Turkey Israel Relations

Hausarbeit, 2012
22 Seiten, Note: 1,3



1. Introduction

2. The Relation between Turkey and Israel
2.1 Historical Development of the Relations
2.2 Economic Relations
2.3 Military and Security Cooperation
2.4 Diplomatic Relations and the Palestine-conflict

3. Current Developments - The Gaza-Flotilla Conflict

4. The US-American relation to Turkey and Israel and the American Perspective on the deteriorating relations
4.1. Turkey-US relations
4.2. U.S.-Israelian relations
4.3. American Perspective on the deteriorating relations

5. Conclusion


- List of abbreviations
- bibliography

1. Introduction

On 31.12.1991, for the first time after more than ten years, Turkey and Israel established full diplomatic relations again. This marks the beginning of a mainly through the expansion of economic and military cooperation characterized strategic partnership. Military, strategic and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel were accorded high priority by both countries, which shared common concerns to the regional instabilities in the Middle East.1 In 2000 the former Israeli Ambassador in Turkey Alon Liel said: "Today we can say that the relationship between Turkey and Israel have never been better."2

But currently the bilateral relations reached a new low point. The deterioration of bilateral relations between the two countries goes back to a chronology of events in which the Israeli army raid on the Gaza flotilla on May 31 of last year, where nine Turkish activists were killed, represents the inglorious climax.3 International protests, but also domestic protests in Turkey by the civil society, diplomatic attempts to solve the requisition, the withdrawal of the Turkish ambassador from Israel to Ankara and the suspension of all bilateral military agreements were the result.

The recent events are the result of an “off and on”- diplomatic relations of Turkey and Israel, which are in essential foreign policy or strategic issues often of contrary opinion. Their different positions regarding the Palestine-Conflict often had a straining impact on the relation.

In the submitted term paper, I would like to discuss the relationship between the two states at the levels of economic, military and diplomatic relationship and illuminate the points of conflict within the relationship.

The main focus should then be considered within the current development of bilateral relations, starting with the Gaza Flotilla Raid and thus the beginning of the deteriorating relations. Following up the American relationship to the two states and the American view on the currently difficult relationship is supposed to be shown.

2. The Relations between Turkey and Israel

2.1 Historical Development of the Relation

The Israel-Turkey relations were formalized in March 1949 when Turkey became the first Muslim majority country to recognize the State of Israel after their declaration of Independence in Mai 1948.4 Since then the relationship between the two countries was characterized by a constant ebb and flow. As a result of domestic pressures and a growing dependence on oil and gas Turkey approached the Arab states in the 1970s. Because of the Oil crises in 1973 and 1979 Turkey was very depended by foreign energy imports and was exposed by the pressure of the regional neighbors.5 After Israel declared Jerusalem as the undividable capital by a constitutional law on 30.07.1980 Turkey froze its diplomatic relations with Israel on the 26.11.1980.6

The resumption of full diplomatic relations took place on Turkish initiative on the 31.12. 1991. As a consequence positive relation in the areas of military, economic, political and partly cultural cooperation developed between the two countries, not least boosted by the intermediary roles ascribed by each other.7 So was it often possible for Turkey, due to Israel’s contacts, to get convenient credits and Turkey is increasingly acting as an intermediary state between Israel and the Muslim world. As examples one can refer to the efforts of Israel to get Turkey convenient credits for the continuation of its Southeastern Anatolia Project (Turkish: Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, GAP), on the other hand, the Turkish role as a mediator between Israelis and Palestinian in implementing the Erez-industrial project in the northern part of the Gaza strip.8 The main reasons for the expansion of relations were mutual interests basically in the fields of economy and security.

In the years 1992 to 1994 state visits held at the highest level were therefore characterized mainly by the signing of framework agreements to deepen the economic, military, political and cultural cooperation.9 In its formation phase the developing partnership benefited from the major progresses in the peace process between Israel and Palestine (1993), and between Israel and Jordan (1994).10

2.2 Economic Relations

The economic dimension of the Turkish-Israeli relations is primarily characterized by the successful institutionalization of the economic relations. Thus, in March 1993 the Turkish-Israeli Business Council was launched and its task is the coordination of the concerns of the private sector of both countries.11 Furthermore, on 14.03.1996 a double taxation and free trade agreement was signed.12 The latter came into force in 1997 and contributed significantly to the improvement of bilateral trade. Thus the trade balance between the two countries has increased almost six-times in the years 1997 to 2008.13

Turkey exported agricultural products and textiles among others and Israel revealed by the cooperation large parts of their needs in the field of irrigation systems or armors. An illustrative example of the conditions of this intensive economic cooperation, which is also strongly influenced by foreign policy interests, the building of the GAP.

The Middle East is primarily characterized by his wealth of oil and gas but also by a lack of water. This region is forecast to follow the decrease per capita amount of fresh water available until the year 2050 by 50%, with the Turkish neighbors Syria and Iraq being worst affected by future developments.14 In 1980 Turkey overpassed its mainly for power generation projects on the Tigris and Euphrates in the GAP. This project is being implemented in the northern Mesopotamian region which is mainly inhabited by Kurds.

In the region 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants are supposed to guarantee the Turkish water supply and to cover the rising Turkish energy demand and reduce the enormous cost of energy imports.15 In the long term the aim is to enlarge the export of agricultural products and energy. The expansion of the infrastructure should be followed by the development of the region for tourism.

The project is targeted to create around 3, 8 million new jobs, which could lead to a socio-economic solution to the Kurdish problem. The annual revenue from energy production, agriculture and industry is estimated to the amount of 17.1 billion U.S. dollars, which could cover a substantial part of Turkey's trade deficit.16

In addition, Turkey expects in the case of the termination of water use disputes with Syria and Iraq annual revenues of € 16, U.S. $ 39 billion by exporting water.17 A fully realized GAP would be of immense importance at the international level due to economic, political and strategic aspects and also because of geo-strategic factors in the Middle East.

The completion of the project would effect a not to be underestimated strategic growth and political power in the Middle East for Turkey.18 The water as well as the energy of the GAP could be exploited by Turkey for the enforcement of its foreign policy interests. Nevertheless, the enforcement or the completion of the CAP is characterized by many different problems. Since the GAP contravenes international water rights it is possible for countries such as Iraq and Syria to block loans of foreign banks or institutions such as the World Bank.19 Furthermore the unsolved Kurdish problem in the region keeps foreign private investors away.

Unlike other Arab countries, Israel has no distanced attitude towards the GAP project and Turkey. In international organizations like the EU or the UN, Israel always argues in favor of Turkey and the project and the Israeli lobby tried loans in international financial circles.20

And Israeli private investors and companies are investing for years in the GAP region. As Israel suffers from water shortage, it has developed irrigation and agricultural technologies, which are of worldwide demand. Israel has tremendous experience in this field, which is valuable for the implementation of the GAP project in light of the envisaged increase in agricultural production.21 Further Israel is a potential buyer of Turkish water. So in 2004 Israel signed a 20-year contract for the supply of 50 million cubic meters annually.22

Furthermore, the construction of a pipeline called MedStream from the Turkish Ceyhan to the Israeli city of Haifa is planned, which will cover the Israeli demand and the water requirements of other Middle East countries.23 Since Israel takes action in many conflicts of the region for the last decades, in which among other things the water issue is an important aspect, the state sees in the realization of this Turkish project not just a backup of water demand, but also an opportunity for conflict resolution or - reduction with states such as Syria and Jordan, as currently Israel applies about 85% of its water from the occupied territories like the strategically important Golan Heights.24 The construction of the GAP could undermine the water withdrawal on the Golan Heights and so compensate and mitigate the conflict. The close economic cooperation between the two countries reflects therefore not only economic interests but is also an important determinant of foreign policy cooperation between the two countries.

2.3 Military and Security Cooperation

The beginning of the military and security cooperation can be dated to the year 1994, when Israeli President Weizman visited Ankara with a delegation of business representatives.25


1 The BBC: World: Middle East Analysis: Middle East's 'phantom alliance' <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/281909.stm> (opened: 02.01.2012, 17:20).

2 Liel, Alon: Israel und die Türkei, Eine besondere Beziehung, in: International Politik, Edition 11/2000, p. 31.

3 The Guardian: Israel and Turkey: sailing into choppy waters <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/04/israel-turkey-relations-gaza-blockade>, (opened: 05.01.2012, 12:45).

4 Wolfssohn, Michael, Israel. Geschichte, Politik, Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, 7th Edition, Munich:2007, p.26.

5 Liel, Alon, Die strategische Partnerschaft zwischen der Türkei und Israel, in: Jahrbuch für internationale Sicherheit 2001, p. 59.

6 Liel, Alon, Die strategische Partnerschaft zwischen der Türkei und Israel, in: Jahrbuch für internationale Sicherheit 2001, p. 51.

7 Akkaya, Cigdem, Özbek Yasemin, Sen Faruk. Länderbericht Türkei, Darmstadt:1998, p.121.

8 Hurriyet Daily News: Erez project progressing with growing support <http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=erez-project-progressing-with-growing- support-2005-09-29>, (opened: 04.01.2012, 13: 48).

9 Liel, Alon, Die strategische Partnerschaft zwischen der Türkei und Israel, in: Jahrbuch für internationale Sicherheit 2001, p. 60.

10 Der Spiegel: Israelisch-Jordanischer Friede <http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,176431,00.html>, (openend: 04.01.2012, 13: 45).

11 Turkish-Israel Buisness Council: About us < http://www.israel-turkey.org/?categoryId=71187> , opened: 04.01.2012, 14: 12).

12 Israelian Ministry of Fincances: <http://www.finance.gov.il/hachnasot/turkey_eng.pdf >, opened: (04.01.2011, 14:10 Uhr).

13 Israel Central Bureau of Statistics: Archives < http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/archive/archive_e_new.html>, opened (04.01.2012, 15: 33).

14 Günes, Ergin: Die regionale Großmachtpolitik der Türkei und das südostanatolische Projekt GAP <http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/7617/>, (opened: 04.01.2012, 16: 26), p.44.

15 Steinbach, Udo, Auf dem Weg zu einer wettbewerbsfähigen Volkswirtschaft. Die Türkei, in: Informationen zur politischen Bildung, Edition No.277, Bonn: 2002, P. 51.

16 Günes, Ergin: Die regionale Großmachtpolitik der Türkei und das südostanatolische Projekt GAP <http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/7617/>, (opened: 04.01.2012, 16: 26), P.45.

17 ibid. p. 45.

18 ibid. p. 2.

19 ibid. S. 37.

20 ibid. S. 218.

21 Günes, Ergin: Die regionale Großmachtpolitik der Türkei und das südostanatolische Projekt GAP <http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/7617/>, (opened: 04.01.2012, 16: 26), P.218.

22 Israel-Asia Center: Mid-East turmoil should not block MedStream pipeline < http://www.israelasiacenter.org/#/medstream-article/4533054407>, (opened: 10.01.2012, 13:19).

23 Günes, Ergin: Die regionale Großmachtpolitik der Türkei und das südostanatolische Projekt GAP <http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/7617/>, (opened: 04.01.2012, 16: 26), P.218

24 Ibid. S. 218.

25 Kogan, Eugene, Cooperation in the Israeli-Turkish Defense Industry, in: Middle East Series, Edition No.05/43, Watchfield: 2005, p.1.

Ende der Leseprobe aus 22 Seiten


Turkey Israel Relations
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
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turkey, israel, relations
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Anonym, 2012, Turkey Israel Relations, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/194872


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