(Photo credit: Israeli Government Press Office via AFP)
The Turkish foreign minister stated on 14 April that Ankara will seek to establish permanent relations with Israel if certain conditions are met.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “Since 1949, our relationship has had its ups and downs. I can tell you that was due to the violations of Palestinian rights, and not to problems in our bilateral relations.”
He added that for a sustainable relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara to take root, Israel is expected to respect international law on the Palestinian issue.
His statements were made in the presence of Israeli journalists who were visiting Turkey on a three-day tour funded by the Telecom Directory, which is associated with the office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish foreign minister stressed the need to build upon the momentum of existing bilateral relations, by expanding ties in the areas of energy, trade, science, technology, investment, as well as increasing the amount of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey.
Turkey and Israel have been cooperating on the potential to create a gas route from Israel to Europe via Turkey, although the Turkish foreign minister admitted this would not undercut nor replace Russian energy exports in the short-term.
Ankara has come under harsh criticism for its normalization of ties with Israel.
Large protests broke out on the same day that Israeli President Isaac Herzog made a controversial visit to Turkey on 9 March, the first such visit by an Israeli leader since 2008.
In reaction to this visit, a Hamas spokesperson stated: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is following with great concern the visits of the officials and leaders of the Zionist entity to a number of Arab and Islamic countries, the most recent of which are visits by Isaac Herzog.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad stated that “seeking to restore relations with the enemy under the pretext of that being in the interest of a country is a betrayal of al-Quds and Palestine.”
For his part, Turkish President Erdogan has condemned the recent wave of Palestinian armed uprising against Israeli settlers and officers in the West Bank and 1948 occupied lands.