Daily Israel Report

Turkish PM Calls on Country's Jews to Sway Israel

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the Jewish community in Turkey to get involved in diplomatic relations with Israel
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 11/22/2012, 11:46 PM

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Flash 90

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the Jewish community in Turkey to get involved in diplomatic relations with Israel in an attempt to bring a halt to the air strikes in Gaza, Anatolia News Agency reported.

“They are people who can become a part of this [cease-fire] mechanism,” Erdogan said Wednesday, referring to the Jewish community in Turkey which totals an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people.

“They have connections there [in Israel] and they should make use of these connections, because they know very well about the position we are in right now,” Erdogan added.

According to the news agency, the prime minster revealed that Turkish and Israeli intelligence authorities had recently contacted each other over the recent wave of violence, but said that there had been no direct political dialogue between the two countries.

“We have not conducted any meetings with Israel in the political sense, and we will not do so throughout this process unless an exceptional situation appears,” he said.

Erdogan continued to note that National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chairman of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Omer Çelik were in Cairo in efforts to broker a  cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel, which the two sides had agreed upon Wednesday night.

Turkish-Israel relations became increasingly hostile in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Arab activists seeking to infiltrate Israel’s borders. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists, including one US citizen.

In an accurate portrayal of the unmistakable hostility between the countries, Erdogan labeled Israel a “terrorist state” in remarks to Muslim leaders in Istanbul earlier this week, alleging that "Israel violently massacres innocent children in Gaza.”