Erdogan flag 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Carmel fire briefly thawed Israel’s tense relationship with Turkey and the
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On Friday, in a rare moment of warmth, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and thanked him for sending two airplanes to help battle the Carmel
“We very much appreciate this mobilization and I am certain that
it will be an opening toward improving relations between our two countries,
Turkey and Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement he released to the press after
He noted that the Turkish prime minister expressed his
willingness to help, as well as both his country’s and his own personal
condolences to the families of the victims.
Netanyahu also publicly
thanked Erdogan in two separate statements on Friday, and said that Israel would
find a way to express its gratitude to Turkey.
The phone call is assumed
to be the first conversation between the two leaders since Netanyahu took office
in March 2009. Relations between the two countries have been particularly tense
since Israeli soldiers killed nine violent Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound
flotilla at the end of May.
Erdogan cautioned reporters after the call
not to confuse Turkey’s desire to help Israel in a moment of crisis with its
continued anger over the flotilla incident, for which Turkey continues to demand
Separately, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
spoke with Netanyahu on Saturday in the first such conversation since direct
negotiations between the two leaders broke down at the end of
Abbas expressed his condolences to the Israeli people over the
lives lost in the Carmel fire and offered whatever assistance was
He also volunteered to send three fire trucks to the
The conversation between the two was warm and
Netanyahu thanked Abbas and said that neighbors should always
help each other. He added that he had decided to establish a new system using
fire fighting planes that would also be available to the PA if the need arose.