Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the importance of mending ties with Turkey in an interview prior to the Jewish New Year.
In exerts of a New Year interview with the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu issued a conciliatory message to Turkey. The two countries broke off diplomatic ties two years ago in the aftermath of a raid by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. However, Netanyahu used the interview to invite a renewed dialogue with Turkey.
He pointed out that that the two countries have a ‘common interest’, in that they both border Syria, currently in violent turmoil. Netanyahu added, ‘There are other common interests that come to mind. I think it is in our common interest to find a way to be able to stop – to arrest – the slide in our relationship and resume a fruitful dialogue.’
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reiterated to reporters during a visit to Ukraine that any country wishing to mediate between Turkey and Israel, must guarantee that his county’s three core demands are met. These include a demand that Israel lift the naval blockade of Gaza.
Erdogan said, ‘If there is a mediator who can guarantee, ensure all three of these [demands], we will say ‘yes’. Otherwise, mediators should not waste their time.’
Elsewhere in his Jerusalem Post interview, Netanyahu also commented on Egypt under new President Mohamed Morsi. Netanyahu said that the new Egyptian government needed to ‘decide the depth of its commitment to the peace treaty. We are deeply committed to it, I hope they will be too.’
The Israeli Prime Minister also spoke at length over his demand that the United States issue red lines to Iran over their nuclear development. Netanyahu denied that his request was related to the upcoming US elections and reiterated his belief that Iran poses ‘the greatest security challenge of any country on the face of the earth’.
Netanyahu referred to his hour-long conversation with US President Obama on Wednesday night as a ‘good conversation’ and added that the two countries share ‘very close’ and ‘very important’ security and intelligence cooperation on Iran.