Many aver that the 2009 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos opened a new era in Turkish-Israeli relations. Before expanding on this, it should be made clear that the Davos event meant different things to the Turkish and Israeli public: For the Turks, who believe they have historical and emotional links with the Muslims of Palestine, the bombing of Gaza was a near-traumatic experience. The Gaza factor eroded even the most severe divisions in Turkish politics, bringing together the normally antagonistic parties (conservative, secular, nationalist) in a vehement condemnation of Israel well before the Davos event. As far as the Turks were concerned, therefore, the Turkish prime minister’s describing Israel’s assault on Gaza as a set of “barbarian” acts was no more than the rhetorical summary of the mood in Turkey. That is why even Prime
Turkish-Israeli Relations after Davos: A View from Turkey
Despite the negative atmosphere it created for both sides, the Davos case should be seen as an opportunity to revisit the various aspects of Turkish-Israeli relations. Turkish-Israeli rapprochement is important for the regional order. However, both sides should realize that like all bilateral relations the Turkish-Israeli one is subject to social, political and psychological parameters. There is no ideal, correct model that is free of social effects. The fluctuations of a bilateral contact cannot be understood through simplistic analyses that prioritize personalities or other trivial issues. Every single event, including that at Davos, should be seen as one function of complex social phenomena. Even the most unexpected events in politics are the products of several major social machineries. This article will offer an alternative analysis of the Turkish-Israeli relationship in the light of a number of social structures.
Whatever happened in Davos is less important than how it was understood: The Turks, along with other Muslims across the globe, considered it morally correct, and exactly what Israel deserved.
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