Turkey, Israel, and the Gaza crisis

Summary: Turkey is Israel’s sixth largest trade partner but the Palestine issue poisons relations; the Turkish public and opposition demand action over Gaza; Turkey and the US also bitterly at odds over a range of major issues.

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  1. Turkey’s breach with Israel creates a dilemma for Saudi Arabia and its allies. They strongly object to Turkey’s Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood connections, but if they press their objections they drive Turkey closer to Qatar and even to Iran. They also have to watch public opinion in their own countries, which (as a new survey https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/05/15/on-israels-70th-anniversary-what-does-the-region-think/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a0664cb98ebd conducted for the Washington Post confirms) remains overwhelmingly opposed to cooperation with Israel.
    The dilemma is particularly acute for Egypt, which shares with Israel responsibility for the siege of Gaza. Exceptionally, Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing into Gaza and claims (http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/0/299517/Egypt/0/Egypt-orders-Rafah-border-crossing-with-Gaza-remai.aspx) to be sending in food and medical supplies, partly no doubt in response to public sympathy for the Gazans. As David Barchard mentioned the Egyptian Foreign Minister took part in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation “summit” in Istanbul which as expected yesterday demanded an international investigation into the “massacre” committed by Israel in Gaza, as reported by the (Saudi owned) Asharq al-Awsat. (https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1273126/organization-islamic-cooperation-demands-international-probe-gaza-bloodshed)

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