Turkey and Israel, by all accounts the predominant powers in the Middle East, have in the past decade forged an unlikely alliance that baffles many a keen observer of the region. On the face of it, there would seem to be little historical or contemporary logic to a close relationship between the two. One is large in size and population, the other comparatively tiny. One is the well-established successor to a glorious empire, the other an embattled state whose boundaries and very existence are challenged by neighbors. One is Muslim, the other Jewish. One is just emerging from Third World status and aspiring to join the European Union, the other thoroughly modernized and well entrenched in Western culture. One is notoriously deficient with regard to international norms of human rights and the rule of law, the other a respected liberal democracy. One is subject to the whims of its military, the other supremely civilian in its demeanor.