Local Community Manager – Middle East Monitor

Members of Turkey’s Jewish community are pleased with ongoing steps to normalize relations between Turkey and Israel, a local leader said Monday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“Above all, we want to live in peace, regardless of the country,” said Saul Cenudioglu, director of the Hatay Jewish Community Foundation in southern Turkey.

Noting the significance of a recent visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey, Cenudioglu said Anadolu Agency“It is gratifying that relations with Israel, which deteriorated due to certain past incidents, have now reached a positive point.”

Earlier this month, Herzog made a historic visit to Turkey, the first by an Israeli head of state in 14 years. This was seen as a step towards improving relations with Ankara.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also expected to visit Turkey soon, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Cenudioglu stressed that as the Jewish community of Turkiye, they support efforts to advance ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv. “Good relations between the two countries make us happy. It should make everyone happy because humanity wants peace above all else.”

“There is a war between Russia and Ukraine. Wouldn’t it be better for humanity if there was peace? He asked.

Cenudioglu said taking relations to a high level would be in the interests of both nations, while also serving trade and tourism.

Calling Hatay province a “garden of civilizations”, Cenudioglu pointed out that different beliefs have coexisted peacefully there for centuries.

“We invite all Israelis to the Expo 2021 Hatay event, which opens on April 1, to deepen relations between the two countries.”