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MK Horowitz at party
Photo: Yaron Brener
Is food the answer to rift with Turkey?
Association of Turks in Israel organizes Turkish feast in effort to curb diplomatic tensions

Delicious public relations effort: The Association of Turkey-natives in Israel held a special feast Saturday aimed at warming up ties between Jerusalem and Ankara.

 

Guests at the event were treated to Turkish delicacies, headed by shawarma – minced and spiced meat that is highly poplar in Israel.


Turkish shawarma (Photo: Yaron Brener)

 

Politicians from across the political spectrum were invited to the event and for a short while put aside their differences and turned their attention to the food.

 

While munching on Turkish shawarma and various sweets, Knesset members at the party admitted that ties with Turkey are an asset for Israel and must be maintained, despite the conduct of the current Turkish government.

 

"The Israeli people is not anti-Turk, and the Turkish people is not anti-Israel," Meretz Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz told Ynet, adding that the current crisis vis-à-vis Turkey is a result of domestic changes in Turkish politics.


Having fun at the party (Photo: Yaron Brener)

"Nonetheless, Turkey-Israeli ties are premised on a deep and highly developed basis," he said. "In my view, once the diplomatic process vis-à-vis the Palestinians will be renewed, it will have positive implications on the ties with Turkey too."

 

Meanwhile, Turkey's consul general in Israel preferred to focus on culinary rather than political issues. It's more important to eat than to deliver speeches, she said at the event.

 

The Association's Chairman, Eyal Peretz, summed up: "We're here to convey friendly messages to Turkey, in the hopes that the leadership there will change its views or be replaced, allowing for the kind of ties that were maintained for many years.

 

"Ever since operation Cast Lead in Gaza, my Jewish friends in Turkey feel less comfortable, and there's increased immigration to Israel. However, recently we've seen more positive statements, and Erdogan has been abandoning the racist and anti-Semitic approach and shifting the dispute to the diplomatic theater," he said.

 

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