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US persuaded Turkey to include Israel in NATO drills

Leaked emails between the Obama administration and Turkish senior officials reflect US efforts at reconciling Israel and Turkey — when the latter objected to Israel's participation at a NATO sea drill.
Soldiers maneuver close to an helicopter aboard the Italian aircraft carrier "Giuseppe Garibaldi" during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operation codenamed "Unified Protectors" on June 15, 2011 in the Mediterranean sea.   AFP PHOTO/ MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO (Photo credit should read MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Israeli-Turkish relations continue to be tense as if there had not been an apology concerning the Mavi Marmara flotilla events. New charge d'affaires Amira Oron was appointed at the beginning of the year to the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, and there is no sign of a normalization of diplomatic relations and exchange of ambassadors on the horizon. On the contrary, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu withdrew his participation in a security summit in Munich in February after “he found out” that an Israeli representative would also participate in the Middle East session. This move is unprecedented since the start of the rift in ties between the countries, when in 2009, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister at the time, lost his self-control in front of then-Israeli President Shimon Peres.

When Erdogan recalled the Turkish ambassador, the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv was the only one in the Middle East that was not manned by an ambassador. But since then, the Turkish ambassadors to Syria, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have also been recalled. Apart from the fact that the ambassador to Tel Aviv was the first one called home, the United States invested unique efforts in attempts to repair the relations between its two important allies in the region. The height of these efforts was the phone call where Israel’s prime minister apologized to the Turkish prime minister, in the presence of the US president.

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