Top Israelis urge "reset" of ties between Israel, Turkey
The Turkish and Israeli governments must ratchet down their angry rhetoric and instead work to repair their deeply damaged relationship, a leading Israeli Cabinet minister and a former Israeli intelligence service chief said over the weekend. "The alliance between Turkey and Israel is of great importance. I would like very much to go back to the good, warm relations," Labor Party Minister Avishay Braverman said, calling on both sides to avoid "putting more fuel on the fire." In separate remarks, former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy told Hurriyet Daily News, "The relations between Israel and Turkey are the oldest relations Israel has ever had with a Middle Eastern country. Israel's (diplomatic) mission in Turkey was the first mission Israel had in the Middle East." The two calls to resume close cooperation and overcome the current crisis in ties come amid increasingly angry words from both sides in the wake of Israel's May 31 attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine Turks. "Turkey's physical location, strategic position and current power make it a very important country in the world. But with leadership comes responsibility," Braverman said, adding that Turkey and Israel should work together for peace in the Middle East. "Turkey should play a role of moderating, bringing people together," he said. "Its role is to bridge the gap between the East and the West. It should never become extreme."