Turkey's New PM: No Hope of 'Normalizing' Israel Ties Until Gaza Blockade Ends

Turkey was once Israel's closest regional ally in the region, but former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a strident critic of its treatment of the Palestinians.

AFP

REUTERS – Turkey's new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that progress in the normalization of relations with Israel would only be possible if the Jewish state stopped attacks on Gaza and ended its restrictions on the Strip.

Turkey was once Israel's closest regional ally in the region, but former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a strident critic of its treatment of the Palestinians during the recent conflict.

Davutoglu, who named a new cabinet on Friday, said Ankara would maintain efforts to achieve European Union membership – a process that has stumbled somewhat, partly as a result of Erdogan's crackdown on antigovernment protests last year and his launching of a purge of the judiciary and police, whom he accuses of engineering a graft case to undermine him.

He said Ankara would continue to support refugees from the war in Syria, while pressing ahead with contacts with Kurdish militants to settle a decades-old conflict that has cost over 40,000 lives.