Turkish media threatens Israel with ‘Libyan model’ of water grabbing in Gaza

Turkish far-right newspaper Yeni Safak argued on Monday, with a front-page article, that Turkey could implement a “Libyan model” for Israel by signing a deal with Hamas-led Gaza to gain access to rights. water and energy off the Israeli coast. The model is based on a deal Turkey pushed on the besieged government of Libya in 2019, which led to Turkey sending Syrian mercenaries and drones to Libya in violation of an arms embargo.

The concept pushed by Turkish media, presumably with government backing, argues that Turkey can sign a deal with the Palestinians and increase their support by sea. This would put Israel and Turkey on a military collision course. Turkey welcomes Hamas leaders and supports Hamas. Its potential plan to link Turkey and Gaza by sea would hurt Israel’s gas pipeline projects with Cyprus and Greece.

Turkey’s aim was to ignore the claims of Greece and Cyprus to exclusive economic zones and blocks of submarine zones for energy exploration, to create a Turkish “blue homeland” seizing the entire Mediterranean around it. Cyprus, the Greek Islands and now near Israel. Turkey’s maritime grab has no precedent in international or maritime laws and standards. However, this did not prevent Turkey, empowered by the former US administration, to send its navy with “research vessels” to conduct energy explorations in areas usually claimed by Greece.

To understand Turkey’s goal is that Turkey will draw a line from the Turkish coast directly to Gaza, ostensibly dividing the sea and creating a corridor. It would cut Israel off from Greece and the East Med pipeline that Israel, Greece and Cyprus want to build. Turkey argues that Cyprus does not exist and that the Greek Islands have no maritime rights around them. Greece and Cyprus see it differently, arguing that much of the Mediterranean around Cyprus and the Greek Islands is linked to them. Cyprus has agreements with Egypt and Israel and Greece and Egypt have agreements and good relations.

Turkey illegally invaded northern Cyprus in the 1970s and now wants a ‘two state’ solution for Cyprus, potentially trying to create a second country on the island of Cyprus based around northern Cyprus, which Turkey does recognize. This would complicate claims at sea. But Turkey’s innovative approach to the Palestinian issue goes even further, suggesting that it could sign a deal with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority and take control of the water offshore. Israel, putting Turkey and Israel on a collision course. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the world’s leading anti-Israel voices. He compares Israel to the Nazis and called for sanctions against Israel during the recent conflict. Its objective is to isolate Israel. He threatened the UAE not to sign a peace deal with Israel. He greets Hamas leaders with a red carpet in Istanbul and Ankara. He recently phoned the Iranian president and discussed joint work against Israel.

The idea “Blue Homeland” at sea was published by a far-right newspaper as a test balloon. In Turkey, all media are pro-government and critical journalists are jailed or have to leave the country. This article therefore had the stamp of approval of the ruling AKP party. He quotes Rear Admiral Cihat Yayci, “the architect” of current Turkish Mediterranean policy. The article argues that an agreement like Libya’s, but with the Palestinians, “would increase international recognition of Palestine” and allow real support for the Palestinians.

This would allow Turkey to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza. In 2010, Turkey sent far-right Islamist IHH activists aboard the Mavi Marmara in an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. An Israeli command raid resulted in the deaths of ten Turks aboard the ships. Turkey would like to send its navy to Gaza. Israel acquires new Saar 6 Corvettes to defend its exclusive economic zone.

Meanwhile, Hamas in Gaza attempted to build unmanned submarines and use rockets to attack gas platforms at sea off Ashkelon. This is clearly an economic war designed to challenge Israel’s energy goals. The article argues that Turkey signed an agreement in 2011 with northern Cyprus. He argues that Turkey can sign agreements with governments that are not recognized by the international community. It probably means Hamas. The article specifies Gaza as an entity and compares it to Taiwan.

“A job like in Libya can also be created. Here, the Israeli factor is not an obstacle to the agreement. If Palestine can become a member of the Eastern Mediterranean (Eastern Mediterranean) Gas Forum, it can also sign an agreement with us. Membership in the Eastern Mediterranean indicates that Palestine is an international unit in its own right with a coast in the Eastern Mediterranean. Such an agreement could be a game-changer … in our favor. It will be a strategic chess blow for us. Turkey therefore proposes to use Palestinian membership in the gas forum to harm Israel’s relations with Greece and Cyprus and achieve Turkey’s goal.

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