The mending of relations between Turkey and Israel has been hailed as a key stabilising factor for the Middle East.
Israel officially apologised for killing nine Turkish citizens in a 2010 naval raid on Friday and the two countries have now agreed to normalise relations in a surprise breakthrough announced by US President Barack Obama.
Alon Liel, the former Israeli diplomat to Turkey, believes the situation in Syria was a key factor for the apology:
“I think the United States,Turkey and Israel are all worried from a chaotic situation that might emerge if Assad is leaving,” he said.
“I personally think the energy issue was also in the background, Israel has gas findings, it has to export gas and the most natural thing would be to export it to Turkey, Turkey needs it.”
With this apology Israel bows a long-standing demand by Ankara to apologise formally for the deaths aboard the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara in 2010.
The Turkish citizens were killed when the vessel was boarded by Israeli marines who intercepted a flotilla challenging Israel’s navel blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza strip.