Erdogan wants back in Israel-Syria loop

Netanyahu to conduct 'policy review' of Turkey ties.

March 27, 2009 11:39
1 minute read.
Erdogan wants back in Israel-Syria loop

erdogan square pic 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

Israel will conduct a detailed policy review of Israel-Turkish ties and the Israeli-Syrian track in the early days of Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu's tenure, sources close to Netanyahu said Saturday night, underlining that Israel views its relationships with Ankara as an important strategic relationship. The sources' comments came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Turkey was ready to resume mediation between Israel and Turkey. The Turkish prime minister said the negotiations could recommence if both countries desire, stressing that it would also depend on the approach of the new Israeli government. "If they make such a request to Turkey, we will do our best," Turkey's Anatolia news agency quoted Erdogan as saying in a television interview. "We are determined to do whatever we can for peace in the Middle East... All issues should be resolved at the negotiating table," he said. The comments were the latest signal of rapprochement after ties between Jerusalem and Ankara took a downward turn earlier in the year because of Erdogan's ferocious criticism of Operation Cast Lead. Sources close to Netanyahu said he has not publicly expressed a view yet on the role of Turkey as a mediator with Syria. Dore Gold, one of Netanyahu's top foreign policy advisers, said earlier this month that Netanyahu has made it clear that his top priority is the Palestinian, not the Syrian, track. Turkey mediated four rounds of indirect talks between Israel and Syria last year, with the last formal round in July. In December, less then a week before Operation Cast Lead, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Ankara, and - with Olmert in a room next door - Erdogan reportedly had Damascus on the line, trying to get the two sides to agree on a formula to begin direct negotiations. No agreement was reached, and then the Gaza operation intervened and ties with Turkey nosedived.

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