President Erdogan Severe Actions
The coup attempt in Turkey that failed brought about a huge wave of purges. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is conducting a huge purge in many sectors of society that are suspected of participating or supporting the coup attempt. 8,777 policemen were fired, 21,000 teachers were fired, suspension of every university dean was demanded, 1,500 employees of the Treasury were fired, many judges were suspended, 118 generals were detained. This amounts to a third of the total number of generals in the Turkish army out of the total of 350 generals. The commander of the air force, Akin Ozturk, who admitted that he was among those who planned the coup was arrested. In 1998, he was the military attaché of Turkey in Israel.
Many commentators predict that President Erdogan may call for new elections in order to receive massive support and to reach 55% of the Parliament which is 370 seats. Today his party AKP has 49.8%. This will enable him to change the Constitution and transform the political system from a parliamentary one to a presidential system. This will give him complete control of the political system in Turkey.
Israel officially announced that it supports democracy in Turkey. Israel is not mentioned at all in any context regarding the coup, and it is clear that Israel had no contact or relations whatsoever to this attempt. The Jewish community which amounts to 25,000 was asked by the army to close the synagogues on Saturday. However, it looks like they are safe. Tourism in Turkey was reduced immensely and thousands of people cancelled their reservations. The stock exchange in Istanbul went down by 7%, but the Turkish lira remained stable.
Exporting Gas from Israel to Turkey and Tourism
The reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey that was signed on June 26 will continue.
The Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Netanyahu recently spoke about the importance of selling natural gas to Turkey and via Turkey throughout Europe. It is estimated that the income generated from taxes from the sale of gas to Europe will amount to US$1 billion. Israel is now developing a huge gas well, one of the largest in the world called Levethian.
In the past, about half a million Israeli tourists visit Turkey annually. Tourism has gone down dramatically, but in the last year it went up again to 80,000. It remains to be seen what will happen now. However, Turkish Airlines continues to make many flights from Israel to Turkey and this will continue. Istanbul is a major airport for Israeli tourists continuing to Europe.
Israel’s commercial relations with Turkey amounts to US$5.5 billion annually, and it is estimated that it will continue. Israel exports to Turkey chemicals, oil products, medicines, equipment, electrical motors, and metal products. Turkey exports to Israel cars, metal products, food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, electrical equipment, plastic and rubber. Out of the US$5.5 billion of mutual trade volume, it is 60% Turkey exporting to Israel and 40% of Israel exports to Turkey.
If the United States will give support to the Turkish-Israeli trade agreement it will be very helpful. The U.S. has deep interest in maintaining stability in Turkey and maintaining strong relations between Israel and Turkey, among others. In view of the instability in the Middle East, Turkey and Israel are two important pillars of American policy in the area.
The Turkish commander of the air base in southern Turkey (Incirlik) appealed to the United States and requested political asylum. The United States refused.
President Erdogan is contemplating reestablishing the death penalty in Turkey which was abolished in 2004, and since 1980, the death sentence has not been implemented. It was a condition of the European Union to consider admitting Turkey to The Union. The United States and the European Union emphasized its objection to the idea of reestablishing the death penalty in Turkey.
President Erdogan blames Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish spiritual leader, who lives in Pennsylvania for organizing the coup attempt. President Erdogan claims that he is going to ask the United States officially to deport Mr. Gülen to Turkey. The State Department spokesman has already stated that in order to even consider extradition, President Erdogan must submit concrete evidence that Mr. Gülen was behind the coup attempt. In all, modern Turkey is full with uncertainty and everybody is wondering what will happen in the future.
Turkish Policy of Good Relations with all its Neighbors
Turkey is determined to pursue its policy of good relations with all its neighbors and maintain the relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, Israel, and Greece. The relations between Turkey and Egypt have been tense since General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is President of Egypt ousted former President Mohamed Mursi. It is estimated that the relations will continue and maybe even improve under President Erdogan.
President Erdogan has stated that Turkey will not be like Egypt when the military dictatorship replaced the democratic regime.
Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz contacted President Erdogan and congratulated him for succeeding to foil the coup attempt. Turkey views Saudi Arabia as part of the Sunni coalition in order to block Iran (which is Shia) from pursuing an aggressive policy in the Middle East.
The President of Iran Dr. Hassan Rouhani called President Erdogan and told him that Iran supports him. The relation between Iran and Turkey are very complex, but it is estimated that it will continue unhindered.
President Erdogan apologized to Russia for downing the Russian plane over the Sinai a year ago. Turkey had arrested the two pilots that had downed the Russian plane. Relations between Turkey and Russia are improving and will continue.
Several high ranking military personnel who participated in conducting the coup fled to Greece in helicopters. President Erdogan demands that Greece will extradite them to Turkey. However, the Greek government is contemplating if and how to do it in view of the fact that if Greece extradites them to Turkey, they will face the death sentence.
Israel Television Channel 2
The correspondent interviewed today in Turkey the personal advisor to President Erdogan, Mr. Ilnur C’ezik. It blamed Fethullah Gülen for being instrumental in the coup attempt and stated that judges, policemen, and attorneys have tried to arrest President Erdogan who escaped in the last minute. Turkey demands that the U.S. will extradite Mr. Gülen to Turkey. He was asked regarding the possibility of renewing the death sentence in Turkey which will mean that Turkish candidacy to enter the European Union will be abolished. Mr. C’zeik answered that Turkey received nothing from the entire process of entering the European Union.
Regarding Israel, Mr. C’ezik has emphasized that Israel was always helpful to Turkey and that Turkey will need Israel in conducting the war against ISIS and Syria. He also indicated that this support will help President Erdogan strengthen his regime.
It is estimated that the relations between Turkey and Israel will continue without any hindrances, that the reconciliation agreement will be implemented, and that ambassadors will be exchanged in the near future.