Erdogan adviser: Normalization with Israel is ‘treason’

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Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of “treason” over what he called “normalization” with Israel, despite the Gulf countries having no diplomatic ties with Israel.

“Normalization is a disgrace to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and anyone who helps Israel to oppress the Palestinian people is an enemy of Muslims,” Aktay said in an interview with Qatari newspaper al-Raya.

“We say frankly that anyone who agrees to the ‘deal of the century’ will face the trial of history even after their death, and we ask the rulers of the UAE and Saudi Arabia to stop supporting the ‘deal of the century’ and Israel,” Aktay added. The “deal of the century” is the name some commentators have given to the Trump administration’s forthcoming proposal to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted, “The abusive statements towards the UAE and Saudi Arabia by the Turkish president’s adviser to the Qatari press is not worth responding to.”

Turkey, the first Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel, has had diplomatic ties with the state since 1949. Relations between the two countries boomed in the 1990s, and Turkey upgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992.

Despite relations being strained in 2010 when an Israeli raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza killed ten Turkish activists, the two countries ended their diplomatic rift in 2016 after Erdogan held a private meeting with Israel's energy minister, Yuval Steinitz. Israel and Turkey have since continued to have substantial economic ties ranging from trade to tourism, with Israeli citizens having visa-free access to Turkey.

“How can you pretend to forbid an act while you are drowning in it till your very last strand of hair?” Gargash added.

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