PM calls Erdogan to offer condolences, aid for quake

Lieberman: "natural disasters are a time for governments to band together"; Turkish PM thanks Netanyahu for offer of support.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explaining somthing_311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Netanyahu explaining somthing_311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday evening to personally offer assistance with the recovery efforts from the devastating earthquake that rocked Turkey on Sunday.
Netanyahu “expressed his condolences” to the earthquake victims and expressed Israel to offer help, if it was required, said an Israeli official.
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Erdogan thanked Netanyahu for his concern and for the offer of support, the official added.
This was the first telephone conversation between the two prime ministers since Turkey downgraded Israel's diplomatic status in September.
At a Jerusalem press conference Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed a similar sentiment, saying that natural disasters were a time for governments to band together to help one another.
“You have to help out,” he said, noting that Turkey had similarly assisted Israel when it needed it. But he noted that there has been a “dramatic change” in their diplomatic approach.
Tensions have been high between the two countries since IDF soldiers killed nine of that country’s citizens in May 2010 as it halted a flotilla from breaking the Gaza blockade.
Turkish officials in Ankara rejected charges that they have refused Israeli assistance because of the poor relations between the two governments, according to Israel radio. Politics is not a factor here, the officials said in the radio report.
Previously Erdogan had said that Turkey was able to meet the challenge itself, but thanked countries offering help.
President Shimon Peres telephoned Turkish President Abdullah Gul Sunday and offered him Israeli aid. The president also sent his condolences for those killed in the quake.
Peres told his Turkish counterpart, "The State of Israel shares your pain in the aftermath of the earthquake." He added, "I am speaking as a human, as a Jew and as an Israeli who remembers and is well aware of the historic ties between our peoples. It is from that place that I send, in the name of my entire people, condolences to the families of those killed."
At this difficult time, he added, Israel "is prepared to offer any aid that is needed, anywhere in Turkey at any time."