Turkey is eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday.
Cavusoglu spoke at a joint news conference after meeting Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara.
The Turkish minister said Ankara had always advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and is going to contribute to permanent peace in the region.
“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel. According to our latest agreement, the two countries will appoint their ambassadors to each county. After this step, we will also support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East Peace process,” he said.
Last month, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said that Tel Aviv met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel in international waters.
The attack resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists and left another 30 injured, one of whom succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.
In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.
In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-prime minister (now president), Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Cavusoglu also thanked the Palestinian people and all their politicians for supporting Turkey after the July 15 coup attempt.
“Our brotherhood … is a unique example. We always share our sorrows and happiness,” he said.
The minister also said Turkey would continue its efforts to help residents of the Gaza Strip: “We had promised to send $200 million to Palestine by the end of 2017 and it appears that we will even surpass the amount.”
Palestine is our friend
Minister Maliki also supported Turkey’s reconciliation agreement with Israel; the deal will likely be signed before parliament goes on recess next week.
“Turkey’s good relations with Israel are a factor which actually makes things easier,” Maliki said.
The Palestinian minister was also met by Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman at the Grand National Assembly.
Kahraman said Turkey’s stability played a role as guarantor of Middle East peace.
“Palestine is our friend and our feelings are common,” Kahraman said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Turkey and Israel will exchange ambassadors and Tel Aviv will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the 2010 flotilla attack victims.
Israel has also agreed to Turkey’s request to maintain a humanitarian presence in the blockaded Gaza Strip.