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June 28, 2016 1:30 am

American Jewish Leaders Welcome Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Agreement

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The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations meeting with President Obama at the White House in March 2011. Photo White House.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations meeting with President Obama at the White House in March 2011. Photo White House.

Prominent American Jewish leaders welcomed the reconciliation agreement announced by Jerusalem and Ankara on Monday.

In a joint statement, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said, “The restoration of full diplomatic relations and the resolution of outstanding issues between Israel and Turkey will contribute to enhanced cooperation between these two vitally important Middle East countries and will, hopefully, contribute to fostering regional stability in the face of unprecedented security challenges. It signals the resetting of the longstanding relationship based on mutual interests, common threats and shared opportunities. Resumption of Israeli-Turkish collaboration will benefit the entire Middle East.

“We commend the efforts and hard work of both governments that led to the agreement. There are a multitude of potential political, economic and strategic implications that could have implications beyond the region.”

Greenberg and Hoenlein went on to detail past contacts between the Conference of Presidents Turkishis officials. “Last February, a delegation of the Conference of Presidents met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and discussed a range of issues, including relations between Turkey, the United States and Israel,” they said. “In that meeting, President Erdogan also discussed his policy priorities, which included potential for regional cooperation involving Israel. We met again more recently in Washington and continued the dialogue, including the restoration of Israel-Turkey relations.”

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David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee said in a statement on Monday, “Israel and Turkey are natural allies in many ways. They are anchors of the region. They share common threats and concerns. They have overlapping energy interests. They have complementary economies. Accordingly, cooperation is a far better alternative than conflict.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also praised the reconciliation deal, saying in a statement, “The restoration of Israeli-Turkish relations is a significant and welcome achievement, not just for these two long-time allies, but as a marker of regional cooperation and stability. This agreement has been in the works for over three years and the terms are difficult for many in Israel, and is unlikely to immediately erase the tensions that have marked Israeli-Turkish relations over the past decade.

“We commend both Israel and Turkey for the resumption of full relations, and join them in looking ahead to a new era of constructive and productive bilateral ties that further both countries’ national and regional interests.”

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