commissioned officers, Turkey’s purchase of weapons from Israel, et cetera have been fully halted.
As a matter of fact, Turkey owes the revolutionary developments in its own weapons industry as well as its extraordinary achievements in the fight against terrorism to having ended its relations with Israel concerning the said deals.
The information obtained in the fight against terrorism during reconnaissance operations conducted using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) purchased from Israel were shared with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization before Turkey. As a result, Turkey was wasting the military armament – part of which it most likely bought from Israel – on vacant mountains. In any event, it was a relationship detrimental to Turkey’s interests, and when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at Davos in the tone the Israeli president deserved, followed by the “Blue Marmara” ship outburst, tensions escalated, minimizing relations. The UAE and the countries trying to follow its lead should take this as reference.
Even at the present level of relations with Israel, Turkey does not ignore Israel’s violations, annexations, the attempt to make Jerusalem its capital, its unjust settlement of the Jews it brings from all parts of the world by opening settlement areas on Palestinian lands. On the contrary, it continues to put up the necessary fight against all these actions in favor of Palestine.
Yet, the UAE’s newly-formed relations with Israel come at a time when Israel is implementing its most aggressive, most arrogant and most reckless policies against Palestinians and the entire Muslim world.
Is it utilizing this deal to pressure Israel to step back from any one of these policies? Has it made any gains in favor of the Palestinians? Has it demanded any such gains? Of course not.
An abominable approach, on Israel’s tail, which considers making such a deal a success and source of pride. This senseless and shameful joy makes them nothing other than Israel’s fools.
Is there any way to liken this to Turkey’s relations with Israel?
Turkey did not stoop so low in its relations with Israel even during the worst of times.
Yet they, on the other hand, are willingly and with open arms taking on such an initiative, at a time when they are most powerful, even though they have the strength to make Israel desist from numerous injustices and its occupation with a little solidarity – if, of course, their intentions were pure.