Two envoys of Turkish Sheikh Adnan Oktar, considered close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, on Monday, to open dialogue between Jerusalem and Ankara through an interfaith channel that would bypass the disputes between the two governments. They also invited the Interior Minister to visit Turkey.
The chairman of the Sephardic religious Shas party did not reject the invitation but said he supports dialogue with Turkey and appreciates the idea of a strategic alliance and cooperation between Israel and Turkey. He added that he supported the commandos who boarded the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara when it tried to break the naval blockade on Gaza and opposed apologizing to Turkey for deaths of nine Turks following the attacks on the commandos. Yishai asked if he would be asked to apologize during such a visit. Noting the importance of relations between the two countries, he said any visit would have to be coordinated with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other relevant entities.