The reconciliation between Jerusalem and Ankara is gaining momentum. Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US Deputy President Joe Biden and arranged that Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams would meet within two weeks to push forward with an agreement between the two countries.
Biden phoned Netanyahu after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and reported that there talks included the promotion of a reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. Following the Biden-Netanyahu talks, an Israeli source that in the coming few weeks, the Israeli negotiating team headed by Joseph Chiechanover will with the Turkish negotiating team to push forward the reconciliation process.
Last Wednesday, Netanyahu referred to the reconciliation efforts with Turkey during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He said, "We are trying to normalize our relations with Turkey. I don't know if we will succeed but I think we will persist with our efforts and it is up to us to ensure that Israel's interests are maintained. Turkey and Israel has excellent relations in previous years and we didn't want to see them deteriorate and we did not cause that deterioration, and if there is a change in policy, we will welcome it."
Sources close to Netanyahu said that the reconciliation with Turkey is vital for Israel and represents a strategic asset. They warn that the window of opportunity for reconciliation is closing while the talks do not move forward. Turkey has reportedly accused Israel of dragging its feet on the matter.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 31, 2016
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