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Greece vs. Turkey

Reader comment on item: Normalizing relations with Israel up to Erdogan

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Dec 15, 2015 at 16:37

Turkey is offering a gas deal to Israel; but the Russians are also in need of countries like Israel to supply them with fruits and vegetables. Both of these situations are due to the Turkey-Russia freeze in relations. Concerning gas, Israel has been working on an alternative deal involving Cyprus and Greece. There is an analysis at

http://www.themedialine.org/mideast-daily-news/greece-turkey-and-israel-in-strategic-repositioning/ :

"The differences in the relative importance of Turkey versus Greece and Cyprus notwithstanding, Israel clearly sees Greece and Cyprus as greatly balancing the damage caused by the ongoing depreciation of its relations with Ankara," Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador and deputy director general of Foreign Ministry, in a paper entitled Active Israeli Policy in the Mediterranean Basin. "Nevertheless," he continued, "it is important that Israel not abandon the effort to repair relations with Turkey."

I would say that the key of which way Israel should go, is based on Turkey's trustworthiness vis a vis Greece. There's an ancient Mediterranean tradition of stabbing friends in the back at the dinner table, that may apply as much to the Turks as to the Greeks. Looking at the track record, though:

(1) Greece has had sour relations with Israel in the past, PRIMARILY because Israel was always siding with Turkey against her. That is a moot issue now.

(2) Turkey is obvioulsy desperate, and will clutch at anything to make up for the loss of the Russian gas it is dependent on. It's looking for a short-term fix for a short-term problem: Not too far in the future, it will be able to supply its energy needs from other sources, such as Turkmenistan and Iran.

I've been keeping my eye on Iran. Compared with its horrid relations with other neighbors, such as Greece and Syria, Turkey's relations with Iran seem hindered by only one thing: their difference concerning what to do with Bashar Al-Assad. That's an issue that might be resolved quickly; then Turkey could return to its old game of attacking Israel, with the Iranians to help them. They were CENTO allies from 1955 to 1979, when both had secular rulers. Now they both have Islamist rulers, howbeit of different sects. That's certainly more than Turkey has in common with Israel.

Consider the same criteria concerning Greece: The Greeks are not looking for a short-term fix. They need cash, long-term, to dig themselves out of their deep, deep hole of debt; and trade with Israel, especially a pipeline through Greece to Europe from the Israeli gas fields, fits perfectly into this long-term strategy. Also, the Jews of Israel may feel as little affinity to the Greek Christians as they do to the Turkish Muslims; but the Muslims are currently at war with Israel, and the Greek Christians are not (though I can't say the same for the nominal Christians of Western Europe).

My vote, then, is for Greece rather than Turkey; but we'll see how things work out.


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