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Azerbaijan's Double Game in the Context of Turkish-Israeli Tension

Every time when, based on any political turmoil, there is tension in Turkish-Israeli relations, Azerbaijan finds itself in a difficult situation. And this is not accidental. It's no secret that Turkey always supports fraternal Azerbaijan, including in Karabakh conflict settlement process. Therefore, it is quite natural that, against the backdrop of deteriorating relations with Israel, Turkey, in turn, expects appropriate support from Azerbaijan.

Another aggravation in Turkish-Israeli relations occurred after US President Donald Trump decided to move his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which aroused discontent among Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. In response to the actions of the Palestinians, who expressed their dissatisfaction by the protest actions right on the border, Israel opened fire, causing the death of dozens of people.

Turkey sharply condemned the actions of Israel, equating them to genocide. After these events, an early session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held, during which the member states demanded an international military contingent to be deployed in order to protect the Palestinians in the region.

Obviously, OIC position was not a surprise to anyone. Back in December of last year, at another session of the organization attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the member states recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. And today Azerbaijan found itself in a really difficult situation. Recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, Azerbaijan, unlike Turkey, refrains from harsh criticism of Israel. Azerbaijan always makes more neutral statements, noting that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be resolved peacefully. This is due to the fact that, as known, Israel is one of the main suppliers of weapons to Azerbaijan, and it is natural that Baku does not want to spoil relations with that country. In addition, Azerbaijani oil satisfies 40% of Israel's needs. Israel is the second country in the world, which in 1991 recognized the independence of Azerbaijan after Turkey. For Azerbaijan, Israel has one more important meaning. It is known that Jews have a large diaspora, which can play an important role for Azerbaijani propaganda in the international arena. In particular, given the close relations of Israel with the United States, the Jewish lobby always presents the interests of Azerbaijan in this country. In addition, despite the regular tension between Turkey and Israel, the creation of the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Israel axis is a rather promising one. And, at last, the deepening of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations is seen as a counterbalance to the Armenian-Iranian relations.

Nevertheless, given that Azerbaijan and Iran are geographically close to each other, and taking into account Iran's attitude to the cooperation of any Muslim country with Israel, Azerbaijan's relations with Israel are developing slowly in the political context, a clear proof of which is the fact that Azerbaijan has not opened yet an embassy in Israel. In addition, during 26 years of diplomatic relations, not a single high-ranking Azerbaijani politician paid a visit to Israel, despite the fact that President Shimon Peres visited Baku in 2009, and in 2010, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Azerbaijan.

Despite the rather warm relations with Israel, Azerbaijan, naturally, does not forget about the idea of ​​"Islamic solidarity", especially during the planning of anti-Armenian steps in international organizations. Israel, in turn, does not cherish much hope either, expecting that Azerbaijan might go against the will of Islamic states. Israel is satisfied with the current level of mutual cooperation. Thus, Azerbaijan will be able to play its double game as long as Turkey and Israel allow it.

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