Senior Turkish diplomat says Israel and Turkey share common security threats

Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan publishes article in Israeli thinktank journal, calling for cooperation between the two states in fields of security and energy

Itamar Eichner|Updated:
A senior Turkish diplomat said in an article published on Tuesday that his country, just like Israel, is threatened by similar regional rouge actors.
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  • Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan in an essay for Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center for Strategic Studies journal, Turkyscope, writes that Israel and Turkey should be able to build on their commonalities and foster a sustainable dialogue, while setting aside their diverging opinions.
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    נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג עם נשיא טורקיה רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן
    נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג עם נשיא טורקיה רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן
    President Issac Herzog with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara last month
    (Photo: AFP)
    The ambassador, who is considered one of Turkey's leading diplomats, called to transform Turkish-Israeli relations based onto rebuild mutual trust and explained why in his view the two countries should forge a cooperation in many fields.
    Israeli–Turkish relations deteriorated over the years since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2003, with due to his hostile policies and rhetoric towards Israel.
    The breakdown in ties culminated in the Mavi Marmara incident, a Turkish vessel which was part of a peace flotilla on its way to Gaza, which was boarded by IDF troops and resulted in the deaths and injuries of activists as well as Israeli soldiers.
    The bilateral ties remained in place, but were strained, and Turkey even opposed the Abraham Accord, normalizing some Muslim states' relations with Israel, calling them a "betrayal of the Palestinian people."
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    איסמאעיל הנייה וארדואן בטורקיה
    איסמאעיל הנייה וארדואן בטורקיה
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2021
    The ambassador said in his article there can be no expectation that Israel and Turkey will see eye to eye on all things, including the Palestinian question, after the recent visit by President Issac Herzog. But, added that even if not all disagreements are solved, "Turkish and Israeli geostrategic interests dictate a close and multi-layered partnership".
    Mercant also called for cooperation on security threats and energy supply routes, and called for "promotion of inter-cultural synergy as a bulwark against Islamophobia and antisemitism and all sorts of hate crimes".
    Mercant said the two countries should cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
    "Turkish-Israeli interaction offers more than a conventional regional partnership in the face of malign actors and trends. Conventional partnerships are for a particular issue, be it against a threat or for an objective. Conventional partnerships have expiration dates. Turkey and Israel, on the other hand, share a common neighborhood, heritage, and not least, a common future," he said.
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    ארדואן אירח רבנים מהעולם המוסלמי בארמונו
    ארדואן אירח רבנים מהעולם המוסלמי בארמונו
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosts Jewish leaders in Ankara last December
    (Photo: Turkey's Presidential Palace )
    "Transparent Turkish-Israeli engagement on regional affairs would lead by example in terms of prioritizing dialogue and diplomacy. In addition, we should not lose sight over the potential gains a structured Turkish-Israeli partnership would bring about to the regions beyond MENA, such as the Caucasus, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," he added.
    He added the contribution of Jews to Turkey's heritage and his country's kindness towards its Jewish citizens as he hoped the efforts to improve relations are supported.
    "The Turkish and Israeli peoples should support their presidents to realize this vision and to seize the opportunity to constructively transform Turkish-Israeli relations, based on mutual trust and interdependence," the ambassador wrote.

    First published: 22:49, 04.12.22
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