Experts: No military confrontation will be between Israel and Turkey

Politics Materials 2 June 2010 14:46 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 2 / Trend, U.Sadikhova /

Despite widening split in Turkey's relations with Israel, experts believe that the attack of the Israeli Navy on the international flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, will not lead to military confrontation between the former strategic allies.

"I don't expect a direct clash between the Israeli army and the Turkish army. But no doubt security relationships between Israel and Turkey will suffer enormously," Ahron Bregman, analyst of the Department of War Studies at King's College London told Trend by e-mail.

The military operation of the Israeli Navy against 600 international human rights activists from 14 countries, who planned to deliver ten thousand tons of humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip led to the death of 19 people, according to Turkish media, however the Israeli military services say the number of death is 10.

The Israeli special mission units angered the Turkish Government, which accused Israel of "international terrorism" and demanded the world community to make perpetrators responsible. However, Israel made organizers of a humanitarian convoy responsible for the deaths of the people, saying that the Israeli soldiers were forced to defend themselves against the activists' attacks.

Events on Monday provoked the biggest scandal in Turkey's relations with Israel, which, in spite of military cooperation, have worsened in the winter of 2009 when Israel carried out a 22-day military operation in Gaza against HAMAS members.

However, experts exclude the possibility that the tension in relations of Turkey and Israel will lead to a new military confrontation in the Middle East. Former Turkish intelligence analyst Mahir Kaynak doesn't believe that detention of the civilian ship by the Israeli authorities can cause hostilities with Turkey. "Israeli forces committed an act of injustice against the civilian ship, but it will never become a cause of military clashes [between Turkey and Israel]," Kaynak told Trend over telephone from Ankara.

Head of the leading Israeli analytical center Efraim Inbar agree with him. He believes that the events will completely put an end to the diplomatic relationship between the sides.

"I don't think that with this the government in Ankara it will be much military cooperation. Turkey wants to have contacts with all sides and I doubt very much that it will lead to the completely end - severe - of the relations," Profoessor Inbar, head of the Begin - Sadat Center for strategic studies in Tel Aviv told Trend over phone.

Expert on the Middle East of The City University in London Aran Amnon believes that it is still difficult to predict the next step in Turkey's relations with Israel because "the stakes are too high". "There is still quite significant security establishment in Turkey which still has close relationships with Israel. There are significant economical relations between Israel and Turkey, so the both sides are important for each other," Amnon told Trend over phone.

However, experts do not believe that relations between Turkey and Israel will be the same, and they will only become worse even if preserved formally.

The analyst of the King's College London Bregman believes that it will be very difficult to repair strategic alliance between the two countries, existing for many years.

"For many years there have been a strategic alliance between the two countries which included arms deals, training exercises and, of course Turkey has allowed the IAF to fly over its territories - but all of this is out of the window now. It will be very difficult to repair the damage," - Bregman said.

In October, Turkey abolished the international trainings "Anatolian Eagle", in which the Israeli Air Force was supposed to attend, and on Monday declared that the upcoming three military maneuver was also cancelled.

It is difficult to say at the moment what will be the next step in Turkey's elations with Israel. However, recall of the Turkish ambassador from Tel Aviv is an important in this process, Amnon believes.

"No doubt that yesterdays' event will further lead to the deterioration. Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv, and this may not be the last step," Amnon said.

According to him, number of Turkish citizens among the dead activists, who were on ships of the flotilla, can affect the further development of Turkish-Israeli relations.

Regarding military cooperation between the countries, Amnon considers difficult its continuation in the future.
"I think that we are going to see the downscaling of the military cooperation but also the downscaling in the intelligence cooperation," Amnon said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing in the Parliament on Monday, said that his country will never let try its patience and undermine efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

"Israel confused Turkey with other countries, but this mistake can cost it a lot," Erdogan said.

Erdogan called the attack on a civilian vehicle "an open terror" saying that Israel will never be able to "wash its hands from blood".

The Israeli Government's anonymous representative told Trend, that the weapons were on the board of the ships before the arrival of the Israeli Navy, and Israeli soldiers have been forced to defend themselves from attack of the activists, as a result of which two Israeli soldiers were injured.

R. Hafizoglu contributed to the article.