Israeli-Turkish relations irrevocably damaged

The actions of the Israeli military against the civilian flotilla of aid into Gaza has provoked widespread international reaction.

Israel is bracing itself for a wave of diplomatic repercussions in the aftermath of the interception of the small crafts where at least nine people have been killed.

Perhaps the gravest consequences from the killings will be the effect on Israeli-Turkish relations, which have taken a disastrous hit. Al Jazerra reports the claims of a Turkish charity that the majority of those killed on the six boats were Turkish. Turkey have already recalled its ambassador to Israel in response to the deaths. Many Turkish nationals took part in the flotilla, with the worst confrontation reported to have taken place on the largest ship, the Turkish Mavi Marmara.

The once amiable relations between the two had somewhat soured since the Gaza War, but the bare bones of a strategic relationship had still remained. However in light of the actions today by the IDF, the Turkish government will face massive internal pressure to withdraw all meaningful relations with Israel, including arms deals.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel’s actions “state terrorism”. He also called on Nato and the UN Security Council to arrange emergency sessions to discuss the incident.

Included in the statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry was the assertion that;

“Israel will have to bear the consequences of its actions… The incident that occurred in open sea which is a gross breach of international law, could cause irrevocable consequences for our relations.”

Approximately 10,000 have so far taken part in protests in Ankara outside the Israeli consulate.

Along with Turkey, Greece, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have all reportedly summoned their respective Israeli ambassadors for an explanation.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Baroness Ashton of Upholland has called on Israel to conduct a full inquiry into the actions of its troops.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meanwhile has cancelled his meeting with Barack Obama tomorrow to return to Israel. He has declared his full support for the actions of the Israeli military.

EDIT: Robert Tait’s excellent analysis on the relationship is worth a read.

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