Israeli Elections: Turkey used to hope Netanyahu loses, now what?

Turkey would issue a statement that saw a settlement with Israel if replaced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ankara had high hopes for this in 2019 and 2020 when it emerged that Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party could emerge winning. Turkey’s “settled” messages have always been one-sided. They wanted to entice Israel to condemn Jerusalem’s close allies in Athens and Nicosia.

Last year as Israel moved towards a pipeline deal with Cyprus and Greece and tried to enter a new Mediterranean Gas Forum, Turkey was given impetus. If it could influence a few voices in Israel it may be able to reduce the ties that Israel was showing. But Turkey was disappointed and frustrated by the goals. The AK ruling AK Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been one of the most hostile to Israel in the world. Hosting Hamas terrorists and threatening to sever ties with the UAE over the new Abraham Accords, he has tried to isolate Israel. Netanyahu is well aware of this and has stood by Erdogan several times.

Turkey still has fantasies about playing a major role in Palestinian affairs. He wants to promote Hamas in the West Bank and have a place in Jerusalem. He also wanted in the past to even make a treaty between Israel and Syria. A lot has changed now. Israel and Turkey moved rapidly apart under Erdogan, especially after the 2009 war and Mavi Marmara’s relationship.

Today ‘s elections do not promise Ankara much. Ankara has been singing the reconciliation song again, but mostly with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In December 2020, he tried again to defeat Israel, seeing Ankara’s close ally in Trump leave office, he knew he would be lonely. But Ankara’s choice for a new ambassador to Israel has been rejected and Ankara’s moves turn from sugar to salt as he moves on from Israel to try to attract Egypt and others. Yet Ankara has reduced its astronomy and Hamas leaders have not had a carpet since the summer of 2020.

Ankara’s lack of interest in Israel’s elections this time off can be judged by its lack of state media coverage. There are no pieces of analysis, no opeds, and no in-depth reports. There seems to be a lack of interest as Ankara can read the election map and expects more of the same from Israel. Once a close friend, Turkey has become very hostile in recent years. This is driven by the government’s growing authoritarian methods, shutting down emergency media and opposing members. Turkey sees itself as the new leader of Islamic countries and is trying to work closely with Qatar, Hamas, Malaysia, Pakistan, and others. It goes against Abraham’s treaties and has opposed normalization with Israel, even though Turkey still has ties to Israel.

Ankara’s dreams of finding a new Israeli Prime Minister were made possible by trying to make some sort of “reshuffle”. This is a long way from the days when Ankara would meet with the Syrian regime and then talk to Israel about what he had learned. Back in January 2004 when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Turkey Ankara apparently pressured Syria on a number of issues of importance to Israel. She urged Syria to stop supporting terrorist groups against Israel and according to foreign diplomatic cables even raised the question of accounting for missing and dead Israeli citizens in Syria and Lebanon . “Talks like this reveal that there was a time when Ankara’s regime was less strong against Israel and played a helpful role in peace, rather than trying to strengthen Israel’s friendship with Greece and the Gulf damage.