Influencers for Dialogue
The "Influencers for Dialogue" project is part of the TICSF's activities. Its main goal is to create a network of young Turkish and Israeli leaders to realize the importance of relations and work together to expose the benefits of collaborations.
In this training program participants will learn how to design political-social digital projects/campaigns that will support Israeli-Turkish relations. To do so, participants will go through a series of lectures and workshops including history of Israeli-Turkish relations, the challenges and opportunities in relations today and about digital campaigning. Participants will get to know and interact with likeminded young leaders from Israel/Turkey and form groups to compete to win a digital project competition.
History of Turkish-Israeli Relations
The first lecture of the program was given by Dr. Gallia Lindenstrauss, Senior Research Fellow in Institute for National Security Studies. The title of the lecture was: “History of Turkish-Israeli Relations”. Dr. Lindenstrauss begin her lecture by showing a picture of President Herzog’s visit to Turkey in July 1992 and referred the time period as “golden years of relationship”. The she continued by pointing out the contrast of the relationships between Erdogan’s approach from the beginning of his term and today.
Then she begun to talk about the reasons that are causing the deterioration of bilateral relation. She explained the major factors as: Turkey’s relationship with Hamas, populism, polarization etc. She discussed the rise of antisemitism and antisemitic sentiments of President Erdogan. Dr. Lindenstrauss talked about the history of deterioration of bilateral relations. “One minute” accident, Gaza flotilla raid and then 2013 Apology and its effects on relations and normalization agreement. Then the 2017 restart process was discussed with its failure by Erdoğan’s sentiments about Jerusalem.
She continued the history of relations by talking about the diplomatic history between two countries. She explained the May 2018 crissis and Erdogan’s quote “Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims” and collapse of the normalization agreement. Lastly, she explained the contemporary status of relations. First, she talked about Netenyahu-Erdogan’s conflict on twitter then she pointed out the polarization in the region with factors causing the polarization such as Morsi’s fall and death and Khashoggi’s murder.
Current Challenges and Opportunities between
the relations of Israel and Turkey
Second lecture was given by TICSF member and Associate Professor from Kadir Has University Dr. Salih Bıçakçı. The title of his presentation was “Current Challenges and Opportunities between the relations of Israel and Turkey”
Dr. Bıçakçı begun his presentation by explaining why he is interested in Israeli and Turkish relations. He talked about studying in Israel, being exposed to the culture. He said “Israel that I experienced and Turkey that I had at the time has changed totally.” and said his presentation will try to explained this change and what we have to deal with when we are dealing with Turkish-Israeli relations.
He then started to present a survey conducted by Kadir Has University among Turkish people. He gave stats about the public attitude of Turks towards Israel.
He continued to explain the obstacles between the relations of Turkish and Israeli public. First, he talked about “Walls of Suspicion”, the distrust between the people of Turkey and Israel plays a significant role. Also, antagonism and hegemony is a serious concern as well as leadership dominant politics. Change in societal structures are also an important factor to consider.
He also explained that factors of a small and tiny diplomatic tie and their limited promises as well as dropping interest to counterpart. He emphasized that new generation of Israelis and Turks do not have any interaction between each other. This is the main problem because without interaction there can be no dialogue
Projects from the Program
The Youth of Mediterranean
The winner of the competition is "Youth of Mediterranean". It is a project designed to create an open environment where youngsters from the region can talk about the problems of the region and create policies regarding it.
Coffee for Dialogue
A project in order to bring people to have coffee together and share experiences with each other in order to bring them closer.
A project in order to use food to bring two nations together. Shared culinary culture of Turkey and Israel were materialized into a commemoration day.
Uncovering Turkey -Israel
A project designed to share the experiences of travel by individuals who visited the other country.