Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A blow to relations with its key ally in the Middle East

By Patrick Cockburn

".....The once-warm relationship has turned more sour and acrimonious over the past several years, but the attack on the Mavi Marmara, the fact that most of the dead are Turkish, and the pictures of Israeli commandos stalking past railings draped with the Turkish flag, will have an explosive impact.

The Turkish army used to favour links to Israel and the military used to control Turkish foreign policy. This is no longer the case. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamic AKP have weakened the military's grip on power since they formed a government in 2002. Willingness to co-operate with the US and support its alliance with Israel is no longer true of the younger officers as it is of the older generals. Yesterday's action against the Gaza aid flotilla was only the latest in a series of incidents between Israel and Turkey. In 2009, Mr Erdogan stormed out of a debate with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos when he was not given enough time to respond to Mr Peres's defence of the bombardment of Gaza....."

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