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Calls for Israel to restore ‘fragile’ relations with Turkiye after Erdogan's win

May 31, 2023 at 11:55 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on May 29, 2023 [Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli researcher at the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, Shai Har-Zvi, stressed the need for the occupation government to strengthen the “fragile” relations with Turkiye after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new term in office.

Har-Zvi said Erdogan’s win shows that the Turkish people chose an individual they know rather than change direction.

In an article published in the Maariv newspaper, the researcher added: “Far-reaching changes in President Erdogan’s behaviour in the domestic arena and in Turkish foreign policy are not expected, at least in the near future.”

He pointed out that Turkiye’s relations with Israel prospered over the last year as a result of changes in Turkish foreign policy, and this prosperity led to, among other things, the raising of the level of diplomatic relations between the two parties, increasing the volume of mutual trade, and in cooperation between the security services.

However, the Palestinian issue, especially in everything related to Israel’s behaviour towards the Hamas movement and the holy places in Jerusalem, will remain a focus of tension and disagreements between Ankara and the occupation, and in light of this, the Israeli government must seize the right moment and continue to work gradually to deepen relations with Turkiye, he explained.

“It is reasonable,” Har-Zvi said, “for Erdogan to take advantage of his victory to continue the internal contexts that he led during the years of his rule, by changing Turkiye’s character into an Islamic state in light of the weakening of the opposition and the absolute control of state institutions and the media.”

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The Israeli researcher believed that Erdogan could show greater openness to agree to the inclusion of Sweden in NATO, and it is possible that this will occur with the convening of the NATO conference in about two months, provided that he receives tangible return from the West, especially from the US. However, his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who did not hide his support for Erdogan and was one of the first to congratulate him on his victory, will continue to burden the Turkish president’s relations with the West.

The researcher also said that Erdogan will continue improving ties with Arab countries, which in the past two years has led to new agreements with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. Erdogan is also capable of examining ways to improve relations with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Al-Assad, and it is possible that this would be in exchange for a major deal.