Turkey is threatening to cut off ties to Israel over the flotilla raid. (Apparently back-channel talks aimed at repairing the breach in the Israel-Turkey relationship didn’t get very far.) But through Marc Lynch’s twitter feed, we learn:
Bashar al-Asad: Turkey cutting ties with Israel would harm stability, peace in the region
Marc’s source for that is an Arabic news piece that I can’t read, but I take his word for it. And indeed, Assad’s calculation is right: no good can come from Turkey breaking with Israel. Both Israel and its Arab neighbors need an intercessor for communicating with each other in order to prevent destabilizing surprises from occurring and to test each other’s commitment to constructive dialogue. To state the obvious, Turkey has acted as a “facilitator” for Syria and Israel to explore peace talks. Moribund as those talks are right now, it’s far better to have the channel for restarting them open than it is for them to close.
If the Turkish government is trying to step on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s toes as Netanyahu arrives in Washington to meet with President Obama, expect the acrimony to persist. My old neighbor Janine Zacharia, a beast of a reporter, collects this LOLworthy sardonic quote from an anonymous Western diplomat:
“The president is very concerned about the breakdown in Turkish-Israeli relations,” the diplomat said. Asked if he thought Obama could persuade Netanyahu to apologize, the diplomat added: “I’m sure he’ll give it the college try.”
Chuckles aside, Assad is right about this.