Israel Opens NATO Mission as Relations Thaw With Turkey

Israel Opens NATO Mission as Relations Thaw With TurkeyIsrael Opens NATO Mission as Relations Thaw With Turkey

Israel will open a NATO mission at alliance headquarters. Closer cooperation between the Israeli regime and NATO had been blocked by a feud between Turkey and Israel, which are now on the cusp of normalizing relations.

The regime has been an active partner of NATO for 20 years, but closer ties have been held up by opposition from Turkey, a NATO member, Deutsche Welle reported.

Meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at alliance headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the mission would help enhance cooperation between NATO and Israel.

“Increasing the level of cooperation between NATO and Israel, as well as with our other Mediterranean Dialogue partners, is essential,” Stoltenberg said, referring to a security forum that brings together Israel, NATO and Arab nations that do not have formal relations with the Israeli regime.

Israel is expected to share intelligence with NATO, as well as offer expertise on cyber security.

The opening of an Israeli mission at NATO headquarters had been held up by Turkey, which has the second largest army in the alliance.

Though they were regional allies, ties suffered a setback after a 2010 Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship trying to break a blockade of Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens and a dual Turkish-American national were killed in the incident.

The diplomatic fallout from the raid led to a shift in geopolitical alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean, as Turkey sought a more robust and interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East.

Yet now, Ankara’s “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy is increasingly in disarray, as the country finds itself diplomatically isolated on all fronts.

Relations with Russia are tense following the shooting down of a Russian warplane last year, its backing of Syrian rebels has backfired, and Syrian Kurds allied to rebel Kurds in Turkey are building a de facto autonomous region on its southern border under the cover of US support.

Years of on-and-off diplomatic talks have failed to reach a rapprochement, but both sides have now indicated they are close to normalizing relations.