Israel has sent positive messages to Turkey agreeing to Turkish mediation of talks with Syria. So reports the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, quoting an unnamed diplomatic source. Israeli sources, meanwhile, have denied that Turkey will return to the role of broker in talks with Syria - in keeping with recent statements made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"Israel has sent positive messages according to which it agrees to return to negotiations with Syria mediated by Turkey," said the source quoted by the Egyptian newspaper over the weekend. Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan is allegedly slated to pass the messages on to the Syrians during his visit to Damascus, set for December 22.
Senior sources in Jerusalem said, however, that Turkey is not currently considered a candidate to mediate negotiations between Israel and Syria.
The Turkish prime minister has repeatedly attacked Israel over the past year for the IDF's counterterrorist operations in Gaza, and went so far as to ban the Jewish State from participating in the joint "Anatolian Eagle" joint military exercises between Turkey, Israel and the U.S.
France Gets Involved
France, meanwhile, has begun to take an active role in the matter, and it is possible that the United States may request a role in the talks as well, Voice of Israel government radio reported.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has expressed the government's willingness in recent days for Israel to enter negotiations with Syria without preconditions. However, Netanyahu has made it equally clear that Turkey is not being considered as a potential partner to the talks at this time.
"Direct talks are preferable, and if there is a mediator, it should be one who is fair," Netanyahu said. "The Turkish prime minister has not proven himself to be an objective, appropriate mediator. If France would like to mediate, we are willing."