ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Israeli and Turkish presidents met Tuesady and among other subjects discussed US Congressional legislation–to which Turkey is vehemently opposed–which labels the massacre of Armenia’s during World War I as a genocide.
"It’s not a good idea to spoil relations between Turkey and Israel because of events from 90 years ago," Turkish President Abdullah Gul told his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, "but we can’t stand a situation in which every half year the issue is raised in the United States."
In an historic first address to a Muslim state parliament by an Israeli president, Shimon Peres told Turkish lawmakers Tuesday that Israel is ready to end its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.
In the first speech by an Israeli president before a Muslim legislature, Peres said, "Israel is determined to reach a two-state solution."
Peres expressed the gratitude of Israel to the people in Turkey who opened their doors to Jews when they were expelled from Spain in 1492. Turkish Sultan Beyazid II accepted Jews into the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, after they were expelled from Spain.
"Here, they found a home of tolerance where they could freely practice their religion," Peres said in his speech, given in Hebrew and translated into Turkish. "I came here to express my gratitude to Turkey."
Turkey also aided Jews fleeing the Holocaust, including Turkish Jews abroad.
Turkey has requested opening a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv, according to Gul, who raised the issue at his meeting with Peres Monday.
Peres said he would have to discuss the matter with Israel’s Foreign Ministry before replying.
The Israeli delegation to Turkey was surprised when Gul broached the matter of Turkish Cyprus at the first meeting. In 1974, following a coup against the democratic Cypriot government by the Greek military junta then ruling in Athens, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern half of the island. In 1983 the Turkish minority there declared independence, which is seen by the world, apart from Turkey, as occupied territory of sovereign Cyprus.