INTERNATIONAL > Israelis think apology to Turkey ‘a mistake’


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Nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara vessel in May 2010. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara vessel in May 2010. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

A large majority in Israel, 71 percent, believe it was a mistake to apologize to Turkey for the killing of nine Turkish nationals by Israeli soldiers when they boarded Mavi Marmara, a humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza in May 2010, according to a recently conducted poll.

Professor Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sedat Center for Strategic Studies that commissioned the poll, said 55 percent of Israelis believe Turkey’s global and regional ambitions are behind the deterioration in relations. “Israel-bashing brings Turkey popularity in Iran and the Islamic world,” he said yesterday at a panel organized by Turkish Policy Quarterly and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

Little attribution to anti-Semitism

A total of 24 percent believe domestic reasons are the cause of the souring of relations, while only 8 percent attribute it to anti-Semitism, according to Inbar, who said the Israeli public analyzed Turkish-Israeli relations from a realpolitik lens.

The Israeli apology is irrelevant to the future of relations because as long as Turkey is not interested in having good relations with Israel not much will change, said Inbar.

Nimrod Gore, the chairman of Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, used more optimistic rhetoric, saying the Israeli apology had opened channels for dialogue. But he also said the lack of progress in normalizing ties has fueled skepticism among the Israeli public about Turkey’s willingness to reconcile with Israel. Negotiations are stuck on the issue of compensation, but the Israeli public needs to see some visible steps from Turkey to increase their trust in the reconciliation process. One such step could be the exchange of ambassadors, according to Goren.

‘No normalization in context of recent protests’

Journalist Kadri Gürsel said “normal” normalization is no longer possible in the context of recent protests in Turkey. Recalling statements from Turkish officials accusing Jewish lobbies of being behind mass demonstrations in Turkey, Gürsel said progress in relations with Israel was difficult as it would contradict the government’s rhetoric.

Polemic on the PKK issue

The panel saw a heated debate when the Kurdish issue came to the agenda, as Inbar said the Israeli stance on that issue depended on Turkey. “We may decide to do things we have refrained from so far.”

When he was asked to clarify, he said preferred not to. He was compelled to elaborate, however, when he was criticized by a member of the audience who said his statement would be perceived by the Turkish public as support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and as such it was “idiotic” rhetoric and bad public diplomacy.

While Inbar responded by saying the PKK was considered a terror organization by Israel, he added that Turkey supported Hamas, which is an organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel. By supporting Hamas, Turkey is seen as a hostile country in the eyes of Israelis, who won’t turn the other cheek when they receive a slap to the face, according to Inbar.

Ohad Avidan-Kaynar, the Israeli deputy counsel general, said during the discussions that the statements of the panelists should not be taken as the official views of the Israeli state. He then left the room toward the end, when Inbar criticized the Palestinian position, likening it to Nazi policies, saying the Palestinians wanted a state without Jews.


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Notice on comments

Ken Alden

7/4/2013 10:51:53 PM

@Ashley Meyer, there is widespread prejudices towards Jewish People, ever since the other faith claimed that Jews killed their Lord. Some of that prejudice has penetrated all corners of the Globe. n my experience it is less prevailant among Turks. else.Yes, Turks are bold and they confronted Israel on one issue, when it was found that Israeli Agents were training PKK in Northern Iraq durinf A. Sh., P/M Term. Turkish Pres. GulTraveled to Tel-Avid and a "Red phone" 'Hot Line' was installed

Ashley Meyer

7/4/2013 11:25:02 AM

@Ken Alden-thank you for yr acknowledgment.You do however choose an example that validates Turkey's, in my opinion 'unjust' & inflammatory stance towards Israel.We could get in to the usual "well he did this first" approach,which goes nowhere-there were plenty examples of anti Israel stirring in TR. If TR had grievances w/ Israel they seem bold enough to tackle it. There is a much deeper reason &agenda to the game Erdogan played with Israel & for this reason alone I am pleased Israel apologised.

Lior Uziel

7/4/2013 10:29:58 AM

As always Murat will not get confused by the facts. His perception of the "Evil Jews" will stale his eyes from seeing the international committee that decided that Israelis didn't kill the "innocent, bars and knives-holding human rights activists" in cold blood and put some of the blame on the AKP. The source of this perception lies in the same source as caused some AKP leader to claim the fault of the "diaspora Jews" of the Gezi park events. It is always the fault of the Jews!!!

Ken Alden

7/4/2013 9:11:10 AM

@Ashley Meyer, yours are simplistic but raw & sincere emotions so one can't fault you for that. At that point the tensions between the two allied countries were building-up, for instance, Israeli Airforce had open sky training opportunities over TR but Israel would only sell Turkey a restricted Satelite Telescope, disfunctional over Israel, same procedure applied for cameras on the drones, that were paid for but never delivered. If you trow mud into an old friend's face & stay friends for ever!

Eric Martin

7/4/2013 7:28:58 AM

Recongizing Israel as a independent state was a 'mistake'.

mike alexander

7/4/2013 3:21:56 AM

The time will come at which Erdogan will pay dearly from the world organizations for his cooperation and love towards the Hamas terrorist organization. You can not claim that you fight terrorism and at the same time support the one you want !!!!

ivan mezei

7/4/2013 12:11:07 AM

Hicks, Israel isnt the one that needs Turkey ..Its the US. And like mentioned the appology was comensurate with the acceptance of the appology...neither were serious. The Israelis knew it was just an Erdogan ploy and the Turks knew that the Israelis were just doing it to please the US.. No Israeli, or Turk for that matter, is deluded by Erdogan's play acting.

Geir Fugleberg

7/3/2013 11:50:35 PM

Mr Hicks,your definition of "needed friendship" is truly outlandish!!! You suport those who want to kill my children,you call me a conpirerer against you,-and Im soposed to call you my friend?? Sorry,-this is not normal,most people cherish friendship,but we do draw the line at those whou encourage the killing of our children,just for your information,Mr Hicks!!

Ken Alden

7/3/2013 11:47:09 PM

@R-A-P-A-P-O-R-T, The only solution that I can see to aliviate your sorrows, I am going to petition the Turkish P.M., Honorable Mr. Rejeb Taip Erdogan, hencefort to you all his speeches, his diplomatic meeting schedules and calendars & all politicalundertakings, as well as ministerial level appointments, to YOU for your considerations & approval! If this isn't sufficient for your approval but please stop bdllyaching! ok?

donald Smith

7/3/2013 10:48:08 PM

Israel 's apology will come back to haunt Israel over and over ago. If you don't already realise Turkey is now the champions of the Islamic world because for the first time Israel was humiliated by an Islamic country which earned them great respect from the Palestinians and entire Arab world. Turkey is on a mission to revive the Turkish empire which was lost by the Ottomans which now includes a goal to be influential in Israeli politics.
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