Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country would like to have better relations with Israel adding that talks at intelligence level continue between the two nations. However, the Turkish premier also blasted Israeli policy vis-a-vis the ‘Palestinians’ as “unacceptable”.
Speaking to journalists following Friday worship in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Ankara had issues with “people at the top level” in Israel. He also said that that relations could have been “very different” were it not for those people.
In that statement, Erdogan appears to blame the cold relations between Israel and Turkey solely on the Israeli government. Since Israel has just announced a new round of elections last week, the timing of Erdogan’s statement is seen by many as a subtle endorsement of Netayahu’s challengers.
“The Palestine policy is our red line. It is impossible for us to accept Israel’s Palestine policies. Their merciless acts there are unacceptable,” Erdogan stated.
“If there were no issues at the top level, our ties could have been very different,” he claimed. “We would like to bring our ties to a better point.”
Turkey was the first Muslim-majority nation to recognise the State of Israel in 1949. At that time, the two countries enjoyed warm relations as well as robust commercial ties until Erdogan rose to power.
Recently, Erdogan has repeatedly condemned Israel’s presence in the Judea and Samaria as well as its treatment of that region’s Arabs.
Turkey initially broke off diplomatic relations with Israel back in 2010 when 10 pro-Palestinian Turkish terrorists were killed by Israeli naval commandos who boarded a Turkish-owned flotilla claiming to deliver humanitarian aid and break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The two countries restored ties in 2016, but relations went south again in 2018 when Erdogan withdrew its envoy after US President Donald Trump moved the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.