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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Israeli diplomat in Turkey invited to official function for the first time since Mavi Marmara incident

An Israeli diplomat, Yosef Levi Sfari, Israel's charge d'affairs at its embassy in Ankara, was invited to an official Turkish function for the first time since he was posted to Ankara in 2011. It was also the first time any Israeli diplomat was invited to a Turkish function since the Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey's Daily Hurriyet tried to tie the story to Prime Minister Netanyahu's apology, but that happened in March. I don't buy that. Let's look at what's going on and then we can discuss why.
Although relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv are still tense and give no hope of a quick normalization, the presidency invited a senior Israeli diplomat to the Victory Day reception held on Aug. 30, in the first such invitation since the Mavi Marmara crisis of 2010.

Chargé d’affairs of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, Josef Levy Safari attended the Victory Day reception, marking his first appearance in such a state reception.

According to the sources, the invitation was made as Israel officially apologized to Turkey over the killings of nine Turkish citizens on board of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel.

Although the normalization process between the two countries could not be completed and no ambassadors have been exchanged, the Israeli issuance of an apology has been seen as sufficient for inviting the chargé d’affairs to the reception.
Netanyahu apologized six months ago. Turkey has blasted that apology as insufficient many times over, and if that apology had motivated this invitation, it would have happened months ago.

The real reason for the invitation is that Turkey is now a target for Syria, along with Israel. With the West seeking to flee any involvement in Syria, Turkey realizes that it just might need Israel to help it out in a pinch. That's why they're suddenly anxious to mend relations ever so slightly with Israel.

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