As rescue crews desperately search for the last survivors of Turkey’s twin earthquakes , hopes are growing that the generous international humanitarian response will spur on diplomatic reconciliation between Ankara, its rivals in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, and its Nato partners. Within hours of the massive tremblers, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis set aside his tense personal relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer him immediate help, in their first conversation in several months. Just six months after Turkey and Israel restored full diplomatic relations following a decade of public sniping between Erdogan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli volunteers were among the first to land on Tuesday at Gaziantep airport – where the airliner which carried them was parked next to a military plane from arch-enemy Iran . The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia , which fought bitter diplomatic and proxy wars with Turkey for influence in the Middle East and North Africa until their rapprochement in 2020, have opened their cheque books, launched public donation campaigns, and established air bridges to ensure the consistent flow of supplies to the earthquake-struck areas of Turkey and neighbouring Syria . Despite the outpouring of genuine public sympathy for the thousands of victims of the earthquakes, governments “tend to not be altruistic or guided by emotions in foreign policy decision making”, said Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based political risk consultancy. Instead, the perceived national interests of countries “help explain their responses to this earthquake”, he added. Various states around the world “see opportunities now to gain greater goodwill in Ankara in ways that can bode positively for their foreign policy agendas vis-à-vis Turkey”, he said. Sweden’s quick response and firm commitment to help Turkey is “difficult to interpret without considering the tensions between Ankara and Stockholm throughout 2022/23 [that] built up” because Turkey has blocked its application to join Nato, Cafiero said. Ankara and Stockholm are at loggerheads over Sweden ’s long-standing policy of granting political asylum to Kurds fleeing military crackdowns against insurgents in the restive southeast of Turkey – the epicentre of Monday’s earthquakes. Such so-called disaster diplomacy could quickly persuade Turkey to soften its position after Sweden joined rescue and relief efforts on Tuesday, and prevented another inflammatory Koran burning demonstration by right-wing extremists on Wednesday, analysts said – a Danish politician recently caused outrage when he burned a copy of the holy book near Stockholm’s Turkish embassy . Meanwhile, China ’s rapid mobilisation of search and rescue crews, alongside teams of engineers and machinery already working on projects in Turkey, is likely to cool Ankara’s recently resurgent criticism of Beijing’s repression of Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang . Sympathetic, supportive messages from across the region “remind us that tragedies can also create a sense of solidarity in times of crisis”, said Rich Outzen, a geopolitical consultant and non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Turkey, an Istanbul-based think tank. He said there may be “some softening” of tense regional relations “in the aftermath and during the recovery process”. Tel Aviv-based analyst Carice Witte said the strong regional response to Turkey’s woes showed “a remarkable development in Middle East regional normalisation”, similar to that seen at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic . This included the 2020 Abraham Accords normalising relations between Israel and four Arabic countries; the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum by eight competing Arab and European claimants, along with Israel; and the lifting of a four-year blockade of Turkey-supported Qatar by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “Since then, Turkey has improved relations with Russia, China, the Gulf Arabs, and Israel,” said Witte, who is executive director of the Sino-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership think tank. Turkey’s management of “Russian, Saudi, and Israeli concerns regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, Caucasus Muslim insurgents, and Palestinian group Hamas has likely influenced improved relations with those countries”, she said. Likewise, “Erdogan is well aware of China’s concerns” regarding the 50,000 Uygurs living in Turkey, and “managed the issue such that China has been willing to increase trade and financing of Turkey”, Witte said. As China continues to embed itself throughout the Middle East, “Erdogan will continue to find ways to capitalise on China’s needs and interests to strengthen both Turkey’s economy and Erdogan’s aspirations to be the dominant land power in Western Asia”, she said. But it is much more difficult to predict how the fallout from the earthquake will play out in terms of the trajectory of ties between Erdogan and the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, analysts said. “Ankara and Damascus’s relationship was already slowly thawing with the two moving toward a cautious rapprochement. Support from Turkey for Syrian victims could possibly be an accelerator of this process,” said political risk analyst Cafiero. But there are many other “complicated variables in the equation”, he said. Military control of earthquake affected areas of northern Syria bordering Turkey is split between Turkish-backed rebel groups, US-backed Kurdish militias seen as terrorists by Ankara, and the Assad regime backed by Russian and Iranian forces. “An earthquake straddling a region already ridden with military conflicts is by nature all the more difficult to cope with,” Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Syria and Turkey. To facilitate the delivery of help to earthquake victims in Syria, the combatants “must observe an immediate de facto ceasefire that will last for as long as rescue operations are under way”. Cross-border humanitarian operations from Turkey to Syria, ‘already authorised by virtue of a United Nations understanding, should be vastly increased”, Pierini said in a paper published on Tuesday by the Carnegie Middle East Centre, a Beirut think tank.