Turkish-Israeli Relations: Real Tension or Imitation?

Photo:The Times of Israel

The clashes between the Israeli army and the Palestinian protesters on the border with Gaza, as a result of which 16 Palestinians were dead and 1.5 thousand were injured, increased tension not only in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, but also in the Turkish-Israeli relations. The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned “snequal use of force” by the Jewish state in the Palestinian enclave, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of carrying out a terrorist policy. “The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately,” the Israeli leader said on Twitter. “Apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara,” he added, in reference to April’s Fools Day.

Several Israeli politicians, including Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, also criticized Turkey: Erdan believes that Tel-Aviv should take steps against Turkey in the international arena, even recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Nevertheless, this new tension in Turkish-Israeli relations will hardly lead to drastic action against each other. It is not the first time that Erdogan accuses Israel in connection with the Palestinian issue, and Tel-Aviv threatens to exert pressure on Ankara in the international arena, but as a rule, the parties are not acting out of words.

Turkey has been trying to take over the role of regional and Islamic world leader in the recent years, and that’s why he is responding to developments in the Palestinian issue quite acutely. However, in Israel, they prefer to see Turkey as a leader of the Arab states in the region, not Iran, which also has its claims in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone. Under such circumstances, Tel-Aviv will hardly try to hamper Ankara’s regional ambitions and further worsen the relations with Turkey.

Even after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were frozen, the parties have always maintained a political dialogue and strong economic ties.