Regionally, renewed ties would put more pressure on Iran to negotiate a peaceful resolution to its nuclear standoff. It would ease tensions related to disputed natural gas claims in the Eastern Mediterranean that are embroiling Lebanon as well, and foster the possibility of an international consensus on Syria.
A repaired relationship would also promote American interests in the Middle East by removing the constant clash of its two close allies. Rapprochment could act as a stabilizing pillar and allow for a resumption of trilateral intelligence sharing, military exercises, and policy coordination.
Resetting the Turkish-Israeli relationship has proven difficult, but it’s not impossible.
True, the refusal of Israel to apologize for the Turkish citizens killed on the Mavi Marmara, combined with Ankara’s deliberate strategy of drawing closer to Arab states and Iran at the expense of ties with Israel, have created an atmosphere of mutual mistrust and anger. But this can be overcome. By focusing on areas that mutually benefit both sides, the issues dividing the two countries can slowly be ratcheted down.
In order to achieve a true rapprochement, both sides will need to adjust their expectations and compromise on their positions. Although Israel has already expressed regret, it is probably too late for it to go further and make any meaningful apology to Turkey for the deaths on the Mavi Marmara.
But some arrangement of compensation would meet one of Ankara’s key demands and could ease some of the frustration over Israel’s lack of response. It is also an option Israel seems to have agreed to in the past; the two sides were reportedly hammering out language on an agreement last summer when coalition politics in Israel intervened.