Turkey must accept it needs Israel, says Tayyip Erdogan

Published January 2, 2016
“Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region,” Erdogan said in remarks to Turkish reporters. —AFP/File
“Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region,” Erdogan said in remarks to Turkish reporters. —AFP/File

ISTANBUL: Turkey must accept that it needs Israel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, as the two countries seek to thrash out a deal on normalising ties.

Nato member Turkey was a key regional ally of Israel until the two countries fell out over the deadly storming by Israeli commandos in 2010 of a Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, bound for Gaza.

Erdogan further raised hackles in Israel with his sometimes inflammatory rhetoric towards the Jewish State. But the atmosphere was transformed following the revelation last month the two sides were making progress in secret talks to seek a rapprochement.

“Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region,” Erdogan said in remarks to Turkish reporters published in leading dailies Saturday.

“And we too must accept that we need Israel. This is a reality in the region,” said Erdogan.

“If mutual steps are implemented based on sincerity, then normalisation will follow. “Ambassadors were withdrawn in the wake of the 2010 crisis and Erdogan said Turkey's three conditions for a normalisation were clear — a lifting of the Gaza blockade, compensation for the Mavi Marmara victims and an apology for the incident.

Israel has already apologised and negotiations appear to have made progress on compensation, leaving the blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip the main hurdle.

Indicating possible progress on the blockade, Erdogan said Israel had suggested it would allow goods and construction materials into Gaza if they came via Turkey.

“We need to see a written text to ensure there is no deviation from the agreement,” he said.

Analysts have suggested that Turkey's rapprochement with Israel has been accelerated by the need for Ankara to make up for its crisis in ties with Moscow after the shooting down of a Russian warplane.

Erdogan last month held closed-door talks with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal but it was never disclosed what the president discussed with the leader of the the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Israel also wants Turkey to prevent senior Hamas operative Salah Aruri from entering its territory and acting from there. Ankara has never confirmed his presence in Turkey.

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 20 May, 2022

TTP peace talks

ANOTHER attempt to sue for peace with the outlawed TTP is being made, again facilitated by the Afghan Taliban that...
20 May, 2022

Beyond the law

THE senior judiciary should take care not to overreach in its zeal to ‘fix’ issues it ideally need not worry...
20 May, 2022

Political musical chairs

YET another political crisis is brewing in Balochistan, where old rivals Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Sardar Yar...
Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...