Erdogan: “Normalization with Israel “vital” is important and will happen soon

Bringing together a delegation of Jewish leaders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said relations with Israel were “vital to the security and stability of the region” and spoke optimistically about the potential for improving relations.

The Turkish leader met with Turkish rabbis as well as members of the Alliance of Rabbis of Islamic States and was presented with a silver menorah.

He said that despite differences with Israel over its policy towards the Palestinians, “our relations with Israel in the fields of economy, trade and tourism are progressing in their own way.”

According to Hurriyet of Turkey and other media, Erdogan spoke out against “inhumane ideas such as racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance towards people of different religions”, while calling it anti-Semitism and hostility. towards Islam as a “crime against humanity”.

The Turkish president praised the recent dialogue with President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, while saying that a sincere Israeli effort to advance peace with the Palestinians “will undoubtedly contribute to the normalization process” between Ankara and Jerusalem.

“Turkey-Israel relations are vital for the security and stability of the region. We are ready to improve our relations, ”said Erdogan.

Erdogan recently switched to a more positive tone towards Israel, repeatedly stating that he would like to improve relations after years of acrimony.

Earlier this month, he said he was open to improved relations, but that the country must first display “more sensitive” policies towards the Palestinians. Erdogan told a group of journalists in Qatar that better ties with Israel would “benefit” peace in the whole region.

He said he had “had talks with Israel in the past” and proposed that Turkey be prepared to reciprocate its envoys with the Jewish state under the right circumstances.

Once strong regional allies, relations between Israel and Turkey have frayed throughout Erdogan’s tenure, during which the Turkish leader openly criticized Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians.

Israel, for its part, is upset by Erdogan’s warm relations with Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

The countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2010 after Israeli forces stormed a flotilla bound for Gaza carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians that broke the Israeli blockade. Although most of the participating ships were embarked without incident, those aboard a Turkish ferry violently resisted Israeli action, resulting in the deaths of nine Turkish militants.

A sign of improving relations, however, Erdogan recently had telephone talks with Herzog as well as with Bennett in which the new Israeli prime minister thanked the Turkish leader for his role in the release of an Israeli couple arrested in Istanbul. for suspicion. spy.

Relations slowly improved but fell again in 2018, after Turkey, irritated by the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, once again recalled its Israeli ambassador, urging Israel to return the favor.

The steps towards a rapprochement with Israel come as Turkey attempts to end its international isolation by normalizing its difficult relations with several countries in the region, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.


Arab Observer

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