Amidst a recent development in the Israel-Hamas war, Turkey has issued a stern warning to Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency) against their potential operation of ‘eliminating’ Hamas on the Turkish turf. Such escalation between Israel and Turkey comes after the Israeli chief of the security agency ‘Shin Bet’ — Ronen Bar, pledged to execute Hamas officials “beyond Gaza.” He said, “The cabinet has set us a goal, in street talk, to eliminate Hamas. This is our Munich. We will do this everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar. It will take a few years. but we will be there to do it.”
Turkey’s flagrant support to Hamas:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has never shied away from taking an active stance in defending Hamas and calling out Israel on multiple occasions. On one occasion, he called the Israeli PM Netanyahu a “war criminal” while referring to Hamas as a “liberation” movement. Following Hamas’ atrocious attack against Israel on October 7th, Erdogan had no scruples while defending the accused. He said, “I can never accept Hamas as a terrorist organisation, no matter what anyone says.”
It is a known fact that the leaders of Hamas have an anchorage in countries like Qatar and Turkey. The Turkish intelligence agency, “Milli Istihbarat Teskilati” (MIT), has countless times emerged as an accomplice to Hamas’ high-tech hackers. These hackers have the infamy of destabilising Mossad’s ‘Iron Dome’ and directing cyberattacks on Israel’s defence machinery.
One such hacker was “Omar A” (an anonymous hacker), who had successfully blocked the Israeli ‘Iron Dome’ through viruses. The Turkish MIT has always saved these malicious hackers from Mossad’s persecution. The ‘Iron Dome’ is an Israeli mobile all-weather air defence system capable of intercepting and destroying short-range rockets and artillery shells fired toward populous Israeli hinterlands. Hamas has frequently breached this system by employing hackers to orchestrate violence on the Israeli turf.
Turkey has extended both moral and financial support to Hamas leaders from time to time. According to many eminent sources, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who has a net worth exceeding USD 4 billion, has been spotted frequently with his sons having gala time in Turkey’s luxurious hotels. Commander of Hamas’ military wing, Saleh al-Arouri, had reportedly shifted his operation base from Damascus to Turkey after the Syrian civil war.
Souring diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey:
Since the inception of the war in Gaza, the bilateral trade between Turkey and Israel dropped by a whopping 50%! Erdogan lately confirmed that Turkey would cut off its oil supply to Israel as it was ready to bear short-term economic loss to uphold its ‘moral ethos.’
On October 20th, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen formally recalled all Israeli diplomats from Turkey. On November 4th, the Turkish foreign ministry followed suit by recalling its ambassador by citing Israel’s refusal to accept a ceasefire and denying free entry to humanitarian aid to Gaza. Thus, the prospect of a diplomating de-escalation looks bleak, to say the least.
The USA’s quandary:
What will happen if Israel decides to violate the Turkish air space with its F-16 American fighter jets? The American government will find itself between Scylla and Charybdis! Gone are the days when the US would call shots, and the rest of the world would cower in.
An escalation between Israel and Turkey shall push America into a political quagmire as one of its strongest allies, Israel, locks horns with its military ally, Turkey. Being a NATO member, Turkey enjoys full-fledged support and protection from the other NATO members (including the USA and 29 others). The USA also has a moral obligation to side with Israel, given their diplomatic bonhomie has never waned during the toughest of times. In the worst-case scenario, even NATO could split into two!
As the chaos unfolds in the most ridiculous way, the humanitarian undercurrent beseeching a ceasefire in Gaza has yet again been thwarted.