Israel to Resume Flights to Turkey

Normalization may benefit the economy, but it comes with a hidden cost.

After being grounded for 15 years, passenger flights between Israel and Turkey are set to resume. The aviation authorities of these two nations signed an agreement on July 7, a gesture that fits into a larger trend of normalization between Israel and Arab nations. The news is welcomed by those looking to cope with a troubled world economy. But normalization will have a long-term hidden cost for Israel.

Israel stopped flights to Turkey in 2007, citing safety concerns. A brief attempt to resume flights in 2013 failed (although cargo flights resumed in 2020). Currently, according to Al-Monitor, Turkish Airlines has over 60 flights daily from Istanbul to Israel. The Israel Airports Authority noted that Turkish Airlines is the third-largest airline operating in Israel, and Turkish discount airline Pegasus is sixth.

According to former Turkish ambassador to Israel Oğuz Çelikkol, “We are seeing the acceleration of the normalization process. The aviation accord will greatly contribute to tourism and increase the bilateral trade between the two countries. The opening of the trade office is equally important. Appointment of ambassadors will be a critical step of the normalization.”

Air travel is not the only sector to benefit from the latest efforts to normalize ties. Trade between the two nations continues to increase. In 2021, trade in goods and services reached $7.7 billion, an increase of 30 percent compared to 2020. On August 1 this year, Israel’s economic office in Istanbul plans to reopen after three years of being closed.

Turkish and Israeli leaders have also discussed cooperation in the energy sector. In May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Israel to discuss “strategic cooperation in the energy field,” according to the Washington Institute.

Much of the warming relations between Israel and Turkey can be attributed to Iranian aggression, American isolationism and harsh economic realities. “International developments such as the election of the Biden administration, concerns about Iranian regional activity, and normalization of the Assad regime helped to spur this shift,” wrote the Washington Institute. “Moreover, Turkey’s escalating economic crisis compelled it to improve relations with the [United Arab Emirates], Israel, and Saudi Arabia to foster better regional economic ties.” It summed up the efforts at normalization as “a marriage of convenience.”

The main interests shared by Israel and Turkey are opposing Iranian aggression and securing profitable economic deals. Beyond that, many differences remain. Turkey’s leaders are cautious to avoid losing support of the Muslim-majority population. This was evident in Turkey’s low-profile manner of announcing the aviation agreement. Whereas Israel rapidly publicized the news, Turkey confined the official announcement to a short press release on the website of its aviation authority.

If Israel wants full normalization with Turkey—or with other potential allies like Saudi Arabia—it may have to compromise on one of the most contentious issues: the two-state solution. In March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Israel a “potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together.” Both Saudi Arabia and Israel oppose radical Shia Islam, Iranian funding of terrorist groups abroad, and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. However, Mohammed bin Salman has indicated that his nation intends to make the Palestinian peace process a sticking point in negotiations.

How far will Israel go to gain favor with the Arab world? The precise extent of cooperation and compromise remains to be seen. However, the Trumpet has been warning for years that Israel should not place its trust in these nations.

Though supported by history and current events, the foundation for this warning is a prophecy in Psalm 83. Here, an alliance is described that has never yet existed in history. Yet it is beginning to form right now.

Verse 6 begins to list the nations forming this alliance. It mentions “Edom” and “the Ishmaelites,” the ancestors of modern-day Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Other moderate Arab nations will be among this group (see “A Mysterious Prophecy” to read more about this).

Verse 8 mentions that these Arab nations are joined by “Assur,” or modern-day Germany. Hosea 5 reveals that Israel will look to Germany for help in resolving the intractable peace process. Hosea 5:13 mentions the “wound” of Judah, the people composing the Jewish State today. In our booklet on Hosea, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains:

What is Judah’s wound? The word wound is number 4205 in Strong’s Concordance. It means “in the sense of binding up: a bondage, i.e. remedy.” Gesenius’ Lexicon defines it this way: “the pressing together, binding up of a wound; here used figuratively of a remedy applied to the wounds of the state.”

Another word for wound is also mentioned in Obadiah 7 …. This wound is number 4204 in Strong’s. Gesenius’ Lexicon defines it as “falsehood; hence, fraud, insidious dealing … net, or snare.” It has the same root word as the word used in Hosea 5:13. In Obadiah the wound is directly related to being deceived by a peace pact!

Is the peace process with the Arabs the Israeli wound that God refers to in Hosea 5:13? I have been saying that the deeply flawed peace process was “Judah’s wound” since it began in 1993. This delusional pursuit of peace through compromise has been an unparalleled disaster for Judah!

Israelis hope that warming relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia will bring increased prosperity. Many hope it will encourage peace between Israel and the Arab world, or bring a solution to the Palestinian peace process. But Psalm 83 clearly says this will not be the case.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other nations in this alliance will ultimately betray Israel. Their real goal is revealed in Psalm 83:4, which states: “They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” Other prophecies, such as those in the book of Obadiah, warn that Turkey will play a role in betraying Israel to its enemies (read more about this in our free booklet on Obadiah).

Normalizing relations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations will not bring peace, despite a shared opposition to Iran. Through Hosea, God warned that Israel will suffer greatly for placing its confidence in these nations instead of Him: “I will be … as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him” (Hosea 5:14).

Yet the same prophecies that describe the alliances we see today also reveal that peace between Israel and the Arab world will finally become reality when these nations learn to trust God. To discover how this will happen, start by reading our free booklet Hosea—Reaping the Whirlwind, by Gerald Flurry.