Turkey, Syria and Israel

Aug 30, 2016

By Amb. Uri Bar-Ner

Turkey recently sent its troops to Syria in order to defeat ISIS and conducted several major terror activities in Turkey. About a week ago, a suicide bomber 13 years old exploded himself in the middle of a wedding and killed over 50 people and many were injured. A while ago, ISIS also conducted a terror attack in the Istanbul airport that killed approximately 45 people.

The President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, signed a reconciliation agreement with Russia and Israel and then decided to go against Syria. Even though Turkey attacked ISIS, its main goal is to prevent the establishment of Kurdish autonomy or state in Syria. Turkey is afraid that such an autonomy will eventually try to include the Kurdish minority in Eastern Turkey.

Turkey has been fighting the Kurds for many years in particular against the organization unit called the PKK. Their leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was arrested several years ago. President Erdogan understands that in order to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria, its military intervention may have to last for a long time, and possibly the Turkish army will have to stay there forever.

The United States has been training Kurdish units in Syria and supplied them with arms so that they will fight against ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The Kurds have to accept Turkish intervention because it needs the goodwill of Washington.

By sending Turkish tanks to Syria, President Erdogan wants to prevent the establishment of Kurdish autonomy in the future and possibly even a state. President Erdogan is very careful in his actions in Syria because it does not want Turkey to be pulled into the civil war that has been going on in Syria for a long time.

Syria is today practically divided between various spheres of influence by the Russians and Iranians and now by Turkey. The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad gained a lot from this situation and he so far feels very comfortable in his position as President of Syria. Russia is very active in Syria and takes advantage of the fact that the United States is not playing a key role.

Israel is watching the situation in the Golan Heights which is critical for Israel’s security in the North. So far ISIS and other radical forces are not engaged in the Golan Heights. This is the reason why Israel stays out of the conflict. However, if the Golan Heights is taken over by radical elements like ISIS, Israel will have no other choice other than to act.

Israel has a longstanding relationship with the Kurdish people. It has supported them for many years including during the time that the Kurds were fighting against President Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Relations between Israel and the Kurds have been very close and Kurdish leaders have visited Israel. Israel is determined to maintain this well-established relationship.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been improving and today there will be an exchange of Ambassadors between the two countries. This is a major step in cementing the alliance between Israel, Turkey, and the U.S. Turkey is a member of NATO and from this aspect the relationship between Israel and Turkey is very significant.

Share This