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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaTurkey and Israel: Changing Patterns of Alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey and Israel: Changing Patterns of Alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean

Author: Kıvanç Ulusoy

Affiliation: Istanbul University

Organization/Publisher: Taylor and Francis Online 

Date/Place: April 22, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Article 

Number of Pages: 17


Keywords: Alliance, Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Israel 


The article focuses on the changing trends of Turkey and Israel’s relations in the post-cold war era along with the alliance shift in the Eastern Mediterranean. The new alliances of Russia, China, and the EU have challenged the United States’ power and presence in the region. The author argues that Turkey was in search of a new role in the post-Cold War era that would respond to its security concerns regarding PKK which was operating in Syria and Iraq. Turkey and Israel signed a series of agreements from economic cooperation to university exchange which later expanded to a free trade agreement. The trade volume between them increased from more than 90 million dollars in 1989; more than 600 million dollars in 1997 and further expanded to 2 billion dollars in 2000.  In 1998, Israeli arms sales to Turkey since the beginning of the decade reached 1 billion dollars including the largest deal worth 630 million dollars approved in December 1996 to upgrade Turkey’s fifty-four F4 Phantoms. The author mentioned that the controversies which arose in a short period were eminent and from two landmark occasions. The first was the good will gesture visit of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in May 2005. The second was his accusation of Israel for crimes against humanity at the Davos World Economic Forum in January 2009 because of its Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), the 22 day military assault against Gaza. The tension between Israel and Turkey further intensified with the impact of the Arab Spring along with the geopolitical changes arising from the discovery of large natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. The author concludes that the Arab Spring showed that the historical roots and linkages are there to stay, and could gain momentum when confronted with an attractive model of society and politics, presented reasonably. 

By: Razia Wadood, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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