Erdogan: Turkey Doesn’t Need Israeli Tourists
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country doesn’t need Israeli tourists. He also added that Turkey will not normalize relations with Israel unless the Jewish state apologizes for the deaths of Turkish activists on the Marmara flotilla, pays compensation to the families of the dead and removes the Gaza blockade.
On May 31, 2010 the IDF sent a team of commandos to stop the flotilla from breaching the internationally sanctioned military naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. After the Israeli commandos landed on the Marmara carrying paintball guns, mercenaries on the ship tried to lynch the Israeli soldiers, who pulled out their firearms in self-defense and killed nine Turks on board.
“We have replaced Israeli tourists with other tourists and last year we had 31 million tourists,” Erdogan said. “If and when Israel meets these conditions, then relations can flourish as they did in the past. We will not compromise over these conditions, even if the price is a protracted crisis between the countries,” he added.
This latest rhetoric is another signal that Turkey, which in the past was very friendly with Israel, has elected a government with an increasingly worsening stance toward Israel, as well as increasing support for Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists. “Palestinian men, women and children that have done nothing wrong are being killed wholesale or held in the largest prison,” Erdogan also said according to Globes.