Israeli PM, Turkish Prez speak on phone, hope for better ties
Jerusalem, July 11 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone, expressing hope for improving relations between the two countries, Lapid's office said in a statement.
The two leaders agreed that "Israel-Turkey relations are of great importance for security, the economy, and stability in the Middle East," hailing a new civil aviation deal signed last week between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the statement.
Erdogan congratulated Lapid, who became Israel's caretaker Prime Minister on July 1, and wished him success in his new role.
Lapid "sent his best wishes ... for a happy, peaceful, and prosperous (Eid al-Adha) holiday for the entire Turkish people," the statement read.
The Israeli prime minister also thanked Erdogan for the cooperation between their countries in thwarting attempted attacks against Israelis in Istanbul in June.
The phone call came amid warming ties between Israel and Turkey, after their years of animosity following an Israeli deadly assault on a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2010.
Lapid has held a series of phone talks with regional leaders ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia later this week. Lapid hopes that the visit could lead to some improvement in Israeli ties with Saudi Arabia as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.
On Saturday, Lapid talked with Jordanian King Abdullah II, and his talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday was the first of its kind between an Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president in five years.