Turkey said on Wednesday that its decision to restore diplomatic relations with Israel after a decade of tensions did not mean it would abandon its support for Palestinians, Agence France-Presse reported.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s comments came moments after Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the resumption of full diplomatic relations that included the reappointment of ambassadors.
Çavuşoğlu said the decision will allow mostly Muslim but officially secular Turkey to lobby for Palestinian interests in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The return of ambassadors “is important to improving bilateral ties,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding, “As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians.”
Turkey does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its embassy is located in Tel Aviv.
Çavuşoğlu said a Turkish ambassador would be named after a list was presented to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkey’s relations with Israel fell apart when 10 civilians were killed after an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship, part of a flotilla aimed at breaching a blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid a landmark visit to Ankara in March and held talks with Erdoğan, who said the meeting marked “a turning point in our relations.”