Turkey has been trying to normalize bilateral relations with Middle Eastern countries in recent months, starting with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and then Israel.
According to Ömer Çelik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AKP party, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, to congratulate him on his inauguration.
In the context of communication, according to Çelik, it was agreed that Turkey and Israel should work to improve their tense relations, so that progress can be made on a number of issues where improvements can be made and steps taken to resolve problematic areas in bilateral relations.
The Erdogan-Herzog phone call came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Ankara, during which the Turkish president told his Israeli counterpart that he valued maintaining the dialogue and that Turkey-Israel relations were crucial for regional stability.
Celik said in his statement that one of the many issues Turkey wants to discuss with Israel is the Palestinians, adding that areas such as tourism and trade should be “win-win” for both nations bilateral trade remained strong amid political disputes.
The two countries that have expelled their ambassadors in 2018, have launched accusations against each other. Ankara has repeatedly condemned Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the treatment of Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to relinquish its support for the Hamas-led Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.
According to the president’s communications office, Erdogan 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.
In May, Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” after Israeli police fired rubber bullets and grenades at Palestinian youths in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It is noteworthy that the Erdogan-Herzog telephone conversation took place a month after the appointment of Bennett Naftali as Prime Minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, a strong opponent of the Turkish President./ibna