Dec 13 2017

Turkish populism over Israel is purely political – Deutsche Welle

There is little risk that recent populist moves and statements by senior Turkish officials about Israel will be allowed to jeopardise the thriving commercial relationship between the two Middle Eastern states, the German news agency Deutsche Welle said.

"Turkish exports to Israel have continued to grow over the last several years. They were at about $2.5 billion in 2016,” it quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top economic advisor Hatice Karahan as saying. “In the first 10 months of this year, Turkish exports to Israel have already gone up another 14 percent."

The two countries have plans to create a large system of pipelines called Med Stream for the exchange of electricity, natural gas, crude oil, and water, the agency said.

While a string of events have led Turkey’s political perspective on Israel to turn sharply negative, the commercial benefits of the bilateral relationship have not been politicised, Deutsche Welle said.

“Erdoğan has been pitching himself as the ‘saviour’ of the persecuted and maligned in the Muslim world for some time,” it quoted Kristian Brakel, the Turkey head of German Green Party-linked think-tank the Heinrich Böll Foundation as saying.

“That is a pretty easy sell when it comes to Jerusalem, and works especially well in that instance because the subject has a special place in the hearts of many Muslims."