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Ariel Cohen: Severance of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel was expected, but not justified

Israel Materials 2 September 2011 18:59
The severance of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel was expected, but not justified. Ariel Cohen, Leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, member of Trend Expert Council, believes.

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 2 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /

The severance of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel was expected, but not justified. Ariel Cohen, Leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, member of Trend Expert Council, believes.
"Turkey's demand that Israel would apologize for the incident with the "Freedom Flotilla" and Mevi Marmara last year is not justified. The UN report recognized that the blockade of Gaza would be carried out within the international law," Cohen told Trend.

Accordingly, running of the blockade by Turkish Islamist radicals from IHH was a violation of international law.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara will not be restored till Israel apologizes to Turkey, CNN Turk TV channel said.
Tel Aviv has not justified Turkey's hopes during the term given to Israel, Davutoglu said.
He said that it is time for Israel to answer for all the crimes committed against Turkish citizens.

Relations between Turkey and Israel -- two strategic and military partners -- worsened after Israeli naval attacks on the "Flotilla of Freedom" carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31. Nine Turks fell victim to a confrontation between Israeli soldiers and international human rights activists on the Turkish ship. Ankara later demanded that Israel issue an official apology, order an independent international investigation, and pay compensation.

There was hope for the restoration of bilateral relations in December last year, when Turkey sent two aircrafts to help Israel in the fight against Israel's largest forest fire in country's history, which claimed at least 41 lives. However, later Turkish officials said that Ankara would only restore relations with Israel after a formal apology, which Tel Aviv has refused.

However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been purposefully destroying the relations between Turkey and Israel over the past three years, and the current situation is just another step in this direction, said Cohen. Based on its religious and political motivation, AKP does not want to maintain friendly relations with Israel, demonstrating classic Islamist position, Cohen believes.

"Unfortunately, the long standing relationship that has been built over decades between secular governments of Israel and Turkey and its militaries are breaking. The question is whether it will end only with rupture of relations between the two countries, or Ankara will support Islamist groups in their terrorist campaign against Israel," he said.

According to Cohen, Turkey is looking for leverages of pressure in Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and the entire Middle East. At the same time, realizing the importance of Turkey as a partner, Israel stands ready to improve relations, but it will unlikely to be possible in the near future. Such unilateral and abrupt destruction of the Turkish-Israeli stratetic partnership will be viewed negatively in Washington, said Cohen.

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