BOSTON (Dec. 27)
Turkey and Israel, the two eastern Mediterranean countries outside the Arab orbit, are fast drawing together in what seems to be a second Middle Eastern bloc, to act as a balancing influence on the Arab League, the Christian Science Monitor reports from Ankara.
“This practical association, particularly evident in the past few weeks by military, economic, and cultural contacts, has the support of British and American diplomats in the Near East, who would like to see Arab League influence neutralized and the balance of power maintained in the eastern Mediterranean,” the report says.
The recent visit to Ankara of Col. Moshe Deyan, commander of Israel forces in the Arab-Israel war, and his meetings with Turkish military civilian chiefs, have led observers to believe that the two non-Arab republics of the Middle East are preparing the blueprints of a military alliance, the Monitor’s Ankara correspondent states. Although no official reason was given for this visit, reliable sources say the military talks were dictated by current strategic considerations and may lead to a signed agreement, he points out.
“Such an alliance, Western sources hope, will help restore stability in this vital, strategic region. It may even be joined by Iraq and Jordan–most pro-British of the Arab states–after they have signed a peace pact with Israel,” the report says. It emphasizes, that “the Turkish-Israel drawing together is not only considered a natural tendency in Middle Eastern strategy; it is intended to meet the economic needs of both countries.”
The report says that Israel is using Istanbul as a base for indirect trade relations with Arab countries. “Reliable sources recently disclosed that a large quantity of a certain small mechanical gadget marked “Made in Turkey’ had been exported to that country from Israel, to be later re-exported to Arab countries as Turkish products,” the report states, adding that “the economic alliance between Israel and Turkey has in part neutralized the effect of the economic boycott and blockade of Israel by its neighbors.”