Turkey is primed to bring the hammer down on Israel. According to Hürriyet:
A long-term diplomatic war between Turkey and Israel, once solid allies in an unstable region, seems unavoidable in the wake of Monday’s deadly raid on a Turkish civilian ship carrying aid to Palestinians.
Turkey’s recalling of its ambassador and canceling of three military drills are the most concrete signs thus far of the longer and much larger-scale diplomatic row indicated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech Tuesday, coupled with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s address to the U.N. Security Council and other diplomatic activities.
Rather than aim at the entire nation of Israel, the Turks have their sights set on bringing down the current government:
But as Turkey stays hard on Israel’s heels, Erdogan’s statements show that Turkey will only target the current Israeli coalition government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liebermann, in retaliation for the attack, which ended with as many as 19 dead.
This government has become the main source of trouble in the region, Erdogan indicated in his speech, reflecting the prime and foreign ministers’ previous decisions to not hold any high-level meetings with the current Israeli leadership. With reciprocal accusations from both sides since the famous Davos spat making it impossible to reduce tension, the only possibility for reconciliation between Ankara and Tel Aviv seems to be a change of administration in Israel.
Erdogan made it clear that Turkey has no problem with either the Israeli people or the Israeli state, calling on the country’s citizens to stand up against the Netanyahu-Lieberman government, which he said hurts the interests of the Israeli people.
This is a shrewd move. If Labour or Kadima were to run the show, something approaching an Oslo mindset could be expected to return to the Israeli government, making it more pliable in the face of a new onslaught of Islamic demands.
Turkey recognizes that it needs the help of the USA in order to achieve success, and with Comrade Obama at the helm, it might just get it:
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Full isolation of this government by the international community, backed by strong internal pressure, would surely start a process of removing the current Israeli leadership from power. This, of course, cannot be achieved solely by Turkey. Strong international determination in the international community is required, and Turkey will therefore try to gain the backing of the United Nations, NATO and other respectable international organizations. But the support of the United States is key.
However, The Turkish state seems to be of two minds about the state of Israel: it does not expect the current unpleasantness to interfere with its acquisition of six more Heron drones from the Little Satan.
Same day, same newspaper:
Israeli Aircraft to be Delivered on Time, Turkish Minister Says
The Turkish defense minister said Tuesday that the current crisis with Israel would not pose any problems for the delivery of four unmanned aerial vehicles known as “Herons.”
“We expect the remaining Herons to be delivered in June or July,” Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül told reporters in Parliament.
In January, Turkish officials said Israel would send four Herons to Turkey in March. The remaining six Herons are set to arrive in Turkey by the end of 2010, according to Turkish officials.
Turkey awarded the aircraft-building contract in 2005, ordering 10 drones from Israeli manufacturers Israel Aerospace Industries, or IAI, and Elbit.
The Heron UAV System is an operational fourth-generation, long-endurance, medium-altitude system based on leading-edge technology with new fully automatic take-off and landing features and can provide deep-penetration, wide-area and real-time intelligence either by day or at night. The Heron can climb to an altitude of nearly 10,000 meters, has a range of 350 kilometers and can fly continuously for at least 24 hours. It can carry out strategic reconnaissance and surveillance on six targets at once.
I suppose business is business, and Israel’s aerospace industry presumably needs the cash. But doesn’t the Heron constitute “sensitive” technology? Would these planes be a danger to Israel if the current conflict escalates to point of open hostilities? How likely is it that some of the drones will be transferred to third parties?
I admit to being a neophyte in these matters, but it’s difficult to see how going through with this sale would be in Israel’s best interests.
Hat tip: C. Cantoni.