There is a concerted effort by the opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to present the agreement between Turkey and Israel to normalize ties as a "Turkish sell out of the people of Gaza in particular and the Palestinians in general."
There are claims circulating on social media that the agreement with the Jewish state did not provide anything new for the Palestinians. Of course it is no secret that adversaries of Turkey and President Erdoğan are hoping that Turkey has forged an agreement with Israel and this means they will not be able to advance their own interests.
The Gülen criminal organization that tried to topple Erdoğan used the cool relations between Turkey and Israel to promote anti-Erdoğan sentiment in the strong Jewish lobby in the United States and thus promote anti-Turkish sentiment among congressmen and senators. Of course, they will be unhappy that they will no longer be able to exploit this situation and use the Jewish lobby against Erdoğan.
Yet, we hear that there are some elements in Iran who are unhappy with this deal and are using some Palestinians as well as some aid groups involved in distributing relief material in the Gaza Strip against Turkey.
There are some people also in the Turkish relief organization İHH who have opposed the agreement with Israel.
The İHH had sponsored a relief ship that sailed to Gaza on May 31, 2010 to highlight the devastating Israeli blockade set up against the Palestinians.
The ship was hit by Israeli commandos who killed 10 people, nine Turkish relief workers and one American. Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel and a chill set in on Turkish-Israeli ties. In 2013, Israel officially apologized for the incident and agreed to pay compensation, but this deal never went through. Besides the compensation clause, Turkey demanded the lifting of the blockade.
As Israel had already apologized for the incident, Turkey could have eventually agreed on the compensation clause and thus concluded the issue.
Erdoğan could have said Turkey's national interests dictate that Turkey improves its ties with Israel and appease the United States and the strong American Jewish lobby. Yet Erdoğan did not do this. Out of his sense of responsibility for the Palestinians, Erdoğan insisted that Israel end the blockade and bring relief to the people of Gaza.
He wanted to end Gaza's existence as an open-air prison for the Palestinians.
So at the end of the day because of Erdoğan's insistence, three years lapsed before Israel could agree to ease the blockade. With the new deal, a steady flow of relief material will be allowed into Gaza, Turkey will help rebuild the buildings and infrastructure there, bring water and electricity and thus create a more peaceful atmosphere. So this is not a sell-out but on the contrary a move by Turkey to push its own interests to one side and help out the Palestinians.
Has any other country, Arab or Muslim, done such a thing for the Palestinians besides empty rhetoric? Those who make claims against Turkey and insult Erdoğan should first ask the people of Gaza whom they love and cherish.