Policymakers in Azerbaijan are facing a dilemma: can an enemy of a friend be a friend? Specifically, can Baku maintain cordial relations with both Turkey and Israel at the same time?
Signs are emerging that Baku is facing pressure to make a public choice between Turkey, its most important strategic ally, and Israel, with whom Azerbaijan in recent years has developed close diplomatic, economic and military ties.
Turkish-Israeli ties nosedived after nine Turkish citizens died during a 2010 Israeli attack on an aid boat traveling to the blockaded Palestinian city of Gaza. Since then, both countries have recalled their ambassadors, and Turkey has expressed support for recognition of United Nations membership for Palestine. To repair what were once friendly relations with Jerusalem, Ankara has demanded a full apology from Israel for the 2010 attack and the end of its embargo on Gaza.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku and a board member of the Open Society Assistance Foundation-Azerbaijan.