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Turkey warmly welcomes Abbas after restoring ties with Israel

#Turkey #warmly #welcomes #Abbas #restoring #ties #Israel

Turkey said on Tuesday that restoring full diplomatic ties with Israel did not mean a change in loyalties in the Middle East as it warmly welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian leader met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks and a private dinner on his second visit to Turkey in a year.

The talks came just a week after Turkey and Israel sealed a rapprochement after a decade of rocky relations by announcing plans to reappoint ambassadors for the first time in four years.

Erdogan has been an ardent supporter of the Palestinian cause, branding Israel a “terrorist state”.

He held the veteran Palestinian leader’s hand as he carefully led him across a turquoise carpet to his presidential palace, where he was met by a welcoming guard.

“The steps taken in our relations with Israel will in no way diminish our support for the Palestinian cause,” Erdogan later said at a joint media event.

“Turkey defends its vision of a two-state solution on all platforms and we have clearly demonstrated our response to the Israeli attacks and civilian casualties.”

Abbas made no mention of Turkish-Israeli relations in his comments, but thanked Erdogan for his support so far.

“I want to thank you for the great attention and hospitality you have shown us,” Abbas told Erdogan.

“I would like to reiterate my gratitude that Turkey and the Turkish government are on the side of Palestine.”

Abbas’ visit is widely seen as Turkey’s attempt to show it stands by old allies even as it repairs ties with newer rivals.

Turkey has gradually repaired the fences in the volatile region as it seeks new business and investment to recover from its deepest economic crisis in more than two decades.

Warming with the Jewish state is accompanied by plans to resume direct flights by Israeli airlines between the two countries, which could bring more tourists to Turkey’s resort towns.

Turkey also hopes to revive a natural gas pipeline project in the eastern Mediterranean that received tentative support from the United States last year.

Cavusoglu said Palestinian leaders “also want our relations with Israel to be normalized.”

“You also know that thanks to this dialogue, we can better defend the Palestinian cause,” he said.

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