Shaul Mofaz
Shaul Mofaz Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel needs to come to terms with Turkey's superpower status in the Middle East, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said during a recent speech at the Washington Institute. 

Mofaz highlighted the importance of mending diplomatic relations between the two countries, saying that doing so is "necessary for the strategic goals of Israel and for the strategic goals of Turkey." 

Turkey will become a “superpower in our region… There is no question about it,” Mofaz stated. “We should have a strategic relationship with Turkey like we had in the past.”

Relations between the two countries had been becoming increasingly colder due to Erdogan's policies, and Turkey supported the illegal Gaza flotilla of May 2010, which was an attempt to break Israel's lawfully instituted naval blockade of Gaza. Israeli naval commandos boarded one of the flotilla ships, the Mavi Marmara, intending to divert the vessel in a peaceful manner, but were violently attacked by those aboard. Nine passengers were killed in the ensuing battle. 

Turkey issued an indictment seeking life sentences for former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and three other former senior commanders over their alleged involvement in the operation.

In May, Turkey vetoed Israel’s participation in a NATO summit that took place in Chicago, and it has maintained that NATO-Israel relations cannot be restored until Turkey-Israel relations are normalized. It demands that Israel apologize and pay compensation to families of Turks who were killed while using lethal weapons to attack the unsuspecting Israeli soldiers who boarded the boat.

Recently, Turkey exerted pressure to ensure that Israel be excluded from an array of diplomatic arenas.

Furthermore, Ankara has also announced its desire to “generate nuclear energy” and has expressed commitment to building two nuclear plants by 2023, in a move the Turkish leader claims is intended to lessen its dependence on carbon fuels and generate cheaper electricity.

However, while Prime Minister Recep Erdogan claims Turkey’s aspirations remain peaceful, such affirmations remain doubtful, at best, as the Turkish leader has criticized the international community for singling out Iran on nuclear issues.

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