| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Turkey says Erdogan and Israel’s Herzog will discuss ways to improve ties

The Turkish presidency announced on Saturday that the two nations’ presidents will discuss methods to increase cooperation during discussions next week in Ankara, as the regional foes try to restore long-strained ties.

Israel and Turkey both withdrew their ambassadors in 2018, and relations have been strained ever since, but Ankara has lately moved to mend relations with numerous nations in the area as part of a charm offensive set to begin in 2020.

According to the Turkish president, Israeli President Isaac Herzog will visit Ankara on March 9-10 at the request of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as part of the reconciliation.

Erdogan and Herzog will “review all aspects of Turkey-Israel bilateral ties” and “discuss steps that can be taken to improve cooperation,” it said. The two presidents will also hold talks on “recent regional and international developments,” it added.

Herzog’s spokesman said the visit was being coordinated with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, adding it will be the first by an Israeli leader since 2008.

“The two presidents will discuss various bilateral issues, including Israel-Turkey relations and the potential for expanding collaboration,” he said in a statement.

Ankara, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policy towards Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the militant Palestinian group Hamas which runs Gaza.

While Erdogan has spoken to Herzog before, Israel’s presidency is a largely ceremonial role. In November, he spoke to Bennett, the first such call to an Israeli prime minister in years.

Last month, Turkey said it would not abandon its commitment to a Palestinian state in order to broker closer ties with Israel. Erdogan has said energy cooperation could be on the agenda during talks with Herzog.

  • Reuters