Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

What’s this Israel allergy?

For so many years I’ve been following our society’s perception, ups and downs but never encountered such weirdness. The weirdness I’m talking about is that we are facing hostility toward Israel, whether you call it an Israel complex or allergy.

You might even call it a suspicion to the extent of paranoia.

We need not go very far.

During the land mines argument, without a formal identification and without being a candidate for the job, it was talked about making a present for Israel on the border. The weird part is that this was argued all over the country very seriously as if all allegations were true. During the land mines session, Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy, who came to meet with the CHP’s Şahin Mengü over a totally different issue, caused the media to all of a sudden put a headline that read, "Israel besieged parliament."


This was not the case before.

Even if it is not said aloud and openly in this society, people have admired a small country beating the huge Arab world in each war it was involved in and creating a paradise amid the desert.

And during this period Turkey would call the Palestinian rebels "terrorists," just like the Americans did. Israel’s intervention in terror events were also seen favorably back then. Even Israel occupying Lebanon, or sending Palestinians into exile would not have attracted that much attention.

But the situation changed within one or two years.

I researched the reason and found the following basic data:

The reflection of reactions from the international public in the Turkish media against Israel’s brisk and stiff treatment of Palestinians. The spreading of images via TV of especially the ferocious intervention during the recent Gaza operation, that caused people’s deep reaction and a feeling of "that’s enough now." The incredible increase of books and articles or TV shows in Turkey regarding Sabataizm and all conspiracy theories including either this group or Israel indirectly. Nationalists in all international events and the pious in respect to religion spoiled the image of Israel. Despite the fact that the AKP does not take on a negative attitude toward Israel, on the contrary the prime minister shows special sensitivity, local administrations are not able to avoid taking on an anti-Israel attitude, which stirs from their roots in the national view and is deep in their genes. the impact of the "one minute" argument between our prime minister and Israeli President Peres in Davos.

Of course this list may be prolonged but this is a general outline.

So what will happen now?

Turkey’s benefits require close relations with Israel

There is some good in being concerned about it, for if we continue like this, Jewish citizens will be affected by the negative atmosphere and a process of abandoning Turkey will start. Even now speaking to Jewish friends you can feel their unease.

They say, "You still perceive us as the others." They never used to show such reaction before. They have started to talk about an estranging environment.

Turkey for the sake of long-term benefits needs to keep good relations with Israel and embrace its Jewish citizens.

Changing the course of things depends on governments in Turkey as well as on Israel’s attitude, meaning that not everything depends on us.

As long as Israel continues its approach to Palestine it won’t be able to fix its image that persists everywhere in the world. Basically, Israel needs to take important steps. Israel will pushed into a more difficult position with each passing day if it exercises politics that repeat what happened in Gaza, or if it enlarges its territory, or if it does not acknowledge Palestinian rights, or if it decreases Palestinian territory.

Governments ruling Turkey need to see how dangerous this course for them. The prime minister, as the sole determiner of politics needs to make symbolic gestures to win the hearts of Jewish citizens and stay away from brisk reactions. Turkey and Israel are both secular and democratic countries in the region. They are obligated to appreciate each other’s suggestions and live together without hurting each other.