Relations between Turkey and Israel are now on even shakier ground. Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says more sanctions against Israel could follow the expulsion of the Israel’s ambassador and suspension of military ties.
The relationship between the two countries, which was once close, is now in tethers. In citing its reasons for cutting ties and imposing sanctions, Turkey points to Israel’s refusal to apologize for last year’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. The incident left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
Israel has expressed regret for the loss of lives, although this has not been enough to appease the Turkish leader. Erdogan described the raid as “savagery” and accused Israel of acting like “a spoiled boy” in the region.
Erdogan said Tuesday that other Israeli diplomats ordered out of the country have until Wednesday to leave Turkey. Turkey also suspended military deals last week. The Wall Street Journal has more on the increasingly contentious spat:
Speaking to reporters after in Ankara, Mr. Erdogan repeated plans announced Friday to downgrade diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, but added trade to the mix, just a day after his economy minister had said there would be no change in economic relations “for now.”
“Trade relations, military relations, defense industry—these we will suspend. These will be completely frozen and that process will be followed also by very different sanctions,” Mr. Erdogan said. Those measures still to come would be a “Plan C” to the “Plan B” already announced, he added.
The only question now is — how can this key Middle Eastern relationship be restored? Considering the increased volatility of surrounding nations in the region, a strong tie between Israel and Turkey can only be seen as a net positive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.