Turkish Ambassador to Israel: Jews’ role in support of interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan is undeniable

Turkish Ambassador to Israel: Jews’ role in support of interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan is undeniable
# 07 May 2007 10:54 (UTC +04:00)
Namik Tan was born in the city of Mardin, Turkey in 1956. He graduated from the faculty of law of Ankara University. He started working in Turkish Foreign Ministry since 1982. He worked in Turkey’s Embassies in Moscow, Abu Dhabi and Washington, as well as in different posts in the Foreign Ministry. He assumed the position of ambassador to Israel since January 2007.

- What is your assessment strategic cooperation between Turkey and Israel?
- Turkey-Israel strategic cooperation is important both from regional and global aspect. Turkey and Israel are democratic and secular countries of the Middle East. Turkey has at the same time historical peculiarity in the region. Turkey is historically linked 6to these lands and unlike Israel, it is cooperating with all countries of the Middle East. We have political relations with Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran and strategic partnership with Israel. We have always respected Jews. Turkey is the first Muslim country to recognize Israeli state. Turkey-Israel cooperation has been constant within 59 years. Turkey tries to play a constructive diplomatic role in the Middle East. There are a lot of problems in the region – problems of Iraq, Syria and Iran. But I think the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved first of all. This conflict continues to have a negative influence on other problems. If Israel-Palestine conflict is solved, other problems will also be solved. Turkey tries to be constructive in these problems. For instance, official Ankara organized a meeting of Larijani with Solana, Turkish president Mr. Sezer organized a meeting of Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s Presidents. As to Israel-Turkey cooperation, I can say that we are cooperating in the spheres of agriculture, tourism, high technology, security and defense industry. Trade turnover between the two countries is $2.5mln. We intend to increase it by $5bn in several years. 450,000 tourists come to Turkey from Israel every year. It means that 1,500 men come to Turkey from Israel every day. Israelis love Turkey and feel themselves safe there. We intend to reconstruct one of the buildings remained from the times of Ottoman Empire in Tel Aviv and open Turkish Cultural Center.
- Mr. Ambassador, there were efforts to debate the so-called Armenian genocide at the Israeli parliament two months ago, but they failed. What is official Ankara’s position regarding that?
- We wish that this issue not to be included into the agenda any more. Jews living in Turkey know very well that Turks never committed genocide. We call these the events of 1915. Armenians, who served in the Ottoman Army that time supported by Russia struggled against the Ottoman State and bloody battles, occurred, there were losses from both sides. But it is has nothing to do with genocide. We offer Armenians to establish a joint commission of historians, bring historians from other countries to investigate our archives and make a common decision. Or else they turn these events to a political trade. 1915 events should not be the topic of discussion of the world parliaments, but the topic of investigation by historians.
- What is your assessment of the cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan?
- Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation based on the principle “one nation-two states”. We accept Azerbaijani people as our native people. Following the establishment of Azerbaijan-Israeli International Association two weeks ago, we were all impressed by the song “Chirpinirdi Gara Deniz” (The Black Sea fought) by Azerbaijani singer Khatira at the event attended by Nazim Ibrahimov, head of State Committee for Azerbaijanis Living Abroad. I can not forget this song till now. We love Azerbaijan heartily. We try to solve all the problems together. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is the best example of our strategic partnership. One can not feel any difference while leaving Azerbaijan for Turkey. We have the same language, culture, mentality. Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation is of strategic character.
- How do you assess the establishment of Israel-Azerbaijan International Association?
- We, Turkey welcome the establishment of Israel-Azerbaijan International Association. I consider this important and heartily support it. This association can protect the interests of Turkish world in the Middle East. It is of great importance in struggling against the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenians, the claims on so-called Armenian genocide. Of course, this organization will contribute to the Azerbaijani-Israeli cooperation. At the same time, it will spread Azerbaijan’s national interests and Azerbaijan’s truths to the world. I want to underline that 100,000 Turkish Jews live in Israel. They have “From Turkey” Society there. I hope serious cooperation will be established between Israeli-Azerbaijan International Association and this society. Because, their have common interests, goals and strategic priorities. If we achieve a constructive cooperation of these two organizations, we would contribute to Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkish world. If you cooperate with Israel, you cooperate with strong Jewish lobby. Jewish lobby is influential in France, Italy, Germany and America. Jewish lobby is represented as real political power at the US Congress and several parliaments of Europe. In this context, our Jewish friends’ role in support of interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan in the world is undeniable. /APA/
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