By Ari Yashar, Israel National News—
Senior sources in the Israeli security establishment accused Turkey on Thursday of playing a “double game” in rapprochement talks with Israel, even as the negotiating teams on both sides met the same day in an undisclosed location.
“There isn’t really anyone to talk with in Turkey. At this point they’re using us to pressure the Russians,” the sources said as cited by Walla.
The statement refers to how Ankara has been at a standoff with Moscow in recent months, ever since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border last November, and Russia responded with crippling sanctions. With the loss of its top provider of natural gas Turkey began normalization talks with Israel, even as the Jewish state began moving towards developing its offshore gas resources.
The sources noted that the normalization talks were largely motivated by Turkey’s desire to buy gas from Israel, and even at the start of the talks last December sources revealed there were plans to discuss a pipeline from Israel to Turkey later on.
According to the security sources cited Thursday, the Turkish authorities have yet to close the Hamas terror headquarters in Istanbul, and according to reports the country continues to purchase oil from Islamic State (ISIS) despite global criticism.
In light of these reasons, as well as anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic comments by senior Turkish officials, the sources estimate that the negotiations are destined to fail.
As evidence for their estimations of failure the sources noted the “tendentious leaks” to the Turkish press regarding the negotiations.
For example, a month ago Turkish media claimed that there were developments regarding Israel agreeing to ease the naval blockade on Gaza, forcing top IDF brass to rule out the reports and clarify that there were no negotiations about establishing a seaport in Gaza.
That demand for a seaport appears to be a major sticking point, as Israel has rejected the move due to the blatant threat of a mass influx of weapons to the Gazan terrorist organizations.
After a terror attack in Istanbul that murdered three Israeli tourists, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two weeks ago spoke about contacts with Turkey, and said there is cooperation between the countries despite the now defunct ties.
“We always wanted proper ties with Turkey and it was not us who worked to change that direction. If possible we will normalize the relations. There are contacts, they exist and they are also advancing. I hope that they will lead to a positive result – that is, a full rapprochement of ties,” said Netanyahu.
Bilateral ties fell apart in 2010 due to the infamous Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which Turkish activists sought to breach Israel’s legal naval blockade on Gaza. The main ship, which was found to be carrying no humanitarian aid, refused repeated orders to turn around and eventually forced the IDF to board it.
Once on board the commandos were attacked with lethal force by the Turkish Islamists who wounded them with knives and metal bars, and the soldiers were forced to open fire, killing ten.
Turkey cut off ties with Israel when it refused to apologize for the incident and pay compensation to the families of those who were killed on the ship. Netanyahu has since apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under pressure from US President Barack Obama.