Daniel Pipes: Normalizing relations with Israel up to Erdogan (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 15
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Russian hostility after the plane shoot-down makes Ankara much needier for friendly relations than before that incident, Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, told Trend Dec. 15.
"This substantially increases the possibility of improving ties with Israel that it [Ankara] unilaterally had worsened," said Pipes, who is also a former official in US departments of state and defense.
In the past, Israel and Turkey were strategic partners, but moved away from each other as Turkey reoriented its foreign policy from the European integration to strengthening its position in the Arab and Muslim world.
The two countries' relations worsened drastically after an incident involving the Freedom Flotilla, intercepted in 2010 by Israeli commandos on its way to break through a blockade around the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of nine Turks taking part in the voyage.
Pipes said Israel took the major step of apologizing to Ankara for their actions against the Mavi Marmara - a ship involved in the Freedom Flotilla incident - but the Israelis were not rewarded.
"I think that unlikely they [the Israelis] will do much more. They are also aware that [Turkey's President] Erdogan is weakened internationally," he said.
The expert believes the normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel is up to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After the deterioration of relations between Turkey and Russia, some Turkish media outlets reported that Turkey and Israel will resume their previous relations. Further, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed talks between Turkey and Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there are possibilities for export and transit deliveries of Israeli gas to Turkey, and said this is a factor that can "change relations between the two countries."
Prior to that, Erdogan named the conditions for normalizing the relations with Israel.
He said Israel should apologize for the Freedom Flotilla incident, pay compensation to the families of those killed and end the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel, so far, has met only one of the mentioned demands.