Monday, June 07, 2010

Turkey walks it back a bit

Hurriyet, an English language Turkish daily, has two articles that indicate second thoughts and crosscurrents in Turkey's rush toward dismantling its ties to Israel.

First, some crosscurrents within the ruling party. In one corner, from the foreign affairs leadership:

The government intends to sever military agreements and other connections with Israel in the wake of its assault on a Turkish aid ship, Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputy leader Ömer Çelik, who is responsible for foreign affairs, said in an interview late Sunday with the private channel NTV.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also indicated that such relations might be at risk.

“The future of any agreements with Israel depends on Israel’s attitude,” Davutoğlu told reporters early Monday at a joint press conference with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts in Istanbul. If Israel does not give the green light, and its full cooperation, to an international inquiry into the deadly incident at sea, he added, “Turkish-Israeli relations cannot be normalized.”....
In the other corner, Defense:
 Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül denied there had been any request to cancel military agreements, saying such measures fall under the mandate of the Foreign Ministry.
And calling time-out, the deputy prime minister:
Indirectly criticizing his fellow party members for speculating on the additional measures Turkey might take against Israel, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said Monday afternoon that discussions are ongoing about Turkey’s response.

“It is not appropriate to say, ‘We will do this and that,’ whenever we see a microphone,” he said. “As a state we’ll do whatever is needed in response to this aggressiveness. We shouldn’t do this in daily talks. We should consider it in a serious way.”
At the same time, the ruling party and the opposition accuse each other of being "advocates" of Israel:

Hitting out at the prime minister’s accusations that he is an advocate for Israel, the main opposition leader has said the ruling party should look within its own ranks for supporters of Tel Aviv....

If the prime minister wants to understand who is the advocate of Tel Aviv, he should look to his right and he will see [Deputy Prime Minister] Bülent Arınç making different statements from the government,” Kılıçdaroğlu told private channel NTV in an interview.

The CHP chief referred to “messages from Pennsylvania,” where Turkish religious movement leader Fethullah Gülen lives, that said Turkey should have received permission from Israel before dispatching a flotilla of aid ships to Gaza. “Arınç said these remarks are true,” he said. “These statements clearly show who is the advocate.”

Erdoğan earlier criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for supporting the Israeli suggestion that the deaths of nine activists involved in the flotilla had occurred because the group failed to seek an agreement with Israel. Gülen’s remarks divided Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, with Arınç and Erdoğan offering differing interpretations.
So...there are voices within both of the rival parties at least intimating, or suggesting listening to intimations, that the flotilla leaders and the Turkish government may not have been entirely blameless in the affair. The dispute also entails calls for disclosure:
He [Erdoğan] almost declared war against Israel in his party’s meeting Tuesday. Our party displays a more moderate and careful approach,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“Foreign policy can’t be carried out with heroism but with reason. The Turkish Foreign Ministry should publicly disclose correspondence made with Israel so that we may all learn whether Israel warned Turkey or not,” he added. “Nothing should remain secret.”
Hurriyet has also posted pictures of a beaten Israeli commando in (temporary) custody of the Mavi Marmara passengers.

1 comment:

  1. I wondered last week if Turkey would try to restrain some of its initial outburst. It has a pretty careful position to negotiate here, having been close with Israel in the past.