Skip to main content

Why Israel needs Putin more than it needs Erdogan

Reconciliation with Turkey is stalled, possibly due to Israeli-Russian security interests regarding Syria, Lebanon and Hezbollah, as well as Russian hostility to Israeli-Turkish rapprochement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2015. Netanyahu said his visit to Moscow on Monday was aimed at preventing clashes between Russian and Israeli military forces in the Middle East. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool - RTS25BW

A fascinating and volatile drama has been unfolding in recent weeks around the intrigue that begins in Jerusalem and winds through Moscow, Damascus, Beirut, Ankara, Tehran and Canberra. Israel, Russia, Turkey, Australia and Iran are the key players, while Syria and Lebanon have supporting roles. To the players in the field, the game is reminiscent of a regional chessboard with a lot more than two contestants.

It all began with an official state visit that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was supposed to have made to Australia on March 17. The visit was scheduled via direct contacts between Jerusalem and Canberra. Israel and Australia enjoy a close, warm relationship, and the Australian government officials were very excited for the visit of the popular Israeli president. They cleared their schedules for him, and one high-level government official even canceled a planned trip abroad.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.