Erdoğan urges Israeli PM to avoid new settlements and preserve status quo of Masjid al-Aqsa

Erdoğan urges Israeli PM to avoid new settlements and preserve status quo of Masjid al-Aqsa

Erdoğan urges Israeli PM to avoid new settlements and preserve status quo of Masjid al-Aqsa

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had a phone call on July 10 and the former urged the Israeli politician for the “continuation of policies such as not granting approval for new settlements and preserving the status quo in Masjid al-Aqsa until the elections,” the presidential directorate said.

Lapid called President Erdoğan on the phone for the greeting of Eid al-Adha, said the statement.

They have discussed bilateral relations between Türkiye and Israel and the region.

Erdoğan congratulated Lapid on his assuming the position of prime minister and wished that the elections to be held on Nov. 1 will be beneficial for the Israeli people, said the statement.

The phone call came amid efforts to mend ties between Türkiye and Israel.

The two countries signed a bilateral aviation agreement on July 7 in a bid to multiply direct flights and as part of ongoing normalization efforts between the two nations. “The agreement is expected to result in the resumption of flights by Israeli companies to a variety of destinations in Türkiye, alongside flights by Turkish companies to Israel,” the Israeli Transportation Ministry said.

Talks for the aviation agreement came to the agenda in direct talks between Turkish and Israeli officials, including Erdoğan and Herzog, who paid an official visit to Ankara in March. Since then, the foreign ministers of the two sides exchanged visits and agreed to launch a process for the appointment of ambassadors.

In the meantime, Israel will reopen its trade office in Istanbul, and the office will resume its works by Aug. 1, according to a statement by Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbival. Around 1,540 Israeli companies operate in Türkiye, and the reopening of the trade office will bring about momentum to the bilateral economic activities, the minister stressed.

Türkiye and Israel have been in talks since last year for the normalization of ties.

Relations between former allies began to fray following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008. Ties then froze following the death of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla trying to breach a blockade carrying aid into Gaza in 2010.

A 2016 reconciliation agreement that saw the return of ambassadors all but collapsed in 2018 in the wake of Gaza border clashes that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Türkiye and Israel had lowered the level of diplomatic representation to chargé d’affaires in 2018 after Türkiye protested the latter’s killing of scores of civilian Palestinians in a rally against the United States’ decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.