Turkey, Israel agree on new framework for ties

Turkey, Israel agree on new framework for ties

Turkey, Israel agree on new framework for ties

Turkey and Israel have decided to continue their bid to normalize their relationship through dialogue and technical contacts, particularly in the areas of economy and trade, the two countries’ foreign ministers have said, adding a new framework is agreed to be established for the future of the bilateral ties.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has become the first Turkish top diplomat to pay a visit to Israel in the past 15 years as Turkey and Israel are in efforts to mend the broken ties over the past decade. Çavuşoğlu and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid organized a joint press conference following their talks in Jerusalem on May 25.

“We have conducted fruitful, candid and purposeful talks and agreed on a new framework for our ties,” Lapid said at the press conference, also announcing that the two sides decided to resume the work of a joint economic commission and hold talks for a new civilian aviation agreement.

Turkey and Israel are two important countries in the region, and they are able to mend ties despite differences on a number of issues, the Israeli foreign minister stressed. Noting the process ahead will be continued through sustainable dialogue and technical talks, person-to-person and business-to-business.

“So, in this visit that comes after 15 years, we are expecting improvements not only in diplomacy and security but also economic and civilian ties,” he said.

Lapid recalled that Turkey had been the first Muslim nation to recognize the State of Israel in 1949 and that Israelis love Turkey very much, highlighting that bilateral trade and other economic activities have not been negatively affected by the poor bilateral political ties or the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to further improving them,” he stated.

Çavuşoğlu: Ties to improve through dialogue

For his part, Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance of dialogue and continued technical talks for the normalization process between the two nations, saying, “Working on a positive agenda will help us to discuss our disagreements in a more constructive way.”

A sustainable dialogue will be an important asset for the normalization of the ties, the Turkish top diplomat stated, adding, “This should be based on mutual respect to our own sensitivities. This will not only be useful for our bilateral relationship but in regard to the peace in our region.”

“We have agreed to bring about a new energy in our multifaceted ties, create different mechanisms and resume talks on civilian aviation,” he also said.

The trade volume in 2021 hit more than $8 billion despite the pandemic and the figures in the first quarter of this year show a continued increase in bilateral trade, he informed.

Çavuşoğlu also stated that the technical talks between the Turkish and Israeli foreign ministries will continue over the coming period for the acceleration of the bilateral normalization process. Despite expectations, the two ministers have not signaled when they would exchange ambassadors as diplomatic representation is still at the level of chargé d’affaires since 2018.

Two-state solution

Çavuşoğlu also underlined the Israeli-Palestinian problem, stressing that Turkey believes that a two-state solution under the U.N. parameters is the best and only way to resolve the problem and bring about lasting peace in the Middle East.

The Turkish top diplomat stressed that Turkey has always been keen for a stable and peaceful Middle East through an agreement between Israel and Palestine. “We always played a constructive role in bringing peace to the region,” he stated.

The Turkish foreign minister also met Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov to discuss ways to promote mutual tourism. Çavuşoğlu also paid a visit to Mount Temple and held talks with Turks living in Israel.