Mideast envoy George Mitchell will visit Turkey on February 24-25 as part of a regional swing. In spite of harsh remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan about the Israeli operation in Gaza, and even more disturbing tensions between the Turkish General Staff and Israeli Major General Avi Mizrahi, Turkey may continue to play a significant role In Israel-Syria and even Israel-Palestinian negotiations.
If, as expected, Netanyahu takes office as Israeli Prime Minister, he is likely to want to restore ties with Turkey and turn a new page. He will certainly want to speak with Erdogan about his critical contacts with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and he may look to Turkish troops for a role in stabilizing Gaza entry points. The tensions will not be forgotten on either side, but a Turkish role will continue.