Turkey prepared to reset relations with Israel - Erdoğan aide

Full diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel could be re-established by March, Turkish presidential adviser Mesut Caşın said in an interview with the Voice of America on Monday.

Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy in May 2018 over Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Turkey has also fostered relations with Hamas, a group fighting against Israel and designated as a terrorist organisation by the West.

Al-Monitor reported on Nov. 30 that the head of Turkey’s national intelligence service, Hakan Fidan, had been backchanneling with Israeli officials in recent months, as a part of a Turkish-initiated effort to normalise relations.

If Israel takes a step, Turkey may approach two steps, and Ankara may re-open its Tel Aviv embassy by March, Caşın told VoA.

He said that restoring peace and security between two countries was very important, and  Turkey did not wish to be at loggerheads with Israel again after Mavi Marmara incident.  Turkish-Israeli relations began to deteriorate after Israel raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010, killing ten pro-Palestinian activists onboard the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship.

The incoming Biden administration will boost reconciliation efforts between Israel and Turkey, Caşın said.

He also said that Israel has a lot to gain from normalisation, as “two countries’ defence industries can go ahead together”.

Turkey is an important potential buyer for Israel’s oil and gas resources, and it also would be the corridor to the European market via pipeline, he said.