Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar praised the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey which was signed today. "Renewal of diplomatic ties without removing the Gaza blockade is the greatest strategic move," he said.
"Through tactical negotiations, we have reached reconciliation with a regional power. We have paid a high price [by not insisting on the return of] the bodies of the IDF soldiers killed in action or the Israeli civilian being held in Gaza. However today Israel and Turkey share common interests, especially against ISIS and the growing power of Iran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon."
According to Kedar, this is the first time that Erdogan recognized the State of Israel. "From the viewpoint of political Islam the Jews have no right to a state, but must live under Islamic rule. Until now Erdogan was able to claim that the relations between Turkey and Israel were a continuation of the policies of the previous government. However now he himself has renewed diplomatic ties with Israel."
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Kedar claimed that the warming ties between Israel and Russia forced Erdogan into reconciliation with Israel. "The complicated situation between [Erdogan] and Russia after the downing of the Russian plane created a major crisis. They [Turkey and Russia] share a common border and the Russians stopped supplying Turkey with gas. The warming of relations between Moscow and Israel forced Erdogan even further into a corner. He understood that he could allow Israel to receive international support while he remained the sole ally of Gaza."
There is no doubt that the agreement with Israel is a major blow to the Hamas terrorist organization. "[Hamas] feel that he [Erdogan] has stabbed them in the back," said Kedar. "He has renewed diplomatic relations with us even though Israel will not remove the blockade of Gaza. I don't imagine that [Hamas] will speak about this because right now they are doing damage control. They are too poor and under too much pressure and they won't want to stand up to Erdogan who can be very unpredictable."
With regard to the return of the bodies of the soldiers killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, Kedar feels that the response has been slightly exaggerated. "I think that it is slightly disingenuous [to link it to the Turkey deal]. Israel is almost the only country in the world that has the ability to put pressure on Hamas. Every day we allow the importation of food, fuel, medicine and building materials into Gaza. Yet we do so without receiving the bodies back. Why do we not [force Hamas to return the bodies] ourselves?