Trying to Look on the Bright Side

Despite its diplomatic freeze out with Israel, Turkey has decided to accept Israel's humanitarian aid in the wake of an earthquake on Sunday that killed over 500 people. Turkish officials were quick to explain that the disaster assistance does not signal a thaw with its former friend, God forbid.

But for those of you underwhelmed by this development, consider what happened after an earthquake killed over 25,000 people in Iran in 2003: The Iranian Interior Ministry announced, in the midst of this crisis, that it would accept aid from every country in the world except for Israel. It's a fair bet that people died in Iran because of this principled stand. (We see from Haiti and elsewhere that the Israelis have built certain capacities in the area of disaster management.) The point is, Turkey isn't Iran, yet. And I'm reasonably sure the Turks will let their people play Israelis in chess or, at the very least, shesh besh.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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