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Tuesday July 6, 2010 12:35 PM (EST+7)
Israeli-Turkish ties have remained unchanged

Read more: Turkey, Israeli relations, Gaza blockade, flotilla, Mavi Marmara, Turkish-Israeli relations

RAMALLAH, July 6 (JMCC) - Despite the heavy rhetoric emanating out of Ankara these days, relations between Turkey and Israel have not undergone any dramatic change.

Following Israel's attack on the Mavi Marmara, an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip, that left nine Turkish activists dead, public relations between the two countries have reached an all time low.

Yet, experts are now saying that substantive relations between the two countries have remained stable.

“It is wrong to think that Turkish-Israeli relations have entered a deadlock that is impossible to get out of. Even if Israeli tourists deserted Turkish beaches this summer, the complex diplomatic relations between the two countries are still active,” noted Mazen Hammad in an opinion piece for the Jordanian newspaper Addustoor.

Following the deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla, Ankara strongly condemned the aggression and recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv. It also prevented Israeli aircraft from flying in its airspace while it cancelled joint military exercises.

But in other areas, relations between the two countries continue without disruption. There is a Turkish military delegation in Tel Aviv in a training programme on how to operate unmanned aircraft purchased from Israel. Commercial transactions were also not affected by seemingly chilled relations.

Furthermore, there is no indication of the possibility of freezing or calling off the Israeli-Turkish free trade agreement, although Turks fear the Israelis might cancel a contract worth $140 million to improve the capacity of Turkish intelligence aircraft.

Overall, however, commercial ties are stable and less likely to be affected, Israeli officials have been quoted as saying. A similar view was expressed by Soli Ozel, a professor of international relations, who stressed the importance of Turkey and Israel’s mutual interests...

Turkey has threatened to sever all ties with Israel if it does not receive an apology and compensation for the victims of its military raid in international waters. The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has stated publicly that Israel does not intend to apologize for its actions.

Read more at The National...






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