“Turkey asserts independence from Israel, NATO”

“Turkey asserts independence from Israel, NATO”
October 11 & 12, 2009
     Turkey’s exclusion of Israel from a planned NATO military exercise is being reported as the latest sign of bilateral tensions over Operation Lead Cast, Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip last December. The US and Italy withdrew from the “Anatolian Eagle” exercise, leading to its cancellation (CNN, Al Jazeera). Jerusalem, which recently denied Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu access to the Gaza Strip from Israeli territory, called Ankara’s decision a “blow to NATO, European and American interests” and urged NATO states to discuss the matter with Ankara (Haaretz). Israel is a major arms supplier for Turkey, but Israeli officials are now reviewing future sales of advanced weapon systems (United Press International).
     Christopher Torchia writes that Ankara now has “enough clout to spar…with its NATO partners” and is demonstrating its unwillingness to side with either the West or Muslim states. Israeli analysts are concerned that Turkey’s growing assertiveness is leading to a shift toward Iran, but Torchia argues that Turkey still values its ties with the West and remains concerned over Iran’s nuclear program. Huseyin Bagci argues that although Ankara is pursuing a “double-faced policy” and aims to “become the consciousness of the Middle East,” its ties with Jerusalem remain “business as usual” (Associated Press).
CNN | Al Jazeera | Haaretz | United Press International | Associated Press

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