Turkey plans to send envoy to Israel for Syria talks

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Turkey plans to send envoy to Israel for Syria talks
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Nisan 28, 2008 11:04

Turkey is planning to send an emissary to Jerusalem in an attempt to find a compromise that would pave the way of peace talks between Syria and Israel, as it played down the high expectations saying there is a long way to go. (UPDATED)

Haberin Devamı

Israel's Haaretz said on Monday Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan plans to send an emissary to Jerusalem to brief Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on his recent talks with Assad in Damascus. Erdogan will apparently send his foreign policy advisor Ahmet Davutoglu, who is also in charge of talks with Syria and has in the past met with Olmert adviser, Yoram Turbowicz, in Ankara, it reported. 

Israeli officials believe Turkey's involvement in the issue will increase. "Erdogan has decided to go all the way on the issue of Israel and Syria," the Israeli government source told Haaretz.

The source added that Israel has not yet received an update on Erdogan's talks in Damascus. "Talks are being conducted to chart out the issue," the source said. "The goal of Turkey's activity is to allow talks to start. That's how we view it. So far, no real negotiations are taking place."

Haberin Devamı

Turkey has been mediating between Syria and Israel to restart peace talks. Israel and Syria's last round of direct talks broke down in 2000 over the details of Israel's proposed withdrawal from the Golan.

Syria has said it received word from Turkey that Israel would be willing to give back the Golan in return for peace with the Arab state. Israel captured the plateau in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel would be open to participating in a senior-level meeting with the Syrians brokered by Turkey to test the waters for renewed peace negotiations, Israeli officials said. Turkey's foreign minister said there's still a lot to achieve before any peace agreement between Israel and Syria.

In Ankara Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told reporters there's still a lot to achieve before any peace agreement between Israel and Syria. An agreement between the longtime enemies requires "strong political determination" from both sides, he added.

Babacan said Turkey would pass messages between the sides until they are ready to meet. "Talks will continue to take place through Turkey for a while," he said. "When the issue is a little more mature, then I hope that the sides will meet each other," he added.

Turkey is trying to restart low-level talks between the two countries as a prelude to bringing the leaders of Syria and Israel together.

Haberin Devamı

Israeli officials told Reuters such a preliminary meeting between Israeli and Syrian representatives would be the next step in the mediation efforts by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. That meeting could lay the groundwork for more formal talks in the future, they added.

"If such an invitation comes from Turkey, I can't see any reason why Israel would not attend," said a senior Israeli official. "They would accept," an Israeli official from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office Reuters reported.

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