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Turkiye-Israel normalisation steps 'pleasing': Local community head

March 28, 2022 at 2:59 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Israeli President Isaac Herzog (L) hold a joint press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkiye on 9 March 2022. [Halil Sağırkaya – Anadolu Agency]

Members of Turkiye’s Jewish community are pleased with ongoing steps to normalise Turkish relations with Israel, a local leader said on Monday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“Above all things, we wish to live in peace no matter what country it is,” said Saul Cenudioglu, head of the Hatay Jewish Community Foundation in southern Turkiye.

Noting the significance of a recent visit by Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, to Turkiye, Cenudioglu told Anadolu Agency: “It’s pleasing that relations with Israel, which deteriorated due to certain incidents in the past, have reached a positive point today.”

Earlier this month, Herzog paid a historic visit to Turkiye, the first by an Israeli head of state in 14 years. It was seen as a step towards improved relations with Ankara.

Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, is also expected to visit Turkiye soon, according to Turkiye’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Cenudioglu underlined that, as Turkiye’s Jewish community, they support efforts to advance ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv. “Good relations between the two countries make us happy. It should make everyone happy because humanity wants peace, above all else.”

“There is war between Russia and Ukraine. Wouldn’t it be better for humanity if there was peace?” he asked.

Cenudioglu said that raising relations to a high level would be in the interests of both nations, while also serving trade and tourism.

Calling the province of Hatay a “garden of civilisations,” Cenudioglu emphasised that different beliefs have lived peacefully here for centuries.

“We invite all Israelis to the Expo 2021 Hatay event, which will open its doors on 1 April, to further the relations between the two countries.”