On Wednesday, Haaretz's Aluf Benn shared his notes from a recent visit to Turkey for an academic conference. His conclusion? Turkey and Israel could still benefit from increasing rate of bilateral trade, great potential of tourism and secular/democratic needs over religious ascendence.
On the same day, Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) agreed to make radical changes to a document. referred to as the “Red Book” or the "Secret Constitution", in which the main threats over the next five years to Turkey's security are outlined.
In the document, religious reaction is no longer mentioned as a domestic threat. Instead, it mentions “radical groups exploiting religion,” a term which, under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), refers to groups that, by employing violent methods, use religion for destructive and separatist activities.
The activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were also discussed during the meeting. The council once again drew attention to the clandestine support given to the PKK by some countries, accusing these countries of insincerity in supporting Turkey’s counterterrorism efforts. In addition, emphasis was placed on the trilateral mechanism among Turkey, U.S. and Iraq.
Ankara removed Iran, Iraq, Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia, Russia, and Greece from their list of "threatening countries". The problem of the 12-mile limit on territorial waters with Greece as a possible casus belli retains its importance, but the Red Book puts into place the recent declaration of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu: " We do not perceive any threat from any neighbor countries and we do not think our neighbors form a threat to NATO."
In contrast, for the first time since 1948, Ankara named "Israel's instability-inducing actions in the Middle East" as a threat to its national security. "The region's instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East," said the paper.
Instead of a "regime threat" coming from Iran; the paper argued: "Within this scope, the attention was drawn for the importance of the immediate materialisation of the new tour of direct negotiations on Iran's nuclear program between related parties."
Amongst non-state "new threats", cyber terror, global warming, and ageing population were added to the agenda.
Meanwhile, following Turkey's conditions that a planned American missile defence system on its soil must not target either Syria or Iran and that the US must clearly state that the shield is not for the defense of a particular NATO member but a "deterrence" for the entirety of NATO's territory Prime Minister Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül. and Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner had a brief meeting after the National Security session to discuss whether Turkey should be part of the defense shield.
FM Davutoglu, visiting China, said on Saturday:
We are an owner of NATO. We are not a partner... Missile shield, missile wars, where will Turkey be in this war? The discussions within NATO are not about this at all.
First of all, Turkey is not a country that has to be convinced by NATO. Turkey is not alone; Turkey is at the center of NATO. Turkey is not in a position to be a frontier country. NATO, while doing threat planning on this issue, should cover all member states and should remain outside any formula that would geographically set one country against another.
It is true that Turkey does not consider it appropriate to refer to neighboring countries in this [missile-defense] system... we want stability, prosperity and peace in our neighborhood.
So, following the lines of Aluf Benn's analysis, is the Erdogan government a new "De Gaulle" which is just pursuing its political calculations or is it the Trojan Horse aligning with "radicals" such as Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah?