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Israel -Turkey: Protecting The U.S. Interests In the Broader Middle East..?

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel, just after his visit in Turkey aiming to persuade both country leaderships to fully restoring their bilateral relations. Washington wants to have an improved status of regional coordination looking at the situation in Syria and the problem with Iran’s nuclear program. On the other hand, the U.S. wants to break the diplomatic isolation of Israel in the broader Middle East area:

Kerry urges Turkey, Israel to take steps to normalizing ties – Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry urgedTurkey and Israel on Sunday to restore full relations, calling this vital to regional stability, but said it was not up to Washington to dictate the conditions of rapprochement. An Israeli-Turkish reconciliation could improve regional coordination to contain spillover from the Syrian civil war and ease Israel’s diplomatic isolation in the Middle East as it faces the challenge of Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry said it was imperative for Israel to honor its commitment to pay compensation to the families of those who were killed by Israeli marines aboard a Turkish vessel trying to break a naval blockade on Gaza in 2010, and for both countries to return their ambassadors. He was speaking in Istanbul some two weeks after President Barack Obama brokered a thaw between Turkey and Israel, whose relations were frozen by the killing of nine Turkish citizens in that raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. ”With respect to the Israel-Turkey track, it is not for the United States to be setting conditions or terms,” Kerry told reporters alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Israel, Middle East 1b

But, how is Turkey going to react if we have an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip..? The Turkish Prime Minister, plans to visit Gaza neglecting Israeli objections:

Jewish Heritage » Kerry presses Israel , Turkey to mend ties

We say again, we would like to see this relationship that is important to stability in the Middle East, critical to the peace process itself, we would like to see this relationship get back on track in its full measure, Kerry said after meetings with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Kerry addressed the crowing tone of some commentary in Turkey after an apology by Israel for the deaths of Turks aboard an aid ship in 2010. The ship was part of a flotilla trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip. The foreign minister has expressed very clearly to me, in response to an inquiry by me, that they have taken steps to try to prevent any kind of sense of triumphalism, Kerry said. Davutoglu said little about the agreement but that Turkey would press its view that Israels embargo on Gaza must end. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he plans to visit Gaza over Israeli objections. Erdogan gave an interview days after his unusual three-way phone call with Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. officials described privately as smug.

More importantly, more steps are necessary for improving the bilateral Israeli-Turkish relations as the geopolitical balance in the Middle East remains delegate. On the other hand, the U.S. supports Turkey’s ambitions to be a major regional player for protecting the U.S. interests against Syria and Iran:

Kerry Urges Turkey and Israel to Restore Ties – New York Times …

 But no sooner was the new agreement announced than Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasted that it underscored Turkey’s regional clout, leading to concerns that there could be problems fulfilling the deal. Several steps needed to be taken to restore relations, Mr. Kerry said, including a provision by Israel to provide compensation for the attack and the return of Turkish and Israeli ambassadors to their posts. Mr. Kerry said that he had been assured by Mr. Davutoglu that the Turkish government would avoid any displays of “triumphalism” suggesting that it had forced Israel to make concessions. Billboards in Turkey show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Mr. Erdogan of Turkey, touting Turkish “pride.” “Now if one or two people, or a few people, break out and make comments, that should not cloud the overall benefit,” Mr. Kerry said. Mr. Davutoglu appeared to sketch more ambitious expectations of what would be needed to fully restore Israeli-Turkish relations, saying that it required the “lifting” of the Israeli embargo on supplies to Gaza. “There are commitments made regarding the issue of the lifting of the embargoes — improvement of the standard of living in the West Bank and Gaza, the entire Palestine, in a joint effort, and run a process on the lifting of the embargoes,” Mr. Davutoglu said. Mr. Erdogan is scheduled to meet with President Obama next month in Washington.

Finally, the U.S. wants the bilateral relation between Turkey and Israel to be alive again, for better protecting its interests in the broader Middle East area. On the other hand, we have new geopolitical factors of possible tension in the South Eastern Mediterranean (vast energy sea deposits in Greece and Cyprus) and the unpredictable consequences of the Euro Zone crisis, after the tragic financial developments in Cyprus. It is for sure that Israel stays there, for protecting the U.S. interests in the area. But, what is to happen with Turkey..?



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