Crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations to expand dialogue: expert

Crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations to expand dialogue: expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 13 / Trend U. Sadigova /

The crisis in Turkey-Israel relations over the Middle East will not lead to a break in ties, but rather expand dialogue and mutual understanding between the two countries, Turkish Center for Strategic Studies of the Middle East (ORSAM) head Hassan Kanbolat told Trend today.

"Israel is immensely frustrated in terms of its relations with Turkey. Up until now military and political relations were considered sufficient," Kanbolat said.

Israeli media rarely quotes Turkey. The country is seen as a fraternal nation.

"But now the crisis will stimulate the expansion of the dialogue between the two countries," he said. "They will know each other better. I do not think relations between Turkey and Israel will be ruined."

The tensions began after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made several statements accusing Israel of violating Palestinians' rights, and not observing the peace process conditions.

Turkey's refusal to participate in joint NATO military trainings with the Israeli Air Force caused outrage in Israel. Israel considered Ankara its only military partner in the Muslim world. Israeli media and experts associated Turkey's radical change of mind with the rapprochement of Ankara, Iran and Syria - Israel's fiercest regional opponents.

However, commenting on Turkey's new foreign policy in the Middle East, Kanbolat said any decision by Ankara to leave behind from old allies would be wrong.

He said as opposed to the West Turkey established relations with all political and paramilitary groups in the country by supporting the Iraqi people's unity since the start of the war in Baghdad.

"Turkey has recognized not only Turks living in Iraq, but also Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish parties in the region," Kanbolat said. "Therefore, Ankara is the only country [in the Middle East] that established good relations with all countries in the region. Amid the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, we see that Turkey fills the vacuum welcomed by neighboring countries and Baghdad."

Kanbolat thinks that while strengthening relations with its Middle Eastern neighbors, Turkey will not want to deteriorate its relations with Israel.

"Rapprochement with neighboring countries in the Middle East is filling a vacuum in Turkey's foreign policy," Kanbolat said.

The analyst said Turkey and Israel will expand their bilateral dialogue to better understand each other and prevent deepening discord in their relations.

It is possible to overt a break in the relations between the two states by expanding dialogue and mutual understanding. Otherwise, the problem will remain unsolved, Kanbolat said.

Historically, the Ottoman Empire, Muslims and Jews have good relations. But these relations deteriorated over the last century due to a lack of understanding among these peoples, Kanbolat said.

Last week, Erdogan said Israel has committed more heinous crimes during its military operations in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian civilians than Sudan against the people of Darfur.

However, he also added that Turkey was again ready to mediate talks between Syria and Israel, as in 2008 before the bombing of Gaza.

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