In another apparent step toward reconciliation, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone and expressed mutual interest in establishing an international front against global Islamic terrorism.
In a rare occurrence, President Reuven Rivlin spoke by telephone on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to thank him for his letter of condolence sent on Sunday following the terrorist attack in Istanbul on Saturday by an Islamic State (SIS) bomber which killed three Israelis and an Iranian, and wounded many others.
Both leaders expressed their opinion that the world must come together and establish a unified front against global Islamic terror, an issue Israeli leaders have repeatedly raised in the past months.
After Rivlin thanked Erdogan for the letter of condolence, Erdogan responded by sharing the “deep sadness” he felt after the attack.
He recounted how all relevant Turkish authorities were immediately mobilized to help in the recovery and treatment of the victims. “I also felt that our own Jewish community, which is an integral part of our society, also provided any necessary help. I also spoke with the Chief Rabbi Ishak Haleva and also the head of the Jewish community İshak İbrahimzadeh,” Erdogan said, according to a statement released by Rivlin’s office.
Rivlin thanked Erdogan for the care and expressed condolences to him and to the people of Turkey.
“Terror is terror, life is life, and blood is blood, whether it is in Istanbul, Brussels, Paris or Jerusalem. We must all stand together in the fight against this terrible evil,” Rivlin declared.
Erdogan expressed his belief that “against this terrorism we have to stand together with the international community and take a very very firm stance, and increase our cooperation against all terrorist acts. In this regard we are ready to cooperate with Israel against terrorism.”
Erdogan added that “the terrorist attack yesterday in Brussels is what we feared from the very beginning. There cannot be good terrorists or bad terrorists, they are all evil, we have to fight against evil.”
Erdogan concluded by thanking Rivlin for the call. “We all pray that things like this will not happen again.”
Israel has been contending with over six months of Palestinian terrorist attacks, while Turkey has been struck by six suicide bombings in the past few months which have killed over 200.
Saturday’s terrorist attack brought Israel and Turkey closer after five years of almost completely suspended diplomatic relations, with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold flying to Istanbul on Sunday to meet with top Turkish officials.
Israel and Turkey have been engaged in the past months in talks to re-establish full diplomatic relations following their suspension in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident, and the latest developments in Europe may serve as a catalyst in bringing both sides to finalize a deal.