Israel is a small, Jewish and post-industrial country while Turkey is a big, Muslim and industrial country. However, they both have much in common. Their peoples have close ethnic origins and religion is the main axis of their national identity. In both societies, religious persecution has brought different populations together. In Israel, Jews banded together, first to fight the British mandate and then for their survival against the Palestinian Arabs. In Turkey, almost half of the population descends from people who escaped religious persecution in Europe and unified themselves around a Turkish-Islamic identity. Thus, they joined Mustafa Kemal to fight foreign occupation of their country. In both countries, the role of religion is based on a secular tradition.
Societies in both countries also have internal divisions. The population in Israel is divided into Sephardies and Ashkenazies while the Turkish society is comprised of Anatolians and Muslim immigrants. Both countries have a complex relationship with Europe and they both experience tensions between secularism and religion.
In such a fragmented region, it is interesting to find so many common points.

Jerusalem Post (Israel)

" What binds Ankara and Jerusalem ", by Soner Cagaptay and Asaf Romirowsky, Jerusalem Post, May 2, 2005.