Turkish President Abdullah Gul accepted President Shimon Peres' invitation extended to him to visit Israel. The two met on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in order to realign Israeli-Turkish relations to a positive and stable track.
Peres' office reported, "The meeting took place in a positive and friendly atmosphere. At its conclusion, the presidents agreed on a return to normal, positive, and stable relations between Turkey and Israel."
Peres' associates said that the two spoke of paths to promote negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Israel and other Arab countries. The Turkish president said that his country is willing to make serious efforts in order to advance peace accords between Israel and its neighbors.
Peres said to his counterpart, "Israel strives for a just and true peace with its neighbors. Israel does not wish suffering upon the Palestinians in Gaza, which could have already become an animated and thriving area under Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas).
"Unfortunately, Hamas murdered Fatah leaders in Gaza, and today is seriously damaging the Palestinian population. If Hamas were to change its ways, recognize Israel and cease its terrorist activities, the face of Gaza would be drastically different."
At the end of the meeting, Peres said that Israel thanks Turkey for its efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and invited the Turkish president for an official visit to Israel. Peres' office reported that President Gul thanked Peres warmly for the greeting card he sent to his people on Turkish Independence Day. He accepted Peres' invitation to visit Israel.
The dissipating tensions between the two countries were witnessed in another incident this week.
Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol met Thursday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv in order to give him a formal invitation to meet with Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul in Turkey on an official visit next month.
Minister Barak thanked the Turkish minister for the invitation and confirmed that he would travel to Turkey.
Tensions between the two countries escalated following Operation Cast Lead a year ago. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan leveled harsh criticism against Israel for the offensive and called for Israel to be shunned by the international community.
In addition, a joint military training session between the air forces of the countries was recently cancelled on the backdrop of intensifying media pressure in Turkey.