Erdogan dashes hopes of Turkey-Israel reconciliation

Al-Monitor | Amberin Zaman: The resumption of El Al cargo flights to Turkey does not mean that relations between Israel and Ankara have thawed.

There has been a surge of optimism lately about a possible thaw in relations between Turkey and Israel. Signs of a possible breakthrough came when Israel’s national carrier, El Al, resumed its cargo flights to Turkey, with the first plane landing in Istanbul on May 24 after a decade-long pause. The flights had stopped after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara flotilla carrying aid to Gaza in May 2010, sending relations between the former allies into a tailspin.

Yet even as El Al was loading medical supplies to combat COVID-19 for onward delivery to US doctors, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was blasting Israel’s plans to annex nearly half of the West Bank in an Eid al-Fitr address to American Muslims the same day.

Noting that “a new occupation and annexation project, which disregards Palestine’s sovereignty and international law,” had been set in motion by Israel, Erdogan vowed to “not allow the Palestinian lands to be offered to anyone else.”

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