Turkey, Israel agree to work on improving relations: AKP spokesperson
Turkey and Israel have agreed to work towards improving their strained relations after a rare phone call between their presidents, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said on July 14.
“A framework emerged after this call under which advances should be made on several issues where improvements can be made, and where steps towards solving problematic areas should be taken,” Ömer Çelik said after his party’s meeting.
Turkey and Israel have many issues to talk about in the region, he said, noting that tourism and trade are among the areas that the two sides will benefit from in a “win-win” approach.
“We hope that we will see more concrete steps from now on in terms of dialogues on solving problems and developing mutual cooperation. We will act accordingly,” Çelik added.
Asked about the mutual appointment of ambassadors between the countries, Çelik said, “It is early yet. They are, of course, being evaluated, in the end, all of these are matters that depend on the steps to be taken.”
The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter falling-out. Ankara has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the militant Palestinian group Hamas which rules Gaza.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, on July 12 to congratulate him on taking office. Israel’s presidency is a largely ceremonial office.
Erdoğan told Herzog he valued maintaining dialogue and said Turkish Israeli relations were key for 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.
The call came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Ankara.
Turkey and Israel were in low-profile talks for normalizing 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 a 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.