Azerbaijan said to launch bid to restore ties between Turkey and Israel

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev is trying to reconcile Turkey and Israel for aiding in military conflict with Armenia, Israeli media has reported. Israeli sources told Walla News that Aliyev spoke on the phone with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this week to discuss Turkey's relationship with Israel.

This collage photo shows Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has offered his services as an intermediary between Turkey and Israel, after both countries played key roles in Azerbaijan’s recent victory over Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Israeli media has reported. 

Aliyev phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this week and suggested various ways to improve diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel, outlet Walla News reported, citing Israeli sources with knowledge on the matter.

Strained relations between Israel and Turkey could be restored by March, said Turkey’s presidential adviser on foreign affairs in a media report this week.

Voice of America cited Mesut Hakkı Caşın as saying on Dec. 21 that the two countries' defense and energy industry would greatly benefit from a deal.

"Turkey bought a lot of weapons from Israel. We can arrange this again. Turkey's and Israel's defense industries can go ahead together," Caşın said. 

Relations between the once-close allies all but collapsed with Turkey withdrawing its ambassador in 2017, amid escalating tensions.

"Establishing peace and security is very important to Israel and Turkey. After Mavi Marmara, we don't want another accident with Israel," Caşın said. 

The Mavi Marmara was the largest of six vessels in a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians back in 2010. Pro-Palestinian activists seeking to break Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip were on board when Israeli forces stormed the vessel, killing nine Turkish nationals.

Since then, Turkish-Israeli relations have never fully recovered despite intense mediating efforts by the United States to rebuild ties between its two key regional allies.

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and Israeli security forces' crackdown on Palestinian protests saw Turkey and Israel withdrawing their ambassadors.