Israeli-Turkish relations took a turn for the worse on Friday as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, said that Israel was showing “barbarism that surpasses Hitler” during its invasion of Gaza. The Times of Israel reports:
Erdogan made the comment during a campaign speech Saturday in the Black Sea port city of Ordu. He is running for the presidency in elections next month.He has been speaking out strongly against Israel during its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, which has killed more than 300 Palestinians. Hamas has fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel and carried out a series of terrorist infiltrations via tunnels and from the sea in recent days.Erdogan accuses Israel of using disproportionate force and has said the operation there has derailed efforts to normalize Turkish-Israeli ties. Those soured after Israel’s 2010 raid on a ship seeking to breach Israel’s security blockade on Hamas-run Gaza which killed eight Turks and a Turkish-American.
In addition, Erdogan accused Israel of committing a “systematic genocide” against the Palestinians. Also on Friday, a violent protest nearly overwhelmed the Israeli Embassy in Ankara. The Israelis allege the Turkish police neglected their duties to safeguard the location. As a result of both events, Israel has withdrawn its non-essential diplomatic personnel from Turkey.While the fallout of the 2010 Mari Marmara ship raid has never fully dissipated, there had until recently been reason for hope: Kurdistan. The Kurds need a buyer for their oil, which they ship through Turkey, and Israel, as the Kurdish media reports, is one of the few nations that does not care about complaints from the Iraqi central government. An incipient alliance between the three nations even seemed possible. Now, things may be getting ugly again.There is still one last cause for hope. Trade between Israel and Turkey is breaking all records, despite diplomatic disputes. Perhaps, not for the first time, trade will carry the two nations past an ugly incident.