Turkey seeks reconciliation

The Turkish leadership has sought rapprochement with two states with which it was in conflict. A reconciliation agreement with Israel is aimed at ending the six-year freeze in diplomatic relations between the two countries triggered by an Israeli military operation against a Gaza aid flotilla in 2010. And in a letter to Putin Erdoğan expressed regret for the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet seven months ago. What is the goal of this new charm offensive?

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Al Ghad (JO) /

Ankara leaves Gaza's residents in the lurch

The Turkish-Israeli agreement may herald a new policy on the part of Ankara in the region, the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad suspects:

“The concessions to the inhabitants of Gaza on the construction of a hospital or an electrical plant could not hide their deep disappointment. They will make life a little easier in this huge prison, nevertheless the Palestinians will continue to remain cut off from the world - now with Turkey's assent. ... This dramatic change in Turkey's position could usher in similar developments on other fronts, for example in Syria. That doesn't mean that Erdoğan will now support the Syrian government, but he could go against earlier agreements and stop backing the Syrian revolution through to its victory. The reasons lie in the increasingly complex regional situation and growing pressure at home and abroad.”

Delo (SI) /

Productive Turkish pragmatism

Ankara's surprise diplomatic offensive testifies to a new pragmatism in its foreign policy, Delo believes:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already announced that the agreement will strengthen the economy. Turkey's business community and above all its farmers, construction sector and tourism industry are hoping that Erdoğan's letter to Putin will have a similar impact. ... The way the Turkish government is behaving on the international stage now and reaching out to those it described only yesterday as terrorists testifies to a productive and sensible pragmatism. Unfortunately the tragedy at the airport in Istanbul shows that there will be no peace in the country until the Turks have understood that the same pragmatic approach is urgently needed in its domestic affairs.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

A new axis to establish peace

Turkey's policy of reconciliation could be strategically important on the global level, Jutarnji list speculates:

“As it turns out, Ankara's wanting to play a key role in the region and then getting into conflicts with all the other players has not proved to be a particularly sound strategy. Turkey can't be an important factor in Syria with Israel and Russia hindering its every move. Now it has shown maturity, swapped populism for pragmatism and put the ball in Putin's court. The Russia-Turkey-Israel axis could be a real counterweight to the US - and to the EU minus Britain - in the Middle East and beyond. Israel is a democratic nation, it has a strong army, and its secret ties with the Arab World are constantly improving. Moreover, it is an ally of Russia. With Turkey at its side, it could do much to bring peace to a region in conflict.”

T24 (TR) /

Peace between Turkey and Israel impossible

The reconciliation between Turkey and Israel comes at a time in which the two states are growing increasingly similar, the liberal online paper T24 observes:

“Backed by the far-right and the pious, Israel is ruled today by a far-right and fundamentalist coalition. … In order to remain in power Netanyahu and his far-right coalition partners are moving Israel further away from democracy with each day that passes - in the same way Erdoğan is doing. … But that's where the brotherliness ends. Six years after the Gaza flotilla raid Turkey and Israel have reached out to each other and made the decision to normalise their relations. But these two regimes, one Islamist and the other Zionist, can't make peace with each other. The only result, if any, could be that a cold peace follows the cold war. Things won't go any further than the announcements that they have made peace.”

Trouw (NL) /

Erdoğan's charm offensive a warning to the EU

Erdoğan's rapprochement with Russia and Israel should give the EU food for thought, Trouw warns:

“The general expectation is that a good understanding of Turkey's own best interests is behind this charm offensive. Turkey does not have its own resources, and can't afford the economic ramifications of a drawn-out conflict with all of its neighbours. Security reasons may also play a role. ... However this charm offensive is also a warning to Europe. Look here, Erdoğan is saying, we don't really need you. Already a few weeks ago he said in the same vein: 'We're leaving Europe to deal with its problems. We're going our way, you can go yours.' Reactions were terse at the time. But that was before the Brexit.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Partnership of convenience for peace

The reconciliation between Israel and Turkey is good for the Middle East, Der Tagesspiegel believes:

“For the foreseeable future the relationship between the two countries will not be as intense as it was in the past. The days when Turkish fighter pilots peacefully flew manoeuvres with their Israeli counterparts are over. Today we are looking at a partnership of convenience between two states who have very few friends in the world. ... The nation on the Bosphoros has fallen out with numerous states due to its often thoughtless and reckless behaviour. That means even remotely normal relations with Israel really cannot harm. The Jewish state also stands to benefit from a return to friendly relations. For example if Turkey leans on Hamas. No shelling and peace in Gaza - that would be a true sign of reconciliation for Israel.”

Yeni Şafak (TR) /

Immature compromise

With the agreement Turkey is moving away from its demand for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. İsmail Kılıçarslan is struggling with the compromise in the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak:

“It is not possible to normalise things with Israel, at most you have to fight it. ... But ten thousand orphans and refugees as well as thousands of sick people in the Gaza Strip can at least breathe a sigh of relief with this agreement. ... Deep down of course I want both the embargo and the blockade [of the Gaza Strip] to be lifted. ... But for that to happen we need a very different formula, a very different Islamic world. Now we can see that both Hamas and the people of Gaza are happy with the agreement, while the Israeli public and the press are mostly against it. All three things are good signs, as I see it.”