June 1, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Once the Mideast’s key strategic relationship, a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship has tensions between them at the breaking point.
Strategic relationship? What strategic relationship? “I don’t think we can use that word anymore,” one Turkish official grimly opined, describing the diplomatic aftermath of Israel’s deadly commando raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip with Ankara’s blessing.
With that terse assessment, an intimate bilateral partnership that spawned not only burgeoning trade and arms ties, but a mutual trust prompting intensive diplomatic efforts by Turkey to mediate between Israel and its Arab adversaries, finally bit the dust.
Relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv have been on a downward spiral for 18 months — ever since a prolonged Israeli military assault on Gaza that left around 1,300 Palestinians dead triggered a furious backlash in Turkey. That culminated in Turkey’s tempestuous prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, storming out of a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January last year after clashing with the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.
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