UPDATES

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time

Jul 26, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time
news_item/flotilla_violence2.jpg

While this year’s Gaza flotilla barely caused a stir, the ongoing saga of last year’s continues. Last night, the UN’s Palmer Commission confirmed rumours that the report that the release of the report they have prepared on last year’s effort will again be delayed in the hope that Israel and Turkey will settle their differences. As Herb Keinon reports in The Jerusalem Post:

The United Nations on Monday officially confirmed that the planned release Wednesday of the UN’s Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara has been postponed until late August. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday was now expected on Aug. 20, a Saturday.

The sources said that the report had been delayed month to allow Israel and Turkey to find a formula to renew full diplomatic ties and obviate the need to release the report. The report was originally to be released on May 15, but was postponed at the request of the Turks; and then again on July 7, another day that came and went without its release.

The report – whose details have been widely reported – upholds the legality of Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, but takes the IDF to task for using disproportionate force in enforcing the blockade. The Turks are keen on burying the report, because while far from being a pro-Israel document, by upholding the legality of the blockade it places some of the responsibility for the flotilla fiasco on Turkey’s shoulders.

The Israelis have, thus far, refused to meet Turkey’s demand to apologise for what they believe was a legitimate act of self defence. In response, Turkey seems to be playing hardball – supporting Palestinian Authority moves that are against Israel’s interest and seemingly indicating that unless Israel capitulates, Turkey will become increasingly hostile.

For example, Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to further freeze ties between the two nations:

According to the website of the Turkish daily Hurrieyt, Erdogan acknowledged a “Plan B” to further freeze ties with Israel if Turkey’s conditions for resolving the incident – including an Israeli apology, payment of compensation to the families of the nine victims and a lifting of the Gaza blockade – were not met by July 27, the day when the UN’s Palmer Commission was to have issued its report.

“We are going to wait for their [Israel’s] decision for a period of time. Then [if no apology comes], we will surely implement our Plan B,” Hurrieyt reported the Turkish prime minister as telling reporters Saturday at a joint press conference with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit.

In fact, Erdogan is also threatening to visit Gaza and increase tensions, while hinting that an Israeli apology would prevent this:

The Turkish leader hinted yesterday that if the efforts at reconciliation with Israel fail, he will visit the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

“Turkey is not interested in stirring tension by my visit to Gaza,” he said, during a press conference with the Jordanian prime minister, Marouf Bakhit. “It will be wrong to ask for an apology and at the same time visit Gaza. There are those in the Israeli government who support an apology and there are those who are opposed. I will wait for their decision and then I will carry out plan B [to visit Gaza].”

As Keinon notes, there is much suspicion in Israel that all of Erdogan’s supposed “plan Bs” are in fact “plan A” and Erdogan is merely using these statements to elicit an apology which would not end Turkish demands and, rather, would represent an admission of guilt that Turkey could later use against Israel. Whatever the case, the situation begs a serious question as to how likely reconciliation is between Israel and Turkey and how prudent it is for the UN to continue delaying the report, seemingly indefinitely, in the hope that some form of agreement may be reached. As The Jerusalem Post notes in its editorial today, Erdogan’s demands, if met, would harm Israel’s security and potentially cause violence between Gaza and southern Israel to begin to escalate out of control.

There does not seem to be much gained from apologizing. Normalization of diplomatic relations with Turkey does not appear to be in the offing, though business ties appear to remain relatively strong notwithstanding the 59 percent drop in tourism in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period in 2010.

Erdogan has said on numerous occasions that he demands nothing less than the lifting of the blockade on Gaza – a move that would make it easier for Hamas to build up its supply of rocket and mortar shells for future use against Israeli civilians.

Some similar views, opposing Israeli concessions to Turkey, come from noted Israeli strategic expert Prof. Efraim Inbar . Inbar is due to visit Australia next month.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


The FIFA World Cup has just kicked off in this year's controversial host nation, Qatar. But contrary to FIFA's insistence that the soccer is all that matters, the event is likely to have major political implications for the region. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The politics of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Nov 22, 2022 | Update
Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actresses, appearing publicly without her headscarf and holding a sign with the Kurdish words for "Women, Life, Freedom". Despite the regime's bloody repression, Alidoosti has vowed to remain in her homeland "at any price" and support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown  (Photo: Instagram)

Iran’s protest wave continues 

Nov 11, 2022 | Update
8c2ebfa2 C3e1 A33a 9cdc 07bd16e00b2f

After election win, Netanyahu set to be Israeli PM again

Nov 4, 2022 | Update
Israelis are going to the polls yet again on Nov. 1, the fifth Israeli election in less than four years. Will this vote break the political deadlock? (Image: Flickr, IDF)

Israel goes to the polls – again

Oct 28, 2022 | Update
The complex Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary dispute appears to have been settled after many years of negotiations, with Israel accepting the green line in the above diagram, except within five kilometres of the coast (This map was originally published on the MEES website).

Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement

Oct 13, 2022 | Update
A screenshot from a video posted on Sept. 17 shows an injured protester in Saqqez, Iran, being rushed to a medical facility. (Video: Twitter)

Insights into Iran’s protest movement

Oct 7, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

Image: Twitter

Biblio File: What lurks beneath

Image: Shutterstock

Media Microscope: All Right?

A violent clash of forces is never a distant possibility in the southern Philippines

Asia Watch: Slow progress

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

Image: Twitter

Biblio File: What lurks beneath

Image: Shutterstock

Media Microscope: All Right?

A violent clash of forces is never a distant possibility in the southern Philippines

Asia Watch: Slow progress

SORT BY TOPICS