Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Turkey and Israel: Happy Together?

By Burak Bekdil

  • Ironically, the futile Turkish effort to end the naval blockade of Gaza is ending in quite a different direction: Now that Turkey has agreed to send humanitarian aid through the Ashdod port, it accepts the legitimacy of the blockade.
The ups and downs of Turkey's relations with Israel -- what comes next?
Left: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then Prime Minister) shakes hands with then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on May 1, 2005. Right: Erdogan shakes hands with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on January 3, 2012.
Ostensibly, almost everyone is happy. After six years and countless rounds of secret and public negotiations Turkey and Israel have finally reached a landmark deal to normalize their downgraded diplomatic relations and ended their cold war. The détente is a regional necessity based on convergent interests: Divergent interests can wait until the next crisis.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the deal, calling it a "hopeful signal for the stability of the region."
Secretary of State John Kerry, too, welcomed the agreement. "We are obviously pleased in the administration. This is a step we wanted to see happen," he said.

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