Middle East News Newsline, http://www.menewsline.com.
WASHINGTON [MENL] — For the first time, Egypt and Turkey have formed what could become an alliance against Israel, a report said.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said two U.S. allies in the Middle East were forming a partnership that could result in war against Israel. In a report, the institute said that Turkey, for the first time since 1949, has become hostile toward the Jewish state.
“For the first time, the two major states of the eastern Mediterranean are aligning against Israel,” the report, titled “Could Israel and Turkey Go to War?” said. “This is the most important shift in Levantine politics since Camp David or even since 1949 when Turkey recognized Israel.”
Authored by analyst Soner Cagaptay, the report said Israel could no longer expect a stable neighbor in Egypt. At the same time, Turkey was said to have been transformed into a belligerent state similar to Egypt under then-President Gamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Now Turkey and Israel are at dangerously opposing ends of Levantine politics,” the report said. “Not only is Ankara no longer a trusted friend of Israel, but it has also begun to emerge as the key regional actor opposing Israel.”
Cagaptay, director of the Turkish research program at the institute, said Israel faces a “uniquely threatening security environment.” He said Ankara was attempting to intimidate Israel with threats to use the Turkish Navy to escort missions to the Gaza Strip.
“What if the Israelis decide to stop the next Turkish Navy-escorted flotilla as they stopped the Turkish-backed flotilla in 2010?” the report asked. “Will the Turkish Navy ships choose to react? As chilling as this scenario sounds, it is not unlikely. If the two countries fail to slow the escalating situation, they could well find themselves in conflict.”
Another potential conflict zone was Israeli exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. The report said Ankara has sought to block the exploration to prevent a precedent by the Greek-dominated Republic of Cyprus.
“The latest escalation between Turkey and Israel might just pour oil on the political flames of gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea,” the report said.
Cagaptay, a Turkish national, said the Egyptian-Turkish alliance could be cemented in wake of elections in Egypt in the fall of 2011. The expectation was that the Muslim Brotherhood would win both parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt and force the military to reduce ties with Israel.
“This new balance is a serious threat for Israel, which must now consider an increasingly hostile Turkey and an ever colder and unfriendly Egypt when it evaluates its security environment,” the report said.