Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkish-Israeli relations are crucial for the stability and security of the region and that he finds the revival of dialogue between the two countries important, Turkish media reported on Thursday.
Erdoğan’s remarks came as he received members of the Turkish Jewish Community and the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States at the presidential palace on Wednesday.
Erdoğan said he attaches importance to the revival of his dialogue with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and noted that despite their disagreement over the Palestinian issue, Turkey and Israel maintain ties in economy, trade and tourism.
The president also asked his guests to lend their support to Turkey’s efforts to improve its ties with Israel.
“We are ready to improve our cooperation and make better use of our high potential. I attach importance to maintaining our talks and dialogue as I believe this is in our common interest,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained, especially since the countries’ respective ambassadors were withdrawn in 2018 after the death of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
In 2018 Turkey ordered Israel’s ambassador out of the country over the killing of protestors along the Gaza Strip.
Erdoğan spoke by phone last month with his Israeli counterpart in a rare exchange between the two countries, urging continued dialogue and stressing mutual interests.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States thanked Erdoğan on social media for welcoming their annual summit.
“We thank President @RTErdogan for warmly welcoming the First Annual Summit of Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States – under auspices of Hahambashi Isak Haleva of @tyahuditoplumu – the warm welcome and brotherly environment will remain with us forever,” the alliance tweeted.
We thank President @RTErdogan for warmly welcoming the First Annual Summit of Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States – under auspices of Hahambashi Isak Haleva of @tyahuditoplumu – the warm welcome and brotherly environment will remain with us forever.https://t.co/ysmWuL2Rzg
— Alliance Rabbis Islamic States (@RabbisAlliance) December 22, 2021
The visitors also said the prayer of blessing for President Erdoğan at the presidential palace, a first in the history of Turkey. The prayer was originally said by Sephardic Jews for the blessing of Ottoman sultans.
Tarihte bir ilk olarak Cumhurbaşkanlığı külyiyesinde Cumhurbaşkanımızın selameti ve ülkemizin huzuru için anoten kutsama duası okundu @tcbestepe @tyahuditoplumu @TCKulturTurizm @SephardicBrothe @mchitrik @RabbisAlliance pic.twitter.com/ipJXBXXI6x
— Nafi Haleva (@nafihaleva) December 22, 2021