Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Isaac Herzog

Turkish ruling party: Turkey, Israel want to improve ties after presidents' call

Comment comes days after Erdogan called to congratulate Herzog, with Justice and Development Party spokesman saying areas such as tourism and trade should be 'win-win' for both nations who have maintained strong bilateral trade amid political disputes

Reuters, Ynet |
Published: 07.14.21, 21:48
Turkey and Israel have agreed to work towards improving their strained relations after a rare phone call between their presidents, a spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party said Wednesday.
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  • The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter falling-out.
    Ankara has condemned Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas that rules Gaza.
    Both sides say the other must move first for any rapprochement.
    2 View gallery
    נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג, רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן
    נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג, רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Isaac Herzog
    (Photos: AP, GPO)
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called his newly inaugurated Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog on Monday to congratulate him on taking office. Israel's presidency is a largely ceremonial office.
    "A framework emerged after this call under which advances should be made on several issues where improvements can be made, and where steps towards solving problematic areas should be taken," spokesman Omer Celik said after a meeting of the Justice and Development Party.
    Celik singled out the Palestinians as one of many issues Turkey wants to discuss with Israel, adding that areas such as tourism and trade should be a "win-win" for both nations.
    Bilateral trade has remained strong amid the political disputes.
    During the call, which came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Ankara, Erdogan told Herzog he valued maintaining dialogue and said Turkish-Israeli relations were key for regional stability.
    Erdogan also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding "positive steps" would also help Turkey's ties with Israel, his office said.
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    העצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    העצרת הכללית של האו"ם
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slams Israeli policy at the UN General Assembly in New York, Sept ember 2019
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The two leaders discussed the high potential for cooperation between the countries in various fields such as energy, tourism and technology; stressing the importance of increasing bilateral trade between the countries amid the pandemic.
    "The presidents see great importance to the continuation of contacts and dialogue despite all the disagreements in order to promote positive steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will also contribute to the improvement of Israeli-Turkish relations," a statement from Herzog's office said after the call.
    In May, Erdogan branded Israel a "terror state" after Israeli police shot rubber bullets and stun grenades towards Palestinian youths at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem in the run-up to the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.
    Israel accuses Turkey of aiding members of Hamas.
    Turkey has also recently been trying to repair its frayed ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
    Monday's call came a month after Naftali Bennett became prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Erdogan had frequently traded barbs.
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