Turkey maintains hostility toward Israel

Monday, July 05, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

While much of the rest of the international community has moved past the confrontation between Israeli naval forces enforcing the Gaza maritime blockade and a ship full of violent "peace" activists on the May 31, the government of Turkey is determined to keep the issue on the front burner until the Jewish state is either punished or begs forgiveness.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters on Monday that "relations [with Israel] will be broken" unless Jerusalem announces "that the raid was unjust."

Turkey has led the charge for an international commission of inquiry into the incident, during which nine activists who brutally attacked and took hostage a number of Israeli commandos were eventually killed. Most of the casualties were Turks associated with the Turkish IHH, a terrorist-supported network with ties to Al Qaeda.

Davutoglu insisted that the current Israeli commission of inquiry, which most international powers have accepted, is not acceptable, unless it reaches the conclusion that Israel was wrong to intercept the blockade-busting flotilla.

Over the past few weeks Turkey has banned Israeli military aircraft from using its airspace, and has pulled out of joint military exercises with Israel and the US. Israelis have responded by refusing to vacation in Turkey, which is a very popular summer vacation spot for Israelis. The boycott will cost the Turkish hospitality industry some $400 million this summer.

A group of Turkish leaders last month appealed to vacationers from the Muslim world to choose Turkey over Europe and the US this year to offset the loss of Israeli visitors.

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