According to an agreement brokered by office NATO's Secretary-General, Israel would be excluded from NATO's major military activities, including joint exercises, for the year 2013.
The agreement, led by the initiative of NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has pleased Turkey, who has sought to prevent Israel's involvement in NATO exercises under the Mediterranean Dialogue platform for 2013, according to diplomatic sources speaking to Today's Zaman on Sunday.
Relations soured between Turkey and Israel after eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed when the Israeli navy attacked an international humanitarian aid flotilla, of which the Turkish Mavi Marmara was a part, attempting to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in May 2010. Following the attack, Turkey vowed to pursue every kind of opportunity from within international platforms to squeeze Israel diplomatically.
Turkey's determination to limit Israel's role as a NATO partner, however, has raised eyebrows in the West. In reprisal of Turkey's attempts to block Israeli participation in 2013 NATO exercises, Israel's Western allies have showed a determination to block other partner states under the Mediterranean Dialogue, including Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia on whom Turkey places importance.
To solve the emerging rift between NATO allies, Rasmussen introduced a new formula within the organization. Israel joined the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative in 1995 with Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Egypt. Later on, Jordan and Algeria were also accepted.