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Ties with Israel won’t be at expense of Palestine, says Turkey

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ANKARA: Turkey has clarified that any step towards the regulation of ties with Zionist state would not be at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, any step we take with Israel regarding our relations, any normalisation, will not be at the expense of the Palestinian cause, like some other countries. 

“Our position on the Palestinian issue is always clear. We are the country that has expressed its stance on this issue most clearly from the very beginning.  You’ve already seen what happened in the last 4-5 years,” he added.

Noting that the normalisation of relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv might increase Turkey role in the two-state solution, Cavusoglu said: “But we will not give up on our basic principles and our position, including the two-state solution.”

“If relations are to be normalised, they will be normalised with the steps of both parties, or if a certain dialogue channel is to be opened, it will happen if both parties desire it and take steps accordingly.”

Referring to the planned visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey in March, Cavusoglu said that officials from both sides are working out details of the visit.

The two countries expelled their ambassadors in 2018. 

Ties have remained tense since with Ankara condemning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policy toward Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the Palestinian group Hamas, which rules Gaza.

However, Turkey has been working to repair its strained ties with regional powers from 2020. 

Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, Turkey and Israel can work together to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe and the two countries will discuss energy cooperation during talks next month.

“We can use Israeli natural gas in our country, and beyond using it, we can also engage in a joint effort on its passage to Europe,” Erdogan said on Friday on a return flight from Ukraine.

In an apparent easing of relations after years of tension, Erdogan said on Thursday that Israeli President Isaac Herzog would visit Turkiye in mid-March.

“These issues will be on our agenda with Mr Herzog during their visit to Turkiye,” Erdogan added. 

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