Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the World Economic Forum in 2009.
Turkey added fuel to its smoldering relationship with Israel on Tuesday when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his nation would impose additional sanctions against its once-close ally.
Likening Israel to a “spoiled boy,” Erdogan said that Turkey would halt all trade and military relations associated with Israel’s defense industry, and he warned that other measures would follow.
Late last week Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and suspended all military agreements between the two countries, giving senior Israeli diplomats only a few days to pack up and leave Turkish territory.
An angry Turkey put all these measures into place after Israel refused to apologize for the deaths of eight Turks and one Turkish-American killed by Israeli commandos during a flotilla raid off Gaza last year. —BF
Erdogan’s government is incensed that Israel refuses to apologize or pay compensation for eight slain Turks and one Turkish-American. The humanitarian workers and activists were shot dead by Israeli commandos in a botched 2010 raid on an aid convoy that was trying to bust Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza.
But “Israel does not want to see a further deterioration in the relationship with Turkey,” said a senior Israeli government official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. “There have been a number of proposals on the table to prevent a deterioration and unfortunately they have not been successful, but from our point of view a deterioration in the relationship serves neither side’s interests.”