Mevlut Cavusoglu
Mevlut CavusogluREUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Pool

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday met with Palestinian Authority (PA) “foreign minister” Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah, as part of his two-day visit to the region in which he will also meet Israeli officials.

Speaking after the meeting, Cavusoglu said Turkish support for “Palestine” would not diminish even as once frozen relations with Israel thawed.

"Our support for the Palestinian cause is completely independent from the course of our relations with Israel," he told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.

Cavusoglu later met PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. On Wednesday, he will meet Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.

He is also expected to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The government hopes that Cavusoglu’s visit is the first step in the full restoration of diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, which were suspended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, this is still no dialogue between the sides about advancing meetings at the highest level - between President Erdogan and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Erdogan has in recent months been making efforts to improve the strained relations between his country and Israel. Lapid spoke on the phone with Cavusoglu in January, the first public telephone conversation between an Israeli foreign minister and a Turkish foreign minister in 13 years.

Turkey and Israel signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.

Even after the deal was signed, Erdogan continued to verbally attack Israel. Several months ago, however, President Isaac Herzog and Erdogan held a lengthy conversation shortly after Herzog took office.

Herzog recently visited Turkey, where he was received with an honor guard by Erdogan. Herzog thus became the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since 2008.

Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that reports of recent clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque had upset Turkey. "It is important for all Muslims that the sanctity and status of the Al-Aqsa is protected," he said.

Al-Maliki hailed Cavusoglu's visit as "historical", with Turkey and the Palestinians signing nine cooperation agreements.

"What we heard has reinforced our position and what we do to achieve freedom and independence," Maliki said after the meeting, according to Reuters.