Restoration of Turkey, Israel ties ‘possible’
AP PhotoTurkey hopes re-elected Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take steps to both mend ties with Turkey and pursue a sustainable peace with Palestine, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told Israeli broadcaster Channel 2, in a rare interview following a rupture due to the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.
Describing the election of Netanyahu as a “success,” Arınç said in a video broadcast on the website of the channel that “Turkey expects and hopes the Israeli government will express its strong political will to end strife with Palestine.”
“Thus, if Netanyahu is to make a new start, if he will make a gesture to Turkey to boost confidence in terms of restoring relations, we think that it would be right that he expresses that his will for peace is strong,” he said.
Arınç also said removing the blockade on Gaza and choosing Turkey as a good partner would help maintain peace in the Middle East and correspondingly help guarantee Israel’s security, he said.
It is not right for Turkey to comment negatively or positively about the elections in Israel as that it is a matter only for the Israeli people, Arınç said.
Turkey is not a home for anti-Semitic thoughts and the country is proud of this, he added.
“The Turkish people can react strongly to the actions of the Israeli state, not Jews,” he added. “And we think that we are right in such a reaction.”
Ties between Turkey and Israel have been tense since May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin in a raid on the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.”
Another person died in a Turkish hospital in 2014 after being in coma for almost four years.
Arınç also commented on the nuclear talks between Western powers and Iran, saying it was the Islamic republic’s right to possess nuclear energy, while adding that nuclear weapons were a completely different issue.
“This should be controlled very well,” he said. “And Iran should be open to all kinds of inspections.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Netanyahu recently engaged in a fresh war of words after Erdoğan slammed Netanyahu for daring to attend a Paris march along with other world leaders to protest terrorism following the deadly attack on the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“I believe [Erdoğan’s] shameful remarks must be repudiated by the international community, because the war against terror will only succeed if it’s guided by moral clarity,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as telling visiting leaders of the U.S. pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.