Turkey to welcome Abbas after restoring Israel ties
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Turkey said Tuesday that its restoration of full diplomatic relations with Israel did not mean a shift in Middle Eastern priorities as it prepared to welcome Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
The Palestinian leader was due to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later on Tuesday on his second visit to Turkey in a year.
The talks come just a week after Turkey and Israel sealed a rapprochement from a decade of rocky relations by announcing plans to reappoint ambassadors for the first time in four years.
Erdogan has been a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause who has branded Israel a "terrorist state".
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu argued on Tuesday that an open dialogue with Israel will help Ankara better defend Palestinian rights.
"The fact that we normalise our relations does not mean that we will make concessions on Palestine," Cavusoglu said in a television interview.
"Dialogue should continue even if you do not agree on everything."
The veteran Palestinian leader's visit is widely seen as an attempt by Turkey to show that it stood by old allies even as it repairs relations with more recent rivals.
Turkey has gradually mended fences across the volatile region as it seeks new deals and investments to help recover from its most profound economic crisis in more than two decades.
The warming with Israel is being accompanied by plans to restore direct flights by Israeli airlines between the two countries that could bring in more tourists to Turkey's resorts.
Turkey is also hoping to revive an east Mediterranean natural gas pipeline project that won tentative backing from the United States last year.
Cavusoglu said Palestinian leaders also "want our relations with Israel to be normalised".
"They also know that thanks to this dialogue, we will better defend the Palestinian cause," he said.