Inside the Middle East
October 19, 2010
Posted: 459 GMT


Israeli and Greek Air Forces train together in Greece  (Israeli Military Photo)
Israeli and Greek Air Forces train together in Greece (Israeli Military Photo)

This week's visit of Greek Foreign Minister Dmityris Droutsas to Israel marks another step in what the Israeli media is calling a "blossoming romance" between the two countries.

The warming has intensified amid Israel's deteriorating relations with Turkey, Greece's historical rival.

Droutsas' visit, which includes the signing of an aviation agreement between the two countries, comes several days after the nations held joint military exercises in southern Israel, and follows earlier visits by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Athens and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to Jerusalem.

Israel and Turkey had been strategic allies, with the countries' militaries cooperating closely. But that relationship began to experience strains after a dispute over Israel's assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in January of 2009, and was seriously damaged when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish-flagged ship carrying humanitarian supplies as it tried to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Nine Turkish nationals were killed.

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Smith in Oregon   October 19th, 2010 5:14 am ET

A mere dispute with Turkey?

Israeli Commando's committed an act of piracy on a NATO flagged civilian cargo ship in International Waters which under International Law is an act of War against that flagged country's soil itself.

9 Turkish civilians were murdered by the Israeli Commando's, 8 shot at point blank range to the backs of their heads, one shot by a Israeli sniper in the hovering assault helicopter thru the top of his head before even the first Israeli Commando even set foot on the deck of the cargo ship! Confirmed by Turkish and French autopsy's on the civilian body's released by their Israeli captives.

Well over 100 civilians reported they were repeatedly struck with shock prods during the lengthy interrogation sessions while chained to a chair and repeatedly beaten by the Israeli interrogators. Well over 100 charges of torture, kidnapping, piracy of a NATO flagged vessel, execution of 9 Turkish civilians, theft of several vessels, cargo, and all of the camera's and film by the Turkish film crews on those civilian ships.

Yep, a dispute exists alright.

Turkey would do well to have Russian S-300 advanced midrange anti-aircraft missile battery's installed across Turkey's immense nation.

Turkey should demand America hand over the Israeli Officials and Israeli Commando's suspected of those war crimes under the direct charge of closing the land access to Iraq for all American convoys and US Military equipment that were traveling thru Turkey.

Iran would do well to install a radar monitoring station along Turkey's border to watch and monitor all Israeli air traffic further isolating Israel in the process.

Stefano888   October 19th, 2010 7:22 am ET

As a Greek-American, I am quite dismayed at Greece's friendly move toward Israel, especially since the latter's roguishly brutal policies and behaviors toward the Palestinians and Lebanese. The USA and the EU bankers must have pushed for this change in Greek foreign policy.

Giorgos7   October 19th, 2010 9:33 am ET

This is something that will backfire on Greece and especially Papandreou. Its going to give the wrong type on media attention to Greece with these "close relations" with Israel. It looks as Papandreous personal Jewish ties are coming out (Papandreou is part Jewish).

Stan   October 19th, 2010 9:36 am ET

Greece has alot in common with Israel, both are surrounded by neighbors who want a piece of them. Turkey occupies Northern Cyprus (aka Turkish Gaza) and Turkey isn't the peace loving leader of the middle east that they make out to be. Let's not forget about the Armenians and Kurds. The change in policy for Turkey is about becoming a regional power in the Middle East and winning their hearts and minds of the Arab world. Besides, Israel is a powerful country (militarily and technologically) and ally/new found friend for Greece. Better to be an alliance than to not be, it makes sense for both countries.

Michael   October 19th, 2010 10:24 am ET

@Stefano888- as a fellow Greek-American who is also horrified by Israeli actions against the Palestinians and Lebanese, I can appreciate your stance. However, we need to take advantage of this break in relations between Turkey and Israel if we are to successfully counter Turkey's own thuggish policies against Greece. Furthermore, I think it's time Greece starts looking out for its own best interests as opposed to those of the Arabs (and by numerous accounts, it seems the Arabs are getting prepared to recognize Northern Cyprus, so look what good our friendly stance to them has done for us...)

Improving relations between Greece and Israel is positive news.

miriam   October 19th, 2010 11:10 am ET


Where to begin to refute the lies.

The second sentence will probably suffice.

Since when were the Comoros Islands a member of NATO?

CNN also spreads myths claiming the Mavi Mamara was Turkish-flagged and carrying humanitarian supplies.

The disinformation disseminated about the whole affair is fooling everyone.

The rift with Turkey began with the election of Erdogan and the AKP in 2003. No one would expect a Prime Minister and leader of an Islamic party to support the continuation of the traditionally close Israeli-Turkish ties.

If Israel had to restrain her always friendly ties with Greece to appease the Turks, those restraints could be eased once Turkey chose to reallgn itself with the Iran-Syria axis.

Dan   October 19th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

Stefano, Surely you're aware that the Israeli lobby has been carrying water for Turkey for years in the USA, especially against Greece. Greece is playing it smart. Be friends with everyone, let Israel and Turkey go at it. it only helps Greece.

Kiran Patel   October 19th, 2010 3:18 pm ET

Barbaric, armed Turks fueled with religious hatred, chanting racist and aggressive songs onboard attacked the Israeli troops with large knives, iron bars, chairs etc. Had a civilian even thrown a pebble at a Turkish troop, the civilian would be shot dead & his head cut off for a photo (as the Turks do to Kurds).

Turkey's invasion & occupation claimed 3000 civilian lives and they ethnically cleansed 200,000 Cypriots from their homes & villages.

So Erdogan can F-off quite frankly.

Smith in Oregon   October 19th, 2010 8:36 pm ET

Trading natural resource rich Turkey, an immense country in the Middle East for the tiny nation of Greece is a substantial step back for Israel, one I suspect of many in the near future. Greece will of course learn that they will be attacked by Israel when it is imagined that Greece isn't touting the Zionist agenda when if Greece 'thinks' it is a friend of Israel's. Israel can't help it, it is in their nature to attack their allies whom are seen by Israel to simply be temporary associates in name only, someone to use and promote the Zionist agenda's.

The Rise of the 4th. Reich of Zionism in Europe is sad and frightening. Coming after the Nazi 3rd. Reich in Germany, it appears the world is not entirely without a sense of Irony.

It is clear thru Germany's chancellor's recent 'Christian values speech' that Zionists are pulling the puppet strings now in Germany's government and it is entirely likely some of the Zionist leaders were among the tiny handful that received the 13 Trillion dollars that changed hands nearly overnight when the World's Economy tanked under the utterly corrupt Republican administration of Bush-Cheney.

Those small groups of powerful Zionist bankers are now using their tremendous monetary leverage to force their extreme Zionist agenda down the throats of everyday European people as they are now doing with the American people.

President Obama doesn't appear to want to forward the Zionist extreme agenda's which of course would cost many American lives, so the Israeli AIPAC spys and Zionist Officials have begun a replacement strategy to get rid of President Obama and insert one of their hand-picked Republican hawks into the White House.

Americans and European's can help regain control over their governments from the Zionists and AIPAC unregistered agents by supporting Deinvestment of Israel laws and legislation to totally cut-off the Billions of funds and support to the tiny nation of Israel PERIOD.

Google Deinvestment of Israel to get copys of your US State petition and emails to send to your State's and European nation's political members.

Brother   October 19th, 2010 11:07 pm ET

Kiran Patel thinks the Turks, while sailing in international water, started to throw large knifes at Israeli helicopters.

The Israelis were illegally landing on Turkish ships. The Turks defended themselves with plastic chairs and Israels army shot 9 Turks in the back of the head.

How can anyone be stupid enough to believe Israel is innocent. It just breath taking stupidity.

David   October 20th, 2010 7:49 pm ET

I think Israel is much better off cultivating a relationship with Greece instead of Turkey. There are common shared values and both countries have a long history of improving civilization.

Unfortunately, Turkey has been effectively taken over by by radical islam who by common standards produce only terrorism and contribute only hatred, death, and murder to civilazation. Turkey should engage in intropection so they can again contribute to mankind in a positive way.

Smith in Oregon   October 21st, 2010 2:09 am ET

Ultra hardliners and war drummers within Netanyahu's Zionist government are pushing and demanding Israel attack Iran under the guise of 'saving face in the world' after Iran stood up against Israel and the numerous embargo's and fired up the Iranian civilian nuclear reactor which is fully legal under the NPT treaty. Israel attacking Iran would be a BIG MISTAKE for Israel to go down that road of ruin.

I urge the Jewish people in Israel and Jewish people around the world to strongly urge the Netanyahu Israeli government to not engage in a war with Iran.

miriam   October 21st, 2010 1:13 pm ET


Substitute the word "Jew" instead of "Zionist" in your diatribe and it is plain to see who is creating any body comparable to past rascists.

The mere use of the term "Reich" demonstrates the acceptance of Nazi ideology.

Myths, lies, distortion and conspiracy were popular methods of deception then as they are now, targeting the same people then as now.

The Israeli government considers many plans for its self-defence and it appears that outsiders who either want Israel to get on with the job they are too chicken to execute themselves or who want Israel to take a step that will provide more fodder for their own hateful interests, are the ones who presume Israel cannot wait to attack.

One wonders why the world is convinced Israel is interested in war with Iran.

Could it be because she is the object of provocative, verbal, genocidal attack from Iranian leaders?

Could it be because Iranian leaders consistently violate any agreements they have with international bodies in a presumed project of nuclear weapon development aimed at Israel?

Could it be because Iran supports, trains and finances its terrorist proxies on Israel's borders who have already fired the first bullets?

I suggest you tell the people of Iran to urge their government not to engage in war with Israel and every other state in the region.
The problem is, whereas Israelis are open to listening and even agreeing with your suggestion and able to find a receptive ear in the government, the Iranian people will only hear you with difficulty and certainly have no way of talking to their "government".

Fotografer one   October 21st, 2010 3:38 pm ET

To the Israel bashers-you've learned you're propaganda well.
Either you are knowingly bigots or just too stupid to know facts.
fotog 1

Filipe   October 21st, 2010 5:19 pm ET


A little paranoid are you???

Boris   October 24th, 2010 11:25 am ET

Greece can do more for Palestinians and peace if it will establish good and friendly relations with Israel. Israelis are big boys, they can take criticism. What pissed them off was Turkish arrogance, insults and lies. Turkey occupied and ethnically cleansed half of Cyprus, it murders its Kurds with impunity, yet it denies Israel its right of self-defense? Erdogan had claimed that he knew nothing of the flotilla; now we have proof that it's not true – he did and he encouraged them through the AKP officials "to seek noble martyrdom" trying to breach lawful sea blockade. Turkey seems to think that only it is entitled to national pride, yet the Turkish PM can scream at and insult Israeli President, an elderly man and an iconic figure, with impunity. Greek leaders are welcome to go to Israel and promote peace. Moreover, Greece has its own interest in the Holy Land – there's a Greek Orthodox Patriarchate here, with large land holdings, and nowadays Russia is busy encroaching on the Greek turf, making the most of Moscow's very friendly connections with Israel. Finally, it's not a bad thing at all that Israeli tourists (and there's a lot of them) will switch from Antalia to Greek islands because they think that Greeks are more friendly then Turks (which they were and are anyway). Normal people – win. Arrogant assholes – lose. Good.

John A   October 25th, 2010 6:23 am ET

So economically bankrupt Greece has joined forces with morally bankrupt Israel. Sound like a match made in heaven.

proud zionist   October 25th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

better with Greece than with the Turkish "peace activists" Johnny A baby:,7340,L-3974911,00.html

It true, it was on TV   October 26th, 2010 10:42 pm ET

Proud Zionist,

Are you using links to Neo Nazi news papers as proof???

I was watching CBS describe the new wave of poverty in America.

Stupid Americans thought God would praise them for supporting Israel. But now God punishes the stupidity of America with a financial crises which will last for a generation.

Stupid America will never recover from this financial melt down because stupid America gives all its money to false wars and illegal Jewish settlers.

Stupid America, its taken some time, but now you are receiving what you deserve.

miriam   October 28th, 2010 12:54 pm ET


You're the one who is renewing Nazi ideology.

I suppose you'll claim that the financial melt-down of almost every economy in the world, even those not involved in a war and with no Jewish population for a variety of reasons, is due to the Jews.

Of course, you saw it on TV.

Talk about "stupid".

THEO. EMM   October 29th, 2010 11:17 am ET

The problem with the Turks is that after about two decades of the US and Europe treating them with kid gloves and trying to encourage them towards a more westernised / cosmopolitan ideology; their heads have swelled with confidence and thus arrogance. The Turk’s actions and reactions over the past few months show the true Turkish mindset coming to the fore; the old ideas of empires and regional powers. As stated elsewhere if this genie leaves the bottle, Turkish ego will not allow it to get back in. Once this happens the prospect of joining the EU begins to evaporate, and could go as far as expulsion from NATO. This is not news, many have written about the hidden dangers of dealing with a staunchly-Muslim, superficially secular society where even democracy has yet to take a true foothold. Some may see the recent jailing of military officers as a step towards more openness and democracy, but I feel the truth may be that it is the start of the de-secularisation of the country. In this little corner of the Mediterranean the "word on the street" says that there were Turkish agents on board the Aid Flotilla (as have been on most of them over the past few months) whose aim was to create an international incident. Turkey aims to be the head of a Pan-Muslim alliance, and these events are its "play" to assume this role. Turkey may be -in many ways -a bridge between East and West but it has always been a rope bridge – precarious and unstable. The Western side of the bridge might slowly be built with stone and mortar, but the Eastern side is guarded by an Ottoman wielding a Scimitar.
-"May you live in interesting times"

Yusil   October 31st, 2010 8:40 am ET


Pls check who the people are, that were responsible for the financial implosion in New York, Frankfurt and London. I believe they were not Turkish. Remember the Weimar Republic and what happened after?

amused in sydney   October 31st, 2010 11:55 am ET

THis article has attracted real loonies hasnt it .Smith you are a real prize winner. If it wasnt so scary that there are lots of people like you out there actually believing what you are saying, it would be laughable.
Get a life loser, and learn some facts.

Dalton   October 31st, 2010 2:24 pm ET

Any loss of live is a trajedy.

It was no surprise what happened to the flotilla. When a ship is warned that it is approaching a blockaded zone, it doesn't take a rocket scientis to tell what is going to happen, the ships were even told to proceed to Ashdod to have their supplies processed and delivered to Gaza through the proper channels, but because the real intent was to create headlines and gain attention, they continued to attempt to run a blockade. The Israelis were more than happy to take the bait and responded in an inappropreate manner, as if in a warzone when they should have come equipt with riot gear.

The true crime is the Muslim and Arab brothers in Egypt don't open there border and allow relief supplies to enter and reach the opressed. They should take it upon themselves to distribute aid and make sure that Hamas is still blockaded but not the inocennt Gazans.

joseph David   October 31st, 2010 3:55 pm ET

As a linguist expert, I can tell that the first few postings critical of Greece were submitted by the same person under different names. I didn't bother reading the rest, which probably are one and the same as well.

smith in oregon - yeah right?   October 31st, 2010 4:01 pm ET

How about Mohammed (Smith in Iran) more likely. No 'Smith" in Oregon would be so totally biased and one-sided. No country is so perfect that a thinking person without an agenda, would completely denigrate just Israel, without saving a few critical observations of Turkey or iran, etc, at lease even to throw a red herring so the readers would be fooled in thinking it reall is "Smith" in Oregon. Plus what a choice of allias – Smith, which couldn't be more neutral and "Oregon"..."Hey Mo, you don't fool me.

miriam   October 31st, 2010 6:00 pm ET


Please check what happened to those anti-semites and their ideology.

Then checkwhat happened to all their predecessors.

karbvi   October 31st, 2010 6:01 pm ET

If Russia attacked Turkey from the rear do you think Greece would help

marat1   November 1st, 2010 12:22 am ET

This is wonderful....two ancient cultures who can help each other thrive. The founder of the modern Turkish state, Ataturk, admired the West. He SAW the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism and even forbid the wearing of headscarves. Traditionally, the Turkish army has defending the people from the encroachment of Islamist radicalism. Both now, Erdogan, fool that he is, has thrown his lot in with Ahmadinejad and Syria, supporting terrorist elements. Turkey will never be accepted by the EU given its move towards totalitarianism. Israelis used to vacation in Turkey by the, the shops are empty of Israelis, Israelis do not feel safe or welcomed there. ENTER GREECE! Israelis have increasingly been taking their holidays in Greece, a trend that will likely just increase. Bravo and good luck to both nations. Obama–you were a fool to destroy the alliance of America and Israel. And America is the much bigger loser in the end.

Chris   May 18th, 2012 2:04 am ET

As a Greek-American, I too am heartened by the newfound ties between Greece and Israel. Both states share quite a bit in common in that they are the among the very few First World (fully developed) and truly democratic presences in the region, not to mention that they are constant prey for their roguish Muslim dominated neighbors. My only concern is that the financially challenged Greece is perhaps assuming a subservient role to Israel, which is clearly the far more militarily powerful of the two. Israel has been pouring money into Greece through various means, including tens of thousands of Israeli tourists visiting the country. Recently, however, when the Greek government considered letting one small and unarmed flotilla ship sail toward Palestine through heavily guarded Greek waters (Greece had blocked the other ships), Israel immediately protested, implying that a financial penalty would be the result if any more ships were allowed through. Greece quickly complied with Israeli orders to intercept the ship, causing some Greeks to believe that Israel simply needs to crack the whip to exact unquestioning obedience from Greece. For now, however, that seems to be the best and only course of action for Greece.

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