Speaking during budget talks in the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, Davutoğlu responded to claims by the opposition that Turkey’s foreign policy is dependent on Western countries and that there is a shift of axis in Turkey’s foreign policy towards the East.
Noting that Turkey has been acting independently with regard to recent uprisings against authoritarian regimes in Middle Eastern and North African countries, Davutoğlu said Turkey had never remained silent in the face of “oppression.” “It is our policies which made Israel kneel down in the region in front of us. We have always sided with people who demand democracy, not with authoritarian and oppressive regimes,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010. Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. Turkey has demanded compensation and an apology from Israel regarding the deadly flotilla attack, but Israel refuses to comply.
Stating that those who strongly criticized Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy last year as being unrealistic now support this policy, Davutoğlu said the government is determined to go ahead with the policy. “But we cannot remain silent if one of our neighbors oppress its people,” he added.