Israeli diplomat Danny Ayalon asserted Wednesday that despite the drubbing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) received in Sunday's elections, relations between Israel and Turkey may not be repaired immediately.
“The poor relations between Israel and Turkey began long ago, in 2009, when Erdogan stormed out of a session in which he was supposed to discuss Operation Cast Lead with then-President Shimon Peres at the Davos Forum,” the former Ambassador to the US stated.
“It continued with the help Turkey gave to Hamas, and of course allowing the Gaza flotilla to sail from Turkey.”
Analysts suggest Erdogan is in danger of losing power altogether now, after his party received just over 40% of the vote (258 seats), making it the single-largest party but no longer holding an overall majority.
Being the largest single party, AKP's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu still has 45 days to form a coalition government, but for now the other parties – bitter after more than a decade under an increasingly authoritarian AKP rule – are not biting.
According to analysts, the AKP lost its majority on the back of growing corruption scandals, as well as alarm by many – particularly young, secular Turks and members of the country's Kurdish minority – over Erdogan's attempts to alter the constitution to give himself even greater powers.
The AKP party would have needed a two-thirds majority to have enacted the sweeping changes Erdogan was seeking.
With that, said Ayalon, it was too early to tell if Israel-Turkish relations would improve soon. “We will have to wait and see who forms the coalition, and who the foreign minister will be. If it is Erdogan, I think we can continue to expect hostility from him.”