Turkey will make a “significant contribution” to the Middle East peace process following reconciliation with Israel, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday, Anadolu reported.
In a TV interview on TRT Haber, Cavusoglu said the six-year hiatus in Turkish-Israeli relations had hindered Ankara’s role in bringing peace to the region.
“Turkey will make a significant contribution to Middle East peace in the next process,” he said. As he spoke, 11,000 tons of aid from Turkey was making its way to the Gaza Strip.
Cavusoglu said Turkey wanted to help Palestine’s struggling economy.
“Gaza and Palestine do need more and more,” he said. “The infrastructure has collapsed after the [Israeli] attacks. The hospitals and schools have been damaged. The UN buildings have been targeted. For these issues, Turkey will give support.
“We are establishing an organized industrial site in [the West Bank city of] Jenin where 6,000 people will be employed. We have also removed the obstacles to transferring money directly [to Palestine].”
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel were suspended in 2010 after Israeli troops stormed the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in international waters, killing 10 Turkish activists.
The ship was among six civilian vessels trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza when Israeli commandos boarded it.
In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded a formal apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.
Turning to Syria, Cavusoglu said Turkey and Russia should reestablish a joint military mechanism for coordinating action against terrorism and to prevent the reoccurrence of an accident such as the shooting down of the Russian military jet by the Turkish Air Force over the Turkey-Syria border last November.
The downing of the plane after it violated Turkish airspace led to a freeze in relations with Moscow that was only resolved this week when Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone.
“Russia has a presence in Syria -- planes and troops,” the foreign minister said. “Also, we are fighting Daesh and the PYD-YPG. In addition, the cooperation between our intelligence must be very good because recently Russia and the [Syrian] regime carried out airstrikes targeting civilians.”