Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Erdogan says plans steps to better ties with Israel after UAE visit

During phone call with Herzog following release of Israeli couple suspected of espionage from Turkey's prison, Turkish leader says relations between Ankara and Jerusalem were important for security and stability in Mideast

Reuters |
Published: 11.29.21, 13:46
President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would take steps to improve ties with estranged rivals Egypt and Israel similar to those in recent weeks with the United Arab Emirates, which led to investments, NTV and other broadcasters said.
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  • Ankara and Abu Dhabi signed accords for billions of dollars of investments last week and Erdogan said they would herald a "new era" in ties.
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    (Photo: AFP)
    As part of a charm offensive launched last year, Turkey has also moved to repair ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia but those talks have yielded little public improvement.
    "They (UAE) put up a $10 billion investment plan. By putting this $10 billion into place, we will have built a very different future," Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on a flight back from Turkmenistan, adding he would visit the UAE in February.
    "Whatever kind of step was taken with the UAE, we will also take similar ones with the others (Israel and Egypt)," he said, in response to a question about ties with Tel Aviv and Cairo.
    Speaking with his Israeli counterpart Issac Herzog earlier this month, Erdogan urged continued dialogue in their mutual interest.
    The Turkish leader also spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
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    מורדי ונטלי אוקנין בביתם במודיעין
    מורדי ונטלי אוקנין בביתם במודיעין
    Mordi and Natali Oknin
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    The phone call came a few hours after an Israeli couple held in Turkey for a week on suspicion of espionage were released.
    Erdogan said Turkish-Israeli relations were important for security and stability in the Middle East.
    He told Herzog: "Disagreements could be reduced to a minimum if both sides acted in mutual understanding in terms of bilateral and regional issues," said the presidency.
    Ahead of this exchange, Mordi and Natali Oknin, who were detained for allegedly taking a photograph of Erdogan's home in Istanbul, were released.
    An Istanbul court had charged them with "political and military espionage", Turkish media reports revealed.
    The Oknins denied the charges, while Foreign Minister Yair Lapid insisted the couple were not employees of any intelligence agency.
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    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Hamas terrorist movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, prior to their meeting in Istanbul, February 1, 2020
    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Hamas terrorist movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, prior to their meeting in Istanbul, February 1, 2020
    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Hamas terrorist movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, prior to their meeting in Istanbul, February 1, 2020
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Erdogan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, has regularly accused Israel of "terrorism" against the Palestinians
    Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained, especially since ambassadors were withdrawn in 2018 after the deaths of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

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