As Turkey Front Freezes, Israel Looks to Warming Balkan Ties

(Ha'aretz) Barak Ravid - Since its relations with Turkey crumbled over the past year, Israel has begun looking to the Balkan states for new friends and allies. The new initiatives extend to shared intelligence, joint military exercises and boosting tourism, officials say. In the past year Israel has expanded relations with Greece and Bulgaria and upgraded ties with Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia. These states share concerns about Turkey's new radicalism and world jihad's growing influence, and see new opportunities for economic, technical, and security cooperation with Israel. After Israeli tourists stopped visiting Turkey, Israeli tourism to Greece has increased by 200% this year and is expected to reach 250,000 by the end of the year. Some 150,000 Israelis are expected to visit Bulgaria by the end of the year.

2010-11-26 08:38:33

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