Conference of Presidents Welcomes the Restoration of Full Diplomatic Ties between Israel and Turkey

New York, NY

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (COP) today welcomed the resumption of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, following a six-year rift in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident of May 2010.

In a statement, Stephen M. Greenberg, Conference of Presidents Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, said:

“The restoration of full diplomatic relations and the resolution of outstanding issues between Israel and Turkey will contribute to enhanced cooperation between these two vitally important Middle East countries and will, hopefully, contribute to fostering regional stability in the face of unprecedented security challenges.  It signals the resetting of the longstanding relationship based on mutual interests, common threats and shared opportunities. Resumption of Israeli-Turkish collaboration will benefit the entire Middle East.

We commend the efforts and hard work of both governments that led to the agreement. There are a multitude of potential political, economic and strategic implications that could have implications beyond the region.

We note President Erdgoan’s commitment to pursue the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Israeli soldiers whose bodies are being held by Hamas and other Israelis believed to be held by the terrorist organization in Gaza. 

Last February a delegation of the Conference of Presidents met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and discussed a range of issues including relations between Turkey, the United States and Israel. In that meeting, President Erdogan also discussed his policy priorities which included potential for regional cooperation involving Israel.  We met again more recently in Washington and continued the dialogue, including the restoration of Israel-Turkey relations.  In both meetings the President told us he would address the humanitarian issue of the return of the Israelis.

We also appreciate President Erdogan’s personal intervention that led to the return to the Jewish community of a Jewish cemetery in Galipoli and its protection from the scheduled construction of a mall on the site.  Mr. Hoenlein raised the issue with the President at the Washington meeting having learned of the problem coincidentally only minutes before the meeting began. 

We are grateful for his involvement and the protection of the sanctity of this large cemetery at the direction of the national government.”

###

The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

Support the Conference of Presidents Fund

Every day, the Conference of Presidents Fund works publicly and behind the scenes addressing vital concerns with US and world leaders, key opinion molders and the public about Israel's security and vitality, threats posed by a nuclear Iran, global terrorism, anti-Semitism and the delegitimization campaign, making a critical difference at home and abroad.