A much higher percentage of Israeli Arabs (23 percent) than Jews (5%) believe anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews is the main factor animating Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s relationship with Israel, according to a poll released Sunday.
The poll, sponsored by the Begin-Sadat Center for
Strategic Studies, found that both Israeli Arabs and Jews believe that
preserving Turkey’s standing in the Arab world was the most important factor
behind Erdogan’s position toward Israel.
The poll also found that an
overwhelming 71% of Israelis did not feel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
apology to Turkey for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident was justified. That part of
the survey was first widely reported a week ago in the Turkish media when BESA
head Efraim Inbar presented those findings at a panel on Israeli-Turkish
relations held in Istanbul.
According to the survey, only 28% of Israelis
believe that Israeli-Turkish ties will improve in the coming years under
While 42% of the respondents said they expected the relations to
stay the same, 30% predicted they would further deteriorate.
Netanyahu’s apology in March to Erdogan for any operational errors on the Mavi
Marmara that might have led to a loss of life, Israel and Turkey launched talks
for compensation to be paid to the families of the nine Turks killed on the boat
trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Those talks have stalled, as has the
normalization of relations that were expected to be capped by an exchange of
Turkey recalled its ambassador shortly after the Mavi
Marmara incident and expelled Israel’s ambassador in 2011.
While the tone
of the strong Israeli-Turkish ties began to change for the worse soon after
Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted AK party won the Turkish elections in 2002, the
dramatic public slide in the relationship took place following Operation Cast
Lead in Gaza in 2008-2009. Before that, however, Turkey was a favorite tourist
destination for Israelis.
According to the survey, 85% of Israelis said
the chances that they would vacation in Turkey in the near future were slim or
nonexistent; 5% said there was a good to certain chance that they would visit;
and 10% said they might.
The survey was conducted by Maagar Mochot
between June 16-19 among a representative sample of 605 Israeli
adults. The poll had a plus or minus 4.5% margin of
According to the Turkish media, Inbar stirred a controversy at the
Istanbul symposium by saying that Israel may have to revise its position on the
Kurdish issue if Turkey became more hostile toward Israel.
survey was released in Israel on Sunday in advance of a symposium on Turkey’s
domestic and foreign policy, to be held Wednesday at the BESA center.