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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that Turkey’s diplomatic thaw with Israel will benefit Palestinians, in his first visit to Israel in 15 years.

Cavusoglu was in Jerusalem on Tuesday to meet with Palestinian authorities in the occupied West Bank as Turkey and Israel work to repair ties that had deteriorated since an Israeli military campaign in Gaza in 2008.

Despite years of animosity between the two nations, Cavusoglu and his Israeli colleague, Yair Lapid, emphasised that economic links had grown.

“We won’t pretend that our relationship has not seen its ups and downs,” Lapid said.

“Even in times of political tension, economic cooperation between our countries has been constantly on the rise.”


Cavusoglu remarked that Turkey was one of Israel’s top 10 commercial partners and a popular tourist destination for Israelis, expressing optimism that closer connections would help Palestinians.

“We believe that normalisation of our ties will have a positive impact on peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he stated.

Cavusoglu said that talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli colleague Isaac Herzog helped “keep peace” during a tumultuous period in Jerusalem this year, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover holiday coincided, resulting in major conflicts.

“Turkey is ready to take responsibility to continue the efforts towards (Israeli-Palestinian) dialogue,” Cavusoglu added.

When Herzog met with Erdogan in Ankara in March, the two countries declared a new era in ties.

Analysts believe Erdogan wants better relations with Israel to help Turkey’s faltering economy, notably through cooperative gas initiatives.


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