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Israel and Turkey: time for a thaw

SINCE Turkey recognized Israel in 1949, Israel- Turkey relations have been one of the most important yet complex issues pertaining to Turkish foreign policy.

SINCE Turkey recognized Israel in 1949, Israel- Turkey relations have been one of the most important yet complex issues pertaining to Turkish foreign policy. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel were accorded high priority by both countries, which shared concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the Middle East. According to a New York Times report in 1999, the strategic partnership between the two countries had the potential to alter Middle East politics: Trade and tourism were booming, the Israel Air Force practiced maneuvers in Turkish airspace and Israeli technicians were modernizing Turkish combat jets. There were also plans for high-tech cooperation and water sharing.

Israeli-Turkish relations soured in 2010 after the deadly Israeli raid on the six-ship Turkish flotilla seeking to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and to deliver aid to the Palestinians living there. On 2 September 2011, Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and suspended military co-operation after the UN released its report of the “Mavi Marmara” raid.
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