Peres lauds apology to Turkey: Grudge is not policy

In interviews with 'Hurriyet', CNN Turk president calls on the Turkish people to join in breaking the ice following 3-year rift.

President Shimon Peres 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
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.
Cansu 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 media.
The renewal of full diplomatic relations with Turkey had been in the air for some time, said Peres, and on the agendas of both countries.
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.
Turkey had been the first Muslim country to recognize Israel, Peres noted.
Later in 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 Peres.