President Shimon Peres 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
President Shimon Peres has added his voice to the chorus of approval for the
reconciliation between Israel and Turkey.
Prior to a Passover eve toast
with soldiers stationed in Judea and Samaria, Peres who was interviewed by the
Turkish daily Hurriyet and CNN Turk, spoke directly to the Turkish people saying
feudalism was not policy, and expressing his satisfaction that the crisis
between the two nations had been overcome.
The president called on the
Turkish people to join in breaking the ice between the two nations which have
long and deep roots of friendship and cooperation. He looked forward to the
restoration of good relations and said both countries must work together to
prevent the Iranian nuclear program from becoming a reality, as well as Syria’s
chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
The CNN interview –
which will be broadcast in two parts – also included discussion on additional
security matters and the peace process with the Palestinians. Peres was hopeful
negotiations toward a two-state solution would resume soon.
Camlibel, a senior journalist with Hurriyet
, was especially appreciative of the
opportunity to interview Peres so soon after the reconciliation had been
announced. During the freeze in the relationship between the two countries, the
president had consistently refused to give interviews to the Turkish
The renewal of full diplomatic relations with Turkey had been in
the air for some time, said Peres, and on the agendas of both
Each wanted to put an end to misunderstandings, and to return
to an earlier status quo.
Peres noted that Turkey had provided a haven
for the Jews who were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century, and
nowadays he added, there are more than a thousand reasons for Israel and Turkey
to be friends, and there was no reason for them to be enemies.
been the first Muslim country to recognize Israel, Peres noted.
the morning, after a detailed briefing from Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz,
OC Central Command Maj.- Gen. Nitzan Alon and other senior officers on the
overall security situation and that in the West Bank in particular, as well as
the incident from across the Syrian border, Peres met with some 200 soldiers who
were eager to know more about the end of the conflict with Turkey than they had
read in newspapers or heard on the radio.
Peres told them that while the
past could not be changed, it was important to look forward and to recognize and
acknowledge all the reasons for Israel and Turkey to work in close cooperation
with each other in many different fields.
Unlike Iran, said Peres, Turkey
is interested in a peaceful Middle East. Turkey is not Iran by any stretch of
the imagination, and had never called for Israel’s destruction. It wants to a
see a Middle East without terror, without starvation and without poverty, said