Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprising apology last month for "operational mistakes" in the 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara was supposed to launch a new era of improved relations between Israel and Turkey.
"I am hopeful that today's exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities," President Obama said at the time.
But since the apology, Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government have:
Announced his intention to visit the Hamas government in Gaza in May despite American opposition. "Our position is that engagement with Hamas is counterproductive, and we don't think it should continue," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Monday.
Become the "first state with an ambassador recognized by Palestine."
Helped derail a planned meeting of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue group which would have included Israel.
Chastised Israel's efforts to negotiate compensation for nine people killed on the Mavi Marmara. "Israel should perfectly know that this is not a process of bargaining. Compensation talks should not be turned into horse trading or dirty bargaining," an unnamed official said.
Vowed not to return an envoy to Israel until after Israel's naval blockade on Gaza is lifted.
Erdoğan's position emboldens the group least interested in a peaceful future. Subsequent investigations showed that passengers on the Mavi Marmara wanted to instigate a violent confrontation with Israeli troops and that the ship ignored numerous warnings to turn away. They wanted to break Israel's blockade on Gaza, which was imposed to try to slow weapons smuggling to Hamas terrorists. Despite Erdoğan's anger, the United Nations determined the blockade is legitimate and legal.
Rather than build on a diplomatic opening, Erdoğan seems intent on maintaining tension rather than building on a chance for warmer relations. As Daniel Pipes wrote in March:
"Perhaps after all the apology was a good thing. For a relatively inexpensive price – some words – Israelis and others have gained a better insight into the Turkish leadership's mentality. It's not that they suffer from hurt pride but that they are Islamist ideologues with an ambitious agenda. If the misguided apology makes this evident to more observers, it has its compensations and possibly could turn out to be a net plus."