Relations between Turkey and Israel – until recent years close allies – are fraying amid the fallout from Israel’s commando raid on the Turkish-led Gaza aid flotilla.
Analysts say Ankara’s harsh response to Israel’s action is yet another signal of an important shift in Turkish foreign policy, one in which Turkey is taking a more active and independent role not only in regional affairs but – as it did by recently helping to broker the nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran – on global issues as well. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive].
“Turkey is following a more assertive foreign policy. As we have seen in the case of Iran, it doesn’t care too much about what Washington thinks in terms of its foreign policy. All in all, this case shows again that Turkey considers itself more independent – not only towards Israel, but also towards the United States,” says Sami Kohen, a veteran Turkish political analyst and columnist who writes for the Milliyet daily. “This event is almost a climax in this shift,” he added.
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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Kebabistan blog.