The Times of Israel
By Raphael Ahren
For the first time, a senior official from Turkish Northern Cyprus visited Israel this week, calling for better political relations and economic ties between North Nicosia and Ankara on the one side and Israel on the other.
“I’m confident that the relations [between Israel and Turkey] will get better. It’s a matter of time,” said Özdil Nami, the foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a country not recognized by any state other than Turkey. “There is an important trade volume that exists between Israel and Turkey, and we just hope that better relations between Northern Cyprus and Israel can also facilitate that process.”
Speaking to The Times of Israel on Tuesday, Nami said he would be very pleased if his visit were to have even a small impact on the efforts to repair frosty relations betweenTurkey and Israel. “Clearly, one can see that Turkish Cypriots coordinate all their steps with Ankara. Therefore, my visit to Tel Aviv should be seen in that perspective.” Indeed, some saw in Nami’s visit — which was entirely private in nature — a sign of a possible détente between Turkey and Israel.
“Just last week a senior official in Ankara was quoted as saying that Turkey is ready to normalize relations with Israel. The visit of this senior Turkish Cypriot official is another sign of possible Turkish flexibility regarding Israel, after a summer filled with negative declarations and tensions,” said Nimrod Goren, the chairman of Mitvim — The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, a leftleaning think tank.