ANKARA: Turkish, Israeli PMs discuss developments in Jerusalem, Gen.

Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
Feb 15 2007

Turkish, Israeli premiers discuss developments in Jerusalem,
"Armenian genocide"

Ankara, 15 February: "I proposed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
to send a technical delegation (from Turkey) to examine the
construction activities around Al-Aqsa Mosque. Olmert accepted my
offer," said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a joint
press conference with Olmert following their tete-a-tete meeting in
Ankara on Thursday [15 February].

"Olmert informed me about the construction activities in the region
and showed me some pictures. I have seen that region only once and I
don’t know the region well, however, I am not satisfied with the
photographs," said Erdogan.

"I proposed Olmert to send a Turkish technical delegation to examine
whether the construction activities might harm Al-Aqsa Mosque. Olmert
told me they can accept the delegation," noted Erdogan.

"Prime Minister Olmert will probably meet the US secretary of state,
Condoleezza Rice, and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Monday.
Following these meetings, we plan to send the technical delegation
(to Israel)," said Erdogan.

Recalling the steps which Turkey has taken in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq,
Erdogan added, "We have always expressed that we are not positive
towards nuclear energy except humanitarian use. In the future, we
will make such an investment in our country for humanitarian
purposes. However, we do not support nuclear energy except this aim."

Erdogan also expressed his belief that Olmert’s visit will have a
serious contribution to the promotion of relations between Turkey and
Israel.

"Turkey is an important bridge between Israel and Muslim countries,
and therefore we value Turkey’s views", said Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert.

In a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan in Ankara, Olmert noted that they discussed important topics,
including Palestine issue, in their meeting.

Olmert stated they asked the Palestinian government that the dispute
(between Palestine and Israel) to be solved according to the
principles set by the Middle East Quartet (UN, USA, EU and Russia)
and noted that they are ready to proceed in conformity with the road
map.

"This is the only way out," he pointed out and underlined the
importance of contributions of international organizations and
countries like Turkey and the USA.

Developments regarding Al-Haram Al-Sharif

Olmert said that the construction works around Al-Haram Al-Sharif
have been reflected in an exaggerated way by international media and
noted that what is being done there is to give better service to
hundreds of thousands of people who visit the area.

According to Olmert, the construction works are being carried out
outside the places considered holy by the Muslims and Christians.

He also stated that they are expecting a delegation from Turkey
(regarding this matter).

Turkey’s role

On the other hand, Olmert said that Israel is for peace with Syria
and they will be pleased in case this happens.

He pointed out that Syria should give up backing terrorism and should
adopt the principles set by the international community. "If Syria
acts so, negotiations will be easier", he emphasized.

"Turkey has good relations with Israel and Arab countries," said Ehud
Olmert when commenting on a possible role of Turkey to solve the
Middle East crisis.

"Israel eyes Turkey’s support and help to establish relationship with
Arab countries," he noted.

The Israeli prime minister stated that they cannot cooperate with
Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s existence, but said that
they can sit at negotiation table with them only if Hamas
acknowledges all agreements signed with Israel.

So-called Armenian genocide allegations

"It will be better if independent experts come together and look into
this matter," said Olmert when talking about a draft on the so-called
Armenian genocide allegations that has been submitted to the US House
of Representatives.

Answering a question if he will try to convince Jewish members of the
House of Representatives not to pass the resolution, Olmert noted
that he respects views of the congressmen and said he is confident
that they will decide what is right or what is wrong, by themselves.

Meanwhile, Olmert said that the trade volume between Turkey and
Israel is actually 2bn US dollars and stated that they are discussing
some other projects to increase this figure.

Noting that 152 Israeli companies are active in Turkey and making
billions of US dollars of contributions to Turkey’s national income,
Olmert added that Israel expects more tourists from Turkey.

After the press conference, Olmert met Turkish National Defence
Minister Vecdi Gonul.

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