Turkey
TurkeyReuters

Turkey will not turn its back on its commitment to a Palestinian state in order to broker closer ties with Israel, the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, according to the Reuters news agency.

“Any step we take with Israel regarding our relations, any normalization, will not be at the expense of the Palestinian cause, like some other countries,” Cavusoglu was quoted as having told reporters in Ankara, referring to the rapprochement between Israel and some Gulf countries that has angered Turkey.

“Our position there is always clear,” he added. “These ties normalizing a bit more may increase Turkey’s role regarding a two-state solution as well, as a country that will be in touch with both countries, but we will never turn back on our core principles.”

The comments come ahead of an expected visit to Turkey by President Isaac Herzog.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recently that Herzog would visit Turkey before mid-February and a new page will be opened in the two countries’ strained bilateral relations.

Israel has not yet confirmed a visit by Herzog to Turkey, but Herzog spoke to Erdogan on Sunday and the two discussed the possibility of holding a summit in the near future.

Erdogan has been pushing to improve the strained relations between his country and Israel. Two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke on the phone with Cavusoglu, 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 has continued to verbally attack Israel. Several months ago, however, Herzog and Erdogan held a lengthy conversation shortly after Herzog took office.

The two also spoke following the release of Israeli couple Mordy and Natali Oknin from a Turkish prison.

Erdogan also spoke with Herzog and offered condolences following the passing of Herzog's mother, Aura Herzog, several weeks ago.