C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001549
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV TU IS
SUBJECT: ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TRACES HIS PROBLEMS TO ERDOGAN
REF: ANKARA 1532
Classified By: AMB James F. Jeffrey, for reasons 1.4(b,d)
¶1. (C) During an October 26 call on the Ambassador, Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy registered concern over the recent deterioration in his country's bilateral relations with Turkey and the conviction that the relationship's decline is attributable exclusively to Prime Minister Erdogan. Levy said Foreign Minister Davutoglu had relayed a message to him through the visiting Czech foreign minister that “things will get better.” He had also fielded messages from senior civil servants, xxxxx urging him to weather quietly Erdogan's harsh public criticisms of Israel. The latter claimed Erdogan's repeated angry references to the humanitarian situation in Gaza are for “domestic political consumption” only.
¶2. (C) Levy dismissed political calculation as a motivator for Erdogan's hostility, arguing the prime minister's party had not gained a single point in the polls from his bashing of Israel. Instead, Levy attributed Erdogan's harshness to deep-seated emotion: “He's a fundamentalist. He hates us religiously” and his hatred is spreading. Levy cited a perceived anti-Israeli shift in Turkish foreign policy, including the GoT's recent elevation of its relations with Syria and its quest for observer status in the Arab League.
¶3. (C) Comment: Our discussions with contacts both inside and outside of the Turkish government on Turkey's deteriorating relations with Israel tend to confirm Levy's thesis that Erdogan simply hates Israel. xxxxx discusses contributing reasons for Erdogan's tilt on Iran/Middle East isues, but antipathy towards Israel is a factor.