The Turkish government has apologised for postponing the visit, saying the heads of the cabinet were too busy, official sources told Aljazeera on Wednesday.

The sources said Sharon had been due in Ankara last week.

But Turkish political analysts believe Sharon cannot be welcomed in Turkey at the moment for political reasons.

“Politically speaking, Sharon’s visit can’t be accepted nowadays as Turkey does not agree with Israel’s policies in the Arab world, especially regarding Palestine and Syria,” Hasan Koni, professor of Political Sciences at Ankara University, told Aljazeera.net.

Economic ties secure

According to Koni, this political divergence will not drastically affect the economic relationship between the two countries.

“Turkey’s relationship with Israel is mostly an economic one and it will continue; as for the political one, it will freeze,” said Koni. He suggested the two countries' relationship would improve once Sharon was replaced. 

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not set another date for the Israeli premier, who proposed visiting the country following his trip to Russia last week.

Turkey signed a statement in support of Syria during the meeting of Iraq’s neighbors held in Damascus last week.

Such a show of support is likley to have made Sharon’s visit even more inappropriate at a time of repeated Israeli threats against Damascus.