Prospects of reconciliation seem slim, but Israel and Turkey are still meeting in an attempt to iron out differences between the two countries.
Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams are set to meet Wednesday in Switzerland, as part of ongoing efforts to reach reestablish ties between the two countries that once enjoyed close diplomatic relations.
Kol Israel Radio reported on Tuesday that Israel will be represented at the Geneva talks by Joseph Ciechanover, a former head of the Foreign Ministry appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ciechanover also represented Israel at the UN probe into the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, which led to the deaths of 10 Turkish nationals and exacerbated a freeze between the Jewish State and Turkey, and which supported the flotilla that attempted to challenge Israel’s sovereignty.
According to a high-ranking Israeli official quoted in the report, most of the issues on the agenda have been resolved, but two major hurdles remain: Turkey’s demand that Israel end its military blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip — designed by Israel to prevent Hamas’ importing of weaponry — and Israel’s demand that Turkey put an end to the Hamas presence in its capital.
Both countries have vested interests in the reestablishment diplomatic ties; however these two crucial issues appear insurmountable.
Turkey’s Islamist government wishes to establish dominance in the Islamic arena in the Middle East and therefore is seeking a more prominent influence on what transpires in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel cannot accept such interference in its internal and security affairs, and a lift of the blockade on Gaza could in affect threaten Israel existence.
Turkey may be seeking a renewed alliance with Israel in wake of the tensions it is facing with Russia and in hope of striking a deal to acquire Israeli natural gas, which it badly needs, and especially as it stands to lose its supply from Russia.
By: United with Israel Staff