Turkey Wants to Improve Ties With Israel But is Against Its Stance on PNA, Erdogan Says
17:39 GMT 25.12.2020
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey is in favor of normalizing relations with Israel, however, its policy on Palestinian National Authiriy is unacceptable for Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
In 2018, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador over protests in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the deaths of about 60 Palestinians. Israel responded in kind and the two countries did not have envoys until Ankara appointed a new ambassador earlier in the month.
"There are issues, if not for them we would have totally different [relations] with Israel. Palestine is our red line, we will not accept it. As a matter of fact, we wholeheartedly wish for our relations with Israel to improve," Erdogan told journalists.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has long been stalled, as both sides refused to compromise on issues important to them. One of the main goals of the Palestinian side is to restore the border between Israel and Palestinian National Authority to where it was before the 1967 Six-Day War, with a possible territorial exchange. The Palestinians are hoping to create their state on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israel, on the other hand, is hostile to the idea of restoring the pre-1967 borders and is even more hostile to the idea of sharing Jerusalem, which they consider their historical and undivided capital. The lack of common ground between the two sides has been undermining prospects of Israel's chances to normalize ties with its neighbors in the region.
In September, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed a deal to normalize relations and establish diplomatic ties between the two sides. Later, Bahrain and Sudan followed suit. Nevertheless, the Palestinian issue remains central for all Arab states, including Iraq, which said in August that its laws prohibit the normalization of relations with Israel.
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