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Erdoğan calls for continued dialogue with Israel in phone call

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday spoke by phone with Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog in a rare exchange between the two countries, urging continued dialogue since it was in their mutual interest, according to the presidency, Agence France-Presse reported.

The phone call came a few hours after an Israeli couple held in Turkey for a week on suspicion of espionage was released.

Erdoğan told Herzog during the phone call that the continuation of contact and dialogue between Turkey and Israel was in their “mutual interest,” according to the Turkish presidency.

Erdoğan also said Turkish-Israeli relations were important for security and stability in the Middle East.

He told his Israeli counterpart that “disagreements could be reduced to a minimum if both sides act in mutual understanding in terms of bilateral and regional issues,” the presidency said.

Ahead of this exchange, Mordi and Natali Oknin, who were detained last week for allegedly taking a photograph of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s home in İstanbul, were released.

An İstanbul court had charged them with “political and military espionage,” Turkish media reports revealed.

The Oknins denied the charges, while Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid insisted the couple were not employees of any intelligence agency.

Erdoğan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, has regularly accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained, especially since ambassadors were withdrawn in 2018 after the deaths of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

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