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    'Turkey is Number One Sponsor of Terrorism, Israel is Number One Victim'

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced the possibility of normalized relations with Israel. Relations between both countries broke down in 2010, after an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish ship en route to the Gaza Strip killed nine Turkish citizens.

    According to geopolitical analyst and publicist Avigdor Eskin, the improvement of relations between Ankara and Jerusalem is very doubtful. The Turkish President himself brought their relations to the lowest point when Ankara became the strongest critic of Israel's actions in Gaza.

    "The statement alone makes his [Erdogan's] intentions very, very doubtful as far as Israel is concerned," Eskin said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik.

    The Israeli side has close ties with Greece, Cyprus and the Kurds in Iraq, all those parties which Turkey has had hostile relations with. According to Eskin, the most important factor here are the Kurds, against whom Turkey has repeatedly carried out bombing attacks. Israel, for its turn, provides a lot of assistance to the Kurds in their fight against Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq, and is not going to change its policy because the fight against terrorism is of great importance to the Israeli government.

    According to the expert, the normalization of relations between the two countries might only be possible if Ankara changes its policy. But such a scenario is unlikely as Turkey will not break its ties with terrorist organizations and will further be involved in illegal activities with them.

    "Erdogan is […] a sponsor of terror today.  He is the number one sponsor of terror. We can guess about other countries, we can bring some facts about other countries, but Ankara is the number one sponsor of terrorism. And Israel is the number one victim of terrorism," Eskin said.

    Earlier, Moscow released satellite imagery proving Turkey's link to the illegal oil market which funds Daesh, also known as ISIL/Islamic State. Erdogan has steadfastly denied those allegations, but the evidence has forced many Western allies to reconsider Ankara's role in the fight against terrorism.

    Erdogan told the Turkish media that "normalization with Israel" would be beneficial for the entire region. However, he also added that any improvement could be possible only under certain conditions. The latter include a compensation for the Gaza flotilla incident and a lifting of the blockades of Gaza.

    An Israeli official told the Jerusalem Post on condition of anonymity, that Israel is "not about to pay more for normalization" of relations with Turkey.

    "The ball is in their court. We apologized and were ready to pay damages. He should stop talking nonsense about the removal of the Gaza blockade," he said during the interview.

    According to Eskin, Israel is interested in good relations with Turkey, as it is interested in good relations with any neighboring Arab country.

    "But Israel will also consult with Moscow, because the interests of Israel and Russia are very, very wide, cooperation in the air and on the ground in Syria is very important," he said.

    The expert argued that the relations between Moscow and Jerusalem are very good on a personal level. Netanyahu and Putin have always worked constructively with each other, they have known each other for many years and "get along very well".

    According to Eskin, relations between countries have their own difficulties, "but the personal level, and it is very important, is really very good." This factor will play a decisive role when Jerusalem will have to choose its allies, the expert claimed.


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