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Turkiye supports potential Saudi-Israel normalisation, Erdogan says

September 20, 2023 at 5:04 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves after delivering his remarks during the 78th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, United States on September 19, 2023 [TUR Presidency/ Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye would support a normalisation deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have emphasised.

According to the London-based news outlet, Middle East Eye, Erdogan held a private press briefing with journalists and analysts in New York yesterday, during his trip to the United States in order to attend and speak at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

In the briefing, the Turkish leader reportedly responded to a question regarding the recent and ongoing talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel – brokered by the US – to strike a deal to normalise their relations, at which he stated that Turkiye “views the normalisation attempts between the two countries positively.”

The paper cited an anonymous Turkish source familiar with the government’s perspective as saying that Turkiye’s “current support to normalisation is just a continuation and reflection of this general policy”, apparently referring to the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in the vision of the two-state solution.

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“The normalisation could become a political leverage to push Israel to act smarter in the region,” he added, emphasising that such a deal between Riyadh and Tel Aviv could influence and pressure the Israeli leadership to grant concessions to the Palestinians and lead to the easing of its occupation.

“This could put Turkey at ease in its relationship with Israel, since it is likely to create less tensions with the Palestinians,” the source reasoned. “Because Ankara feels compelled to respond to Israel whenever it acts against the Palestinians.”

Erdogan’s remarks came on the same day as his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time, in which they reportedly talked about a number of issues, such as cooperation in artificial intelligence and energy, as well as the potential normalisation deal with Saudi Arabia.

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