US President Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in March. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When you can’t lash out at the president of the United States who is the second-best target? The president of Turkey.
The ongoing Twitter war between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to be looked at within the context of the recent US decision to withdraw its forces from Syria. Why? Because President Donald Trump made that decision after a phone call with Erdogan.
Up until last week, there were many people in the United States and Israel who thought that President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t make a move without prior coordination
. The moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the American decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and the defunding of UNRWA, all gave a feeling that Israel and the US were in-step like never before. Daylight? Not between Netanyahu and Trump.
But then came Trump’s surprise decision last week to withdraw US military forces from Syria. For the first time in his two years in office, it seemed that not all was perfect in the US-Israel alliance. What particularly irked Israel was that Trump reportedly made the decision to pull out his military forces after speaking earlier this month with Erdogan.
This was the same Erdogan who on Saturday, said that Muslims would teach Israelis a lesson for beating Palestinian women and children even after they fall on the ground.Netanyahu responded on Twitter
: “Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel.”
In response, the Turkish foreign minister called Netanyahu “a cold-blooded killer.”
Netanyahu fired back: “I was just exposed to the daily trolling of the antisemitic dictator Erdogan,” he wrote on Twitter. “He [Erdogan] knows what a moral army is…as opposed to an army that massacres women and children in Kurdish villages and a state which, to my regret, is becoming more dictatorial day by day.”Why the fighting? There are a few reasons
. First, is that Erdogan simply cannot control his hatred of Israel. He regularly attacks the Jewish state, which just a few years ago, was one of Turkey’s closest allies. Sadly, Israeli-Turkish ties will never be what they once were as long as Erdogan, a blatant antisemite, remains in power.
The second reason might be connected to an attempt by both leaders to vie for influence over Trump. Netanyahu is trying to show Trump who Erdogan really is and how he cannot be trusted to help stabilize Syria. Erdogan’s attack on Israel on Saturday was nothing new but the timing – just a couple days after revelations that he and Trump had coordinated the Syria withdrawal – was perfect.
This way, Netanyahu doesn’t have to talk about Syria or even think about criticizing Trump. All he has to do is show the world who Erdogan really is: an antisemite who is blinded by his hatred for Israel.
If anyone thinks that Turkey or Erodgan will assume the mantle from the US and look after the interests of Israel or the West in Syria, they are wrong. All one has to do is look at the last 48 hours on Twitter. Erdogan is no ally. He cannot be trusted.
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