Normalized ties with Turkey are vital: Israeli MP
Turkey, Israel bound by post-Arab Spring security threats, Turkish Foreign Ministry official asserts
Normalized relations between Israel and Turkey -- two "democratic and stable countries" -- is of particular importance in an unstable area like the Middle East, Israeli lawmaker Ksenia Svetlova said Friday in Istanbul.
Speaking at an event organized by Istanbul Kultur University's Global Political Trends Center, Svetlova stressed that Israel and Turkey had to take "joint action", particular in regards to the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
"You know Israel apologized [for the Mavi Marmara attack], as expected. The next step is compensation to be paid out to the families of the victims," she said.
"Here, Turkey has some responsibilities to coordinate the issues involved," Svetlova added.
Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, as it was carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, being a part of the multi-faith convoy of six ships organized by a coalition of NGOs from 37 countries. As a result of the attack, eight Turkish citizens and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed and a tenth died three years later of his wounds.
Speaking at the same event, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry's Diplomacy Academy, Mesut Ozcan, said that the current situation in Syria posed threats to both Turkey and Israel.
Noting that Turkish and Israeli officials planned to sign an agreement next Sunday, Ozcan said the normalization of Turkey-Israel ties was affecting Turkey's regional relationships.
"A serious security problem occurred in the Middle East after the so-called Arab Spring. We see that what binds Israel and Turkey is this security problem," he said.
"Therefore, taking joint action on security issues will be on the agenda," Ozcan added.
Israeli Consul-General in Istanbul Shai Cohen, for his part, said that both countries were trying to establish the basis for an agreement covering commercial, cultural and economic issues.
Commenting on the blockaded Gaza Strip, Cohen said Israel planned to accelerate the reconstruction process in Gaza and was aware that Turkey was an important participant in this process.
Stressing Israel’s "red lines" in Syria, Cohen said: "There will be no terrorist activities by Syria in the Golan Heights… No weapons will be distributed from the Syrian side to Hezbollah or other forces… and the distribution of chemical weapons will be prevented."
He added: "Israel will not intervene in Syria's internal affairs except for these red lines. Our position is neither pro-Assad nor anti-Assad."