Israeli president visits Turkey in sign of thaw in relations

This thaw did not last long. In late 2017, when President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, relations soured aga...


This thaw did not last long.

In late 2017, when President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, relations soured again. Mr. Erdogan’s strong criticism of Israeli policy toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem has also proven a constant irritant. He has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and accused the Israelis of genocide after their forces killed dozens of Palestinian protesters in clashes along the Gaza border fence in 2018, the day the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Still, two-way trade and tourism have continued apace. Erdogan said on Wednesday that the trade volume between the two countries reached $8.5 billion last year, and he hoped it would reach $10 billion this year.

Mr. Erdogan has indicated a desire for warmer ties since the formation of the new Israeli government last June, with Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, and since Mr. Herzog became president a month later.

Mr Erdogan called Mr Herzog to congratulate him on taking office and the couple have spoken on the phone three times since. Mr. Herzog sent his best wishes to Mr. Erdogan last month after contracting Covid, and in November 2021 thanked him for the release of an Israeli couple held for several days in a Turkish prison, suspected of spying after taking pictures of Mr. Erdogan’s residence in Istanbul. Mr Erdogan also offered his condolences to Mr Herzog when his mother, Aura Herzog, died in January.

Israel’s political leaders have been cautious in expressing optimism about a fresh start. Mr Herzog said his visit was fully coordinated with Mr Bennett and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and that Israel would try to promote dialogue with Turkey and “examine it with action”.

Both sides have a clear interest in better relations, analysts say.

Mr. Erdogan, whose country is in the midst of a crisis financial crisishas repeatedly expressed a desire for Turkey to participate in Israel’s lucrative natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, including a proposal to work with Israel to transport its natural gas to Europe – an unlikely proposition for Israel.

“Turkey is extremely interested in getting a share of the eastern Mediterranean gas bonanza,” said Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat who is chairman of the Israeli think tank Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and who helped broker the deal. of 2016 reconciliation with Turkey. “Israel has signed agreements for the development of the fields with Cyprus and other eastern Mediterranean states, but it has not with Turkey.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Israeli president visits Turkey in sign of thaw in relations
Israeli president visits Turkey in sign of thaw in relations
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