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In Turkey, Gaza Flotilla Crisis Has Strong Domestic Component

Monday, June 7, 2010

One week later, the repercussions of the tragically botched Israeli commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla spearheaded by a Turkish NGO continue to reverberate worldwide.

Much of the raid's fallout has played out in the realm of foreign affairs, particularly regarding its impact on the already sorry state of Turkish-Israeli relations, as well as on Washington's plans in the Middle East. But the flotilla incident and Ankara's response to it also has a very strong domestic component. The domestic political context relates to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's desire to fend off political attacks from both Islamist and secularist opposition parties over the red-hot Israel/Palestine issue, as well as to use the event to further consolidate its gains over the secularist-controlled military, which was historically the motor behind the strategic partnership that Turkey and Israel enjoyed until only recently. ...

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