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In Ramallah, Turkish FM pledges support for Palestinians

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a joint statement with his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Malki in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a joint statement with his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Malki in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Turkey’s foreign minister says improved ties with Israel will not come at the expense of its commitment to supporting the Palestinians and a two-state solution to the conflict.

Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke in the Palestinian Authority’s administrative headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah during a joint press conference with his counterpart, Riad Malki.

Cavusoglu’s meeting with Palestinian officials comes a day before he makes a landmark visit to Israel. It would be the first visit to the region by a senior Turkish official in 15 years.

“We are leading the normalization process in coordination with Palestinian authorities,” Cavusoglu says. “Our support for the Palestinian cause is completely independent of the course of our relations with Israel.”

Cavusoglu said that dialogue with Israel would “make an important contribution to the reduction of tensions, as it did during Ramadan, and … will also contribute to making the Palestinian cause or the voice of the Palestinians to be heard stronger.”

The foreign minister’s visit to Israel is another sign of efforts by the two former allies to improve long strained relations. Earlier this year, President Isaac Herzog met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the first official visit by an Israeli leader in 14 years.

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