A debate on Turkish-Israeli relations on a Wednesday evening TV show almost turned into a fistfight between main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Aykut Erdoğdu and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member Ayhan Oğan.
During the live broadcast of Ahmet Hakan’s “Tarafsız Bölge” show on CNN Türk on Wednesday, tensions rose when Erdoğdu accused the AKP government of bowing to Israel’s wishes after Israel deposited $20 million in the account of the Turkish Ministry of Justice as compensation for victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, part of a reconciliation agreement between the two countries.
AKP Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK) member Oğan started calling Erdoğdu a “dishonorable person” and slammed his fist on the table. In response, Erdoğdu also hit the table, breaking a glass, and told Oğan he was the one who was dishonorable.
Moderator Hakan then intervened and called for a commercial break.
Turkey and Israel normalized relations in August after the Turkish Parliament approved a deal for Israel to pay compensation to victims of the 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
Cementing the normalization of diplomatic ties after the partial, six-year rupture, the two countries appointed ambassadors earlier this week.
The Turkish Parliament in August approved a bill that instructs Israel to pay $20 million to the families as part of a normalization agreement between the two countries struck in July.
The compensation will be paid to the families of 10 slain activists as well as 54 who were injured and dozens of others who were affected by the attack.
In early September the surviving victims and the families of the 10 activists who were killed in the attack on the Mavi Marmara aid vessel said they had not yet decided what to do about the compensation, with some of them finding the amount inadequate.
Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters, killing nine activists on board and injuring 30. One of the injured activists subsequently died, bringing the death toll to 10.
Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade. Three years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret over the incident to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then Turkey’s prime minister and now the country’s president.