Daily Israel Report

Exclusive: Turkish Diplomat Points to Need for Peace With Israel

A veteran Turkish diplomat underscores the importance of renewing ties and maintaining peace with Ankara's former ally, Israel.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 4/29/2013, 8:56 PM

Erdogan on billboard in Egypt
Erdogan on billboard in Egypt
: Flash 90Israel news photo

While negotiating teams discuss ways to bring the two countries back together again, a veteran Turkish diplomat is contending that it is essential for Ankara to renew its ties with Israel, saying the move will help bring peace to the entire region.

“Developments in the Middle East closely interest and influence Turkey,” pointed out Istanbul-based Turkish diplomat Prof. Dr. Nevzat Yalcintas, who spoke exclusively in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

“Our country must formulate its acts correctly about the relations between Middle East countries and Israel," he said. "There is only one word that expresses the main determinant of this formula, [and] this word is peace.”

The professor, an author of numerous volumes on history and known for having taught the country's current President Abdullah Gul while he was a student at Istanbul University, maintained that Turkey's interests are best served by strengthening its bond with Israel.

“As a result, our country must build and maintain its relations with Israel on peace,” he added. Yalcintas served several terms in the Turkish parliament, and continues to represent the country in various international diplomatic venues.

A source told the Turkish Hurriyet daily newspaper on Saturday the second round of negotiations between Israel and Turkey over compensation to the families of those killed in clashes on the Mavi Marmara vessel during a 2010 flotilla attempt to break Israel's blockade of Gaza is to be held within the next several weeks.

The first talks, led by Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and Israeli envoy Yaakov Amidror, reportedly were held “in good spirits” and ended on a positive note, the source said. Deputy Foreign Minister Fereydoun Sinirlioglu is reportedly set to speak with Israeli officials this week to set the date for renewed negotiations.

If an agreement on compensation is reached, the resulting contract would be adopted into Turkish law together with a caveat preventing further criminal action against IDF military personnel, according to Israeli sources.

The families involved currently are refusing a settlement in favor of continuing criminal claims against four top former IDF military chiefs in connection with the incident. It appears they are also being encouraged by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a fervent supporter of the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza, who continues to insist that Israel drop its blockade of the region. 

The blockade is an internationally-accepted national security measure designed to prevent Gaza terrorists from importing ordnance and other weaponry used to attack Israeli citizens in the south.