It would be hard to overstate the immensity of Israel's Defence Force's [IDF] commando raid on the high seas on the Turkish ship 'Mavi Marmara' on Turkish Israeli relations.
The lead ship in a peace flotilla carrying supplies to Gaza lost 9 passengers--8 Turks and 1 Turkish American lad. The illegal Israeli pre emptive strike violated international law and chalked up another notch of continued Israeli terrorist actions against whom it identifies as its enemies. Apparently breaking the Israeli blockade which in essence means holding Palestinians in Gaza as hostage, depending on the trickle of food and supplies to keep them on the edge of starvation, after a blitzkrieg December 2008-January 2009.
Israel crossed a line with Turkey, its long term ally in the Middle East since its founding in 1948. The 'friendship' has been beneficial to each other, but it began to unravel during 'cast lead', Israel's lightning war against Gaza. Israel's arrogance at Davos and Israel's foreign ministry insulting treatment of the Turkish ambassador simply made matter worse.
But the murder of Turks on the high seas by the IDF which came in guns blazing brought relations to a full stop. A break in 'good neighbourliness' upset the US, the more especially since Turkey is a founding member of NATO, and plays a role in America's global military strategy. And then, Turkey began casting its eyes on its traditional geography which stretched through the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Asian republics, Iran, and the Arab world. Turkish diplomacy suddenly had a new life and embarked slowly and cautiously but firmly in a direction which should make Washington and Tel Aviv uneasy. And it did, big time.
Slowly Anakara and Tel Aviv began small steps to 'kiss and make up', although the page was never turned on the 'Mavi Mamara'. Turkey using its own Jews kicked off its first 'Holocaust day' in an Ankara synogogue. [The irony is not lost on Armenians!]
At the same moment the latest series of popular Turkish adventure films depicting the Israeli attack on the peace flotilla opened. 'Valley of the Wolves--Palestine' may not be high art but it touches 'la Turquie profounde' [the ordinary Turk]. It is a film of revenge and of honour to avenge the piratical Israeli operation on the high sea against Turkey.
You can imagine the egg on Israel's face at the moment of remembering the 'Ha Shoah', to be reminded of its own lawless, brutal, and violent actions. The response by the Israeli ambassador was immediate and predictable: any criticism of the Zionist state is not only anti Israeli but more damning 'anti Semitic', thereby implying that it is a stain of the destruction of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during world war two.
There is an element of truth in that Israel is portrayed as having 'evil' intentions but to calling any criticism 'anti Semitic' wears thin. For any criticism of the Isreal automatically bears the stamp of 'anti Semitism'. And thus, it loses its sting since everything is which by definition reduces Israel's ranting suspect and potentially without merit.
Turkey and Israel may kiss and make up. Too much money in trade and military materiel are at stake, but like Humpty Dumpty the relationship can never be put back together as it was before. Turkey will continue to gain influence in the Arab world whilst Israel becomes more and more isolated.