The war of reports between Ankara and Tel Aviv regarding the Israeli attack against the Freedom Flotilla on the Mediterranean will intensify as relations between the two countries deteriorate and come to a head. These relations are declining at their core, but the American entry on the front line to benefit the Netanyahu government was overt and without dispute, and it carries with it an array of inquiries around the conduct of the White House, its causes and relations.
Despite the mutual commitment presented by both sides to not publish any information from their internal reports regarding the episode and the anticipation of the report by Jeffrey Palmer and his U.N. commission, Israel jumped to conclusions last week and broke its promises by publishing and ensuring distribution of a report by the Terkel commission, which gave Israel the right to attack the flotilla and to blockade Gaza, asserting that it does those things in the name of international law and its inevitable consequence. Ankara hurried to respond by publishing details of its national report, which it prepared. It gives Israel and Israeli troops the complete legal and moral responsibility for the attack and recalls the public Turkish demand, if it had wanted to return to normalcy in its relationship with Turkey.
Here we see that there is nothing new under the sun and no big surprises in the course of Turkish–Israeli relations, which have been strained for more than 14 years. In that time, the Mavi Marmara attack was the most powerful event, where at present, as always, America enters at the appropriate moment to stop this tension between its two regional partners in the Middle East. The Turkish ambassador returned, as did Ozdem Sanberk, the country’s representative in the U.N. commission to investigate the attack, the latter being confirmed just a few days ago, with the goal of settling differences between the two countries. They have taken big steps on the road to cooperation and coordination in military, security and trade matters, as was said. However, both parties are in trouble with regard to their agreements and demands, which have thwarted all of these attempts that were led and encouraged directly by the American administration.
The shock that concerns Ankara came just hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of the Israeli report, describing it as not carrying any credibility and coming in the form of an “order,” which the Netanyahu government wanted from the commission, when the White House started to welcome Israeli information. It was poisoned in terms of transparency, neutrality and reliability, as Philip Crowley, official spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said, confirming that the Israeli report would be reflected in the investigation, on which the reliability of the U.N. will depend.
What does it mean that America is overtly siding with Tel Aviv on this issue in its dealings with Ankara?
It is Washington, which opposed the latest report by the International Commission for Human Rights condemning Israel because of this aggression, and welcomed the Israeli report and its content, despite knowing that it violated Israel’s commitment in anticipation of the U.N. report, which looks as if it will not be astonishing either. A few months ago, Washington also refrained from cooperating in the Anatolian Eagle maneuvers because Israel was excluded. Washington has admitted to what is apparent, that it has abandoned neutrality in the crisis between two allies and is committed to the Israeli position. In reply to Turkey’s regional positions and policies, which are opposed in one way or another with American policies and American vital interests in the Middle East, it would not be shocking if the Obama administration began to touch on sensitive issues that concern Turkey from within and outside. It might introduce the Kurdish, Armenian and Cypriot issues. This might be balanced by the Turkish disregard of American interests in Lebanon and Ankara’s refusal to coordinate on significant issues such as Iran’s nuclear issue and relations with Syria, Hamas and Hizballah. There is no need to remind anyone here that the White House places these issues at the forefront of its strategies and regional calculations.
A few weeks ago we were betting that Turkish planes en route to Israel to help put out its fires would play a role in alleviating tension and heated politics between the two sides, but it seems that the Turkish planes were cut off between Ankara and Washington more than once to alleviate the tension between the two countries before talks about attempting to salvage Turkish–Israeli relations.
Perhaps the latest statements by Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon that if Ankara did not hurry up to provide an excuse for Tel Aviv, Israel’s diplomatic relations will be cut with Turkey. This is equivalent to a crowning of the Israeli efforts, which succeeded in winning over Washington’s favor and pushed it to be open about these positions, which may relate one way or another to the subject of upcoming parliamentary elections in Turkey.