Remember the Mavi Marmara incident, when the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (best known by its Turkish acronym, IHH) sought to run the blockade of Gaza and skirmished with Israeli forces boarding it? In the melee which followed, nine Turks (one of whom held dual American citizenship) died.
Well, get ready for the sequel. With a nod and a wink, members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party are supporting efforts by the IHH to conduct another flotilla at the end of June. According to the Turkish press, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has rebuffed American requests not to pour gasoline onto a fire, and said it is not Turkey’s business because anyone supporting the IHH flotilla will be acting in a private capacity. This is the same strategy Turkey’s Foreign Ministry to parry complaints about Turkish officials’ warm relations and outreach to most radical factions of Hamas.
Meanwhile, Turkish officials are throwing the diplomatic equivalent of a temper tantrum amid reports that the UN investigation into the legality of Israel’s actions appears to back Israel’s case over Turkey’s. Last year, Ambassador Namik Tan took to the pages of the Washington Post to demand that Israel apologize for intercepting the Mavi Marmara. Perhaps rather than reverse that demand, Tan and his fellow travelers in Abdullah Gul’s wing of the ruling party are simply trying again?