The Odd Couple details the ups and downs in the tortuous relations between modern Turkey and Israel.
The central actor in the book is Tayyip Erdogan, who came to power in Turkey in 2002-2003, determined to turn the clock back and return his country to its pre-Ataturk glory, when the Ottoman Dynasty reigned supreme and Islam was the dominant ideology holding the Empire together.
To understand the aberrant relationship between the Jewish state of Israel and the Islamic state of Turkey, and the preponderant role of Tayyip Erdogan in its deterioration, one must dig into the Ottoman past, the historical attitudes of Turks to Jews, and the shift in Turkish policies that was effected by the transition from the modern Turkish civil governments up to 2002 to the vast changes that the Islamic parties of Erbakan and Erdogan have triggered thereafter.
This is the story of how one man can alter relations between two countries.
Raphael Israeli has taught Islamic, Chinese, and Middle Eastern history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A graduate of Hebrew University in history and Arabic literature, he earned a Ph.D. in Chinese and Islamic history from the University of California, Berkeley. Now retired, he has been a Fellow of the Harry Truman Research Institute at Hebrew University and the Jerusalem Center since the 1970s, and is the author of over 50 research books, a dozen edited books, and 100 scholarly articles about Islam. Born in Fes, Morocco, at fourteen, “I left my family when I could no longer bear the oppression of Jews in an Islamic country and moved to fledgling Israel. To this day, I consider that the wisest and most game-changing decision I took in my life.”