Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is an Israeli-Turkish Armed Conflict on the Horizon?

The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, just made some shocking comments to Al-Jazeera.  He said the Turkish Navy would escort any future Turkish aid vessels to Gaza in order to defend them against Israeli interdiction (this despite the fact that the Palmer report concluded that the Israeli blockade is legal).  He also said that Turkey has taken steps to stop Israel from exploiting the natural gas deposits found off Israel's coast (whatever those are).  All of this is happening right after Turkey has downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel.

This is likely all saber rattling but what if it isn't?  It's no secret that the Erdogan government is anti-semitic (he's referred in the past to the "Jewish-backed media") and anti-Israel so could they have plans to wrest the leadership of the anti-Israel axis from Iran by fomenting conflict with Israel.  It's not like Turkey would be risking much.  There is no chance of an Israeli armed assault on Turkey beyond some airstrikes while Turkey could do material damage to Israel with its NATO quality Navy and Air Force.  It could also argue that its NATO allies need to become involved on its side or at least be neutral in the conflict, which would choke off much needed supplies from the IDF.  Imagine how indecisive Obama will be when given the choice of either giving aid to Israel or flushing the NATO alliance down the drain?  If Turkey wins, Erdogan will have done something that no other Islamic leader has been able to do, bring Israel to its knees.  And victory won't need Turkish boots on the ground in Jerusalem.  Turkey could just wipe out the Israeli Navy and wear the Israeli Air Force down to the point where they don't have enough serviceable aircraft to face the Turkish onslaught.  The Israeli Government would then be forced to give up Judea and Samaria and possibly even the Old City of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  Unless Netanyahu would want to start a nuclear conflict, he would have no choice but to give in.  This would make Erdogan a hero across the Muslim world (and unfortunately, college campuses everywhere) and would bring Turkey back some of the prestige it lost with the fall of the Ottomans.

I realize this is a worst case scenario but those tend to follow the Jews wherever they go (let's also not forget the Iranian nuclear program still under development).  I guess we should have let the military overthrow the Erdogan government when it still had the ability to do so.  Unfortunately, it's now been so thoroughly purged of secular stalwarts that it's fully in the hands of the Islamists now.  Things are just not looking good.

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