ANKARA: Turkey said on Wednesday that its decision to restore diplomatic relations with Israel after a decade of tensions did not mean that it would abandon its support for Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s comments came moments after Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the resumption of full diplomatic relations that included the reappointment of ambassadors.
Cavusoglu said the decision will allow mostly Muslim, but officially secular Turkey to lobby for Palestinian interests in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The return of ambassadors “is important to improving bilateral ties,” Cavusoglu said, adding: “As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians.”
Turkey does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its embassy is located in Tel Aviv.
Cavusoglu said Turkish ambassador would be designated after a list was presented to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey’s relations with Israel fell apart when 10 civilians were killed after an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship part of a flotilla aimed at breaching a blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid a landmark visit to Ankara in March and held talks with Erdogan, who said the meeting marked “a turning point in our relations”.