Turkish foreign minister says Ankara wants ‘lasting relationship’ with Israel

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ANKARA — Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara seeks a “lasting relationship” with Israel, but those ties depend on Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians.

“We seek to establish a lasting relationship,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, speaking to Israeli journalists in Ankara at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. “Since 1949, our relationship has had its ups and downs. I can tell you that these were due to violations of Palestinian rights, not problems in our bilateral relations.

“We expect the Israeli side to respect international law on the Palestinian issue for a lasting relationship,” he said.

The journalists are in Turkey for a three-day trip fully funded by the Directorate of Communications, which is part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.

Cavusoglu stresses that Israel and Turkey have common interests and that Turkey is “ready to develop bilateral cooperation and regional dialogue through a positive agenda”. It highlights the potential for cooperation in the areas of energy, trade, investment, science and technology, agriculture and food security.

“There is new momentum in our relationship at the moment,” the foreign minister said, pointing to President Isaac Herzog’s visit in March and the November phone call between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Erdogan.

“President Erdogan reiterated our support for a two-state solution,” Cavusoglu said. “He expressed our expectations for Palestine during President Herzog’s visit…it was a very candid meeting.

Cavusoglu also points out that Erdogan condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Israel and the killing of a Palestinian woman by Israeli forces near Bethlehem on Sunday.

The head of Turkey’s diplomacy is nostalgic to meet Israeli tourists in his hometown of Alanya, and said he hopes “this year we will welcome more Israeli tourists to Turkey.”

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