Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

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Until recently, the “special relationship” between Israel and Turkey appeared unbreakable. Underpinned by shared perceptions of the threats and opportunities in their regional environment and cemented by an extensive web of joint initiatives in trade, intelligence, and defense, the Turkish-Israeli alliance blossomed in the 1990s. Any differences that arose between these two regional heavyweights paled in comparison to the overarching affinity and mutuality of interests that existed between them.

 

At least that’s the way it seemed at the time. Beneath the apparent façade of goodwill between the two countries lay a growing gap in values and political cultures that set the stage for a deterioration of relations as two major crises transpired. The first of these was Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008/2009, followed a year and a half later by Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-flagged ship attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the still-besieged Gazans. The divergence in values between the two countries began to take shape at the turn of the twenty-first century, and accelerated after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2003—a period that coincided with significant strides toward democracy in Turkey ....... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)