On Friday, in a development that marks a change in Turkey’s stance towards Israel, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he wants Ankara to have better ties with Israel even as talks at the intelligence level continues between the two countries.
In contast to his hopes of better ties, he however but criticised Israel’s policy toward Palestinians as being “unacceptable”.
Despite strong commercial ties, the relations between the two countries have fallen apart, leading to expelling of ambassadors in 2018. Ankara has been very vocal on Israel’s occupation in the West Bank.
After Friday prayers, Erdogan said while Turkey-Israel relations had issues with “people at the top level”, the ties could be “very different” if it were not for those issues.
“The Palestine policy is our red line. It is impossible for us to accept Israel’s Palestine policies. Their merciless acts there are unacceptable,” said Erdogan. “If there were no issues at the top level, our ties could have been very different,” he added. “We would like to bring our ties to a better point.”
Earlier this year in August, Israel accused Turkey of giving passports to a dozen Hamas members in Istanbul, and described the move as being “a very unfriendly step”.
Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group the world over. In 2007, it took control over Gaza from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and has fought three wars with Israel, much to its detriment, since then.
Turkey views Hamas as a legitimate political movement.