Turkey condemns new Israeli settlements after first political talks
Israeli troops are preparing to raze the West Bank settler outpost of Amona after a police operation to evict its hardline occupants and their supporters sparked day-long clashes, as plans to expand settlements elsewhere draw mounting international criticism. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEXTurkey condemned the Israeli government’s approval of the construction of 3,000 additional units in settlements on occupied Palestinian territories late on Feb. 1, as Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın and his Israeli counterpart Yuval Rotem met in Ankara for their two countries’ first political consultations session since 2010 Mavi Marmara crisis.
“Israel’s continuation of such acts that threaten to destroy the basis for a lasting peace, despite the constant warnings of the international community, causes dismay,” read a brief written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.
The Israeli government has approved three separate settlement projects in the last 10 days, despite criticisms from the Palestinians and European countries.
The statement came on the same day as Turkish and Israeli diplomats carried out their first political consultations in Ankara.
Issues on the agenda between the Yalçın and Rotem were evaluated during the talks, especially opportunities for cooperation in the fields of energy, the economy, culture and tourism, a Foreign Ministry official said.
In political consultations, opinions were exchanged on developments in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, and the parties agreed on the importance of Turkey-Israel relations in terms of the stability and security of the region, the diplomat added.
Israeli commandoes had raided a Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010, which led to killing of ten Turkish citizens. Relations came to a halt after the incident and a rapprochement was reached in mid-2016.
Meanwhile, Israel said on Feb. 1 it would establish a new settlement in the occupied West Bank, the first since the late 1990s, to rehouse settlers evicted on the same day from an outpost built on private Palestinian land following a court order for the evacuation of the territory.