Turkey has blocked Israel from participating in a NATO summit meeting scheduled for May 20-21 in Chicago. The block was made last week in Brussels by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. The Turks claim that the move was made in retaliation for the refusal of Israel to formally apologize for its attack on the Mavi Marmara.
The Mavi Marmara was the vessel from Turkey that defied Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, protesting it was only bringing humanitarian aid. In fact, the passengers on the ship, who were organized by IHH, a radical Islamic group with strong ties to Hamas, were loaded to the gills with guns. You can see the guns here.
Indeed, one Israeli soldier was shot in the stomach when he attempted to board the ship.
A Turkish official was adamant about Turkey’s position:
There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters … there are demands from us for the removal of our veto, but this is out of question … those countries who wish to see normalization in ties between Turkey and Israel should advise Israel to apologize and to compensate the killing of Turks in international waters.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, has said he can understand Iran pursuing nuclear weapons. He told Foreign Policy magazine that the nuclear question between the West and Iran should be taken care of through diplomacy, not military action, saying Israel’s public discussion of war with Iran is “wrong.” He stated:
Whether or not we like a country, every country has their honor and their national feelings. I don’t mean to in any way disregard the threat perception on the part of Israel either, but it’s very important to look at issues from a broader perspective.
The Obama Administration, whose fearless leader just assured Jews of his support for Israel at the Holocaust Museum, was noncommittal in its response when queried whether they would openly state to NATO that they wanted Israel to participate. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was evasive when she was confronted:
Q: Well, would you be — would the United [States] — would the administration be comfortable if Israel did not participate?
MS. NULAND: Again, we — there are many, many ways that these partnership activities may go forward. They’ve been done in different ways at different summits. So I’m not going to get into what we’re talking about, how it might work, who’s going to come. We’re still working on all of that.
Q: You — the administration won’t come out and say that it wants Israel to be at the — to participate at the — at the — at the summit in Chicago?
MS. NULAND: We haven’t made any announcements …
Q: … If you can’t come out and say that the United States wants Israel to participate, its main ally in the Middle East, and you won’t come out and say that the administration wants them to participate in whatever event is going on in Chicago, that’s — that is going to be seized on …
MS. NULAND: So every summit is done on a case-by-case basis, and we haven’t made a decision about who’s going to be invited yet …
Q: … But the Turks wouldn’t be objecting to Israel’s participation, if someone hadn’t proposed that Israel participate. And if you have proposed that they participate —
MS. NULAND: Again —
Q: — and you’re not willing to stick up for it, I don’t understand why —
MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get into, here, what we have proposed and where we are in the internal dialogue at NATO until the issues are settled by consensus.
So Turkey, whose government is now run by Islamists and whose leader is ostensibly Obama’s friend, is dictating policy to the United States. And as usual, Obama is only too willing to throw Israel under the bus.