In the past two years, we have seen repeated crises in Turkish-Israeli relations. Most of these were set off by Turkish condemnations of Israeli policies and military operations. A few of these spats involved warnings issued by the Turks to both Israelis and American Jews that recognition of the Armenian Genocide by either Israel or American Jewish organizations would lead to irreparable harm to the Turkish-Israeli relationship. Time and again, Israeli commentators and politicians have tried to assuage the Turks as well as the Israeli public. "Everything is okay," and "military relations continue to be excellent and are immune from these political disturbance. Those sounding this line, however, are running out of credibility very quickly. Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan , seems intent on destroying ties between the two countries. Until now, the highlight was his angry outburst at Davos (see clip below). The recent cancellation by Turkey of an air force drill that was supposed to have included Israel also caused a stir. But Erdogan's remarks (Ha'aretz) today, ahead of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's meeting in Istanbul, take the cake.
Erdogan's statements included a defense of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and the incredible assertion that Muslims are incapable of carrying out genocide (I will not mention the obvious here; suffice to say that millions of Armenians feel very differently about this matter). Erdogan also charged that Israel had committed worse crimes in Gaza than Sudanese paramilitary forces had in Darfur. All this comes on the heels of the General Assembly's endorsement of of the Goldstone report. It is clear that the current Turkish government does not believe that Israel is an important ally. However important the ties between the armed forces of the two states might be, Erdogan's attacks on Israel since 2007 make him an enemy rather than a friend of the Jewish state.