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Inside Story
Gaza sours Israel-Turkey relations
Have ties between Israel and Turkey reached the point of no return?
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2009 08:21 GMT

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Aftershocks of the war on Gaza signal a possible rift between Israel and Turkey. 
Last month, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Erdogan angrily accused Israeli president Shimon Peres of "knowing very well how to kill".
 
He also criticised Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinians, who he said lived in an "open-air prison."  
 
In response, Israeli Major General Avi Mizrahi was quoted as saying Turkey was not in a position to criticise Israel when it stations troops in northern Cyprus. He also accused Turkey of repressing its Kurdish minority and massacring Armenians during World War one.

Where does the relationship between Israel and Turkey currently stand? Israel and Turkey have a strategic alliance tightened by military, diplomatic and political cooperation and often refer to themselves as the only democracies in the Middle East.

They share a number of common interests. Both counties are largely dependent on the United States for security and are against the rise of Islamic radicalism.

Turkey has provided considerable support to an isolated Israel in the Middle East. Turkey was the first majority Muslim country to recognise Israel as a state and it has built up more than $3 billion in annual trade with it.

Has their relationship reached an unprecedented low and possibly a point of no return? Are there unknown causes behind this swift souring in their relationship? And is their long friendship in danger of collapsing? 
 
Inside Story presenter Imran Garda is joined by Umut Arik, a former Turkish ambassador and the secretary general of Turkey's Democratic Party; Ofra Bengio, a senior research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, and Lenore Martin, a professor of political science at Emmanuel College and author of the book The Future of Turkish Foreign Policy.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, February 16, 2009 at 1730GMT and 2230GMT and is repeated at 0430GMT and 0830GMT on Tuesday.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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