Turkey is sending signals that it wants to mend fraught ties with Israel but Tel Aviv is not in a rush to restore relations with Ankara, Middle Eastern affairs analyst Zvi Bar’el said in a column for Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday.
“Ankara’s signals should be considered, if there is a window of opportunity to improve relations with Turkey, any time is a good time” Bar’el said.
Bilateral ties between Turkey and Israel, which warmed significantly in the 1990’s, have worsened over the past decade, particularly since a deadly 2010 raid by Israeli soldiers on the Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara.
In 2018, Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States and expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara in response to Israeli security forces killing and injuring Palestinians protesting the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Bar’el said that Turkey’s appointment of a new ambassador to Israel, reported by several media outlets last week, was a signal that Ankara wanted to restore ties even though it was still angered at an August agreement between Israel and its regional rival the United Arab Emirates to normalise relations.
A November visit to Israel by Turkish Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and plans by a Turkish conglomerate to bid in a tender for Israel’s Haifa port were further signs that a new, pragmatic friendship might develop between the two countries, Bar’el said.
“But Israel, for its part, is still in no hurry. Israel is not known to be preparing to send an ambassador to Ankara, and neither are plans for military or other cooperation between the two governments. The excuses are the political situation in Israel, preparations for elections and the all-powerful coronavirus. These excuses are completely baseless” Bar’el said.