Turkey and the Syrian-Israeli closeness
Syria-Turkey, Politics, 12/28/1999
The Turkish daily Hurriyet in its Monday issue highlighted the impact of the Syrian-Israeli rapprochement on Turkey and the possibility that Turkey will pay the price of such rapprochement.
The paper asserted Turkey's importance for Israel, saying that the former Israeli ambassador to Turkey, Raphe al-Baleigh, has described cooperation relations between Turkey and Israel as of a very great importance for Israel and that without Turkey, "Israel will be a small island in the region."
The paper made it clear that despite the fact that Israel has also relations with Egypt, Jordan and several Gulf states, Israel's relations with Turkey are quite different, as partnership between the two countries contributes to alienating Israeli from isolation.
The Turkish paper added that al-Baleigh, who retired from his diplomatic career, has launched an initiative to strengthen the relations between Turkey and Israel, at the backing of senior Israeli politicians and businessmen.
The paper quoted al-Baleigh as saying that Turkey's backing of this non-governmental initiative will accelerate opportunities for Israel's success not to make Turkey pay the price of the Israeli- Syrian rapprochement.
The same paper quoted US President Bill Clinton as saying during his recent visit to Turkey that Turkey is the country of an example to be followed in the region in being democratic and secular.
The paper said that President Clinton's words highlighted the importance of the Turkish role in redrawing the region.
Hurriyet said, "Undoubtedly Turkey will be affected by the Syrian-Israeli peace, as the question of waters will be raised on the agenda of the Syrian-Israeli talks, yet still Turkey has several strong and winning papers."
The paper concluded by saying that peace in the Middle East will open new horizons before Turkey and that Turkey has to open new peace projects in the region.
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