Turkey and Israel are moving toward reconciliation at the same time that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has declared a cease-fire in its armed struggle with the Turkish state. Combined, the two developments have paved the way for Ankara to achieve its longstanding goal of becoming a regional energy transit hub, but ongoing disputes with Cyprus and Iraq mean that further progress remains uncertain.
On March 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized on Israel’s behalf to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the deadly Gaza flotilla raid by Israeli forces in 2010. The apology is expected among other things to remove Turkey’s objections to Israeli participation in NATO exercises and to open the door for new regional collaboration.
Earlier the same week, the Turkish government and Kurdish deputies acting as mediators for the PKK may also have succeeded in bringing the 30-year armed insurgency against the Turkish state closer to a peaceful resolution. On March 23, the PKK’s acting leader, Murat Karayilan, declared a cease-fire in a conflict that has caused 35,000 deaths and displaced 400,000 people.