“Turkey and Israel could cooperate in the Eastern Mediterranean”
Turkey and Israel could cooperate in the eastern Mediterranean, Knesset Deputy Speaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi has said, as relations between the two countries are rapidly easing after years of tension.
“We really aspire to continue what was several years before in terms of cooperation and partnership, especially in the field of tourism, trade and economy,” Zoabi said in an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah on the sidelines of the Forum. diplomacy from Antalya.
“I’m very optimistic about positive change and about Turkish-Israeli relations. The people of our country are very excited, they love Turkey and the Turkish people,” she said.
Zoabi said Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit and meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the first of several “very positive meetings” and steps in the near future.
“I think the visit of the Turkish foreign minister will also be a welcome step,” she added.
Israel’s energy minister previously said Tel Aviv was ready to cooperate with Turkey on natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
Herzog arrived in Turkey on Wednesday for talks with Erdoğan, becoming the first Israeli leader to visit in 14 years as the two countries prepare to turn a new page in their troubled relationship.
Herzog arrived on a plane emblazoned with the words “peace”, “future” and “partnership” in Hebrew, Turkish and English.
The countries withdrew their respective ambassadors in 2010 after Israeli forces stormed a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians that broke an Israeli blockade. The incident resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.
Relations broke down again in 2018 when Turkey, angered by the US moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, once again recalled its ambassador, prompting Israel to respond accordingly. The two countries have not renewed their ambassadors.
“We won’t agree on everything, and the relationship between Israel and Turkey has certainly had its ups and downs and not-so-simple moments in recent years,” Herzog said before his departure. “But we will try to relaunch our relations and build them in a measured and careful way, and with mutual respect between our states,” he stressed.
Turkey said there would be no change in Ankara’s stance towards the Palestinians despite normalization efforts with Israel.