Back when Israel issued its apology to Turkey, we debated here at COMMENTARY whether Israel’s apology was wise. I was opposed to it and, while I hoped for the best, my distrust of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and castigation of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for making the deal now appears wholly justified. Part of the reason why Israel made the deal—despite a UN investigation finding that Israel’s raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was justified—was to get Israel-Turkey relations back on track and avoid the further downturn in relations that Turkish referral to the hopelessly politicized International Criminal Court (ICC) would bring.
The Mavi Marmara was a deliberate provocation, however, conducted as part of Erdoğan’s ideological agenda, just as the Turkish prime minister’s verbal assault on Shimon Peres at Davos was beforehand. Israelis can kid themselves that Turkey will honor its agreements or that it seeks peace and stability in the region. Turkey—at least under the current leadership—will never honor its agreements. Hence, the announcement that Turkey (through the proxy of the Comoros) will litigate against Israel at the ICC. The IHH, the al-Qaeda-linked charity to which Turkey’s ruling party turned to promote the flotilla to resupply Hamas, released a statement explaining:
After Palestine gained ‘observer state’ status at the UN, Israel realized the seriousness of this case and entered into every illegitimate effort in order to remain exempt from these judgments, avoid the risk of being penalized, and to maintain unaccountable policies which do not recognize the law. However with this application and case filed on behalf of the Union of Comoros, Israel will have nowhere to escape from the war crimes it has committed.
Ankara is about as trustworthy when it comes to its negotiators’ word as Pyongyang, Khartoum, or Tehran. It seeks not justice, but Israel’s eradication. The fact that this occurs just two days before President Obama hosts Erdoğan at the White House is nothing but one more attempt by the Turkish leader to fake friendship at the White House, all the while signaling to his constituents that he has restored Turkish pride not only by targeting Israel, but by humiliating the United States as well.