Foreign Ministry chief Dore Gold on Tuesday praised the Turkish government for its high level of cooperation in the wake of Saturday’s terror attack in Istanbul, which killed three Israelis and one Iranian, and wounded 11 others.
“It is clear that the Turks went above and beyond to coordinate with Israel,” Gold told Army Radio.
“We had to transfer people over the border without passports, mobilize airplanes and to bring the bodies of the dead back to Israel.”
Gold canceled a scheduled trip to the US to travel to Turkey on Sunday, a day after the suicide bombing on a busy Istanbul street.
Gold’s comments come amid efforts by Jerusalem and Ankara to end years of frosty relations sparked by Israel’s campaigns against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the deaths of 10 Turkish nationals as a result of clashes with IDF troops on board a Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010.
He also praised what he said was a high level of Turkish goodwill in the aftermath of the bombing.
“What was surprising was the extent of the dedication of everyone involved over there,” Gold said. “The desire to express genuine condolences was strongly felt.”
The diplomat also expressed the hope that the sentiment could have a positive impact on reconciliation talks.
“We didn’t solve all our problems, and there is a team working on doing just that,” Gold said. “But a lot of goodwill was demonstrated during this tragedy.”
He added that the Turkish people and the media were surprisingly sympathetic to the Israelis’ plight, with local papers emphasizing the Israeli angle after the attack and publishing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s public letter of condolence to the bereaved families.
“I saw security officials become emissaries, I saw emissaries having to check for signs of life,” he said. “And I saw how the Turkish Jewish community mobilized to the hospitals to help in any way possible, translating Turkish to English or helping the families in their plight. Everybody lent a hand.”