I’ve written plenty recently on Israel-Turkey relations so I don’t need to rehash any of it, but the announcement that Turkey has completed its own investigation into the Mavi Marmara flotilla affair and that the Justice Ministry is awaiting a list of names from the Foreign Ministry of Israeli soldiers to indict is not a positive development. I understand Turkey’s lingering anger at Israel but at some point you need to look at the bigger picture and figure out whether the “pursuit of justice” is worth the cost in other areas. As Laura Rozen pointed out, there are signs of thawing between Turkey and Israel if you look at trade ties, flights between the two countries, and even reengagement among the diplomatic corps, but there are plenty of people at the top in both countries who seem to have no desire to put the feud behind them and would in fact rather perpetuate it. Israel’s report exonerated its actions, Turkey’s report will do the opposite, and the UN Palmer report split the difference by finding the blockade lawful but criticizing Israel for using excessive force. Why can’t everyone leave it at that, agree to disagree, and move forward? Indicting Israeli soldiers will accomplish absolutely nothing and will only lead in return to a harsher spotlight fixed on the violent actions of those who were aboard the Mavi Marmara. I know I am a broken record on this and am not winning myself any accolades among my Turkish readers, but enough is enough. The issue should not be about who is to blame but about reconstructing what was a productive and beneficial relationship for both sides.
Typical self-serving analysis from Israelis. A closer Turkish-Israeli relationship is not in Turkey’s interests. It is completely against the national aspirations of the Turkish people. Turkish people want justice for the martyrs of Mavi Marmara and the Palestinians. “Thawing relationship” with Israel is not what they want.
First of all, I am not Israeli, so whatever else my analysis might be, it is certainly not “self serving.” Second, national interests are not the same as national aspirations, and even if they were, I’m confident that Turks have bigger dreams than an Israeli apology. It is unquestionably in Turkey’s interests to resume defense, intelligence, and trade cooperation with Israel. It is also Turkey’s stated policy to have zero problems with neighbors, so I’d think this falls under that category as well to the extent feasible. That is not to say that Turkey should roll over entirely, but that escalating things serves no tangible interest. Voicing platitudes about justice might make some people feel better, but it will not accomplish anything when all is said and done.