In recent weeks we have been suggesting that the steady progress in the fortunes of the Abraham Accords does not signal that the Arab participants no longer support the Palestinian quest for a state. Rather, they have resolved that the lack of a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict will no longer be permitted to impede their moving forward on a number of fronts together with Israel for their mutual benefit. The other day Turkey provided fresh evidence that this is, indeed, the case.

Turkey, of course, has been the on-again-off-again implacable foe of Israel. But at the end of 2021 – after a decade of fierce verbal assaults on Israel – Turkish President Recep Tayyip surprised most everyone by hosting a delegation of rabbis from all over the Islamic world and was quoted as saying that Turkey’s relations with Israel were “vital for the security and stability of the region.”


In March of this year Erdogan met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Ankara, which marked the first official Israeli visit in 14 years. In a joint statement at the end of their visit the two said that their meeting was “historic and will serve as a turning point in the relations between the two countries.”

Several days before Israel Independence Day this year, in a letter to Herzog, Erdogan extended his wishes “for the well-being and prosperity of the people of Israel…. In the new period in our relations…. I sincerely believe that the cooperation between our countries will develop in a way that serves our mutual national interests, as well as regional peace and stability. ”

For his part, Herzog told Erdogan that they “must keep working in cooperation with each other for the benefit of both nations.”

Fast forward to last week when the Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu met with Palestinian officials in Ramallah and said during a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad Malki, that “we are leading the normalization process [with Israel] in coordination with Palestinian authorities. Our support for the Palestinian cause is completely independent of the course of our relations with Israel.”

To the Palestinians this all must have sounded like so much faint praise. And maybe that was Cavusoglu’s point all along. That is: We don’t mind trying to help you out with Israel, but just don’t get in the way.


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