Op-ed: Years of kowtowing to Erdoğan’s demands have not repaired our relationship with Turkey; it is time Israel puts a premium on its national dignity.

The Security Cabinet is due to approve Israel’s surrender agreement to Turkey, which is a real pity. Before the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010, I too thought it would be better not to get drawn into any Turkish provocations. If they want to take responsibility for Gaza, I thought we should let them have it. That way, the pressure wouldn’t be on us. Got a problem? Talk to Turkey.

The Cabinet, however, thought otherwise, which brought about a series of unfortunate events. It’s not that we were wrong, it said. It’s just that we weren’t smart about it. The then Cabinet moved on to its next mistake: an apology.

When someone apologizes and expresses their willingness to compensate the other party, it is only because they have acted inappropriately, unlawfully, or unjustly. And so, I would appreciate it if the Cabinet were to explain what exactly we are apologizing for. Even the UN concluded that it was Israel’s right to block the sea passage to Gaza. So what part of that do we regret? What is our sin here?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  (Photo: AP) (צילום: AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: AP) (צילום: AP)


Israel’s relationship with Turkey is important to us, just as Turkey’s relationship with Israel is important to them. Even so, being the megalomaniac that he is, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has set national dignity as his top priority. His position is not set in stone and should be taken with a grain of salt; when Germany recognized the Armenian genocide, Erdoğan huffed and puffed for a bit before calming down, but when it comes to Israel, he knows we can be pushed around. Why shouldn’t he put pressure on our Cabinet if it will just fold beneath it? In that case, though, one could ask what about our own national dignity, then? What about a little respect for the brave IDF soldiers whom the Cabinet sent on board a deck filled with abominable people?

To recap: We apologized when we should have been receiving apologies, and we are about to pay a generous sum of money to the terrorists’ families, Hamas will continue to have offices in Turkey ,and Erdoğan—that poor man’s sultan—is once again meeting with his good friend, Hamas leader and terrorist Khaled Meshal. On top of all of this, Turkey will now dictate to Israel it should treat Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Does this make sense to anyone?

Would Erdoğan ever allow the transportation of supplies to the Kurdish people, who seek to gain independence? Would he give into demands made by us to stop attacking Kurdish towns and villages or stop oppressing this people? Have we ever even brought it up? Israel has always has a friendly relationship with the Kurds, and in our region, that should not be taken for granted. And yet, one can assume the subject never came up. What of Turkey’s business deals with ISIS? Did we ever demand that they end all trade and oil agreements? Probably not.

Allow me to recommend another way to manage our relationship with Turkey, instead of the sadomasochistic path we’ve been treading on: What if we were to tell them, “What’s done is done. If you’re interested in looking forward, by all means. If not, that’s okay, too”? What would happen? Is anyone claiming that Israel would forfeit any kind of relationship with Turkey? Nonsense; a little bit of time would pass, and that’s about it. And if it wouldn’t have reached a resolution during the little dictator’s reign, it would have happened following his time in power.

It’s been six years since the Mavi Marmara, and we still haven’t gotten the relationship back on track. After all this time, what has groveling gotten us? We’ve sold our dignity without managing to bring about any repair. And so I ask the Cabinet members to remember one thing: Our relationship with Turkey is important, but our national dignity is no less important. The terms of the agreement currently being drafted would keep us perpetually on the masochistic side of the equation. Right now, we have no dignity and no relationship. At the very least, let’s save our dignity.

As reported by Ynetnews