Turkey to move closer to Israel after easing tensions with the Emirates

Erdogan looks to Tel Aviv and Cairo as next foreign policy targets


Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still trying to regain territory lost in recent years with regional powers. Disputes with the United Arab Emirates have caused significant tension between Abu Dhabi and Ankara, although the recent trip of the capital's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, to Turkish territory has reportedly softened relations between the two countries. Erdogan himself has assured that 'just as a step was taken between us and the United Arab Emirates, we will take similar steps with others', referring to Israel, but without ever losing sight of Egypt.

The Turkish president has hinted at the possible return of ambassadors to these countries. Ottoman foreign policy management has not been as conducive as possible to winning allies. Indeed, if Erdogan's government needs to regain support now, it is because it has been losing it through aggressive measures and controversial ties with terrorist organisations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered by the US and the EU. It is precisely these ties that have led to a rift with the government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which Ankara now hopes to regain by distancing itself from the Brotherhood.

PHOTO/ARCHIVE - Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

"Now, when we have made our decision, we will of course be in a position to appoint ambassadors within a definite timetable", Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, referring to the return of ambassadors to Israel and Egypt. Despite the Turkish president's abundant criticism of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, he hopes to bring back closer ties that began to drift apart in 2018 with the withdrawal of the Turkish ambassador from Israel after the killing of protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Recently, Turkish security forces detained an Israeli couple for photographing Erdogan's palace. Mordy and Natali Oknin, bus drivers from the city of Modiin, were accused of espionage and held for eight days. Israel said the charges against them were "ridiculous" and they were released after it was established that they were bus drivers who were there on holiday. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked the Turkish leader for his personal involvement and "praised the lines of communication between the two countries, which were efficient and discreet in times of crisis".


In any case, if the Turkish government's real goal is to form a strong alliance with Israel, the president would do well to mince his words when discussing the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. "We must work with all our might to preserve the status and sanctity of Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine. The main thing is the establishment of lasting peace and stability on the basis of a two-state solution and established international parameters," Erdogan said in a speech referring to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to local media reports.

At the same time, however, he said that his country's talks with Bennett's country could be very productive for both and that they would work to strengthen ties between them. Just as they want to do with Cairo, although the rift between Egypt and Turkey goes back further to 2013, when the government of Mohamed Morsi, supported by the Turkish regime, was overthrown. After that, the respective ambassadors were expelled, creating a rift that has not been able to be bridged again, not least because of the ties that still bind Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Muslim Brotherhood.