‘Turkey’s deal with the devil’: Will Israel’s accusations finally trigger reaction from West?

Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon © Carolyn Kaster
The Israeli defense minister’s accusation that ISIS is being funded with Turkish money might make more noise than the same accusation by Moscow, since Israel is listened to in the US and Europe, says Catherine Shakdam, a political commentator on the Middle East.

RT: What international reaction do you expect to the allegations by Israel and Greece?

Catherine Shakdam: I think it is going to carry very far and very quickly. And only because Israel is listened to, especially in the US and Europe, I would expect that this statement would make a lot more noise than the same statement that came, e.g. from Moscow in November and December when people were alleging that this was politically motivated and that it didn’t have much weight following the downing of the Russian jet over Syria. And so I think that this time it would really carry and have a lot of weight when it comes to political and diplomatic repercussions against Turkey. And I think that now we will see something actually happen against Ankara where President Erdogan will be asked to respond to those accusations in a more pronounced manner. It is not just going to be brushed under the rug this time. I think it is going to be spoken about and talked about and really looked at carefully. This is not the first time that those allegations are surfacing. And they have been proven already. I think it is time today for the internationally community to really take a good hard look to what it is doing. And I think what is happening today in the terms of the refugee crisis and all the horror surfacing from the Middle East people are starting to realize that aiding and abating Wahhabi terrorists is actually not working for them anymore.

RT: Both Israel and Turkey are close allies of the US. Do you think Washington is trapped between a rock and a hard place here?

CS: Yes, I think that if supporting Wahhabism worked short-term when it came to trying to get a foothold in the Middle East and justify military interventionism, it is not doing it anymore. Wahhabi have become a political liability. And people are waking up. You have to realize that officials in Washington and in Europe have to answer to their people as well. The truth is out there, quite clearly. People can see for themselves Wahhabi are essentially responsible for what is happening on the ground. Now you see the political class trying to really answer to those realities … I think that Turkey is being a scapegoat here. Let’s be clear. If you really want to go to the front and head of Wahhabism you would have to look at Saudi Arabia. Turkey now is first in line. It is a message that things are changing. You need to understand this as well as the return of Iran on the international scene. And Iran has exerted extreme pressure on its partners in the region as well as Washington in Europe trying to really change the balance and the dynamics when it came from foreign policies. They want to see Wahhabism gone. They want to see radicalism gone. And I think that Turkey is just going to be the first domino to fall to this kind of new realignment in this new real effort against terrorism.

RT: Turkey says it has been working on sealing its border with Syria for months now. Why is it proving so difficult?

CS: Maybe because they left them open for too long and that it is too late…When you pretty much make a deal with the devil, it kind of comes to collect. And now it is collecting time for Ankara. And I think that they honestly believe that that could control radicals and that radicals would not get out of hand. You look at Afghanistan and what happened what happened with Al-Qaeda. You can’t play with terror. Terror will come back to haunt you. And that is exactly what is happening to Ankara. Turkey tried to play the game and thought they could wield terrorism as you would a weapon and that they would manage to score some political and geopolitical points in the Middle East. And now it is backfiring against them…Because first of all they opened themselves up, their society to terror as we have seen in the past few months. They created a wedge between them and the Kurdish population which means that national security is being threatened, people are deeply unhappy because of repression and injustice. And now they are facing international wrath because they made a deal with the wrong people. You can’t deal with terror and expect that there would be no fallout or repercussion. Their policies have been tainted now. And that it would be impossible for anyone in the region to trust anything that is coming out of Ankara today. And only because they decided to align themselves with terrorism and by the association now they have become a terror state. And I think that Washington now is slowly trying to disentangle itself from those friendship and relationships in the region and to maybe rewrite history.

NATO is Turkey’s guarantee

Accusations voiced by the Israeli minister are a clear sign that Israel wants Turkey “to be for once straight-forward in their position concerning terrorism,” says foreign affairs analyst Boaz Bismuth.   

“Let’s not forget two things that are important. First of all, the place where those accusations were made and also the timing. The place is – Greece. There is a historical competition between Turkey and Greece. And when Israel does that – it is a sign towards Turkey: “If you are not our friends, we have other friends in the region.” The second thing that is very important - the timing…Ankara is sending messages that they would like to calm down the tension between Israel and Turkey. This tension started in 2009-2010: Davos, first, and then with the Marmora [ship]. And now we understand perfectly those signs coming from Turkey. And I think those accusations are clear and it is very strong sign from Israel towards Turkey, demanding Turkey be for once straight-forward in their position concerning terrorism,” he told RT.

Now Israel, Russia and Greece have accused Turkey of dodgy deals with ISIS.

However, it still does not mean other countries will join in, the analyst says.

“Turkey has a certain kind of guarantee…Why they can permit themselves to act as they did in recent years on the one hand being with the West or fighting terrorism, and on the other hand contributing to the increasing strength of ISIS? Because they belong to NATO. So, for them it is like a guarantee – they always know that they will have a backup. Plus let’s not forget that those within the American administration were always on the Turkish side,” said Bismuth.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.