The View From Turkey

TURKISHFLAGBulentKilic:Getty

Walter Russell Mead writes that "the strong reaction in Turkey to the Israeli interception of a convoy organized by Turkish groups with aid for Gaza underlines the possibility that Turkey is moving decisively away from its longtime partnership with the United States." Er: why is Israel the same as the US? It is only if one assumes that the US supports everything and anything Israel does that you can make this kind of leap. And the Obama promise - which Netanyahu has done his damnedest to destroy - was precisely to re-establish the US as some kind of honest broker in the Mideast.

But there is also a more logical inference which seems to have escaped professor Mead:

Why has there been a “strong reaction” to the raid on the aid flotilla? It isn’t because Turkey is “moving decisively away from its longtime partnership with the United States,” and it isn’t even because the AKP government is bent on undermining the relationship with Israel. There has been a strong reaction because eight Turkish citizens were killed on a Turkish-flagged civilian ship in international waters by the armed forces of its ostensible ally while on a basically peaceful aid mission. Name me a government that would not have a strong reaction to such an episode. For that matter, the aid mission was an effort to breach an inhumane blockade that probably cannot be legally justified. If partnering with the U.S. means ignoring gross, violent provocations against its citizens, no democratic government in the world would be able to maintain such a partnership for very long.

Actually, I can name a government that is largely indifferent to another government's murder of one of its teenage citizens: the U.S.

(Photo: A demonstrator burns an Israeli flag behind a Turkish flag during a protest against Israel on June 5, 2010 at Caglayan Square in Istanbul. Nine people -- eight Turks and a US national of Turkish origin were killed in May 31's pre-dawn raid by Israeli forces on the Turkish ferry, Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the aid flotilla aiming to break the crippling blockade of Gaza. By Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty.)

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