The US govt threw Farken Dogan, a US citizen killed in the flotilla under the buss just as it did for the USS Liberty for Israel’s benefit. And the US pays all their bills.
The events were so simiiar, loss of life by illegal attack by the IDF in international waters, acts of piracy and Israel with it’s usual “What! who me?” santimoniuous self righteousness “We are above all laws” bullshit. Let the State of israel hang itself with all nations , it supplies the rope, to hell with what a former French Foreign Minister called “a shitty little country”. It deserves every retibution it will get as it did so to itself. -jd
Prospects for Turkish-Israeli normalization worsen
It was always a foregone conclusion that Turkey would reject any findings by a unilateral Israeli commission investigating the events surrounding the attack on the Mavi Marmara last year that left nine Turkish activists dead in international waters.
It was equally predictable that any unilateral Israeli commission would exonerate both the government and the Israeli Defense Forces for the killings. Therefore the Turkel report that was released by Israel on Sunday contains no surprises. What was surprising was Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan’s response.
Why Erdoğan was “astonished” by the report and “regretted” its findings is not clear. Surely he did not expect Israel to say its own soldiers had murdered Turkish citizens in international waters with the support of their government.
Neither is Erdoğan’s rejection of the Turkel Commission’s findings all that important. What is important at this stage is whether the “Palmer Panel” set up by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will also reject these findings.
That commission was set up to find the “middle road” between Turkey and Israel. In order to do this it has been waiting for the Turkel report, and is ready to receive any other facts that it is provided with. It also has the power to question the sides.
The report containing Turkey’s own investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident was sent to the Palmer Panel last September. The contents of that report were made public by Ankara on Monday, a day after the Turkel findings were released.
While the Israeli investigation maintains that the Israeli military acted in self-defense and in total compliance with international law, Turkey maintains exactly the opposite. It says the attack in international waters is contrary to the principle of “Mare Liberum.”
This, Ankara says, makes the Israeli attack an act of piracy on the high seas, aggravated by the premeditated murder of unarmed activists who were trying to protect themselves against an illegal attack on their ship by Israeli forces.
Turkey also maintains that acts in violation of human rights continued against the pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara after they were arrested and brought to Israel, including the sexual harassment of female activists. Ankara also maintains that Israel soldiers stole property on the ship belonging to the activists on board. This was corroborated later and resulted in court proceedings in Israel against the accused soldiers.
So the chips are down now and all eyes are on the Palmer Panel, and this is where it starts getting difficult for Ankara. Israel of course stands accused of murder in the eyes of the majority of the world, especially after the release of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s report last year on the Mavi Marmara incident.
But that seems of no consequence to the Israeli government, which is more concerned with “legal liability” issues relating to the incident rather than the negative image it may be projecting to the world. It is clear that Israelis are resolved by now to the fact that they have long since lost the “international publicity war.”
The Palmer Panel will have to take the Human Rights Council’s findings into consideration also, for the sake of “objectivity,” even if Washington voted against these findings in order to protect Israel. Be that as it may, though, it is not clear if it is fully understood in Turkey that the Palmer Panel is not going to apportion blame to one side or another, simply because it is not mandated to do so.
On the other hand it is clear that if it were mandated to do that, and if its findings were to go against Israel, Washington would immediately step in again to veto these findings. All of this was made clear from the start in the various statements from the United States about the Palmer Panel, and later in the way the U.S. voted against the Human Rights Council’s report last year, even if the overwhelming majority of Council members voted for it.
The bottom line is that the panel’s main objective is to see if a middle ground can be found between Turkey and Israel to get their relations back to normal. In other words, it will be seeking a political resolution between the two countries and not a legal one.
The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration does not see it that way, of course, and expects a verdict from the Palmer Panel against Israel. Therefore when the facts about this panel start sinking in as far as the Turkish public is concerned, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Prime Minister Erdoğan will go on the war path against the panel, and all those he sees behind it.
He will have no choice but to do so after the manner in which he has personally agitated the Turkish public against Israel. His hands are tied even more given that it is an election year. He cannot appear soft against the killing of nine Turkish civilians by the forces of another country, something that has happened for the first time since the Republic was founded.
The situation therefore does not portend well as far as the Palmer Panel’s desire to bring about a political rapprochement between Turkey and Israel is concerned. As the Turkel report and the Turkish report on the Mavi Marmara incident clearly show, whatever the good intentions of diplomats on both sides, Turkey and Israel have been pushed into a zero-sum game by their politicians and cannot get out of it.
That they are prepared go on with this game points to the fact that there is no strategic value left in the relationship between the two countries. If there was this would have ensured that things did not get out of hand as they have. At least this appears to be the case for the AKP administration, whatever the feeling on the Israeli side may be.
The United States swallowed its national pride in 1967 for the sake of the strategic value of its ties with Israel, and decided the country was innocent even though it sank the USS Liberty – a reconnaissance ship in international waters – killing 34 crew members and wounding 170.
That incident is only remembered today by a group of aging and highly frustrated Americans who are still calling for justice for their mates, and bemoaning what they refer to as “the shameless cover-up” by the Johnson administration.
A “cover-up” such as this, for the sake of Turkish-Israeli ties, in not likely to happen in Turkey. It is even less likely to happen now after the release of the Turkel Commission report. (It was never sunk but the US govt gave Israel a “get out of jail card with billion afterwards for murdereing 34 US serviceen with impunity. Our AIPAC owned Congress to this day refuses to investigate the 1967 attack-jd)
This is why until such time as Israel finds a formula acceptable to Ankara for an apology over the Mavi Marmara incident and pays compensation to the families of the murdered victims, the prospects for the rapprochement desired by the Palmer Panel appear slim if not nil.
If it does not find this formula, this will also confirm that ties with Turkey carry no strategic value anymore for Israel also, in which case we can say that Turkish-Israeli ties as we have come to know them are a thing of the past.