A flustered Turkey demanded that the state of Israel come clean about its Operation Sky Winds that had the Israeli military raid a flotilla of six ships (dubbed the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’) that killed nine Turkish activists among which included a Turkish-American citizen on the 31st of May.
Organized by human rights groups and humanitarian aid organizations including the renowned Free Gaza Movement, the small fleet of the six ships carried precious supplies of medicine, food, clothing, construction supplies, and other necessities that the the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are deprived of. On the MV Mavi Marmara, the nine activists mentioned above were killed in a struggle with Israeli special forces.
Israel faced barrages of criticism from dozens of governments and organizations including the United Nations. The flotilla incident provoked fierce reactions which included the condemning of Israeli action that ended in the killing of “unarmed civilians”, strong protests in various parts of the world, and a demand for an international investigation into the ‘incident’ from many countries, among them Turkey.
Israel promised to create a domestic investigation into the Israeli raid involving a few international speculators; and so it did. However, this action did not satisfy the majority of the world that criticized Israel including Turkey.
The flotilla incident has hurt Turkey’s relationship with Israel the most as the victims of the raid were Turks. In a statement directed at Israel, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu (pictured above) expects the state of Israel “to apologize or accept an international investigation”, Davutolgu added that this was a “just and fair request” from Turkey.
Turkey has additionally demanded that Israel compensate for the victims’ deaths, however conflicting reports of whether the activists on the MV Mari Marmara took violent action first or not prompted Israel to state that the government would never “ever apologize for defending its citizens”.
Furthermore, Turkey has requested Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. If any of Turkey’s requests are not met satisfactorily, Minister Davutoglu warned that Turkey would disconnect itself from its relationship with Israel in “gradual stages”. Such “gradual stages” would beat whatever is left of an Israeli-Turkish relationship to a pulp that has already rapidly declined in the past year. The political balance in the Middle East would also be seriously threathened if Turkey begins to sides itself with the anti-Israel camp that holds countries like Syria and Iran. Such a move would also move Turkey away from its allies in the West, a most undesirable scenario.