Erdogan: We Must Admit That Turkey Needs a Country Like Israel

Turkish president says Turkey seeks to send a ship to provide Gaza with electricity and building materials, and notes he hasn't seen a draft of the deal yet.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a meeting of local administrators at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 26, 2015.
AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday that Turkey and Israel should admit they need each other.

"Israel needs a country like Turkey in this region. We, too, should admit that we need a country like Israel," Erdoğan told journalists on a flight back from an official trip to Saudi Arabia. "This is a regional fact. We need to see it."

The Turkish president said that if both Israel and Turkey implement necessary measures based on mutual sincerity, "normalization will naturally ensue."

A just agreement between Israel and Turkey, he said, would alleviate Palestinian suffering. "There is no water or electricity there (in Gaza). Problems are not solved through shouting or fights. Months pass and the problems remain," Erdoğan said. "We will soon finish the building of a hospital there. Under normal circumstances, it would have finished already."

Erdoğan said that preconditions for any reconciliation with Israel are known to all. He said Turkey seeks to send a ship that will provide electricity and building materials to Gaza, and claimed that Israel has agreed to lift the embargo on Gaza if the materials went through Turkey.

Erdoğan noted that he has not seen a written draft of the deal and added that "a written text will ensure there will be no deviation from any agreement."

Another issue that is also important to Turkey is the keeping of the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he added.

Erdoğan's comments come a week after the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported that Turkey is demanding Israel grant it "unrestricted access" in aiding the Gaza Strip as part of rapprochement talks between the two counties

The Turkish officials added that the reconciliation deal did not include any articles pertaining to Hamas and denied that Israel demanded Ankara put an end to all of Hamas' activities in Turkey as part of the deal. According to them, Jerusalem leaked misleading information to Israeli media to test the public's reaction.

Last month it was reported that a breakthrough was reached in the reconciliation talks between Turkey and Israel, but Jerusalem and Ankara made it clear that the reports were premature.