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      Turkish FM: Politics and Humanitarian Aid Two Different Things

      The fact that Turkey agreed to accept aid from Israel has no political meaning, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 10/27/2011, 4:05 PM

      The fact that Turkey agreed to accept aid from Israel to assist in rescue efforts of the thousands who were injured or killed has no political meaning, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Thursday. Speaking at a news conference in Amman with Jordanian leader King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh, Davutoğlu said that “political conditions between the two countries remain as they were", and that Turkey's views on the Middle East remained “principled.”

      On Monday, after a lengthy period in which they did not communicate, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to offer Israel's assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit eastern Turkey. Erdogan initially turned down the offer, but on Tuesday, Ankara changed its mind. An Israeli plane with prefabricated mobile homes and other aid for quake victims arrived in Turkey Thursday. At least three more planes will arrive in the next few days, Israeli officials said.

      Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both stressed that Israel was appreciative of Turkey's assistance in battling the Carmel forest last year, and that Jerusalem saw aiding in regional crises as part of its responsibility to the international community. Defense Ministry spokesperson Josh Hantman said that Israel did not see the aid as “a diplomatic matter, but a humanitarian one aimed at keeping men, women and children safe and warm.”

      Speaking about the Israel-PA negotiating process, Judeh said that both Jordan and Turkey agreed on the need for the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem – the “two state solution” - as the basis of Middle East peace. “We do not want peace negotiations to start from scratch. There are agreements already signed and we want any future negotiations to be based on them,” he said.

      Davutoglu added that the need to resolve the conflict was “crucial,” and that international pressure was key to pushing Israel to make a deal.