The key to fulfilling Turkey’s vision is a Middle East order that is based on economic integration and political stability. Achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the precondition for such an order, but Israel’s policies are blocking the path to that peace. Israel remains steadfastly against lifting the Gaza siege or seriously committing to a credible peace process. Turkey believes the siege must be ended and a way must be found to engage Hamas in the political process, an ambitious project to be sure.
At the same time Turkey continues to engage Iran, despite criticism that Tehran uses these efforts to buy time for further uranium enrichment. And it continues to raise the issue of Israel’s nuclear arsenal in every available forum. On this score, Turkey’s persistence seems to have paid off. The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York recently passed a resolution, with US support, calling for Israel to open its nuclear program to international scrutiny.
In light of this larger context, the unnecessarily harsh and bloody Israeli raid on the Gaza aid flotilla was widely seen in Turkey as the result of a strategic decision by the Israelis to frustrate this new activism.