Turkey and Israel have agreed to improve their tense relations following a rare call between their presidents, a spokesperson for Turkey’s ruling AK Party announced on Wednesday.
The two nations ousted ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter fall. Ankara has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the treatment of Palestinians. In contrast, Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the Palestinian group Hamas that rules Gaza.
Both sides say the other should move first for any approach.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, to congratulate him on accepting the post. Israel’s presidency is a sizeable ceremonial office.
“A framework has emerged after this call in which progress must be made in various matters where changes can be made and where steps must be taken to resolve problematic areas,” spokesperson Omer Celik declared after a discussion of the AK Party.
Celik singled out the Palestinians as one of the many problems Turkey wants to talk about with Israel, adding that areas such as tourism and trade should be a “win-win” for both countries. Bilateral trade has remained strong amid political disputes.
During the call, which took place a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Ankara, Erdoğan told Herzog that he appreciated the appreciation for maintaining dialogue and said that Turkish-Israeli relations are the key to regional stability.
Erdogan has also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the addition of “positive steps” will also help Turkey’s ties with Israel, his office said.
In May, Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” after Israeli police fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stunned grenades at Palestinian youths in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem.
Israel has accused Turkey of treating members of Hamas, considered by Israel and its Western allies, as a ‘terrorist organization’.
Turkey has also recently sought to restore its weakened ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Monday’s call comes a month after Naftali Bennett became Israel’s prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Erdoğan regularly traded barbs.