The exacerbating economic crisis in Turkey and the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have the potential to have an impact on the Middle East in general, and on Israel in particular. But Dr. Chai Eitan Cohen Inrojek, an expert on Turkish policy and Israeli-Turkish relations at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, explains that this time a new player should enter the arena – the United Arab Emirates. Of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed al-Nahian, in Ankara, declaring that the UAE is going to invest $ 10 billion in Turkey, “he says. And that will have an effect on Israel as well. ”
According to Inrojek, until the announcement of the investment in Turkey, the UAE was defined as Turkey’s number one enemy, and even Ben Zayed himself was tagged as a supporter of the army that tried to overthrow Erdogan in 2013. “Once the Abrahamic Agreements were signed, Erdogan protested and halted Turkish Airlines flights to Dubai for the period,” he says, but goes on to explain that the emirates’ main interest is economic prosperity in the Middle East, which is a necessary condition for EU national security. “When there is prosperity, there is also something to lose. So when the emirates enter the Turkish market – it reduces Qatar’s influence on Turkey and forces it to move closer to them, so it is not inconceivable that this investment will work in Israel’s favor.”
While the US is busy halting China and letting go of the Middle East a bit, the UAE enters a vacuum created and uses its money as a carrot that increases the dependence of countries like Turkey on it. “.
Beyond the political potential, the economic crisis in Turkey may be a fertile ground for investment opportunities for Israelis, as well as for the return of Israeli tourism to the country. “On the other hand,” says Inrojek, “if Turkey becomes less and less Western-friendly, the impact could turn out to be the opposite.” The case of the Israeli couple arrested in Turkey a few weeks ago, for example, is an event that could deter both investors and tourists.
Inrojek does not believe that Erdogan will be replaced in the 2023 election, but admits that even if that happens – the change in attitude towards Israel, if any, will be very gradual and will not be felt immediately. “For those who will replace Erdogan, it will not be easy to return the situation to what it was in the 1990s. If someone from his party replaces him, there may even be a worsening of relations.”
One area that is not expected to be harmed is trade relations, which continued as usual both under Erdogan and during the most difficult times. “As long as there is no global crisis, there is no negative trend in trade relations. But if the countries return to the relations that once existed between them – it may lead trade to levels we have never been to. The economic potential is enormous.”