Israel seeks for strengthening ties with Turkey: Minister

Israel wants to tighten its relations with Türkiye and bring the two leading countries of the region back to the places they deserve, Israeli Economy Minister Orna Barbivai has told the daily Milliyet.

“The current global challenges, regional and global transformations, and the current situation of Türkiye and Israel in the region provide an opportunity to demonstrate in practice the complementary capabilities of the two countries,” Barbivai said.

In the long run, the strategic and economic cooperation between countries would address the climate crisis, the fight against diseases and solutions to the medical problems of the future, efficiency and increased productivity in the industry, according to the Israeli minister.

“At a time when supply chains from the East are clogged and a war breaks out in Europe, the combination of Israeli and Turkish capabilities can maximize the potential for trade and economic cooperation,” Barbivai said.

Israel wants to strengthen R&D practices and technological collaboration to respond to future industrial challenges as it is aware of Türkiye’s industry and production capacity in various fields, she added.

“Türkiye’s being a regional economic power in many fields such as industry and production, Israel’s being an innovation, technology and information center, and the cultural proximity and warm relations that have developed between citizens over the years have created a strong business infrastructure, which has proved its resilience to past crises.”

Though political and economic relations are intertwined, they are not dependent on each other, Barbivai said. “Since the economy is a bridge to develop political relations, one should not be preferred over the other. Israel wants to tighten its relations with Türkiye and bring the two leading countries of the region back to the places in the region they deserve.”

“Economic relations are undoubtedly an important pillar of our relations,” she added.

When asked whether the momentum gained in relations is the policy of the government or the state and whether these policies will change if the government changes, Barbivai said: “I am sure that bilateral relations, which are of strategic importance for both countries, will continue independently of governments. We intend to continue to strengthen relations no matter what government is in power as national interests are at stake.”

The ties between the two nations have long been suffering in the past decade, first due to the “One Minute” crisis in Davos and later the killing of 10 Turkish men by Israeli commandos in an incident dubbed the Mavi Marmara crisis.

Türkiye and Israel have been in a process of reconciliation since late 2021 with the purpose of mending the sour ties between the two regional neighboring countries.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as well as Prime Minister Yair Lapid, established senior-level contacts in the past months to make the normalization possible.

Türkiye has designated Şakir Özkan Torunlar as ambassador to Israel by a presidential decree signed by Erdoğan.

The move came shortly after Israel had appointed current charge d’affaires to Ankara as its ambassador to Türkiye.