Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened Israel, telling Turkish national television Monday that his country would not “sit with its arms folded in the event that Israel attacks in Gaza once again.”
Israeli leaders have said that in light of the resumption of rocket attacks from Hamas-run Gaza, another anti-terrorism IDF military operation is inevitable.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded immediately after the Passover holiday, on Monday night, without mincing words. “Israel is not interested in a conflict with any country,” the Ministry announcement stated, “including Turkey. However, the impression is that the Turkish prime minister wishes to effect his integration in the Muslim world on Israel’s back.”
“It could be expected of Erdogan, who is concerned about the fate of Muslims, to express sorrow regarding the long line of innocent victims in Iran and Pakistan murdered by terrorist organizations,” the Foreign Ministry added.
Traditionally strong relations between Turkey and Israel have worsened considerably over the past two years, and particularly since Israel’s anti-terrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
At a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Turkish Policy Quarterly and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Israeli and Turkish speakers basically agreed that an improvement should not be expected in the near future. Among the reasons advanced for the growing Turkish antagonism to Israel were rising Turkish nationalism and suspicion of “the other,” and the stance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), headed by Erdogan.