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Israel should consider whether to warn Israelis against traveling to Turkey Israel today

2021-11-14T21:26:39.215Z

The latest affair, in which an Israeli couple was arrested in Istanbul, points to the problematic relationship with Ankara • If Turkey insists on not resolving the crisis, Israel will have to change its attitude



Israel is trying to understand whether the harsh treatment of the Oknin couple arrested in Istanbul is a local matter, or a higher order.

This will largely determine the continuation of the case, and the chances of it ending soon.

The initial assessment in Israel was that it was the "raising of the head" of local elements that led to the arrest of the Israelis, and that the matter could be resolved quickly.

However, the court's decision not to deport them from Turkey but to extend their detention has also led to other assessments, according to which there are elements who are interested in taking advantage of the affair to create a deliberate political crisis with Israel.

This, among other things, is due to the decline in popularity of President Erdogan and his government, against the background of the economic situation in the country.

Meanwhile, Israel seeks to conduct behind-the-scenes efforts with Turkey.

This is also the reason why Prime Minister Bennett's instructed the ministers, yesterday, to maintain a low profile in the affair.

The understanding is that statements from the Israeli side will lead to counter-statements from the Turkish side and will make it difficult to reach agreements, and even worse - to harden positions in Turkey and place demands that Israel will have difficulty complying with.

Israel intends to continue at this stage in these quiet contacts, which also involve President Herzog - who spoke with President Erdogan immediately after his election - the Mossad and of course the Foreign Ministry.

Israel does not have a permanent ambassador to Ankara (and Turkey does not have an ambassador to Israel), but the existing dialogue mechanisms make it possible, given good will, to resolve the crisis without intensifying it.

However, Israel must prepare for the possibility that Turkey will choose the crisis path.

As mentioned, this may serve Erdogan in the internal arena, but also beyond: the Turks may demand a variety of changes - from status on the Temple Mount, through various issues related to Gaza, to gas-related issues and Israel's strategic ties with Greece and Cyprus - which Israel will not be able to respond to.

Those who will pay the price for this will be the couple.

In such a situation, Israel will be required to consider a change in its attitude towards Turkey.

The first step will have to be the declaration of Turkey as a dangerous destination for Israelis.

Just as the counter-terrorism headquarters does when there is a fear of terrorist attacks in various destinations, so the Foreign Ministry will be required to declare "dangerous to visit" a country where Israelis may be arrested on false pretenses and become bargaining chips.

The Oknin couple in Istanbul, Photo: From Facebook

The immediate consequence of such a move would be harm to Israeli tourism to Turkey.

At a time when world tourism is at a low ebb following the corona crisis, such a move will cost the Turks pocket money.

Further, Israel can also warn Israelis not to fly through Istanbul, which serves as an attractive base for various connecting flights of Turkish companies all over the world.

Such a move will also have economic consequences for Turkish companies, which see Israel as a strategic target.

Jerusalem is interested in avoiding such drastic measures.

Relations with Turkey have been very tense for many years, but so far the two countries have maintained a separation between the stalemate in political relations between them and the routine in economic relations.

But even if the affair comes to a successful and quick end, Israel should have a deep strategic discussion and ask itself what its future policy should be with Turkey.

Even before that, it must demand from Ankara guarantees for the safety and security of the Israelis who come to Turkey.

Until then, it is recommended that every Israeli do the obvious: stay away from troubles, and since Turkey is rife with them these days - stay away from Turkey.

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2021-11-14

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