Israeli foreign minister visits Turkey in show of solidarity
Turkish foreign minister noted Israel was one of the first countries send an aid delegation
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen flew to Turkey on Tuesday morning to express solidarity with the country and the Turkish people following the deadly earthquake that devastated the southern part of the nation.
“Israel stands alongside Turkey at this difficult time, and will continue to assist her through the activities of our forces and by providing humanitarian goods,” Cohen stated upon landing.
Cohen met for the first time with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. In their meeting they discussed relations between the two countries.
Çavuşoğlu thanked Israel for its help during the earthquake, saying that Israel was one of the first countries send an aid delegation.
Çavuşoğlu took the opportunity to reiterate Turkey’s position that the status quo regarding the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque should be preserved, noting that Cohen had promised to do so. He also warned Cohen that "we are facing the month of Ramadan - and especially at this time, the tension should not escalate."
The Turkish foreign minister also stressed Turkey’s opposition to increased settlements in Judea and Samaria, saying it was an issue of concern for the country.
“We want peace and stability in the region, and we will continue to normalize our relations with Israel. Both sides want to improve relations between the countries, and we will continue these efforts," Çavuşoğlu said.
Cohen said that Israel is committed to providing support for Turkey as needed following the earthquake.
“In light of the unimaginable destruction and devastation, it is more important today than ever that the international community and Israel, in particular, work together as friends to offer support in every possible way,” Cohen said.
Cohen finished his speech with another demonstration of Israel’s friendship towards Turkey, saying in Turkish, “Israel stands with Turkey.”
In the past week, Israel has provided Turkey with over 60 tons of humanitarian aid in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry's International Aid Agency. The supplies include winter clothing, medical equipment and medicine.
Cohen is expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his trip.
The Foreign Ministry kept Cohen’s trip to Turkey a secret until he landed, due to security concerns. Cohen stated that Israeli airlines will resume direct flights to Turkey.
Earlier this week, a search and rescue team from United Hatzalah returned to Israel early because of security concerns.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.