Power play

OBSERVERS have pointed out that the Syrian-Turkish rapprochement will have a direct impact on the conflict between Damascus and Israel, because despite the strong relations between Istanbul and the Jewish state as well as substantial cooperation between the two, Turkey has realised exactly the importance of good ties with Syria.

Strong relations will maintain security and stability on its southern borders, especially after the cropping up and flowering of Kurd power in Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Such power will effect the Kurdish issue in general. The Kurdish question is one of the most sensitive aspects of Turkey's domestic policy: Istanbul does not recognise the existence of Kurds on its territories, regarding them as 'Mountain Turks' rather than a separate ethnic group. Therefore, Turkey could play the role of mediator between Israel and Syria and get the views of the two closer. Turkey could succeed in playing that role particularly if Israel helped in this regard. In case of success, its request for joining the Arab League would be substantiated. In fact Turkey is the nearest country to Arabs in terms of culture and historic ties. Israel could depend on a mediator it trusts in terms of politics and security if it availed of the opportunity. The mediator is, however, more acceptable to Arabs and much familiar with the ways of dealing with Arab negotiators.

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