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Türkiye, Israel to Set up Committee to 'Prevent Deterioration of Ties'

Türkiye, Israel to Set up Committee to 'Prevent Deterioration of Ties'

Tuesday, 4 October, 2022 - 07:30
Israeli ambassador to Ankara Irit Lillian. (Israeli foreign ministry)

Israeli ambassador to Ankara Irit Lillian revealed that Israel and Türkiye are working on forming a high-level committee to address differences and prevent the deterioration of relations.

She said Israel is still keen on the Hamas movement shutting its efforts in Türkiye.

Ankara insists that the movement enjoys legitimacy that it won in elections and is entitled to have a representing office in the Turkish capital.

Lillian revealed, however, that the Turkish government has been receptive to Israel's request to reduce Hamas' presence.

The ambassador was referring to Türkiye’s decision to prevent Hamas politburo member Saleh al-Arouri from operating in the country, forcing him to settle in Qatar and Lebanon.

In a radio interview, Lillian spoke Monday after the Israeli government officially appointed her as ambassador to Türkiye.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the move is another crucial step in repairing relations with Türkiye, noting that he met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 0n the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

Lillian, 60, began her diplomatic career in 1989 after completing her military service as a producer and editor at the Israel Army Radio.

She earned a Bachelor's degree in Archaeology and Egyptology from Tel Aviv University and a Master's degree in Eastern and Western Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She served for the past two years as Chargé d'Affaires at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara. Before then, she was the Israeli ambassador to Bulgaria from 2015 until 2019.

She was urgently appointed head of the diplomatic mission in Ankara 18 months ago and was tasked with improving relations and pushing for reconciliation.

She maintained close relations with Erdogan's office, mainly his advisor, Ibrahim Kalin, "the architect of reconciliation with Israel."

In her radio interviews, Lillian confirmed that the political leaderships in the two countries had reached the conviction that tensions between them are not beneficial, noting that Türkiye and Israel are united by the historic relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Jews.

The ambassador said Erdogan has demonstrated that he is methodical and pragmatic and made it clear that he sees his country's interest in improving bilateral relations.

She explained that Israel and Türkiye are both realistic and realize they can disagree in the future, but agreed to find a framework to contain differences and prevent them from becoming crises.

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, she said Tel Aviv and Ankara “agree to disagree” on the issue.

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