‘Strange bedfellows’: Turkey and Israel playing precarious game for regional dominance

‘Strange bedfellows’: Turkey and Israel playing precarious game for regional dominance
If the reports of Israel carrying out a strike on Syria through Turkey are true it is tantamount to an act of war, journalist James Corbett told RT. Such a revelation has the potential to topple the Turkish regime that already stands on a knife edge.

Turkey has categorically denied any involvement in the alleged Israeli strike on a depot in the Syrian city of Latakia on July 5.

“If this, in fact, did take place this is a big move. I think it serves to show that Turkey has been playing a role in shaping what’s been happening in Syria for some time now,” James Corbett, editor of The Corbett Report told RT.

He stressed this could be a Turkish play for greater regional dominance and Turkey’s government is trying to see the political tea- leaves and read in which direction the political wind is blowing.”

Corbett suggested Turkey’s tactics could be a political game, pandering to the US and Israel and assisting them in waging war on Syria with a view to increasing their regional importance.

Syrian rebels head to the town of Bsankol in the northwestern province of Idlib to join comrades fighting regime forces for the control of the highway that connects Idlib with Latakia on July 11, 2013. (AFP Photo / Daniel Leal Olivas)

A source told RT that Israel used a Turkish military base to launch one of its recent airstrikes against Syria from the sea. The ramifications of an Israeli-Turkish alliance could be significant, argued Corbett, given the past animosity between the two countries following the killing of nine Turkish Gaza activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship by IDF forces in 2009.

“These types of extreme circumstances can create strange bedfellows and most people would not see Turkey and Israel getting into bed in a military operation.”

However, he noted that such an alliance would not be popular with the Turkish people and could be the death knell for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s regime in the wake of anti-government protests.

“If it were revealed they were complicit with Israel in attacking another Muslim nation that would be the type of thing that might actually topple the Erdogan government,” concluded Corbett.

‘Playing with fire’

Prior to the latest incident, Israel has reportedly carried out at least three strikes on Syrian territory. While the Israeli government has not confirmed its involvement it has reiterated its policy to prevent weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah on a number of occasions.

Historian and Middle East expert, Mark Almond told RT that Turkey “is playing with fire” because the broader context is not just Syria but also Iran.

“It [Turkey] could be a conduit for a potential airstrike into Iran through its own aspects. It would be much more difficult for the Iranians to detect something coming from Israel,” said Almond.

He went on to intimate that Israel could potentially use Turkey as a scapegoat in an attack on Iran.

“Even if the Israelis have plans to strike at Iran from a completely different direction the risk is that the Turks will be held responsible and Turkey could be drawn into a conflict.”

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has voiced his support of the Syrian rebels and called for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad a number of times. Turkey is also a member of the ‘Friends of Syria’ organization who pressure for more international aid to be given to the Syrian rebels.

Turkey has already seen its share of fallout from the Syrian conflict amid reports of rebels crossing the border and using Turkey as a platform to launch attacks against the Assad regime.