Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conducts a rare conversation with an Israeli official, conveying over the phone to his counterpart Reuven Rivlin his condolences over the loss of Israeli lives in a terror attack in Istanbul earlier this week.
“I wish to thank you for your letter in the wake of the murder of Israeli citizens in the terror offensive in Istanbul,” Rivlin said, according to a press release from the President’s Residence.
Erdogan sent a letter of written condolences on Sunday.
Erdogan replied, “I wish to share with you the profound sadness I felt upon receiving the news of the killing of the three Israeli citizens, who were on a tour in Istanbul, a visit to the city,” the release says.
The Turkish leader goes on to state that after the attack, he instructed “all the relevant authorities” to do everything necessary in order to aid the victims.
“I felt that our Jewish community, which is an integral part of our society, also extended all the required assistance,” he continues, noting that he spoke to the country’s chief rabbi and the leader of the community after the attack.
Rivlin, for his part, reiterates Israel’s condolences to Turkey and to Erdogan and thanks him for his country’s assistance and for “the help in bringing the victims home with dignity.
“Dear president,” he continues, “terror is terror, life is life, and blood is blood – in Istanbul, in Brussels” – where a terror offensive killed over 30 yesterday – “in Paris and in Jerusalem. We must stand together in the battle against this horrific terror.”
Erdogan concurs with Rivlin’s statement, calling for a joint struggle against terrorism.
Invoking, too, Tuesday’s events, he concludes: “The terror offensive in Belgium is the thing we feared. There is no such thing as good and bad terror, it is all evil. We must fight this evil. Let us all pray that such offensives never recur.”