Even prior to his party’s embrace of the Mavi Marmara attempt to break the blockade of Gaza, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has held both Israel and, more broadly, Jews in deep disdain. While Turkish diplomats may say that Turkey’s problem with Israel involves its government and not its people, no one gave Erdoğan that memo. From Hürriyet Daily News:
“We don’t need Israeli tourists,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying. “Thirty-one million tourists came to Turkey last year. Israel’s tourism boycott won’t affect us.” Erdoğan said Israel needed to take three necessary steps if it wanted to improve bilateral relations with Turkey, namely, apologizing for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara in 2010, paying compensation to their families and removing the blockade against Gaza.
Interestingly, Erdoğan and his Interior Minister have yet to outright apologize for his government’s massacre of 34 villagers last December. When the Wall Street Journal recently reported on the Uledere massacre, Erdoğan blamed “the Jewish lobby.”