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Sat, Nov 5, 2011 | By Florian Druckenthaner

Picture from the early 90s where a young Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front left) in the role as imam during islamic prayer together with necmettin erbakan (background left).


Turkey: in between Political Islam and the Military

The impact of Turkey’s domestic policies on Turkish-Israeli relations during the governments of prime minister Erbakan and Erdogan.

This paper analyses the role that Turkey’s domestic policies plays in its relations with Israel under two governments which both have been associated with the Islamic movement, the government of prime minister Necmettin Erbakan in the 1990s and the current government under Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The current crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations which started two years ago after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, has received international media attention and inspired political analysts in the West to repeatedly ask the same question: Does Turkey still remain in the Western camp? This essay approaches the issue from the viewpoint of Turkey’s domestic policies. It analyses the impact of domestic dynamics on its relations with Israel during the current AKP government and the RP led government in the 1990s and suggests that domestic developments in Turkey play a major role in its relationship with the Jewish state.

One cannot understand the sudden change, first in Turkish rhetoric and then in political behaviour towards Israel, without understanding the changes that took place in Turkey after the AKP came into power. Simultaneously the strong alliance with Israel during the 1990s has to be interpreted in the context of political issues within Turkey of that time.

This paper argues that the relationship between Israel and Turkey is strongly affected, if not determined by the power relations between political Islam vis-a-vis the military and the secularist establishment of Turkey.

The strategic partnership of Turkey and Israel in the 1990s

“We can love each other, but we don’t have to kiss and hug in public.”[1]

This quote by Alon Liel who had been Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Turkey in the early 1980s, but favoured a rapprochement with Egypt a decade later, points to the opening of a new chapter in Turkish-Israeli relations in the 1990s.

The signing of the Military Education and Cooperation Agreement on 24 February 1996 can be regarded as the symbolic turning point in the relations between the two countries, not because of its content, but as “it was the first time that the secrecy of the relations has been lifted”.[2] Ofra Bengio points out, that it was the Turkish side which sought the publicity of the agreement,[3] marking a dramatic shift to the almost 40-years of covert collaboration under the peripheral alliance of 1958. As will be outlined in the next chapter, the reasons for this new openness lie in Turkey’s domestic issues of that time, most importantly the rise of political Islam and the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK.

The February agreement was followed by a series of agreements and bilateral meetings, which were all conducted publicly or made public by the Turkish press.

On 26 August 1996, Israel agreed to undertake the refurbishment of 54 Turkish F-4 Phantoms, a deal amounting to 600 million US-Dollars.[4] In the same month Israel and Turkey decided to engage in joint naval manoeuvres on a regular basis, the first one carried out in January 1997.[5] There have also been trade-related agreements. In December 1996, the Turkish-Israeli Business Council met in Istanbul and on 26 December Israel and Turkey signed a customs agreement lowering tariffs for goods traded between them.[6] In January 1997, the Turkish parliament’s Industry and Foreign Affairs committees ratified the Turkey-Israel Free Trade Accord which has already been signed in March 1996.[7]

The year of 1997 also saw a never experienced intensity of mutual visits between high ranking officials: Turkey’s chief of General Staff, Ismail Hakki Karadayi visited Israel from 24-28 February 1997; from 8-10 April Israel’s Foreign Minister David Levy visited Ankara and met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ciller and Prime Minister Erbakan; Turkish Defense Minister Turhan Tayan met with president Weizmann and prime minister Netanyahu during his visit in Israel from 30 April to 2 May.[8]

These agreements and bilateral visits were carried out in a new atmosphere of publicly displayed friendship. The fact that all of them took place at a time when Turkey’s government was led by an Islamist party and a prime minister who was overtly hostile to Zionism, appears to be an extra-ordinate contradiction and hence requires a in-depth look upon the matter.

The domestic motives behind the Turkish-Israeli Rapprochement.

To contain radical Islam and the government of Necmettin Erbakan has been part of a broader set of domestic motives behind the strategic alignment of Turkey and Israel in the mid 1990s.

Since the beginning of his political career in the late 1960s, Erbakan has posed a severe challenge to the secularist establishment of the Turkish Republic, and especially the military who regarded itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secular, pro Western orientation. In 1969 Erbakan founded the Mili Görus or National View Movement, whose core tenant was to blame Western influence for the Muslim’s world decline.[9] Since 1970 he established a series of Islamist parties connected to this movement, which were repeatedly banned by Turkey’s secularist authorities. In 1987 he became the leader of the Refah partesi (RP) or Welfare Party, which won the 1995 December by obtaining 21,4 percent of the vote.[10] In June 1996 he became the prime minister of a coalition government until he was forced to resign by the military on June 30, 1997. Before coming to power, his party pledged to cancel Turkey’s military arrangements with Israel and on taking office, Abduallah Gül, then foreign-policy advisor of Erbakan and later foreign minister and president, promised that there would be no further agreements with Israel.[11]

However, by the mid 1990s, the RP was the only significant party left which overtly agitated against Israel. At he beginning of the 1990s the two major social-democratic parties changed their previous anti-Israeli agitation and even the ultra-nationalist party supported better relations.[12] Bülent Aras links this development to the Arab-Israeli peace making efforts and suggests that “the peace process has created new prospects to improve Israeli-Turkish relations.”[13]

However, it was the Turkish military that played the major role in forging the Turkish-Israeli alignment. And the army’s considerations were after all not based on the advancement of the peace process, but on Turkish threat perceptions, which have changed significantly after the end of the cold war. Instead of an outside aggressor (Soviet Union), the Turkish military during the 1990s was preoccupied with internal threats, specifically Kurdish separatism and fundamental Islam.[14] The strategic alignment with Israel contributed to a solution of both of these domestic concerns.

According to Bengio, the formative year for the February 1996-agreement was 1994, when Turkish and Israeli army generals secretly established close ties.[15] This has been motivated by Turkey’s demand for expertise and modern weaponry in the fight against the PKK, which intensified its attacks against Turkish targets in the beginning of the 1990s. However, the US and the EU were unwilling to sign arms deals with Turkey, the latter even showing sympathy for the national cause of the Kurdish people.[16] The Turkish chief of general staff, Ismail Hakki Karadayi stated in the Turkish media in February 1997 that the common interest with Israel was the fight against “international terrorism” and two months later that “Syria and Iran were headquarters of terrorism” that threatened both Turkey and Israel.[17] At that time, Syria was the most important supporter of the PKK, providing shelter for Kurdish militants to infiltrate into Turkey and stage hit-and-run attacks on civil or military targets.[18]

As a result of the Turkish-Israeli alignment, Turkey adopted a similar security system on its border with Iraq as is used along Israel’s borders, including fences, sensors, armed patrols and mines.[19] On the Israeli side, the air force profited from new training opportunities in the vast airspace of Turkey and the opportunity to gather intelligence on its border with Iran and Syria.[20] From the Turkish point of view, the military cooperation with Israel was intended to increase the army’s ability to combat the PKK, while at the same time sending a strong signal to its supporters in Damaskus and Teheran. The new openness with which this alignment was communicated can be interpreted as an attempt to increase the pressure on Syria to stop its support of the PKK, in particular hiding its leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

The Turkish-Israeli alignment became also a battleground for the domestic struggle between the Turkish military and radical Islam. After being banned twice in his political career, Islamist leader Erbakan started to know the limits of the Turkish constitution and thought foreign policy as one resort where he could pursue his religious agenda more openly.[21] During his term as a prime minister, he declined an invitation to a EU summit, opposing any membership in a Christian club, while he created the D-8, a group of the most populous Muslim countries as a counterweight to the G-7.[22] Erbakan travelled to the Arab world and Iran with which he signed several gas, trade and security agreements in 1996.[23] However, one of his main rhetoric targets remained Israel, serving as the perfect tool for securing the support of his followers.

This inevitably led to a sincere clash with the Turkish military, as the army establishment was the driving force behind the Turkish-Israeli alignment. Erbakans targeting of this alliance came close to a declaration of war on the military and its decisive role in Turkish foreign policy. In defence of the 1996 agreement, deputy chief of the general staff, Cevik Bir stated that “Turkey and Israel are two democratic countries, and we must show the region that democracies can work together”.[24]

This could be also seen as a warning signal to Erbakan and his party member to change their agitation. Indeed Erbakan softened it during his premiership and signed a further, more far-reaching military agreement in August 1996, at the instance of which he even met with Israeli foreign minister David Levy. Various literature on this subject suggests that such behaviour was not conducted voluntarily, but the result of strong pressure by the military. By continuing to expand the alignment with Israel against the will of the highest elected civil authority in Turkey, the prime minister, the military strengthened its domestic power and reinforced its position of a guardian of the pro-Western nature of the Turkish state.

To summarize, domestic concerns of the Turkish military contributed significantly to the alignment between Turkey and Israel during the 1990s, in particular in regard to the speed of the rapprochement and the publicity is was granted by the Turkish authorities. These domestic concerns were the fight against the separatist PKK and the power struggle with radical Islam which gathered significant support of the Turkish voters in that time.

One should not forget that the new Turkish-Israeli friendship of the 1990s consisted of more than just military agreements and also had economic implications. For example, Israeli tourists emerged as a major source of income for the Turkish tourist industry, making up the second largest visitor group after the US.[25]

However, the stability of this then new and rapid alignment between Turkey and Israel has been questioned from early on by Turkish and Israeli scholars alike. One of them is Bülent Aras, who already in 1998 asked “whether the Turkish administration will continue its present foreign policy towards Israel without undermining its domestic support and external balance.”[26]

“Israel’s friendship with Turkey is over”[27]

More than ten years later, Bülent Aras’ question has found an answer, as the good relations between Turkey and Israel sharply declined in only two years. Crucial to this development has been the internal shift of power within Turkey under the government of the Muslim-conservative Justice and Welfare Party (AKP).

Following its victory in Turkish general elections 2002, the AKP party under prime minister Erdogan continued friendly relations and close military cooperation with Israel during its first years in government. Frequent bilateral visits took place between 2002 and 2006. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom visited Ankara on April 13th 2003 and again in November. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met with his Turkish counterpart to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, anti-terror cooperation and joint defence projects in May 2003, Israel’s president Moshe Katsav visited Ankara in July. Israel and Turkey signed a security and cooperation agreement in Ankara on December 12th, 2003.[28] While Israeli visits to Turkey were inspired by common military and economic interests, the visits of Turkish officials in Israel increasingly centred on the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gül made his first official visit to Israel in January 2005, where he expressed his willingness to mediate talks between Israel and the Arab countries.[29] Israel’s decision to disengage from Gaza sparked a series of visits by high ranking Turkish officials. Including the so far only visit by prime minister Erdogan on 1 May 2005, where he signed a research and development cooperation agreement with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. It was also decided to set up a direct hot-line between the two offices.[30]

Friendly relations continued after a change of government in Israel. Zipi Livni paid her first official foreign visit to Turkey in May 2006, stressing the importance of the Turkish-Israeli relations to Israel. Gül returned the visit two months later, meeting with prime minister Ehud Olmert and with families of three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizbollah.[31] Turkey remained engaged in the Arab-Israeli peace making, negotiating the Ankara Forum Agreement for economic cooperation between Israel, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and brokering four rounds of unofficial talks between Israel and Syria in 2008. The last official visit by a representative of the Turkish government was the one of Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül in October 2008, discussing joint defence projects and the delivery of Herons with his Israeli counterpart.[32]

Turkish-Israeli relation also experienced several downs, already in 2004 when Erdogan referred to Israel’s policy of targeted killing as an “act of terrorism”. A meeting between a Hamas leader and Turkish officials at AKP headquarters on February 16, 2006 created further concern in Israel.[33] However, the decisive blow to Turkish-Israeli relations came after Operation Cast Lead. On January 29, 2009 The Turkish prime minister walked off stage at Davos Economic Forum over President Peres remarks on Israel’s Gaza operation, symbolizing his country’s renunciation of close ties with Israel. Subsequently, Turkey vetoed the participation of Israel’s Air Force in a joint NATO drill and a Turkish TV series depicted IDF soldiers as murderers of innocent children.[34] When on May 31st, 2010 the Israeli naval forces launched an operation on a Turkish flotilla aimed to break the blockade of Gaza and killed eight Turkish citizens and one American citizen of Turkish origin, Turkey responded with outrage, Erdogan calling the incident a “bloody massacre”. As a consequence Turkey withdrew its Ambassador, which despite tremendous diplomatic effort to solve the dispute has not yet returned.[35]

The return of Islam in Turkish domestic policies

Ofra Bengio and other scholar subscribe the ups and downs of Turkish-Israeli relations under the Erdogan government to its increased correlation with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.[36] However, I will argue that one can only fully understand the rapid turn in the relations when realizing the complex development that took place in Turkey’s domestic policies after the AKP’s ascendance to power.

Crucial to my understanding is the fact, that the domestic struggle between the secularist establishment and the AKP government is the literal revival of the struggle between the military and the Islamist RP of the 1990s. In fact the AKP was not the “new democratic, pro-market and globally integrated force”[37] in Turkish policies, as it was seen by many in the West, but its party members and “new” officials were the same old cadres of the RP party. Foreign minister Gül and prime minister Erdogan are the most prominent examples, both of which were among the closest associates of Welfare leader Erbakan. Their statements between 1994 and 1997 leave no doubt that they shared his ideal of an Islamic state. For example, Erdogan declared while he was a member of the RP: “It is impossible for one who says ‘I am Muslim’, to say ‘I am also secular’. Why? Because Muslims’ creator Allah has absolute domination. (Atatürk’s) saying ‘sovereignty belongs to the nation unconditionally’ is a big fat lie! Sovereignty belongs to Allah unconditionally.[38] Beken Saatcioglu argues that these party cadres have “learned their lesson well” from the repeated closing of preceding Islamist parties, and that they only instrumentally adopted a pro-democracy and pro-secularisation rhetoric.[39]

In this regard the close alignment with the EU and the West proofed to be a guarantor of non-interference by the secularist establishment as it always considered itself an ally of the West. And indeed the AKP government initiated a massive democratic reform process in order to meet the EU’s Copenhagen criteria for full membership. It passed a variety of pro-democratic laws expanding the scope of political rights and freedoms, abolishing the death penalty, civilizing politics and promoting minority rights, just to mention a few.[40] This contributed to the image of the AKP as a moderate Islamic party in the West, which at times embraced the party’s concept as a role model to contain the rise of fundamental Islam.[41]

However, Jung suggests that the AKP’s endorsement of EU membership was not motivated by democratic ideals but rather by the necessity to protect the party’s own identity against the secular state establishment in the beginning of its governance.[42] Suspicion about a hidden Islamist agenda of the AKP grew when the reform of the Penal Code included a provision on criminalizing adultery. Erdogan defended the measure by stating that “family is a sacred institution for us” and that “Turkey did not have to apply ‘imperfect’ Western morals”,[43] however he withdrew the proposed law after severe domestic criticism and pressure from the European Commission.

Saatcioglu marks the increase of political power vis-a-vis the military as the key incentive behind the AKP’s reform agenda during its first years in power; since the government favoured reforms which thought to advance Islamism (i.e. civilization of politics, increased freedom of expression and religion) over “neutral” ones (i.e. women’s rights, economic and social rights, judicial independence), it lacked to implement those “neutral” reforms and it slowed down the outstanding reform process in the fall 2004, parallel to a rise in Euroscepticism among Turkish voters.

During this first phase of transformation in the Turkish political system, the relations with Israel continued to be close and overtly friendly, both on the military and political level. The AKP did not (yet) want to challenge the military over its relations with the Jewish State, even though foreign minister Gül already in 1996 stated his rejection to any further agreements with Israel.

In 2004 Erdogan for the first time returned to a rhetoric on Israel that has been used by the Islamist RP under prime minister Erbakan. He referred to Israel’s policy in the Gaza strip as “state sponsored terrorism” and condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as an “act of terror”.[44] However, friendly relations could be restored due to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip one year later.

Parallel to the AKP’s policy of using the EU accession process to contain the military’s role in politics, a personnel turnover within the military also contributed to its restraint. In August 2002, general Hilmi Özkök was appointed to the post of chief of staff; someone, who was known for a more liberal approach than his predecessor and who firmly believed that the Turkish military should keep its distance from day-to-day politics.[45]

This allowed the AKP to more overtly challenge the rules and norms of the Kemalist republic, cumulating in the nomination of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül for presidential election in 2007. The secularist and nationalist opposition was outraged with this appointment, as it would be the first time in modern Turkish history that the wife of a president wore a headscarf.[46] Subsequently, the opposition boycotted the presidential election in the parliament and brought the case to the Constitutional court. This time the military did not sit by quietly, it published a statement on the website of the Turkish General staff, which read: “If necessary, the Turkish Armed Forces will not hesitate to make their position … abundantly clear as the absolute defenders of secularism.”[47] This warning has been deemed an e-coup by the Turkish media. As a result, the AKP government called early elections for 22 July 2007, which they won by a landslide of 46,6 percent. In the aftermath Gül was elected as a president with the vote of the AKP and the nationalist MHP.

This meant that the AKP has gained a decisive domestic victory against the military, limiting its ability to interfere in Turkish policy.

Based on its new power the AKP quickly went ahead with one of its promises during the 2007 election campaign, the removal of the headscarf ban, one of the most controversial issues in Turkish policy. On February 7, 2008, the Turkish Parliament passed an amendment to the constitution, allowing women to wear the headscarf in Turkish universities. This time the challenge to the secularist state authorities was too big. In response to the lift of the headscarf-ban, the chief prosecutor of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya called for the disbanding of the AKP on the grounds of “anti-secular activities”.[48] A 162-page indictment accused the AKP to use democracy as a vehicle for imposing a religious political system and asked the Court to apply a five-year ban on more than seventy AKP members, including Erdogan and Gül.[49] The outcome of this trial had severe consequences for Turkey’s relations with Israel.

On July 31, 2008, he Constitutional Court ruled by a vote of 10 to 1 that the AKP was guilty of violating the country’s secular principles. The verdict cut the party’s public financing in half, but more importantly, the court almost voted for an outright closure of the party (just one short of the seven required voted in favour of it). This was meant as a warning message to the AKP on its domestic activities.

As a consequence of this backlash, the AKP needed to find a new outlet for its pro-Islamic agenda which was meant to secure the votes of former Erbakan followers who by then had already established a new Islamic rival party to the AKP. And agitation against Israel, especially after Operation Cast Lead, offered an opportunity to win “the hearts and minds” of the Turkish public while also meeting the demands of the Islamist electorate.

Taking this domestic development into account, one can better understand the difference in Turkish reactions to the Gaza operation compared to a similar one in Lebanon in April 1996. During Operation Grapes of Wrath, Turkey stated that Israel had every right to strike militarily at the “terrorists in neighbouring states”,[50] while Israel’s assault on Gaza 2008 was deemed as “savagery” by the Turkish prime minister who added that this “will be punished by God”.[51] Not only Western observers were surprised by the furious Turkish response to the Gaza war, which even exceeded the condemnations by Arab leaders. The German quality newspaper Sueddeutsche was quick to analyse the consequences of Erdogan’s rhetoric as “derogating Turkey’s regional influence”.[52]

However, the result was the opposite. Not only did Erdogan’s harsh criticism find the approval of the Turkish public — the prime minister was welcomed like a hero on his return from Davos — but also contributed to its realignment with former enemies like Iran and Syria under the “zero problem” foreign policy doctrine of Ahmet Devatoglu, who became Turkey’s new foreign minister on 1 May 2009.[53] The fact that Gul and Erdogan were among the first foreign leaders to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his June 2009 election victory, ignoring mass demonstrations and concern of Western leaders over the legitimacy of the election results, is a strong sign for Turkey’s new approach towards Iran.[54] However, the zero problem strategy towards Iran, Syria and even Hamas, who Erdogan sees as the legitimate elected government of Gaza, further deteriorated the once Turkish-Israeli friendship. The Gaza-flotilla incident of last summer marks another peak in the downfall of diplomatic relations between the two countries. By recalling its Ambassador from Israel, Turkey set its relations back to where they were in the beginning of the 1990s.

However, in realization that the new hostility towards Israel is not enough to secure durable support of the Turkish voter’s, the AKP again resorts to populist and controversial policies on the domestic front. The premise of a “hidden agenda” has turned into the fear of “Islamization” in the wake of a series of new strict alcohol laws[55] or suggestions to women by about the least number of children (three). The government’s assault on oppositional media[56] and its role in the ongoing Ergenekon trials[57] — with currently 68 journalists being arrested on the grounds of their involvement in an alleged coup d’etat — have raised doubts among Western politicians whether the AKP is as truly committed to the values of democracy as it pretended to be when it came into power. The recent adoption of a highly critical report by the European parliament is an indicator of this change in attitude towards the AKP government.[58]

After eight years in power, the AKP government has significantly changed the political landscape in Turkey. Not only has it ended a unstable period of coalition governments, achieved astonishing economic progress and political reforms, but it managed for the first time in Turkey’s post-Atatürk history to question the military’s role as the guardian of the Kemalist state and put forward with a (moderate) Islamization of its politics. Israel was the first country to feel the consequences of this shift in domestic power. However, it is not the only country that subscribes Turkey’s new approach to the Middle East as a result of Islamization. The US Ambassador writes in an uncovered cable by Wikileaks:

“Levy [the Israeli Ambassador] dismissed political calculation as a motivator for Erdogan’s hostility, arguing the prime minster’s party had not gained a single point in the polls from his bashing of Israel. Instead, Levy attributed Erdogan’s harshness to deep-seated emotion: ‘He’s a fundamentalist. He hates us religiously’ and his hatred is spreading. Levy cited a perceived anti-Israeli shift in Turkish foreign policy, including the GoT’s recent elevation of its relations with Syria and its quest for observer status in the Arab League.

Our discussions with contacts both inside and outside of the Turkish government on Turkey’s deteriorating relations with Israel tend to confirm Levy’s thesis that Erdogan simply hates Israel. xxxxx discusses contributing reasons for Erdogan’s tilt on Iran/Middle East isues, but antipathy towards Israel is a factor.”[59]


During the governments of prime minister Erbakan and Erdogan, Israel’s relations with Turkey were strongly affected by domestic policy issues in Turkey, in particular by the power struggle between the rising force of political Islam and the defenders of the secularist state, the military.

While in the 1990s the friendly relations between the two countries were the result of the military having the upper hand in this internal conflict, the dramatic decline of the Turkish-Israeli alignment is the result of a shift in this domestic balance towards the civilian representatives of the state. The complex interrelation of Turkey’s foreign policy with progress or setbacks in the domestic Islamization efforts of the AKP government may explain the suddenness of the decline in relations. It does not, however, provide for a very positive outlook on the future of these relations.

Florian Druckenthaner is a scholar of the German Academic Exchange Service and currently pursues a M.A. in Security and Diplomacy Studies from Tel Aviv University. Florian holds an undergraduate degree in European Media Studies from the University of Potsdam, where he won the award of best B.A. thesis 2009 for his investigation into the representation of Arabs participants in Israeli reality TV. He has been working for the Anne Frank Foundation in Berlin and the European Parliament in Brussels, where he further developed his interest for the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His fields of research include Turkish-Israeli relations; the Iranian nuclear threat; terrorism and mass media as well as the use of social media in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.


[1] Alon Liel quoted by Ofra, Bengio (2004), “The Turkish-Israeli Relationship: Changing Ties of Middle Eastern Outsiders”, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan. Pg. 93

[2] Ibid., Pg. 109.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Olson, Robert W. (2001), “Turkey’s relations with Iran, Syria, Israel, and Russia, 1991-2000”, Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers. Pg. 126.

[5] Ibid., Pg. 127.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., Pg. 128.

[8] Liel, Alon and Yirik, Can (2010), “Turkish-Israeli relations, 1949-2010”, Istanbul: Istanbul Kültür University.

[9] Wall Street Journal, URL: (last retrieved on 7/2/2011).

[10] Makovsky, Alan (1997), “How To Deal With Erbakan”, Middle East Quarterly (March).

[11] Ibid.

[12] Bengio (2004), Pg. 83.

[13] Aras, Bülent (1998), “Palestinian Israeli peace process and Turkey”, Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.

[14] Bengio (2004), Pg. 81.

[15] Ibid., Pg. 106.

[16] Bengio (2004), Pg. 82-83.

[17] Olson, Pg. 131.

[18] Bengio (2004), Pg. 83.

[19] Ibid., Pg. 106.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Makovsky.

[22] Wall Street Journal, URL: (retrieved on 7/2/2011).

[23] Olson, Pg. 127.

[24] Pomfret, John (1996) “Some Neighbourly Advice”, The Washington Post-National Weekly Edition, 10-16 June.

[25] In the first half of 1997, 150,000 Israeli tourists visited Turkey, an increase of 15 percent compared to 1996. (Olson, Pg. 132).

[26] Aras (1998), Pg. 134.

[27] Turkish president Abdullah Gül in an interview with euronews on 3 December 2010 (URL:, (retrieved on 14/2/2011).

[28] Liel and Yirik, Pg. 180.

[29] Ibid., Pg. 183.

[30] Ibid., Pg. 187.

[31] Ibid., Pg. 202.

[32] Ibid., Pg. 214.

[33] The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (2006), “Timeline of Turkish-Israeli Relations, 1949–2006” URL: (retrieved on 20/3/2011).

[34] Liel and Yirik, Pg. 217.

[35] Ibid., 225.

[36] Bengio (2010), “Israel and Turkey: Friends for Life?”, Pg. 61.

[37] Gordon, Philip H. and Taspinar, Omer (2008), “Winning Turkey: How America, Europe and Turkey Can Revive a Fading Partnership”, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

[38] Quoted in Miliyet, August 21, 2001; translated by Saatcioglu.

[39] Saatcioglu, Beken (2009), “Understanding Moderate Political Islam: What Can the Case of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tell us?”, Paper delivered at the Midwest Political Science Association’s 67th Annual Conference, Chicago, April 2-5.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Tepe, Sultan (2005), “Turkey’s AKP. A model ‘Muslim-Democratic’ party?”, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 16, No. 3.

[42] Jung, Dietrich (2008), “Secularism – A key to Turkish policies?” in Jung and Raudvere (ed.), “Religion, Politics and Turkey’s EU Accession”, N.Y.; Palgreve Macmillan. Pg. 124.

[43] Hale, William (2005), “Christian Democracy and the AKP: Parallels and Contrasts”, Turkish Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2., Pg. 304.

[44] The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

[45] Saatcioglu.

[46] Gordon and Taspinar, Pg. 7.

[47] Ibid, Pg. 8.

[48] Gordon and Taspinar, Pg. 10.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Olson, 128.

[51] Strittmatter, Kai; “Erdogan uses Gaza-War for election campaign” published in on 15/1/2009, URL: (in German, retrieved on 10/2/2011).

[52] Ibid.

[53] Aras, Bülent (2009), “The Devatoglu Era in Turkish Foreign Policy”, Insight Turkey, Vol. 11, No. 3.

[54] Hürriyet Daily News, “West Treats Iran Unfairly”, 26/10/2009 URL: (retrieved on 10/3/2011).

[55] BBC, “Turkey alcohol curbs raise secular fears”, 12/1/2011, URL: (retrieved on 14/3/2011).

[56] Freedom House, “Journalists’ Arrests Signal Growing Press Freedom Backslide in Turkey”, URL: (retrieved on 14/3/2010).

[57] “Ergenekon is an alleged terrorist organization formed by retired generals, intellectuals, former bureaucrats, academic, etc. which supposedly aims for the realization of a military coup to overthrow the AKP government. Many in Turkey argue that the Ergenekon trials are (…) politicized proceedings.” (Saatcioglu).

[58] Hürriyet Daily News, “European Parliament adopts critical report on Turkey”, 9/3/2011, URL: (retrieved on 14/3/2011).

[59] James A. Jeffrey (2009), US Ambassador to Turkey, in a classified cable, Subject: “Israeli Ambassador Traces His Problems to Erdogan”, US Embassy in Ankara, 27.10.2009.

5 Comments to “Turkey: in between Political Islam and the Military”

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