Israel and Turkey, despite long-time cooperation, have never enjoyed friendly ties due to basic and ideological discrepancies.
Despite long years of political conflict, Israel and Turkey have hailed the start of a new chapter in their relationship. This is the main, but far from access, aim of the Israeli President’s current visit to Turkey these days.
Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey was the first in 15 years, when Shimon Peres made a speech in Turkey’s legislature. To make it more significant, the current visit featured meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday.
After the meetings, Turkish president appeared before the media and praised Herzog’s trip as a “turning point” in their ties. Erdogan stated that Ankara is willing to work with Tel Aviv in the energy industry and affiliated sectors.
He went on to say that two of the cabinet members, most potentially foreign and energy ministers, will be visiting Israel shortly for additional negotiations on expanding partnership. “Our common goal is to revitalize political dialogue between our countries based on common interests and respect for mutual sensitivities,” Erdogan claimed.
In return, the Israeli president also embraced the expansion of ties between Israel and Turkey in his remarks. Herzog described the visit as a precious opportunity to settle the challenges. He found the meeting as “a great honour for the two of us to lay the foundations of developing friendly relations between our countries and nations, and to build bridges essential to us all.”
This is while both sides acknowledged the deep rifts en route for the bilateral ties. The main obstacle would be a differing approach towards the Palestine Issue and Palestinian condition. Erdogan openly referred to the importance of al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem as a redlines in religious and regional stability of the region.
Israel and Turkey Ties; Stock in Palestine
“We expressed the importance we attach to reducing tensions in the region and preserving the vision of a two-state solution. I underlined the importance we attach to the historical status of Jerusalem and the preservation of the religious identity and sanctity of Masjid Aqsa”; these remarks by Turkish president during a joint press conference indicates the depth of ideological and approach divisions between Israel and Turkey.
Turkey maintains strong relations with Hamas, Gaza Strip’s ruling party. Hamas has been recognized as a “terrorist” organization by Washington and the EU. Turkey’s assertive commitment to Hamas despite sanction is indicative of the obstacles Israel may face in its ties with Ankara.
Erdogan seemingly tempered its disapproval concerning some of Israel’s conducts ahead of Herzog’s arrival. He, nevertheless, has insisted that it would not renounce its advocacy for Palestine as a legal state.
For a variety of reasons, including an Israeli assault on the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla, relations between the two nations have faced strains for years. The attack on the ship, which was attempting to break the Israel’s siege on Gaza, killed 10 people. The ship was delivering assistance to a city that had been under blockade for years.
Following long years of cold relations, ambassadors were reintroduced in six years ago as part of a restoration accord. However, in the aftermath of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations two years later, the new agreement failed. Over 200 people in Palestine have been murdered by Israeli bombardment over the course of many months.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador and ordered Israeli representative to leave Ankara as bilateral ties reached a new critical low level. The future of ties between Israel and Turkey depends on Palestine; Israel signaled no hopeful change in policies.