Tyrkia kansellerte i helgen Israels deltakelse i en militærøvelse på tyrkisk jord. Det er en klar markering av misnøye med Israel. Siden Gaza-krigen har ingenting vært som før. Avstandstakingen gjelder imidlertid ikke bare Israel: Tyrkia blir stadig mer selvhevdende internasjonalt.

Det het av avlysningen skyldtes tekniske årsaker, men så slapp utenriksministeren katta ut av sekken.

However, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu linked the exercise’s cancellation to the Gaza war in an interview with CNN on Sunday. Asked why Israel was excluded, he said: «We hope that the situation in Gaza will be improved, that the situation will be back to the diplomatic track. And that will create a new atmosphere in Turkish-Israeli relations as well.»

Israel’s good ties with Turkey — a mostly Muslim nation — have been a boost for Israel over the years, easing its isolation in the region at a time of tension between the Jewish state and much of the Muslim world. Israeli tourists flocked to Turkey and Ankara benefited from a strong defense alliance with Israel’s powerful, high-tech military.

But these ties — always brittle — have started to fray since Israel’s Gaza war in January, when the deaths of Palestinian civilians outraged opinion worldwide. Use of Konya as a location for the exercise was sensitive: during the war, pro-Islamic media in Turkey published stories alleging Israeli pilots who bombed Gaza targets had been trained in exercises there.
urkey’s approach to Israel reflects a «double-faced policy» that began when Erdogan scolded the Israeli president over Gaza casualties at an international forum in Switzerland, said Huseyin Bagci, professor of international relations at Middle East Technical University.

«The Turkish government, since the Davos incident, (tried) to become the consciousness of the Middle East,» Bagci said. Behind the scenes, though, ties with Israel are largely «business as usual,» he said.

Israel later som om forbindelsene er ok på kammerset, og at Tyrkia mest spiller for galleriet. Men andre mener det er mer alvorlig enn som så.

Alon Liel, who was Israel’s No. 1 diplomat in Turkey in the 1980s, described the situation as a «crisis» and said Israel had received «very harsh signals» from an increasingly assertive government.

«Today there is a new foreign policy that doesn’t rely only on the West. They see themselves as a player in many regional circles,» he said. «All this assertiveness in the region gives Turkey a self-confidence that allows it to be tougher to us.»

Kanskje flere enn Israel vil få merke den nye selvhevdende stilen.

Analysis: Turkey gets tough on Israel