Israeli FM Thanks Turkey for Foiling Attacks on Israelis

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shake hands after statements, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shake hands after statements, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP)
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Israeli FM Thanks Turkey for Foiling Attacks on Israelis

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shake hands after statements, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shake hands after statements, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday thanked Turkish authorities for their cooperation in allegedly foiling attacks against Israeli citizens in Turkey, and warned Israel would not "sit idly by' in the face of threats to its citizens from Iran.

Lapid made the comments after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, as the two countries press ahead with efforts to repair ties that have been strained over Turkey’s strong support for the Palestinians.

Earlier this month, Israel issued a warning for its citizens to avoid travel to Turkey and urging Israelis in Turkey to leave immediately. The warning said Israeli citizens could be targets of Iranian attacks.

Turkish media reports said authorities had detained five Iranians suspected of planning attacks on Israelis in Istanbul.

"In recent weeks, the lives of Israeli citizens have been saved thanks to security and diplomatic cooperation between Israel and (Turkey)," Lapid said. "We are full of appreciation for the Turkish government for this professional and coordinated activity."

Lapid continued: "For its part, Israel won’t sit idly by when there are attempts to harm its citizens in Israel and around the world. Our immediate goal is to bring about calm that will enable us to change the travel warning to (Turkey)."

The travel warning angered Turkey, whose economy depends on tourism to a large extent. Ankara responded by issuing a statement that said Turkey was a safe country.

Standing next to Lapid, Cavusoglu said Turkey "cannot permit these kinds of incidents taking place in our country."

"We have delivered the necessary messages," he said, without elaborating.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said that a joint operation with Turkey succeeded in thwarting several attacks and resulted in the arrest of several suspected operatives on Turkish soil in recent days.

Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday that Turkish authorities detained five Iranian nationals on Wednesday suspected of involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate Israeli citizens in Istanbul. Police seized two pistols and two silencers in searches conducted in houses and hotels where the suspects were staying, according to the report.

Lapid’s visit comes amid political turmoil in Israel, where Bennett’s fragile, year-old government decided this week to dissolve parliament, triggering new elections which are set to take place in the fall. Under the agreement that forged Bennett’s coalition government, Lapid is expected in the coming days to become caretaker prime minister until a new government is cobbled together after the elections.

The developments deepen a political crisis in Israel, which has held four elections since 2019, each largely a referendum over former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule. Netanyahu hopes to return to power in the upcoming vote, but polls show that as in previous rounds it will unlikely produce a clear winner.

Turkey, beset by economic troubles, has been trying to end its international isolation by normalizing ties with several countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Turkey and Israel were once close allies, but relations grew tense under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is a vocal critic of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Turkey’s embrace of the Hamas movement, has angered Israel.

The countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2010 after Israeli forces stormed a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power there in 2007.

Nine Turkish activists were killed. Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths under a US-brokered agreement, but reconciliation efforts stalled.

Turkey recalled its ambassador in 2018 after the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, prompting Israel to respond in kind. The two countries have not reappointed their ambassadors.

The two ministers said Thursday that they had agreed to hold discussions on re-appointing ambassadors.

The latest rapprochement has been led by Israel’s mostly ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, who has held several telephone calls with Erdogan and visited Turkey in March, becoming the first Israeli leader to do so in 14 years. Cavusoglu visited Israel last month. It was first official visit to Israel by a Turkish official in 15 years.



Netanyahu Receives Warning from Panel Probing Submarine Purchase 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
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Netanyahu Receives Warning from Panel Probing Submarine Purchase 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (AFP)

An Israeli commission investigating suspected wrongdoing in government purchases of submarines and missile boats from Germany issued a warning to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

The panel notified Netanyahu that based on evidence gathered thus far, it could ultimately determine that he had used his position as prime minister between 2009 and 2016 to greenlight the purchases without due process.

"By doing so, he (Netanyahu) endangered the security of the state and harmed the state of Israel's foreign relations and economic interests," said the panel in its written decision, made public on Monday.

Netanyahu in response said that the submarines were central to Israel's security "in ensuring its existence against Iran, which is trying to destroy us".

"History will prove that Prime Minister Netanyahu was right on this issue as well and made the right decisions for the security of Israel," the statement from his office said.

The commission, established under the previous government in 2022, said that it will soon publish unclassified parts of the evidence collected during the probe into the deal, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Netanyahu has struggled to salvage his security credentials since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas-led fighters, who killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages to Gaza according to Israeli tallies, the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

In the Israeli assault on Gaza that followed, more than 37,000 people have been killed according to Gaza health authorities.