Israel And The Kurds: Time For Reassessment

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Israeli Predator Drone--used by NATO in Iraq and Aghanistan--and by Turkey against the Kurds.

Israeli Predator Drone--used by NATO in Iraq and Aghanistan--and by Turkey against the Kurds.

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not only become a laughing stock to everyone outside the Arab world, he has also become delusional.

On Wednesday, in what can only be described as a flabbergasting interview, Erdogan accused Israel of not honoring its military weapon agreements with Turkey: “There might be problems, you may not be speaking to each other, but you have to fulfill your responsibility under international agreements.”

Excuse me? First you attack Israel in every forum, expel the Israel ambassador, suspend military and trade agreements, announce plans to sue Israel in The Hague, threaten military action against Israel if Israel continues to drill for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus or does not permit Turkish warships to sail to Gaza, and now you blame Israel for not honoring military agreements?

Just as I blogged earlier this week, the truth is that in the military realm Turkey needs Israel more than Israel needs Turkey. In addition to having a number of advanced Israeli weapons systems (the specifications of which Turkey has apparently already passed to Iran), Turkey has purchased 10 Israeli Heron drone aircraft and leased an unknown number of Israeli spy planes. However, in the wake of Erdogan’s anti-Israel rants and pronouncements, the drones and planes sent from Turkey to Israel for maintenance have not been returned.

And why does Turkey need the weapons and planes? For hunting down the Kurds–who are caught in a pincer movement between Ankara and Tehran.

In your humble servant’s opinion, one of the most regrettable Israeli activities of recent years has been its ‘weapons participation’ in Turkey’s war against the Kurds–a war which Israel has taken to describing as “an internal Turkish affair.”

It is worth nothing that there are currently over 50,000 Kurdish-Israelis, most of whom came to Israel in the 1950s, and there is a long tradition dating back to Menachem Begin of Israel providing support to the Kurds. Israel has apparently forsaken this relationship in the futile name of currying Turkey’s favor in dealing with Iran and Syria.

Though I have no doubt that Israel will unfortunately make an accommodation with Turkey and return the drones and planes, this is an ideal moment to reassess Israel’s relationship with the Kurds.  If anyone deserves a homeland, the Kurds do. 


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