Israeli president calls for closer cooperation with Turkey, regional countries

Israeli president calls for closer cooperation with Turkey, regional countries

Israeli president calls for closer cooperation with Turkey, regional countries

Addressing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other regional leaders, Israeli President Herzog called for cooperation for a better future in the region.

When leaders convene around a table for coffee, they can solve the differences and move on for better future, he said, addressing a teleconference message at the opening of an exhibition named “Coffee: East and West” at the Museum of Islamic Arts in Jerusalem

Turkey’s Tel Aviv Embassy Culture and Promotion Counselor Selim Öztürk shared Herzog’s video message on his social media account.

“Recently, I discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other leaders in the region. I am sure that when we gather around a table with coffee, we can move our whole region to a better future with cultural and other cooperation,” Herzog said in his message.

Emphasizing that when leaders sit at a table to drink coffee, Herzog said it will be seen that the differences and disagreements are not that big and scary. “In this wide geography we live in, they teach us the rich intersections of religions and cultures. They do this candidly. From the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, I send you my best wishes,” he said.

In his Twitter post on July 23, Öztürk thanked Herzog for “conveying this warm and friendly speech to the opening of the exhibition.”

“I am grateful for you to provide this beautiful museum for such a wonderful exhibition. I am also sure that a cup of ‘Turkish coffee’ around a table for regional leaders can contribute to solve many problems,” he added.

Erdoğan called Israel’s new president Herzog, on July 12 to congratulate him on taking office. Israel’s presidency is a largely ceremonial office.

Erdoğan told Herzog that he valued maintaining dialogue and said Turkish-Israeli relations were key to regional stability. Erdoğan also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding “positive steps” would also help Turkey’s ties with Israel, his office said.

Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza-bound “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” which was trying to break the Israeli blockade on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Some 10 Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

In 2016, Israel and Turkey reached an agreement to normalize relations after six years of strained ties. However, the two capitals were not able to meet the normalization process mainly due to issues regarding Israeli interventions in the Palestinian territories.

Turkey and Israel withdrew their ambassadors after the latter’s unproportioned use of force and killing dozens of Palestinians who were protesting the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018.

The two countries were in low-profile talks to normalize the relations since late last year. The efforts to normalize were stalled as a result of Israeli operation against Gaza which killed scores of Palestinian civilians.

Ankara says Israeli attitude towards Palestinians should drastically change to secure stable relations with Turkey. The departure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the Israeli government is believed to boost hopes for a return to normalcy in Turkish-Israeli dialogue.