Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Netanyahu heads to Cyprus to build Mediterranean ties

    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu

    The Israeli Prime Minister has begun a visit to Cyprus in a move that suggests Israel's cool relationship with Turkey is likely to continue.

    Although it is located just 165 miles from Israel's Mediterranean coast, Cyprus has not been a key ally in the past and Nicosia has publicly supported the Palestinians. Benjamin Netanyahu's visit, which follows several reciprocal ones by Israel and Cypriot officials, marks the first time that an Israeli Prime Minister has visited the island.

    But while historically Israel's warm relationship with Turkey meant that Cyprus – which A n kara does not recognise as an independent state - viewed the Jewish state with suspicion, the last few years have changed the situation. After the clash on the flotilla, in which Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed, the two countries' ties deteriorated

    Last year Ankara downgraded diplomatic ties and cancelled all commercial and military agreements between the two countries, and in December Israel's Knesset debated giving official recognition to the Armenian genocide, which Turkey has long refused to acknowledge.

    Mr Netanyahu's office said the visit "was designed to strengthen the improving ties between the two nations." His sentiments were echoed by a spokesman for the Cypriot government, Stefanos Stefanou, who said it "illustrated the great dynamic driving forward the improvement in relations between the two countries."

    Alon Liel, a former Israeli diplomat in Turkey, suggested that while "the loss of Turkey pushed Israel in the direction of Greece and Cyprus", the island had become more significant because of the discovery of offshore natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea. The find is the subject of a dispute with Turkey.

    But Mr Liel also warned that if Israel cemented a relationship with Cyprus, it would make Turkey likely to "want to aid Hamas".

    "The Turks feel that if Israel is going toward Cyprus they will try to strengthen Hamas," he said.

Israel

‘Gifts for Bibi’ investigation is ‘in final straight’

Anshel Pfeffer

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

‘Gifts for Bibi’ investigation is ‘in final straight’
Israel

Meet the rabbi that's making waves

Tim Marshall

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meet the rabbi that's making waves
Israel

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...

JC Reporter

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...
Israel

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...
Israel

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk
Israel

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective
Israel

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...

Orlando Radice

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...
Israel

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...

JC Reporter

Friday, November 25, 2016

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...
Israel

Bibi faces probe over subs deal

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bibi faces probe over subs deal