Jerusalem: – Israeli Defence Minister Beni Gantz warned that Turkey is the destabilising power, in the Middle East saying ‘Turkey along with Iran are creating obstacles in the peace process in the Middle East and instead encouraging conflicts in the region. The Turkish activities in the Mediterranean Sea and northern Syria, interference in Libya and the links with Hamas terrorists in Palestine, are all the matters depriving the Middle East of stability.’ At the same time, he also claimed that Turkey being a member of NATO complicates the matters further. A few days ago, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, had incited Israel with his statement that Jerusalem belonged to Turkey, referring to the Ottoman empire. Against this background, the criticism showered by the Israeli Defence Minister becomes significant.
In the last two months, Israel created a stir by establishing diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, both Arab countries. This Israeli action is considered to be a step towards the formation of a front, of the Middle East countries, against Iran. Turkey, along with Iran, has strongly opposed these developments and threatened Israel. The statement made by the Turkish President in the parliament regarding Jerusalem, the Israeli capital, and the stand taken on the Palestine issue, is a part of the same opposition. Israel had refused to give a knee jerk reaction on the statements. But Defence Minister Gantz seems to have aptly retaliated, by targeting Turkey in the press conference with Arab journalists.
The press conference was organised by the group ‘Arab Council for Regional Integration’. At this time, Defence Minister Gantz claimed that the peace agreements signed by Israel, with the Arab countries are vital for peace with Palestine. He made an accusation the Turkey and Iran have become active to ensure that this does not happen. While pointing towards the aggressive Turkish activities, he pointed out that Turkey is a member of NATO.
The Israeli Defence Minister warned ‘The issues regarding Turkey get complicated as Turkey is a member of NATO. Therefore, the International community needs to consider all the available options. The Turkish actions are direct support for terrorism. If Turkey has to be stopped from treading that path, pressure has to be exerted on the international level.’
Over last year, Turkish President Erdogan is taking an aggressive stand on the Middle East issues. Turkey, who has increased cooperation with Iran, has also initiated steps towards becoming a nuclear power. While Israel is increasing its cooperation with the Arab countries, Turkey is increasing its closeness with the terrorist groups in Palestine. At the same time, the Turkish interference in Syria and Libya and its activities against Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea, are increasing the instability in the region. The Israeli Defence Minister pointing to them becomes significant.