The reason that the IDF didn’t have adequate intelligence regarding the ambush on the Marmara is that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and the Turkish security services relayed to the Israeli intelligence services that only peace activists would be on the flotilla and that violence was not to be expected. All this was said in the framework of diplomatic efforts just before the flotilla disembarked. There are protocols documenting this. For this reason, the intelligence estimate was that in all probability, the Israeli marines would not encounter resistance like they did, in fact, encounter.
To the shock of all levels in the Israeli intelligence services and the diplomatic corps, Erdogan was revealed as someone who fooled Israel in an unprecedented and scathing manner. This action amounts to a slap in the face to Israel and crosses numerous red lines. This step proves to Israeli intelligence authorities beyond any doubt that Erdogan himself de facto nullified the power of the Turkish army as the defense of a secular democracy and that authorities with whom Israel could rely on cooperation with in the past, despite the Erdogan administration, are already considered irrelevant.
In the diplomatic channels behind closed doors, the information was revealed at different levels by Israel. This is the reason that the Turkish foreign minister began calling for a calming of tempers during his visit today to the United States.
Erdogan’s crossing of this line, in his involvement in the terrorist flotilla and the intentional misdirecting of Israel is causing the American intelligence services to reassess their reliance on the Turkish army and on Turkish intelligence. American intelligence authorities were shocked by the revelation of the identities of part of the terrorists on the flotilla. A majority of them were Al Qaeda terrorists wanted by the United States and the very fact that they operated under Erdogan’s sponsorship as causing much anger on the part of senior authorities in the American intelligence community. It is worth noting that the thing arousing the most uneasiness in the American intelligence services is the fact that Obama himself is minimizing the severity of Turkey’s actions and continues, despite it all, to toe the anti Israel line.
In Israel, they understand that this was an intelligence fiasco that will actually hurt Erdogan like a boomerang. Messages were relayed to Erdogan through back door channels and he understands that he doesn’t operate in a vacuum. He is beginning to understand were all this can lead, especially in the halls of NATO, which has long ago cooled its relations with Turkey with various excuses.
Turkey is beginning to sweat from the possibility that will blow the matter open, the evidence being the fact that the Turkish ambassador was not called back. It must be remembered how, after Congress’ decision regarding the recognition of the Armenian holocaust, Erdogan called back the Turkish ambassador to the US, and he even dared to threaten America through secret channels with a concerted attack in Iraq and to leave her to Muslim extremist forces. Now it is likely to become clear that Turkey isn’t protecting American interests at all but is rather playing both sides. The most senior authorities in the Israeli intelligence community are pressing their American counterparts to recognize the fact that Turkey is an unreliable partner in the fight against terror and actually jeopardizes American interests. Only recently has Erdogan validated this so cuttingly and contemptuously to the US, with the Nuclear agreement with Iran. At this time, Turkey is beginning to understand that they actually shot themselves in the foot and went too far away from the US.
Erdogan wanted the flotilla to turn the world’s attention away from irresponsible moves he has made lately, moves that have brought to light his intention to ally himself with Iran and Syria in a strategic military alliance to the detriment of his current treaties with NATO, the US, and Israel. The agreement with Iran has very much embroiled him with Russia, which was surprised by the whole thing and expressed much anger via the Kremlin channels. Erdogan’s present conduct resembles a man pushed against a wall, which brought to take hasty steps that are placing him in the same line with Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
At this point, reevaluations are being made with regard to intelligence cooperation with Turkey. Until now, it seemed that Erdogan didn’t have such a heavy influence over the secular Turkish army. Recent events have destroyed the impression of Turkey as a reliable authority to a large degree.
Therefore, a break of diplomatic ties with Israel could hurt Turkey more than it would Israel. The exposure of Erdogan’s involvement with the Terror Flotilla and the willful intelligence deception are now serving as a tool for intensifying heavy pressure behind Erdogan’s screens. Netanyahu’s purpose now is to succeed in leveraging Erdogan’s exposure as a supporter of terror in closed diplomatic channels in order to achieve strategic and diplomatic gains.
For this reason Turkey is expected to act surprisingly in the coming days and she is the one who will act to deaden the flames. On the other hand, there is also a more pessimistic scenario according to which Erdogan may take completely irresponsible diplomatic steps that will be a catastrophe for the entire region.