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Turkey: Israel's Gaza Offensive Presents Ankara with Diplomatic Challenge

Israel's attack in Gaza is proving to be both a test and an opportunity for Turkey's continuing efforts to establish itself as a regional mediator in the Middle East, observers say.

Ankara, for the last few years, has actively sought to establish itself as a kind of regional (soft) power broker, working to strengthen relations with neighbors that it has previously kept at an arm's length, and even bringing Israel and Syria together for a round of secret meetings in Istanbul.

Turkey has been conducting its own shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, with the country's prime minister recently visiting Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in an effort to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. But harsh government criticism of Israel, along with rising popular anger to Israel's actions inside Turkey, could compromise Ankara's ability to play the role of honest broker, experts say.

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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Israel's Gaza Offensive Presents Ankara with Diplomatic Challenge

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