The deep freeze in Israel’s diplomatic relations with Turkey, once its closest ally in the region, likely will continue for the next few years.
That was the essence of the message from Turkey’s new prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, the country’s former foreign minister, who follows President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his position – both diplomatically and politically. Erdogan was prime minister before being elected last month as president.
The prime minister told Turkey’s parliament on Monday that in the Middle East, he saw no hope of “normalizing” ties with Israel unless it stopped attacks on Gaza and ended its blockade, Reuters reported. Both are defensive measures designed to fend off terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians.
None of the English-language Turkish newspapers carried Davutoglu’s remarks in their entirety. The new prime minister is expected to continue Erdogan’s policies. He named a new cabinet last Friday but retained key members of the existing economic management team.
Turkey’s ruling AKP party — and Erdogan in particular — has long been deeply supportive of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood organization that spawned the terrorist group.
On May 31, 2010, Erdogan recalled Turkey’s ambassador to Israel after nine terror activists were killed when they attacked Israel Navy commandoes who boarded a flotilla ship allegedly bearing aid to Gaza. A subsequent search of the vessel found there were no humanitarian aid supplies at all in the hold.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Chile, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan said the incident represented a complete violation of international law. “This action, totally contrary to the principles of international law, is inhumane state terrorism,” he claimed at the time. He cut short an official visit to Latin America to ‘deal with the crisis.’
Erdogan has since used the incident to ramp up his anti-Semitic rhetoric and has sabotaged every effort by numerous Israeli and Turkish officials to resolve the “crisis.”
About the Author: Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.
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