Turkish Erdogan calls Israel’s new president, but both sides say the other must go through any rapprochement first.
Turkey and Israel have agreed to work to improve their strained relations following a rare phone call between their presidents, a spokesman for Turkey’s AK party said on Wednesday.
The two countries ousted ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter downfall. Ankara has condemned the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of the Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to stop supporting the Palestinian group Hamas that rules Gaza.
Both sides say the other must move first by any approach.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, to congratulate him on his inauguration. The presidency of Israel is a mostly ceremonial office.
“Following this call, a framework has emerged for which progress should be made on various issues in which improvements can be made and where steps should be taken towards solving problem areas,” the spokesman said. Omer Celik after an AK Party meeting.
Celik pointed to the Palestinians as one of the many issues Turkey wants to discuss with Israel, adding that areas such as tourism and trade should be “win-win” for both nations. Bilateral trade has remained strong amid political disputes.
“State of Terror”
During the call, which came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Ankara, Erdogan told Herzog that he valued maintaining dialogue and said Turkish-Israeli relations were key to regional stability.
Erdogan also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that “positive steps” would also help Turkey’s ties with Israel, his office said.
In May, Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” after Israeli police fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades against young Palestinians on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Israel has accused Turkey of aiding Hamas members, whom Israel and its Western allies consider a “terrorist organization.”
Recently, Turkey has also been trying to repair its ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Monday’s call came a month after Naftali Bennett became Israel’s prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Erdogan had frequently changed his beard.