Turkish, Israeli presidents agree to continue dialogue
Turkey and Israel held their first high-level contact on July 12 in the past four years as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Israel’s President Isaac Herzog for assuming his position, creating expectations for a gradual normalization of the bilateral ties.
The two leaders agreed to continue the dialogue between the two nations and described the ties as very important for regional security and stability.
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.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talked to Israeli President Isaac Herzog over the phone. Turkey-Israel relations and regional issues were discussed during the conversation. During the conversation, President Erdoğan congratulated Isaac Herzog on his inauguration,” according to a statement issued by the Communications Directorate.
According to the statement, Erdoğan emphasized that Turkey-Israel relations were of great importance for security and stability in the Middle East, stating that there was a high potential for cooperation between the two countries in various fields, particularly in energy, tourism and technology.
Erdoğan stated that despite the pandemic, bilateral trade increased and that it was in their mutual interest to benefit from this potential.
“Expressing that he attached importance to the continuation of contact and dialogue despite all differences of opinion, President Erdoğan said that the international community expected a lasting and comprehensive two-state settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute within the framework of U.N. resolutions,” the statement read.
Leaders agreed to continue dialogue
It also informed that Erdoğan recalled that positive steps towards resolving the Palestinian-Israeli dispute would also facilitate a positive course in the Turkey-Israel relations. Erdoğan hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul on July 10 where they discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Turkey’s assistance to the people of Palestine.
For his part, Herzog mentioned the call with Erdoğan in a post on Twitter.
“I spoke a few hours ago with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, who called to congratulate me on assuming my position as the president of the State of Israel,” he said.
“We both emphasized that Israeli-Turkish relations are of great importance for security and stability in the Middle East. We agreed on the continuation of dialogue in order to improve relations between our countries,” the Israeli president added.
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 an Israeli operation against Gaza, which killed scores of Palestinian civilians.
Ankara says the 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 the Turkish-Israeli dialogue.
Turkey slams Israel’s demolition of Palestinian households
In the meantime, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized Israeli demolition activities in Humsa al-Bqai’a Village located in the occupied West Bank.
“The displacement of 70 people, 35 of whom are children, as a result of the demolition of Palestinian households in the village of Humsa al-Bqai’a in the occupied West Bank, which has been subjected to Israeli demolition practices on various occasions since November 2020, is yet another unacceptable example of oppression and violation of international law,” it said.
The ministry recalled that in this year alone so far, Israel has demolished 421 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, thereby displacing 592 people,
“This is a clear indication of ignoring the calls of the international community to stop these demolition activities and aiming to turn its occupation into annexation through its unilateral practices. We condemn Israel’s unlawful and inhumane practices and hereby reiterate our support for judicial processes to hold Israel accountable for its crimes in the occupied territories,” it stated.