The "red line" telephone system that was set up last year between Israel and Turkey has played a role in calming tension between the two countries following the visit by a Hamas delegation to Ankara last week. Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmerd, who called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday on the "red line" telephone immediately following the cessation of the National Security Council meeting in Ankara, relayed Israeli desires to maintain close ties with Turkey. The "red line" telephone came about after Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Israel to have meetings with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is now in the hospital in a coma.
In the dialogue yesterday between Erdogan and Olmerd, the Israeli Deputy PM reportedly told Erdogan that "Israeli places great importance on its friendship with Turkey," and that they wish to "look into the future and bring relations along further." Erdogan, for his part, relayed the message to Olmerd that Turkey was "making efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the region, and helping stability to take root." In response, Olmerd apparently told Erdogan, "We have confidence in you." A statement from the Prime Ministerial Press office yesterday said the telephone call ended with mutual wishes for good luck in the future.