Israel, Turkey ‘share concern on Syria’

Israel, Turkey ‘share concern on Syria’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Israel, Turkey ‘share concern on Syria’

An Israeli journalist, Arad Nir, says Israel and Turkey have common concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons.

The threat of chemical weapons in the hands of the Syrian government in the period after Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad leaves power is a common concern of both Turkey and Israel, Israeli journalists said yesterday at a roundtable conference organized by the Global Political Trends Center of Kültür University and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation in Istanbul.

“Both countries have common interests and concerns about the threat of chemical weapons in Syria on the day after al-Assad is gone. Israel regrets that there are no lines of communication between it and Turkey regarding the current crisis,” a prominent journalist from Israeli Channel 2 News, Arad Nir, said at the conference on Oct. 15.

Another Israeli journalist, Ronni Shaked from Yedi’ot Ahronot Newspaper, agreed at the meeting that “both Israel and

Turkey are afraid of the Syrian regime’s chemical and biological weapons.”

‘Al-Assad regime in Syria is better option for Israel’

Meanwhile, Arad Nir said that despite the statements of Israeli officials that the al-Assad regime will not last long in Syria, this is not perceived as being in Israel’s interest.

“Even after al-Assad goes, the conflict between Syria and Israel will continue, as there is no obvious alternative leadership in Syria. So, although it is not being said out loud, al-Assad is the better option from the Israeli point of view,” he said.

Israel wants relations with Turkey, but it doesn’t want to pay the price’

The Israeli journalists said that even though the Israeli government wanted to improve its relations with Turkey - which have been suspended since the Mavi Marmara incident - there is little chance that it will apologize to Turkey for the incident in the near future.

“Israeli side really wants to solve the issue with Turkey, but they don’t want to pay the price,” Nir said.
He added that the formula to establish relations again with Turkey was clear, referring to the preconditions of Turkey that demand an official apology from the Israeli government, the payment of compensation to the families of the victims, and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. “I can not any willingness on the Israeli side to do whatever is necessary,” he said.

Nir also said that as a de facto situation there was currently no blockade on Gaza: “Israel does control the points of entry, but still everything enters into Gaza. Israeli products and international products are transferred in dozens of trucks everyday to Gaza. However, both the Israeli and Hamas goverments have a common interest in showing the blockade to be much bigger than it really is.”