Israeli – Turkish relations: The inside story

Turkey is run by an Islamist government that is ideologically hostile to Israel. Yet Jerusalem and Ankara continue to maintain a level of diplomatic relations, and seek to cooperate, where possible, on common interests.

This state of affairs is far from being inevitable, particularly in light of past crises and Turkey’s friendship with Hamas.

Here is the inside story on how these relations have developed, told by the man who enabled them to occur: Israel’s former Ambassador to Turkey, Pinchas Avivi.

Avivi recounts a fascinating story of how he befriended Ahmet Davutolgu, the influential Islamist ideologue who was the right hand man of President Erdogan, and who would go on to become Turkey’s foreign minister.

He sheds light on how an important meeting, held at a hotel, in an Ankara suburb in 2003, broke the ice between him and Davutolgu, and explains how personal diplomacy can help navigate the minefield of relations with an ideologically hostile government.

The full account is here. It is well worth the read.