"I can think of one thousand reasons why Turkey and Israel
should be friends and I cannot find one reason why they shouldn't be," President Shimon Peres
said in an interview with Turkish media on Sunday.
Speaking to a Turkish journalist from CNN Turk and Hurriyet, Peres called on the Turkish people to overcome differences with Israel and mend its ties with the people of Israel.
"Both countries wanted to put an end to this misunderstanding and return to the good relations that have existed between Turkey and Israel for many good years," Peres said. "Since the 15th Century Turkey was a shelter for the Jewish people who were forced to leave Spain," he remarked.
Asked when one could expect a handshake with his Turkish counterpart, Peres replied: "It can happen soon."
|Watch Peres' interview with Turkish reporter|
Jerusalem and Ankara ended
a three-year diplomatic crisis on Friday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens.
The two leaders agreed to restore ties and halt all legal proceedings against IDF
soldiers and commanders. It was also agreed that Israel would transfer funds to a humanitarian organization that would compensate the victims' families.
Asked about Netanyahu's statements that the crisis in Syria
was a main consideration in his decision to restore ties with Ankara, Peres said that the events in Syria are a "tragedy for Syria and a problem for the rest of the world. When Bashar Assad
came back from London we thought in our hearts here comes a modern young man who wanted to be an eye doctor but only later we learned that this was a cover.
"He tried to build a nuclear bomb and he built a chemical arsenal. Fortunately the nuclear installation was destroyed, unluckily the chemical arsenal remains."
The president also addressed the Iranian nuclear issue and said, "Iran
is a danger to the entire world and more so to the Middle East and more so to Israel. I don't think the world can accept a nuclear Iran.
"They deny the Holocaust, they are threatening with a new Holocaust. Iran is a center of terror. They hang people, they send terrorists all over the world from Bulgaria to Cyprus. Who can stand it?"
Peres added that Iran also poses a threat to the independence of Arab countries in the Middle East and pursues hegemony in the region
"America cannot permit that the whole of the Middle East will fall under the spell of Iran and Iranian terror. In that respect, Turkey and Iran are day and night."
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