Turkish-Israeli relations vital for stability of region: Erdoğan
Turkey-Israel relations are vital for the stability of the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 22 said at a meeting with members of the Jewish community in Turkey and the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States (ARIS).
“We are ready to develop our cooperation and to better utilize our high potential. I attach importance to maintaining contact and dialogue,” Erdoğan said.
The president stressed that Turkey wants to see the Middle East as a place where societies from different religions, languages and ethnicities live together in peace.
Turkey’s warnings to the Israeli government are to ensure that matters are approached from the standpoint of long-term peace and stability of the Middle East, he said, noting that the steps to be taken in the Palestinian issue, especially in Jerusalem, will contribute to the security and stability of not only the Palestinians but also Israel.
“In this regard, I attach importance to our renewed dialogue with the president and prime minister of Israel,” he said.
Despite the differences of opinion of the two countries on Palestine, Turkey’s relations with Israel in the fields of economy, trade and tourism are progressing in their own way, Erdoğan stated.
Israel’s constructive and sincere stance in the context of peace efforts will undoubtedly contribute to the normalization process, he stated, expressing his belief that a solution will be found in Jerusalem that will respect the sensitivity of all faith groups.
“I believe that you will have the opportunity to personally witness Turkey’s rich culture, ancient history, and the climate of peace and tolerance in our country during your time in our country,” he said.
Throughout history, Turkish lands have been a “haven of peace for Jews who have been persecuted in different parts of the world,” the president said.
The Turkish nation embraced the Jews who fled the inquisition in 1492, he said and added, “The spirit that enabled the Ottomans to embrace the Jews is still alive today. We appreciate the contributions of our Jewish citizens for the development, strengthening and achievement of our country’s goals for centuries.”
Turkey sees anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity, as much a crime as Islamophobia, he stated.
“As we see Islamophobia as a crime against humanity, we also see anti-Semitism as a crime against humanity,” said Erdoğan.
Turkey was the co-host of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 and co-presenter of the 2007 decision on the undeniability of the Holocaust, the president said.
Erdoğan said he did not accept any approach that marginalizes people because of their faith or ethnic origin.