PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN speaks at the India-Israel Economic Forum on Thursday..
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
In a step forward in the renormalization of relations with Ankara, President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday telephoned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to thank him for Turkey’s assistance in helping to quench the blaze of fires that swept across the country in recent days.
Rivlin told Erdogan that he had met the Turkish firefighting team earlier in the day and enthused about the tremendous service that its members had performed.
“I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for your decision to send this very valuable help to us in fighting the fires,” he told the Turkish president.
Erdogan replied that as soon as he came aware that the flames were spreading across the country, he put a plan into action. “I ordered helicopters and firefighters to be sent to Israel,” he said. He also voiced hope that the operation would end in the best possible manner.
As far as political relations between the two countries are concerned, Erdogan said the renewal is progressing well and that the newly appointed ambassador of Turkey to Israel would take up his role very soon.
“Normal relations between Turkey and Israel are of great importance to the whole region,” Erdogan said, adding that he looked forward to further cooperation in areas of natural gas and other forms of energy. Discussions between the ministries of energy of both countries had borne fruit, he said.
At the conclusion of the conversation, Rivlin asked Erdogan to do all in his power to facilitate the return to Israel from the Gaza Strip of the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.
Responding to a request from his Turkish counterpart for freedom of worship for Israel’s Muslim community, Rivlin assured him that Israel will continue to allow freedom of worship to people of all faiths.