Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a rare telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, that the dialogue between the two countries is in the common interest.
In Thursday’s discussion, a statement from Turkey’s Communications Directorate said Erdogan highlighted the importance of the two nations’ bilateral for the “safety and security of the Middle East”. It noted that “diversity of view can be minimized if they bilateral and regional issues ”.
Erdogan further emphasized the importance of restoring “peace, tolerance and culture of coexistence in the region” and the strengthening of Palestinian-Israeli relations and the resumption of the peace means.
He also stated that resuming communications and dialogue between Turkey and Israel would be “commonly beneficial”.
A declartion from the Israeli presidency said the talks were positive, adding that the two leaders had agreed to stay in touch.
The call came hours after an Israeli couple was released on suspicion of espionage in Turkey for a week.
Mordi and Natali Oknin have been arrested for allegedly taking a photo of Erdogan’s home in Istanbul, the state news agency Anadolu reported. An Istanbul court has accused them of “political and military espionage”, according to Turkish media reports.
The agency said an employee tipped off police after they saw the couple taking photos of the residence from the tower’s restaurant. A Turkish citizen with the couple was also arrested for political and military espionage.
Oknins denied the allegations, while Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid insisted the couple were not employees of an intelligence agency.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett later expressed with Erdogan – the first encounter between Turkish and Israeli officers since 2013, as per to Bennett’s office – and thanked Erdogan for his help in resolving the issue.
“The Prime Minister has said that this is a solution to a humanitarian issue and has positively noted the communication between the countries, which is working efficiently and discreetly in a crisis,” the Bennett office said.
Erdogan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, has repeatedly blamed Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians.
Relationships between Turkey and Israel have been strained, particularly since ambassadors withdrew in 2018 following the deaths of Palestinian protesters and the besieged Gaza Strip by Israeli forces.