Turkey vows to back Palestinians despite renewal of ties with Israel

Istanbul, Aug 23 (EFE).- Turkey will remain an ally of the Palestinians despite the impending resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

“The steps taken in our relations with Israel will in no way reduce our support for the Palestinian cause,” he said at a joint press conference in Ankara with the visiting head of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

“On the contrary, our Palestinian brothers also express that these steps will contribute to a solution to the Palestinian issue and improve the situation of the Palestinian people,” Erdogan said.

He said that Palestinians can count on continuing humanitarian assistance from Turkey, which also provides financing for commercial and academic projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

Without explicitly addressing Ankara’s restoration of ties with Israel, Abbas expressed gratitude for Turkey’s “unwavering” support of the Palestinians.

“We are aware of their support for their legitimate rights, freedom and independence,” he said. “We know that Turkey and its institutions stand by the Palestinian people and the Palestinian state in every field, and support them in the international arena.”

Both Abbas and Erdogan emphasized their commitment to a two-state solution that would see Israel retreat to its pre-June 1967 borders and the establishment of a sovereign Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Long-cordial relations between Israel and Turkey turned sour after nine Turkish activists – one of them a United States citizen – were killed on May 31, 2010, by Israeli commandos who intercepted and boarded the ship Mavi Marmara to stop an international flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Turkey reacted with outrage, recalling its ambassador to Israel and significantly curtailed bilateral military and economic ties.

Diplomatic links were restored in 2016, only for Turkey to sever them again in 2018 in response to the US decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. EFE iut/dr

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