Turkey vows to back Palestinians despite restoring Israel ties

Turkey vows to back Palestinians despite restoring Israel ties

Comments by foreign minister come moments after Israeli PM announces full resumption of diplomatic ties

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Turkey has said its decision to restore diplomatic relations with Israel after a decade of tensions does not mean it will abandon its support for Palestinians.

The comments by the foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, came moments after the Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid, announced the resumption of full diplomatic relations, including the reappointment of ambassadors.

Çavuşoğlu said the decision would allow Turkey – which is mostly Muslim, but officially secular – to lobby for Palestinian interests in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The return of ambassadors “is important to improving bilateral ties”, Çavuşoğlu said, adding: “As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians.”

Turkey does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its embassy is located in Tel Aviv.

Çavuşoğlu said a Turkish ambassador would be designated after a list was presented to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s relations with Israel disintegrated when 10 civilians were killed after an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship, part of a flotilla aimed at breaching a blockade of Gaza in 2010.

The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, paid a landmark visit to Ankara in March and held talks with Erdoğan, who said the meeting marked “a turning point in our relations”.