'No reconciliation’ before Israel vote

'No reconciliation’ before Israel vote

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
No reconciliation’ before Israel vote

Palestinian schoolgirls are seen inside a damaged school in Gaza City. Israeli diplomat Eran (inset) says Turkey and Israel have common interests. AFP photo

Despite the fact that talks were recently held between Turkish and Israeli officials over easing more than two years of strained relations, reconciliation is likely to take place after the upcoming elections in Israel, a former Israeli diplomat has said.

Reaching an agreement with Turkey may benefit the current Israeli prime minister, as many Israelis want the restoration of ties. However, normalization will only take place after the elections in January, according to Oded Eran of the Institute for National Security Studies.

Yosef Chechnover, a representative of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met in Geneva last week with Feridun Sinirlioğlu, undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The meeting came just a few days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had once again harshly slammed Israel by labeling it a terrorist state, before a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hamas.

In the negotiations over how to end the recent conflict, Israel knew that Turkey was involved in the talks and did not objected to this, Eran told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Israeli negotiators had indirect contact with Turkey representatives,” he said.

‘Impossible’ to avoid having dialogue

The latest effort to resume relations demonstrates that, under the current circumstances, it is almost impossible for the two countries to avoid having dialogue, according to Eran, who is currently in Istanbul to participate in a security conference.

“We have common interests, if only because we have common borders,” he said. “The situation with the Arab Spring creates similar problems for both countries. There are forces - sub-state forces – that endanger our stability and pose serious dilemmas to us.” As an example, Eran said that possible informal cooperation between Iraqi Kurds and Syrian Kurds could pose a serious threat to Turkey. He said the collapse in the role of central governments in terms of being able to control security issues would have negative consequences, and may allow terror groups, including Islamic fundamentalists, to operate freely in the region.

Eran said Egypt and Turkey were now ruled by parties with a similar ideological background, which had allowed them to cooperate recently in seeking to end the eight-day long clashes between Israel and Hamas. However, he thinks that the two may find it more difficult to cooperate in the future.

“Basically, we are talking about the two largest Sunni societies. The current Egyptian regime’s ambition to return to a role of being the leading country in the Arab world may conflict with the similar ambition held by the Turkish government.”