Turkey policy paper: Israel's actions threaten Mideast
Ankara's National Security Council names Israel as central threat to Turkey's security for first time since 1949, fails to mention Iran, Syria.
Turkey's already tense relations with Israel continued their apparent downward spiral on Saturday as Channel 10 reported that a central Ankara policy paper defined Israel as a central threat to Turkey's security, blaming Jerusalem's policies for destabilizing the entire region.
Tensions between Israel and Turkey peaked earlier this year, following a deadly Israeli raid aboard a Turkish aid ship sailing to Gaza in attempt to violate the Israeli naval blockade. On May 31, Israeli navy commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara and killed nine Turkish activists on board after facing violence from the passengers.
The Channel 10 report on Saturday, citing Turkish media outlets, said Turkey's National Security Council rectified an amendment to Ankara's central policy paper, nicknamed the "secret constitution," defining Israel as "a central threat to Turkey."
"The region's instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East," the paper outlining Turkey's foreign and home policy for the next five years said, adding that those actions posed "a major threat on Turkey."
Channel 10 also said Turkish media dubbed the amendment "historic," as it represented the first time Israel had been seen as a threat on Turkey since 1949. The document fails to mention Iran or Syria as outside threats, apparently as a result of Ankara's recently improved relations with both states.
Earlier this month Haaretz quoted Turkish reports as expecting that, for the first time since the Cold War, Turkey to remove Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Greece from their list of "threatening countries."
The reports claimed that such a move would directly affect Turkey's foreign policy, as laid out by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose goal is to rid Turkey of any problems with its neighbors.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his demand that Israel apologize for its May attack on the Gaza flotilla, saying “Israel must apologize to Turkey and pay compensation for the state terrorism in the Mediterranean."
"If it does not, it will be doomed to remain isolated in the Middle East,” Erdogan added.
The Turkish premier also criticized the United States for continuing to support Israel after the "uncivilized" attack during a recent state visit to Pakistan.
“Nine Turkish martyrs on the ship received 21 bullets from Israeli soldiers in their bodies, we provided post mortem reports and even the pictures to the EU and U.S. but Washington is not ready to condemn the state terrorism of Israel against Turkey which means that the U.S. is supporting an international terrorist who killed our citizens in international waters," Erdogan said.