The Role of Syria in Israeli-Turkish Relations by Moran Stern & Dennis Ross

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Moran Stern is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Program for Jewish Civilization in Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and at American University’s Center for Israel Studies. Dennis Ross is a Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. He served in several Administrations in senior positions at the NSC, the State Department and the Defense Department.

"The deep political, economic, social, and regional policy changes that Israel and...Turkey have undergone in the last decade have adversely affected their relations..."
"Talk of Israeli-Turkish strategic cooperation on Syria or a full rapprochement be- tween the two state is premature..."

 This article argues that, since the end of the Cold War, developments in or associated with Syria have proved instrumental in determining Israeli-Turkish relations, for better and worse.

Syria borders both Israel and Turkey. Not surprisingly, its geographic location, regional strategic conduct, relations with Israel’s and Turkey’s regional rivals, military capabilities and, more recently, the implications of its civil war have affected both Israel and Turkey, and their relationship with each other. While strategic cooperation between Turkey and Israel reached a high point in the 1990s, and then soured and largely dissipated over the last several years, Syria’s civil war has posed a new set of challenges and opportunities for renewed Israeli-Turkish ties. Indeed, shared interests on Syria may propel new possibilities for cooperation between Turkey and Israel on security, economic and humanitarian issues.

Through the historical analysis presented in this article, the authors attempt to explain the evolution of Israeli- Turkish relations through the prism of Syria. Understanding the historical background provided herein is relevant for contemporary analyses aimed at finding new ways to renew Israeli-Turkish strategic cooperation and assist in securing a stable post-war Syria. (purchase article...)