28east

Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Mavi Marmara: No end in sight

with 2 comments

A fun excerpt from an informative (if nothing else) AJE opinion piece on the ever-present MV Mavi Marmara issue:

The position of the Turkish ambassador to Israel is one that has been traditionally characterised by ups and downs, both figurative and literal. At a January 2010 meeting in Jerusalem, for example, then-ambassador Oguz Celikkol was deliberately seated at a lower altitude than his Israeli interlocutors, who were displeased with the portrayal of Mossad in the popular Turkish television series Kurtlar Vadisi or Valley of the Wolves.

The Israeli government eventually apologised for the treatment of Celikkol, setting the dangerous precedent that is perhaps to thank for Erdogan’s current conviction that Israel can indeed be made to apologise for things.

Failing an Israeli apology (which apparently constitutes a “Plan A”), Erdoğan has a backup plan:

As for the “Plan B” that Erdogan has threatened to pursue if Israel fails to issue an apology, compensate fatalities, and cease blockading Gaza, the Turkish newspaper HaberTurk lists the components of this plan, which are said to include a visit to Gaza next month by Erdogan, a suit against the Israeli government and relevant soldiers, and a reduction in defense cooperation and economic ties. 

Turkey will additionally refrain from reinstalling an ambassador in Tel Aviv, a post that has been vacant since the Mavi Marmara incident, and will refuse to accept a replacement Israeli ambassador to Turkey when the current one terminates his stint in September.

Erdoğan must know that his “Plan B” (apparently an apology from Israel constitutes a “plan”) will be hard to take too seriously. The last thing Israel will do is stop the blockade.

But PM Erdoğan will, as he is known to do, continue shaking his fist—if only for his constituency.

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Written by M. James

August 31, 2011 at 12:31 am

2 Responses

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  1. Is Erdoğan’s constituency interested in the AKP actually pursuing a hard line with Israel or just presenting the appearance of one?

    J. Royce

    September 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

  2. It’s hard to tell just by watching Erdoğan’s antics, isn’t it? All of his bravado and uncompromising attitude could be interpreted as responding to either one of those interests.

    However, I do think his constituency is interested in a real hard line. Israel is destabilizing the region (by merely existing), molesting Muslims (in the Gaza blockade), killing Turks (on the Mavi Marmara), and has supposedly collaborated with Turkey’s sworn enemy (the PKK). I think there’s genuine dislike for Israel—enough to risk being on Israel’s bad side.

    M. James

    September 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm


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