When Obama in August 2013 refused to act on the previously established ‘red line’ (which promised US intervention in Syria once chemical weapons would be used), this cost him the fury of Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Saudis (according to other sources, Turkey) are under suspicion to have supplied gas to the Islamist resistance movement, al Nusra, in order to stage this attack. Like Israel, the Saudi royal family wants to bring down the Assad regime at any price to disrupt the ‘Shi’ite’ axis Hezbollah-Damascus-Tehran, and the US has the means to do it.
And now oil prices are falling. This is the weapon of choice in world politics used already several times by the Saudis. In 1985, to strangle Gorbachev’s experiment to save the Soviet Union; this time to weaken Russia and Iran. For whilst there are a sufficient number of economic reasons to open the oil tap (the crisis, the need to compete with American unconventional oil sources such a shale and deep water by a low oil price), this policy is primarily motivated by geopolitical considerations.

Bringing down Assad and replace him by a Sunni regime obedient to Saudi Arabia and Turkey is the all-encompassing goal. When the uprising against Assad became dominated by radical Islamic groups, first al-Nusra and then ISIL, this goal was brought a step closer, but now Saudi Arabia must back-pedal a bit because these groups enjoy great popularity in Saudi Arabia itself, to the point where the monarchy feels threatened by it.

Hence Riyadh supports the US in its attack on ISIL. But as with Turkey, this is a support when push comes to shove, doesn’t amount to much. ISIL, which according to has an army of 200.000 men under arms and an area the size of Great Britain, does not have to worry about the threat from these two. Both Ankara and Riyadh first of all demand that the Americans kick out Assad. In the meantime low oil prices are causing big losses to Russia and Iran, which support Damascus; even though the Saudis have been warned by the IMF that the oil price is too low and the government deficit is mounting too much.

Israel is the silent partner of Saudi Arabia against Assad. And if the Saudis have their doubts about ISIL, not so Israel—at least if we are to believe its ambassador to Washington, In some time ago Oren, a close confidant of premier Netanyahu, declared that Israel no doubt would prefer the ‘moderate opposition’, but since this group hardly plays any role any longer, it would rather have a Sunni jihadist regime in Damascus than continue with Assad. Without Assad the axis Hezbollah-Tehran after all no longer functions.

Everything points to close collaboration in Syria between the intelligence services of Israel and Saudi Arabia (the Saudi intelligence service in the meantime is under the command of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, ambassador in Washington at the time of 9/11 and a friend of the Bush family). Their collaboration already booked a great success in Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is an offshoot as well) was dislodged by a military coup.

The Saudis and the Israelis together constitute a world power that has to be reckoned with, and which can make life hard for both Obama and Putin. Without the Israel lobby Obama cannot make a single move, but Putin too has a lot to fear, for instance in Chechnya, just as he is vulnerable to big business interests of expatriate Russian tycoons in Israel.

The collaboration between Israel and Saudi Arabia also casts new light on the events of 9/11—which after all have still not been explained in key respects. Few people know that the plan for a ‘War on Terror’ was launched in 1984 by Netanyahu, Israel’s ambassador to the UN at the time. This plan was worked out with US top officials and contained ALL the elements that we meanwhile know from the war that actually has come about. I have written several times about this because I have a copy of the edited volume with the contributions myself.

That 15 of the 19 hijackers on that fatal day were Saudis, is sufficiently known. There is also a sizeable literature on the role of Saudi Prince Bandar, but media such as CNN kept their distance from that until now—until today really. In a report on, whom the US consider the brain behind 9/11, the station tells us that he has supplied two handwritten letters in which he accuses the Saudis to have financed the operation. For CNN this is quite a step to take, even though Senator Bob Graham has previously pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia.

Thirteen years after the attacks in New York and Washington links between Israel and the Saudis are emerging which retrospectively may cast light on the events of 9/11. For let nobody forget that it was in response to what happened on that day that Bush declared war, a war that continues to rage and in which our country too has been called to arms and duly ‘serves’—without any further questions.

Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and Israel

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia is under a new cloud after a jailed al-Qaeda operative implicated senior Saudi officials as collaborators with the terror group – and the shadow could even darken the political future of Israeli Prime Netanyahu because of his odd-couple alliance with Riyadh, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The disclosure that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui has identified leading members of the Saudi government as financers of the terrorist network potentially reshapes how Americans will perceive events in the Middle East and creates a risk for Israel’s Likud government which has forged an unlikely alliance with some of these same Saudis.

According to a;amp;amp;action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 in the New York Times on Wednesday, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the group’s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics. Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas. (White House photo)

“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” Moussaoui said in imperfect English — “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.”

Although Moussaoui’s credibility came under immediate attack from the Saudi kingdom, his assertions mesh with accounts from members of the U.S. Congress who have seen a secret portion of the 9/11 report that addresses alleged Saudi support for al-Qaeda.

Further complicating the predicament for Saudi Arabia is that, more recently, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified as backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow the largely secular regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The major rebel force benefiting from this support is al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

In other words, the Saudis appear to have continued a covert relationship with al-Qaeda-connected jihadists to the present day.

The Israeli Exposure

And, like the Saudis, the Israelis have sided with the Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – reaching from Tehran and Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut – is the greatest threat to their interests in the Middle East.

That shared concern has pushed Israel and Saudi Arabia into a de facto alliance, though the collaboration between Jerusalem and Riyadh has been mostly kept out of the public eye. Still, it has occasionally peeked out from under the covers as the two governments deploy their complementary assets – Saudi oil and money and Israeli political and media clout – in areas where they have mutual interests.

In recent years, these historic enemies have cooperated in their joint disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (which was overthrown in 2013), in seeking the ouster of the Assad regime in Syria, and in pressing for a more hostile U.S. posture toward Iran.

Israel and Saudi Arabia also have collaborated in efforts to put the squeeze on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who is deemed a key supporter of both Iran and Syria. The Saudis have used their power over oil production to drive down prices and hurt Russia’s economy, while U.S. neoconservatives – who share Israel’s geopolitical world view – were at the forefront of the coup that ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

The behind-the-scenes Israeli-Saudi alliance has put the two governments – uncomfortably at times – on the side of Sunni jihadists battling Shiite influence in Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq. On Jan. 18, 2015, for instance, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assad’s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisors were engaged in operations against al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra Front militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with these Nusra forces.

An Odd Alliance

Israel’s odd-couple alliances with Sunni interests have evolved over the past several years, as Israel and Saudi Arabia emerged as strange bedfellows in the geopolitical struggle against Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. In Syria, for instance, senior Israelis have made clear they would prefer Sunni extremists to prevail in the civil war rather than Assad, who is an Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam.

In September 2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

And, in June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Skepticism and Doubt

In August 2013, when I first reported on the growing relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia in an article entitled “,” the story was met with much skepticism. But, increasingly, this secret alliance has gone public.

On Oct. 1, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted at it in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.

Amid the bellicosity, Netanyahu dropped in a largely missed clue about the evolving power relationships in the Middle East, saying: “The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”

The next day, Israel’s Channel 2 TV news that senior Israeli security officials had met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart in Jerusalem, believed to be Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States who was then head of Saudi intelligence.

The reality of this unlikely alliance has now even reached the mainstream U.S. media. For instance, Time magazine correspondent Joe Klein the new coziness in an article in the Jan. 19, 2015 issue.

He wrote: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia – Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal – sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and ‘don’t want to fight Israel anymore.’”

Though Klein detected only the bright side of this détente, there was a dark side as well, as referenced in Moussaoui’s deposition, which identified Prince Turki as one of al-Qaeda’s backers. Perhaps even more unsettling was his listing of Prince Bandar, who had long presented himself as a U.S. friend, so close to the Bush Family that he was nicknamed “Bandar Bush.”

Moussaoui claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States.

According to the New York Times article by Scott Shane, Moussaoui said he was assigned to “find a location where it may be suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape,” but that he was arrested on Aug. 16, 2001, before he could carry out the reconnaissance mission.

The thought of anyone in the Saudi embassy, then under the control of “Bandar Bush,” scheming with al-Qaeda to shoot down George W. Bush’s Air Force One is shocking, if true. The notion would have been considered unthinkable even after the 9/11 attacks, which involved 15 Saudis among the 19 hijackers.

After those terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 Americans, Bandar went to the White House and persuaded Bush to arrange for the rapid extraction of bin Laden’s family members and other Saudis in the United States. Bush agreed to help get those Saudi nationals out on the first flights allowed back into the air.

Bandar’s intervention undercut the FBI’s chance to learn more about the ties between Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 perpetrators by giving FBI agents only time for cursory interviews with the departing Saudis.

Bandar himself was close to the bin Laden family and acknowledged having met Osama bin Laden in the context of bin Laden thanking Bandar for his help financing the jihad project in Afghanistan during the 1980s. “I was not impressed, to be honest with you,” Bandar CNN’s Larry King about bin Laden. “I thought he was simple and very quiet guy.”

The Saudi government claimed to have broken ties with bin Laden in the early 1990s when he began targeting the United States because President George H.W. Bush had stationed U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, but – if Moussaoui is telling the truth – al-Qaeda would have still counted Bandar among its supporters in the late 1990s.

Bandar and Putin

Bandar’s possible links to Sunni terrorism also emerged in 2013 during a confrontation between Bandar and Putin over what Putin viewed as Bandar’s crude threat to unleash Chechen terrorists against the Sochi Winter Olympics if Putin did not reduce his support for the Syrian government.

According to a leaked of a July 31, 2013 meeting in Moscow, Bandar informed Putin that Saudi Arabia had strong influence over Chechen extremists who had carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Russian targets and who had since deployed to join the fight against the Assad regime in Syria.

As Bandar called for a Russian shift toward the Saudi position on Syria, he reportedly offered guarantees of protection from Chechen terror attacks on the Olympics. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” Bandar reportedly said. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

Putin responded, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism.”

Bandar’s Mafia-like threat toward the Sochi games – a version of “nice Olympics you got here, it’d be a shame if something terrible happened to it” – failed to intimidate Putin, who continued to support Assad.

Less than a month later, an incident in Syria almost forced President Barack Obama’s hand in launching U.S. air strikes against Assad’s military, which would have possibly opened the path for the Nusra Front or the Islamic State to capture Damascus and take control of Syria. On Aug. 21, 2013, a mysterious sarin attack outside Damascus killed hundreds and, in the U.S. media, the incident was immediately blamed on the Assad regime.

American neocons and their allied “liberal interventionists” demanded that Obama launch retaliatory air strikes even though some U.S. intelligence analysts doubted that Assad’s forces were responsible and suspected that the attack was carried out by extremist rebels trying to pull the U.S. military into the civil war on their side.

Yet, pushed by the neocons and liberal war hawks, Obama nearly ordered a bombing campaign designed to “degrade” the Syrian military but called it off at the last minute. He then accepted Putin’s help in reaching a diplomatic solution in which Assad agreed to surrender his entire chemical weapons arsenal, while still denying any role in the sarin attack.

Later, the Assad-did-it case crumbled amid new evidence that Sunni extremists, supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, were the more likely perpetrators of the attack, a scenario that became increasingly persuasive as Americans learned more about the cruelty and ruthlessness of many Sunni jihadists fighting in Syria. [See’s “”]

Targeting Putin

Putin’s cooperation with Obama to head off a U.S. military strike in Syria made the Russian president more of a target for the American neocons who thought they finally had reached the cusp of their long-desired “regime change” in Syria only to be blocked by Putin. By late September 2013, a leading neocon, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, announced the goal of challenging Putin and recognizing his sore point in Ukraine.

Taking to the Washington Post’s op-ed page on Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important step toward ultimately ousting Putin. Gershman wrote, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. … Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” [See’s ““]

However, in early 2014, Putin was obsessed with Bandar’s implicit threat of terrorism striking the Sochi Olympics, thus distracting him from the “regime change” – being pushed by NED and neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland – next door in Ukraine.

On Feb. 22, 2014, putschists, spearheaded by well-organized neo-Nazi militias, drove elected President Viktor Yanukovych and his government from power. Putin was caught off-guard and, in the resulting political chaos, agreed to requests from Crimean officials and voters to accept Crimea back into Russia, thus exploding his cooperative relationship with Obama.

With Putin the new pariah in Official Washington, the neocon hand also was strengthened in the Middle East where renewed pressure could be put on the “Shiite crescent” in Syria and Iran. However, in summer 2014, the Islamic State, which had splintered off from al-Qaeda and its Nusra Front, went on a rampage, invading Iraq where captured soldiers were beheaded. The Islamic State then engaged in gruesome videotaped decapitations of Western hostages inside Syria.

The Islamic State’s brutality and the threat it posed to the U.S.-backed, Shiite-dominated government of Iraq changed the political calculus. Obama felt compelled to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria. American neocons tried to convince Obama to expand the Syrian strikes to hit Assad’s forces, too, but Obama realized such a plan would only benefit the Islamic State and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

In effect, the neocons were showing their hand – much as Israeli Ambassador Oren had done – favoring the Sunni extremists allied with al-Qaeda over Assad’s secular regime because it was allied with Iran. Now, with Moussaoui’s deposition identifying senior Saudi officials as patrons of al-Qaeda, another veil seems to have dropped.

Complicating matters further, Moussaoui also claimed that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.

But Moussaoui’s disclosure perhaps cast the most unflattering light on Bandar, the erstwhile confidant of the Bush Family who — if Moussaoui is right — may have been playing a sinister double game.

Also facing potentially embarrassing questions is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, especially if he goes through with his planned speech before a joint session of Congress next month, attacking Obama for being soft on Iran.

And, America’s neocons might have some explaining to do about why they have carried water not just for the Israelis but for Israel’s de facto allies in Saudi Arabia.

Israeli–Turkish relations refer to the bilateral ties between Israel and Turkey. Israel–Turkey relations were formalized in March 1949. Turkey was the first to recognize the

Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel were accorded high priority by both countries, which shared concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the According to a report in 1999, the strategic partnership between the two countries had the potential to alter Middle East politics: Trade and tourism were booming, the practiced maneuvers in Turkish airspace and Israeli technicians were modernizing Turkish combat jets. There were also plans for high-tech cooperation and water sharing.

Relations between Israel and Turkey took a downturn during the term of as Turkish Prime Minister. Though Erdoğan had paid an official visit to Israel in 2005 and initially had maintained business-as-usual relations, his strong anti-Israeli rhetoric is considered to have symbolized an intentional shift of Turkish interests in the Middle East and realignment from secular Israeli-oriented to Islamist pro-Arab stance of Turkish Republic. Most notably, the relations deteriorated after the 2008–09 and the 2010 In March 2013, Israel apologized for the raid, opening path for normalized relations. However, despite US-mediation, no progress has been achieved in reconciliation through 2013. With the scandal over alleged Turkish involvement in exposure of special agents of Israel in Iran in October 2013, the relations between Israel and Turkey have hit a new low.

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Diplomatic relations[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=1]Initial contacts[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=2]ürk memorial inürk memorial in for fallen Ottoman soldiers, recognized the State of Israel in 1949. Turkey’s first diplomatic mission in Israel was a "Legation" and was officially inaugurated on 7 January 1950 and the first Turkish Chief of Mission, Seyfullah Esin presented his credentials to Chaim Weisman, President of Israel. However, the Turkish Legation was downgraded to the level of "Charge d’Affaires" after the Suez Canal Crisis on 26 November 1956.

In 1958, Israeli prime minister and Turkish prime minister met secretly to discuss a "peripheral pact" which included public-relations campaigns, exchange of intelligence information and military support. In 1967, Turkey joined the Arab condemnation of Israel after the and called for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories but abstained from voting in favor of a clause referring to Israel as an "aggressor state." At a meeting of the in Rabat, Morocco, Turkey opposed a resolution calling for severing diplomatic relations with Israel.

As a result of positive developments in bilateral ties, the Turkish mission in Tel-Aviv was upgraded back to the level of "Legation" in July 1963 and further upgraded to the level of "Embassy" as of January 1980.

Upon Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and enunciation of Jerusalem as its eternal capital, the representation was relegated to the level of "Second Secretary" on 30 November 1980.

During the 1990s[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=3]The positive atmosphere in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in early 1990s made it possible to raise the mutual diplomatic relations once again to Ambassadorial level and a Turkish Ambassador presented his credentials to President Chaim, on 23 March 1992, in Tel Aviv.

Israel has maintained two diplomatic missions in Turkey: its embassy is located in the capital city of, and its Consulate General is located in Turkey's largest city, Until the recent downgrading in relations, the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was Gabby Levy, and the Israeli consul-general was Mordechai Amihai. These missions are responsible for Israeli consular affairs for the,_Turkey,,_Turkey, and western part of the,_Turkey regions of Turkey.

After AKP ascendancy[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=4]In Turkey 2002 election the, also known as AKP, won a landslide victory. Prime minister visited Israel in 2005 offering to serve as a peace mediator and looking to build up trade and military ties. Erdoğan brought a large group of businessmen on his two-day trip, which included talks with Prime Minister and President Erdoğan also laid a wreath at the memorial, Erdoğan told Sharon that his Justice and Development Party regarded as "a crime against humanity." He added that were a threat not just to Israel but to "the entire world."

In early 2006, the described its country's relations with Turkey as "perfect." A joint Israeli-Palestinian was being developed under Turkey's and addressed the a day apart. Peres described Turkey as an "important player in the Middle East in relation to the United States, Syria and the Palestinians, as well as us." According to a report in the, a spokeswoman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that Turkey was serving as a "channel of communication" between Syria and Israel.

On a three-day visit to in November 2007, Shimon Peres met with, and addressed the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Gül promised to help free three abducted Israeli soldiers:, and

Deterioration of relations[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=5]The Turkish government's condemnation of the strained relations between the two countries. In December 1987, Turkey had already declared support for the Palestinians' right to self-determination. In 2004, Turkey had denounced Israeli assassination of It described Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip as "". There were demonstrations across Turkey against Israeli actions in Gaza.

On 5 March 2009, the Israeli daily newspaper reported that "secret reconciliation talks at the highest level" had been held to get the Israeli-Turkish relations back on track. This report was cited in the Turkish press.

On 11 October 2009, a military aerial exercise was to consist of Turkey, Israel, the United States, and Italy. However, Turkey barred Israel from the exercise.

In October 2009, following Turkey's banning Israel's participation in the military exercise, Israeli Prime Minister objected to Turkey as a mediator, stating "Turkey can't be [an] honest broker", between and Israel.'s Prime Minister criticizes Israeli policy and leaves the World Economic Forum in Davos, SwitzerlandErdoğan harshly criticized Israel's conduct in Gaza at the conference in,_Switzerland in January 2009. After the assembled audience applauded Peres, Erdoğan said: "I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. You killed people. And I think that it is very wrong." The moderator, Washington Post columnist asked Erdoğan to finish, saying that people needed to go to dinner. Erdoğan complained about the fact, that he was given 12 minutes to talk, whereas Peres talked for a duration of 25 minutes. Erdoğan then proceeded to leave the stage.

In October 2009,, a prime-time on Turkish state television channel featured of Israeli soldiers shooting Palestinian children and mistreating elderly Arabs. Israeli Foreign Minister criticized the program, and rebuked the Turkish Ambassador in front of assembled media. Lieberman subsequently apologized after Turkey threatened to withdraw its ambassador.

After leader paid an official visit to Turkey, relations began to cool off. In January 2010, Israel protested when an episode ("Ambush") of the Turkish soap opera depicted Israeli intelligence spying inside Turkey and kidnapping Turkish babies. The series depicted a fictional attack on the Turkish embassy in in which the ambassador and his family are taken hostage. On 11 January 2010, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister met with Turkish ambassador Ahmet Oğuz Çelikkol, who was seated on a stool that was lower than Ayalon's. Ayalon allegedly turned to his aide and quipped, "The main thing is that you see that he is seated low and that we are high ... that there is one flag on the table (the Israeli flag) and that we are not smiling.", Israel's, accused Turkey of cooperating with and According to the, Hamas established a command post in Turkey and has used it to recruit operatives and oversee operations in the Middle East. has reported that in 2012, Turkey revealed the names of agents to Iran.

Gaza Flotilla incident[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=6] photo-Pro-Palestinian activists aboard the; nine of them were killed by the IDF.On 31 May 2010, nine activists (eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American with dual citizenship) were killed and many more wounded by Israeli troops and seven Israeli soldiers were injured on the Mavi Marmara, part of the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla", a of six ships carrying 663 people from 37 nations, including Following the raid, which took place in the in, tension between the two countries mounted. One of the ships taking part was flying a Turkish flag. Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan described the raid as "". Turkey recalled its ambassador from Israel, and summoned the Israeli ambassador to demand an explanation. The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that the incident could lead to irreparable consequences in bilateral relations.

On 2 September 2011, Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and suspended military co-operation after the UN released its report of the Mavi Marmara raid. A statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said, "Israel hopes to find a way to overcome the dispute and will continue to work towards this goal". Turkey demanded an Israeli apology and compensation over the 31 May 2010 incident aboard the in which eight Turkish nationals and an American man of Turkish descent died when the vessel was stormed by Israeli The Israeli government refused to give one.

In September 2011, Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador after a UN report found that the blockade of Gaza was legal according to international law although excessive force was used when boarding the ship. Israeli officials stated that they hoped to restore ties but reiterated that they would not apologize. Hamas praised Turkey's decision., Turkey's opposition leader, condemned the downgrade in relations with Israel, stating "No good can come of it and there is no need for us to risk our interest with petty action." Faruk Logoglu, a deputy chairman of the opposition, criticized Erdoğan, stating that "The probability that (Turkey's ruling) party has carried Turkey to the brink of a hot conflict is saddening and unacceptable." Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey, stated that it was unlikely that Turkish forces would penetrate Israeli waters, but speculated that Turkey might to disrupt future Israeli gas exports to Cyprus and warned of a new Turkish-Egyptian alliance that could isolate Israel in the Mediterranean.

Israeli Defense Minister predicted that the rift would pass in time. At the U.N. General Assembly in September 2011, U.S. President asked Erdoğan to resolve the crisis with Israel.

Further Turkish actions (2012-13)[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=7]The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the international community and the to take the necessary initiatives to stop Israel’s military operation in Gaza on late 2012, which it described as another example of Israel’s hostile policies. Turkish Foreign Minister see in this attack another of Israel's "crimes of humanity." Turkish Prime Minister accused the in 19 November of failing to act over the deadly Israeli air bombardments of Gaza, calling Israel a "terrorist state" that "massacres innocent children".

During his speech in Vienna in 1 March 2013 at a United Nations event, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan devoted to dialogue between the West and Islam, decring the rising racism in Europe and the fact that many Muslims "who live in countries other than their own" often face harsh discrimination. Erdoğan described as "a crime against humanity" saying, "It is necessary that we must consider—just like Zionism, or anti-Semitism, or" In an interview to the Euronews, argued that Erdoğan's statements are based on ignorance and they raise the flames of hatred. On March 20, Erdoğan began an official visit to Denmark with an effort to clarify his remarks he made on February 27 at a UN conference in Vienna referring to Zionism as a crime against humanity. "Let no one misunderstand what I said. Everyone knows that my criticism [of Israel] focuses on some critical issues. It’s directed especially toward Israeli policies on Gaza," Erdoğan said in an interview with Politiken, a Danish newspaper. Erdoğan claimed February comments were not anti-Semitic but rather a criticism of Israel’s policies.

Failure of reconciliation attempts[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=8] waving flag of Palestine to get simpathy of his voters while keep Turkey's ties with Israel & US, by Following US pressure on both sides, reconciliation took off in early 2013. On 22 March 2013, during a phone call with Turkey's Prime Minister, Israel's Prime Minister apologized for the Gaza Flotilla incident. An official statement by the Israeli government said that Netanyahu expressed regret over deterioration in bilateral relations and described the incident as unintentional, regretful and—according to an investigation—involving "operational errors". Mr. Erdogan later issued a statement, where he accepted the apology on behalf of the Turkish people. Israel also vowed to compensate the victims' families. An Israeli statement first said that the countries had agreed to restore normal diplomatic relations, including the return of ambassadors and cancellation of Turkish legal proceedings in absentia against Israeli troops involved in the raid, but this statement was later omitted.

U.S. President Barack Obama, whose visit to Israel coincided with the development and who was credited with brokering the reconciliation, said that the U.S. "attached great importance to the restoration of positive relations between [Israel and Turkey] in order to advance regional peace and security."

In August 2013, the reported that Erdoğan had stated to a meeting of the AKP's provincial chairs that Israel was responsible for the recent which overthrew Erdoğan reportedly stated "Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence" - specifically, Erdoğan cited a video posted online of speaking with French intellectual Erdoğan claimed that Levy had stated:

“"The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections, because democracy is not the ballot box."”However, according to the, what Levy actually stated was:

“"If the Muslim Brotherhood arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it, so let democracy progress. Democracy is not only elections, it is also values...I will urge the prevention of [the Muslim Brotherhood] coming to power, but by all sorts of means."”The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman later stated that Erdoğan’s accusation was "a statement well worth not commenting on." Egypt's interim government rejected Erdoğan' claim, describing it as "baseless," "very bewildering," and charged that "Its purpose is to strike at the unity of Egyptians."

With the scandal over alleged Turkish involvement in exposure of Israeli special agents in Iran in October 2013, the relations between Israel and Turkey have hit a new low.

Economic relations[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=9]In 1996, Turkey and Israel signed a In 1997, a double-taxation prevention treaty went into effect. A bilateral investment treaty was signed in 1998.

Israeli-Turkish trade rose 26% to $2 billion in first half of 2011 from $1.59 billion in the first half of 2010. According to the Israeli Chamber of Commerce, Israeli exports to Turkey rose 39% to $950 million, and imports from Turkey rose 16% to $1.05 billion.Turkey is Israel's sixth-largest export destination. Chemicals and oil distillates are the primary exports. Turkey purchases high-tech defense equipment from Israel, whereas Turkey supplies Israel with military boots and uniforms. Israeli import of Turkish vegetable products has remained steady since 2007, and imports of prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco doubled from 2007 to 2011.

Military collaboration[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=10] naval collaboration, 2009: US Capt. John Moore, Turkish Rear Adm. Ismail Taylan, Israeli Rear Adm. Rom Rutberg U.S.-Turkish-Israeli training exercise, 2009In 2007, Israel and Turkey discussed the sale of Israeli satellites and air-defence systems to Turkey to upgrade Turkish military and intelligence capabilities. Israeli defense companies have helped to modernize the F-4 Phantom fleet of the Turkish air force. Agreements have included air, sea, land and intelligence cooperation, manufacturing of aircraft, armaments and missiles, mutual military visits, training and exercises, dispatch of observers to oversee military exercises, staff exchanges and military know-how.

Modernization of Turkey's and aircraft – $900 million.[/*]Upgrading 170 of Turkey's – $687 million.[/*]Popeye-I and Popeye-II missiles.[/*]Popeye-II surface-to-air missiles – $150 million.[/*]10 UAV - $183 million.[/*]Arrow anti-ballistic-missiles. (Agreed in principle by Israel; approval by the pending.)[/*]The agreement provided exchange of pilots eight times a year; allowed Israeli pilots to practice "long range flying over mountainous land" in Turkey's Konya firing range; and permitted Turkish pilots to train at Israel's computerized firing range at the Nevatim airfield.[/*]The two navies conducted maneuvers during Operation Reliant Mermaid (the U.S. also participated) in January 1998.[/*][/list]In September 2011, military agreements between Turkey and Israel were suspended. Turkey has frozen 16 defense contracts worth billions of dollars since March 2010. Turkey suspended a 5 billion dollar deal for 1,000 tanks. Turkey also dropped anti-ballistic missile system worth $2 billion from bidding. Now only U.S, European, and Chinese companies can bid.

Tourism[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=11] Turkey was an important tourism destination for Israelis. Istanbul is a 90-minute flight from No visas are required for Israelis to visit Turkey, while Turkish citizens with ordinary passports need a visa prior to travelling Israel. In 2008, before the 2008-09, 560,000 Israelis vacationed in Turkey, according to Israeli tourism officials. In October 2010 Israel's Tourism Minister encouraged Israelis to boycott Turkey as a vacation spot in response to Turkey's stance on Gaza. The number of Israeli tourists in Turkey dropped to 300,000 in 2009 and to 110,000 in 2010; it declined further to about 62,000 between January and August 2011. According to Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Israelis' share of Turkey's total tourism declined from 3% to 0.05%. The number of Arab tourists in Turkey, by contrast, increased to about 1.4 million visitors in the first part of 2011, a jump from about 912,000 in the whole of 2009. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated in June 2012: "We do not need Israeli tourists. We have successfully filled their places".

Still, tourism to rose by more than 20% from September 2010 to September 2011, and the number of Israeli visitors to Istanbul rose 13%, still well below previous peaks. dropped the number of weekly flights to Israel by about half in 2010. In 2011, Turkish charter airlines began to cut back weekly flights on routes to and from Israel against the backdrop of the crisis in relations between the two counties and the decline in Israelis' Turkey holidays. It also emerged that Israel Airlines had contingency plans that would address the possibility that Turkey would bar the Israeli carrier from overflying Turkish territory. However, it was announced by the Israeli Airports Authority that in 2013 and 2014 Turkish Airlines flew more passengers to and from Israel than any other foreign airline.

Disaster relief[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=12],_Dec_2010_(5).jpgTurkish firefighting plane sent to aid Israel, 2010After the, Israel assisted in search and rescue efforts and set up makeshift hospitals. The Israeli team included hundreds of personnel from the IDF team, paramedics, surgeons and administrative personnel. The team was one of the largest international teams to assist in the catastrophe (which claimed more than 17,000 lives) and remained active for weeks. One of the iconic images of the catastrophe was an "Israeli rescue dog with a red Star of David sniffing through debris in the devastated port city of Gölcük".

During the in 2010, Turkey was one of the first nations to send aid to Israel. Turkey sent two firefighting aircraft, which started to extinguish in the early hours of 3 December.

Following the, Israel offered to provide and in response to Turkish requests for foreign aid. Israel mobile homes to the devastated region.

Cultural ties[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=13],, IsraelThe was established in 2003 to preserve the heritage of Turkish Jews, promote the study of, and strengthen ties between Israel and Turkey. The organization has over 4,000 members since its inception, about 40 volunteers to run its vast operations and its twelve branches throughout the country. Eyal Peretz, chairman of the association, told the Jerusalem Post that Jewish heritage trips to Turkey had stopped because of security concerns and dwindling demand. Peretz stated, "I've devoted most of my life as an adult to cultivate ties between the two people and I've seen how a warm relationship has been erased in one fell swoop. It's very painful, very frustrating."

Regional realignments[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=14]Cyprus[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=15]
See also: and Israel signed an accord demarcating their maritime borders to facilitate offshore gas exploration. Cypriot Foreign Minister and Israel's Infrastructure Minister signed the deal in The intent is to facilitate a search for mineral deposits in the east Mediterranean where huge natural gas reserves have been discovered. Turkish sources said that the Foreign Ministry had summoned Israel's Ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, and expressed discontent over the agreement. Israeli energy firm Group is seeking to work with on natural gas exploration and extraction where Delek is already active.

According to Turkish media reports in September 2011, fighter planes flew through the airspace of Cyprus after taking off to face a Turkish seismic research ship in the Eastern Mediterranean. The reports added that Turkey responded by launching two fighters to track the Israeli planes, at which point the Israeli fighter jets returned to Israeli airspace. The Turkish research vessel was seen as a Turkish provocation in the dispute over gas fields. The operation of Israeli planes in Cyprus airspace was interpreted as a further sign of close Israel-Cyprus ties and as a challenge to Turkey. In May 2012, the Turkish Army command said its fighter jets chased an Israeli plane out of Turkish-occupied Cypriot airspace. In May 2012, Cyprus also denied a report that Israel planned to deploy 20,000 troops in Cyprus to protect Israelis working on energy projects.

State of Palestine[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=16]
See also: to the voting of the UN General Assembly Turkish Foreign Minister stated that it was time for Israel to look into the mirror. Shortly after the voting of the UN General Assembly Turkish Foreign Minister stated that Israel should question why it did not have the support by the majority of countries at the Palestine Vote in the UN General Assembly and declared that Palestine was now a state. Palestinian National Authority Foreign Minister and Turkish diplomats celebrated at the Türkevi, the Turkish Center in

See also[;amp;amp;action=edit&section=17][/*][/*][/*] [/*][/list]