Turkey’s foreign policy and the rhetoric that presumably went to support it, has, during the past several years, aimed less at achieving foreign policy goals and more at consolidating voters’ support for the Ankara government.
Self-aggrandizing behavior has predominantly shaped policy and functioned to please the Turks’ passion for a return to their glorious Ottoman past.
Assertive and confrontational diplomatic language and playing the tough guy of the neighborhood may have helped garner popular support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), but after years of “loud barking and no biting”, Turkey has effectively become the victim of its own narrative.
In 2010, Turkey froze diplomatic relations with Israel and promised “internationally to isolate the Jewish state”, and never to restore ties unless, along with two other conditions, Jerusalem removed its naval blockade of Gaza to prevent weapons from being brought in that would be used to attack Israel. Turkey’s prime minister at the time, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Israel would “kneel down to us”.
In 2016, after rounds of diplomatic contacts, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize their relations. The blockade of Gaza, to prevent shipments of weaponry to be used by Gazans in terror attacks remains in effect.
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