Turkey's foreign minister is warning that his country will sever links with Israel if the Jewish state does not apologize for its deadly May raid against a Turkish-flagged flotilla carrying aid to Gaza, in contravention of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Turkey's threat, which could mean an end to trade and travel between the two countries, is expected to be a subject of conversation in today's White House meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama. Should Israel apologize to Turkey? (Watch a CNN report about Turkey's demand.)
Obama should force Turkey to say sorry to Israel: "Er, shouldn't this be the other way around?," asks Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Turkey is the aggressor in this instance. If the Obama administration was a real friend to Israel, it would pressure Turkey to say sorry for interfering with Israel officials' attempt to "defend their people against terrorists." Unfortunately, it looks as if Obama will try to force Netanyahu to give in to Turkey's demands.
"Will Obama make Israel apologize to Turkey?"
There are no positives for Turkey in turning its back on Israel: Turkey is overplaying its hand, says Semih Idiz at Hürriyet. Netanyahu has "already discounted the possibility of an apology." Clearly, both sides have fault in this, but the "increasingly reactive" Turkey appears unwilling to even consider the possibility that the flotilla's organizers might have links to the militant group Hamas. And cutting ties with Israel would also mean offending the U.S.
"From a proactive to a reactive foreign policy"
And Israel very much needs a relationship with Turkey: "Both Israel and its Arab neighbors" depend heavily on Turkey to act as an "intercessor," says Spencer Ackerman at Firedoglake, guiding constructive dialogue and helping maintain stability in the region. There will be no progress between Israel and Syria, for example, unless Turkey is willing to act as a facilitator. No good will come of this spat, but "expect the acrimony to persist" as long as both sides refuse to back down.
"Bashar al-Assad, voice of reason"