The chief of Turkey’s national intelligence service has been holding secret talks with Israeli officials, as part of a Turkish-initiated effort to normalize relations, Al-Monitor reported, based on well informed sources.
Three sources confirmed that meetings had taken place in recent weeks with Hakan Fidan representing Turkey in at least one of them, but they declined to say where.
One of the sources said, “The traffic [between Turkey and Israel] is continuing,” but he did not elaborate.
Turkey recognised the Zionist entity in 1949, and has consistently had cordial relations with it
However, there has been no ambassador in either country since May 2018, when Turkey showed Israel’s ambassador the door over its bloody attacks on Gaza and Washington’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Hakan Fidan is believed to have held several such meetings in the past, to discuss joint security concerns in Syria and Libya among other things, as first reported by Al-Monitor, but the sources said the latest round was specifically aimed at upgrading ties back to ambassador level.
There is mounting worry in Ankara that the incoming Joe Biden administration will be less indulgent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bellicosity, which has seen Turkey mount three separate incursions into Syria since 2016, sending troops and Syrian mercenaries to Libya and Azerbaijan, and lock horns with Greece in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean waters.
The biggest concern is that, unlike President Donald Trump, Biden will not shield Turkey from sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles and for Turkish state lender Halkbank’s paramount role in facilitating Iran’s multibillion-dollar oil for gold trade deals, the website added.