Turkish President called Israel a terrorist state on Tuesday, May 15, the day that the lira plunged to its lowest ever point against the dollar. The lira has lost 15 percent of its value in the past three months. its record plunge Tuesday was sparked by Erdogan’s vow to take greater control of his government’s monetary policy if he wins the July 24 election, a clear vote of no confidence by the financial markets.
Erdogan hoped to draw attention from the two-digit inflation rate at home by blasting Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of having “Palestinian blood on his hands” after 60 Palestinians died in Monday’s raging riots on the Gaza-Israeli border fence. This stratagem may work in the short term, but not for long. The lira will continue to slide, and the Turkish economy go to pot, for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel and the Palestinians. This is the direct result of the growing strength of the US economy, which has the opposite effect on Israel’s thriving economy.
Turkish-US relations have never been so bad. The only part of the Trump administration willing to maintain a modicum of cooperation with Ankara is the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis contends that this is essential in view of the US Air Force’s use of Turkish air bases for attacking the Islamic State in Syria in Iraq. But the common ground between Washington and Ankara is shrinking for four reasons, although both governments are anxious to gloss over this decline.
- Erdogan to this day accuses US intelligence of supporting the attempted military coup for his ouster in July 2016. He never tires of demanding US extradition of the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen whom he holds responsible for orchestrating the coup from his American exile.
- The Turkish president has been cozying up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and has become the first NATO member to purchase Russian weapons.
- The Turkish army invaded the northern Syrian province of Afrin to drive the Kurdish YPG militia, a staunch US ally, out of that part of Syria. For now, the Turkish troops are stuck there because their further advance is blocked by US and French forces.
- Erdogan has developed close ties with the ayatollahs in Tehran.
Therefore, Erdogan will not help himself politically or ease his economic and military woes by rudely insulting Israel; he will only exacerbate them.