Turkey Downgrades Relations With Israel As Palestinian Statehood Looms

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Context

Turkey has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel while suspending all military agreements, as the country failed to apologize over the peace Flotilla incident last year.

“Diplomatic relations with Israel have been reduced to a second-secretary level. All personnel above the second-secretary level, primarily the ambassador, will return to their countries by Wednesday at the latest,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated at a press conference held on Friday.

“Our aim is not to harm the historical Turkish-Jewish friendship, but on the contrary, to urge the Israeli government to correct their mistake that does not befit this exceptional friendship,” Davutoğlu added.

The Turkey and Israeli ties are worsening at a time when Israel is feeling increasing vulnerable due to the change brought about by the Arab Spring in Middle East and the advancing Iranian nuclear program.

Additionally, China announced last Thursday that it would support Palestine’s United Nations Statehood bid in September. The announcement came during a meeting between Chinese special envoy to the Middle East, Wu Sike and Palestinian leaders in Ramallah. The announcement follows similar remarks by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which also expressed support for an independent Palestinian state.

Palestine’s attempts at gaining full membership in the UN is opposed by Israel which demands the Palestinian Authorities to first agree to a negotiated peace agreement.