Quarterly Updates for (16 Aug 2017 — 15 Nov 2017)

The Turkish-Israeli rapprochement, which was sealed with the 2 countries’ 6/27/2016 agreement to normalize relations (see JPS 46 [1]), suffered a setback this quarter because of the 9/25 Kurdish independence referendum. After 92% of Kurds voted in favor of independence, photos of Israeli flags being waved at events celebrating the vote proliferated in the media. Turkish pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who called the referendum a “threat to national security” for its potential to embolden the Kurds in Turkey, threatened to suspend (9/26) relations with Israel if Netanyahu did not abandon his support for an independent Kurdish state. He also alleged (9/30) that the presence of the Israeli flags showed “one thing, that [the Kurdish leadership] has a history with Mossad, they are hand-in-hand together.” Netanyahu denied (10/1) the accusation: “Israel played no part in the Turkish referendum, aside from the natural, deep and long-standing sympathy the Jewish people have for the Kurdish people and their aspirations.” Erdoğan repeated the claim a few times, but took no further action against Israel this quarter, opting instead to work with Iran and the Iraqi govt. to confront Kurdish separatists directly.