Erdogan talks to Israeli president, highlights ‘potential’ in relations
ANKARA/ JERUSALEM -Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his new Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog on Monday in rare telephone talks between the two countries whose relations are strained.
As conflict raged in Gaza earlier this year, Erdogan accused Israel of waging “terrorism” and vowed to rally the world to the territory’s defence.
During his call with Herzog, Erdogan emphasised the “great importance” of Turkey-Israel ties for security and stability in the Middle East, the Turkish presidency said.
Erdogan also underlined Turkey’s emphasis on continuing dialogue despite differences of opinion, it added in a statement.
He told Herzog the international community expected a “permanent and comprehensive two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within the framework of UN resolutions.”
But Erdogan said there was high potential for cooperation between the two countries in fields including energy, tourism and technology.
Ties between Israel and Turkey have been tense since a Turkish NGO oversaw a flotilla of ships that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010.
President Isaac Herzog’s office said in a statement that the two leaders emphasised “that Israel-Turkey relations are of great significance for security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean” and that cooperation had great potential for both countries.
Israel and Turkey were once close regional partners, but relations between the two countries soured in the the past decade. The Turkish government frequently criticises Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
Erdogan held talks on Saturday with Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas.
During that meeting, Erdogan told Abbas that Turkey would “not remain silent to Israel’s oppression in Palestine,” according to the Turkish presidency.
According to the Israeli president’s office’s statement, Herzog and Erdogan said that “ongoing dialogue despite all the differences of opinion” was important, particularly for advancing steps toward a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Herzog took office last week after he was elected by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in a June vote. He spoke Saturday with neighbouring Jordan’s King Abdullah II after Israel and Jordan agreed to initiate negotiations for the sale of water to the Hashemite kingdom.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has put mending strained relations with Jordan as a top priority of the newly-instated government.