With recent talks to re-establish ties having gained new momentum, Turkish officials and their Israeli counterparts are already speaking about projects that would transport gas from Israel to Turkey. “Our criticisms until now have been towards some of the Israeli governments’ actions we don’t approve.”, AK Party deputy Chairman, Omer Celik said.
He said: “This so-called rapprochement is not part of a well-thought, long-term Turkish foreign policy strategy, but, an ad hoc, last minute response to an emergency situation”.
“The Israelis and Turks have been hashing this out for a while, but President Erdogan chose to make the deal now because the region is unraveling and he has no place else to go”, says Steven A. Cook, an expert on Turkey at the Council on Foreign Relations. But Gaziosmanpasa is known as a stronghold for supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
The deal was reached during a secret meeting in Switzerland between Yossi Cohen, the incoming head of Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, the Israeli PM’s point-man for Turkish reconciliation Joseph Ciechanover and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu. Press reports indicate that Turkey and Israel are talking about energy cooperation, given the discovery of vast gas reserves in the Mediterranean that Israel wants to pump to worldwide markets via Turkey.
Turkey is dealing with a number of geopolitical challenges-including tension with Russian Federation over shooting down its fighter jet in November, the continued destabilization of Syria, and the threat of the Islamic State terror group-that may have led the country to seek warmer ties with Israel. Now five years later, the two countries are getting ready to normalize relations and restore diplomatic ties. Ankara’s insistence on an end to the Gaza blockade by Israel and disagreements over the amount of money to be paid to the families of victims as compensation have remained blocks before the restoration of ties.
To the dismay and protest of regional countries and its Arab allies, Turkey in the mid-1990s cultivated closer ties with Israel on the military front and carried out joint modernization programs with the Israeli military. “If compensation is given, and the Palestinian embargo is lifted, then we can enter a process of normalization”.
On May 29, 2010, Israeli naval forces prepare to implement the Israeli government’s decision to prevent a Turkish flotilla from breaching the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip.
One sign of improved relations would be if Turkey relaxes its objections to Israel participation in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation activities, she said. Ankara withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled Israel’s envoy.
“The path to a normalization of relations would not be smooth, particularly on the Turkish side”, Nasi continued. “There is Jewish capital behind it, unfortunately”, Erdogan said at the time. But relations frayed over Israel’s conflicts with the Palestinians. But shortly afterward, Israel’s Operation Protective Edge was launched in Gaza, leading to scathing condemnations of the Jewish state by Turkish leaders. Ankara retaliated by canceling other defense contracts and Turkish defense company ASELSAN took its money back from a deal with two Israeli firms.
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