ANKARA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The U.S.-brokered normalization of ties between Turkey and Israel following the latter's belated apology for a naval raid three years ago means a greater alignment of both countries' goals in the Mideast against the backdrop of fast-paced developments in the region.
Turkey severed diplomatic and security ties with Israel after eight Turks and a Turkish American aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla were killed in May 2010 during a violent confrontation with Israeli commandos.
Ankara waited until Friday to get an apology from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made a phone call to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the two leaders agreed to normalize bilateral relations.
"This indicates that we have entered a new phase in Syria where both Turkey and Israel have the same interest in seeing the embattled President Bashar al-Assad to depart from power," said Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, professor of international relations at Ankara-based Gazi University.
"The United States also shares the same goal in Syria which is to have stable government following the current Syrian regime," he added.
It is noteworthy that Netanyahu's apology came shortly after U. S. President Barack Obama departed Israel after an official visit.
Erol believes in the larger picture, Washington needs both Turkey and Israel, its staunch allies in the Mideast, to pursue its goals ranging from Syria and Iraq to Iran. "That is why it was important for Ankara and Tel Aviv to mend the fences."
"This agreement will change the political balances of the whole region and will have implications on cases like Syria, Iran, Iraq and possibly Cyprus," said Murat Yekin, columnist at Radikal daily.
Obama immediately expressed his appreciation over the restoration of positive relations between Turkey and Israel, saying the step will advance regional peace and security.
"I am hopeful that today's exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities," Obama said.
What comes next is explained by Turkish analyst Zeynep Gurcanli, head of Ankara-based Diplomatic Correspondents' Association.
She said the upgrade in ties with the exchange of ambassadors will follow the compensation deal for the victims of the flotilla attack and non-liability agreement for Israeli soldiers involved in the incident.
"Turkey will also remove its veto on Israeli participation into NATO military drills," she said, stressing that similar decisions can be taken in other international platforms where Turkey blocked Israeli advances.
Gurcanli added that high-level exchanges between Turkey and Israel will start soon depending on whether Israel will ease restrictions on goods entering Palestinian territories, especially the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Israel's bow to a long-standing demand by Ankara reflects that the Jewish state is concerned over isolation amid political upheavals in the region and as Washington gears up for new a push for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Turkey, a close friend of Palestinians, can contribute to the process if it has normalized ties with Israel, Erol said.
"Turkey will support all international and regional efforts to find fair, enduring and comprehensive solution based on 'two-state ' vision to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Erdogan's office said in a statement following the apology.
Meanwhile, analysts like Nasuhi Gungor, who writes for Star Daily, cite Turkey's rising profile in global politics in recent years as a reason for Israel to compromise.
Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan's chief foreign policy advisor, said " this [apology] is a major victory for diplomacy."
JERUSALEM, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday phoned his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and apologized for an Israeli naval raid three years ago in which nine Turkish nationals were killed, with the two leaders agreeing to normalize bilateral relations, Netanyahu's office said.
The dramatic announcement came shortly after U.S. President Barack Obama departed Israel at the end of a three-day visit. Full story
ISTANBUL, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey confirmed Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Turkey for the attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, in which eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin were killed in May 2010.
The long-awaited apology came during a phone conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Netanyahu on Friday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted sources from the Turkish Prime Ministry as saying. Full story
ANKARA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday that Turkey's fundamental demands have been met with the apology from Israel.
In an interview with state-run TRT Haber, Davutoglu said that Turkey has been negotiating to settle its dispute with Israel for almost three years and the Israeli side came close to issuing an apology on a number of occasions but failed to do so due to internal political disputes. Full story