Turkey thaw one of top goals: Israeli Deputy FM
US President Obama (L) waves alongside Israeli PM Netanyahu prior to departing from Ben Gurion Airport. Obama brokered a deal between Israel and Turkey. AFP photoNormalization of the ties with Turkey is one of the most pressing aims on the government’s current agenda, the Israeli deputy foreign minister said yesterday.
Ze’ev Elkin said reviving ties with Turkey was one of the government’s top goals but that it was not possible to return to the warm relations that previously existed, speaking in an interview with Israel Radio. He also insisted that the Mavi Marmara raid wasn’t the motive behind the thaw. “Turkey has geopolitical aspirations in the region and its position on Israel is influenced by those ideas,” Elkin said, the Times of Israel reported.
Reconciliation with Turkey serves “several Israeli interests,” he said, pointing to the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear program, and the importance of Israel cooperating with NATO. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late last month concerns that Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons could reach militant groups bordering Israel and Turkey was the motivating factor in restoring relations with Ankara after a three-year rift.
Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010 on March 22 after a phone conversation between the two countries’ prime ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that was brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama.