Azerbaijan-Türkiye-Israel triangle: Heading toward consolidation
    Expert opinions on Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  14 September 2023 - 16:24

    Samir Ibrahimov

    Azerbaijan suggests a new trilateral format of cooperation with Israel and Türkiye, Hikmet Hajiyev, Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan - Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration said in an interview with the Israeli international TV channel i24NEWS.

    "It is very important for Azerbaijani diplomacy that our friends befriend each other. And that is why Azerbaijan is happy to continue the friendship and mutual understanding between Türkiye and Israel," he said, adding that Azerbaijan also contributes to the process of developing dialogue and better understanding between its two partners.

    Hajiyev said Azerbaijan will continue to play its role in this.

    "Azerbaijan has a proposal - to strengthen our cooperation in a trilateral format where Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Israel could interact together," he concluded.

    At what level the relations between Israel and Türkiye are now? Why does the Azerbaijani leadership consider it important for itself to ensure the strengthening of interaction between these countries in the trilateral format?

    Foreign observers shared their opinions on these issues with Caliber.Az.

    According to Israeli expert Ze'ev Khanin, a professor of political science at Ariel University in Samaria and Bar-Ilan University, it is well known that in the 21st century, the friend of my friend is not always my friend, and the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend either.

    "There is what is called a system of unclosed triangles. The situation of the Türkiye-Azerbaijan-Israel triangle can be considered in this sense. As is well known, Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Israel, and vice versa. At the same time Türkiye is Azerbaijan's closest ally. But there have been better relations between Israel and Türkiye.

    In this situation, probably, the concept of unclosed triangles works, butthe potential for mutual cooperation in this sense is much greater than such a model can afford, when on the one hand Azerbaijan is a partner of Israel, on the other hand - Türkiye, and Turkish-Israeli relations have not been going through the best period until recently," the professor said.

    According to him, President Aliyev played a significant role in the normalisation of relations between Türkiye and Israel.

    "This is probably not enough for today, and in order to talk about full cooperation between Israel and the Turkic world as a whole, with two key forces - Türkiye and Azerbaijan, there is a need not just for normalisation, but for a return to the model of partnership that once existed between Türkiye and Israel.

    Can Azerbaijan play a role in this? I think it probably can. But in this situation, it is necessary for Jerusalem to realise that Erdogan is ready to cooperate seriously and for a long time, not until another conflict. In this situation, can Baku present some guarantees to both countries? The answer is generally positive. It remains only to decide in what form such guarantees of partnership can exist," Khanin says.

    In turn, MK-Türkiye editor-in-chief Yashar Niyazbayev said that relations between Israel and Türkiye are now much better than they have been for the past 10 years and even more.

    "Let's not dive into the background of this situation, but relations were difficult. Here, we can say, that the tough stance of both Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu played a role. Of course, there were still events to which Türkiye could not but react, related to the Freedom Flotilla in 2010. In general, all of this together created the ground for Türkiye and Israel to reduce their interaction to the level of embassy counsellors and recall their ambassadors," Niyazbayev said.

    But new ambassadors have already been appointed this year, the Israeli president visited Türkiye after many years, and ministerial meetings have been held recently. There is high-level communication, which means relations are improving.

    "And of course, it cannot be overlooked here that Azerbaijan, which traditionally has very good relations with Israel, played an important role in this. I am sure that the fact that Azerbaijan did not stand aside and tried to reconcile its two allies is the right step, a logical step because that is how one manages to generally resolve certain issues between the parties that have downgraded their diplomatic relations.

    Türkiye negotiated with Israel at the level of intelligence, then ministerial advisers, foreign ministers, and in general, in the end, relations came to the point where they were restored. That is, to resume diplomatic relations. Economic relations between them, by the way, have never been broken. Now in general, all sides realise that warming relations between them is economically expedient. Türkiye wants to become an energy centre for Europe, Azerbaijani gas is already flowing through it, and in the same way, Israeli gas can find its way through Türkiye. That is why Azerbaijan's role was very important. It is not easy when your two close partners and allies have no dialogue with each other. And now this issue has been resolved, and I am sure that Azerbaijan has played an important role here too," Niyazbayev concluded.


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