The recent terrorist attack in Istanbul was not an attack aimed at Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Erdogan made the remarks in a speech at the Brookings Institute think tank. The attack in Istanbul killed three Israelis and an Iranian citizen but Erdogan’s remarks indicated he did not think the terrorists targeted Israelis.
The Turkish president also said in his speech he expected a meeting of Turkish and Israeli officials next month to yield positive results, after the sides collaborated closely following the Istanbul attack.
On the day after the attack, Erdogan sent a letter to his Israeli counterpart, President Reuven Rivlin, in which he expressed his condolences for the death of the three Israelis. As well, hours after the attack, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sent a letter of condolences to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Rivlin later also phoned Erdogan, a move which experts said represents “a subtle but clear sign of improvement” in the relations between the two countries.
Of course, the relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained since 2010, following the incident on the Mavi Marmara, which attempted to breach Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza.
However, recent reports indicated that Israel and Turkey had reached "understandings" to normalize the ties that were downgraded following that incident, and Turkey's Foreign Minister recently said the two countries may announce a reconciliation agreement “within days”.