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Israeli President In Turkey In Effort To Mend Ties

PoliticsIsraeli President In Turkey In Effort To Mend Ties

Ankara (Times Of Ocean)- The president of Israel will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara during his first visit since 2008, as the countries seek to mend fractured ties.

Ankara and Israel have traded accusations over Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and Ankara’s support for Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Ankara and Istanbul, on Wednesday and Thursday, was in the works for weeks as the countries sought rapprochement.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries and regional issues are likely to dominate the meeting, but the prospect of using Israeli gas in Turkey and, more ambitiously, in Europe is also likely to be discussed.

According to Erdogan, the visit will usher in a “new era,” and the two countries will work together to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe, reviving an idea first discussed more than 20 years ago.

The head of the Israeli company pumping gas from a giant field in the Eastern Mediterranean said his company could supply Turkey if it provided infrastructure, but he declined to comment on Erdogan’s more ambitious plan to link Turkey to Europe.

“Our position has always been clear,” he said. If you want gas, great. We are willing to provide it. “Build the pipeline to us and we will supply gas,” Yossi Abu, chief executive of NewMed Energy, said at an investors’ conference two weeks ago, according to Reuters.

Rocky Ties

It is no secret that the ties between the two countries have been strained for a variety of reasons, particularly after 10 civilians were killed in an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla trying to break an Israeli blockade on Gaza by carrying aid into the territory in 2010.

It is no secret that the ties between the two countries have been strained for a variety of reasons, particularly after 10 civilians were killed in an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla trying to break an Israeli blockade on Gaza by carrying aid into the territory in 2010.

A reconciliation agreement in 2016 brought back ambassadors, but it collapsed in 2018 after the Great March of Return protests. During a period of several months, more than 200 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire as they protested to return to their homes in present-day Israel, from where they were ethnically cleansed in 1948. The latter year, as bilateral relations hit another low, Turkey recalled its diplomats and ordered Israel’s envoy to leave the country.

Though Herzog’s visit marks a significant thawing in ties, any concrete steps towards rapprochement still need the approval of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. A president of Israel last traveled to Turkey in 2007 and a prime minister the following year. Bennett and Erdogan spoke in November for the first time in years.

The United States and European Union have designated the Hamas group as a “terrorist” organization, which Ankara has close ties with. In the past, the Turkish government has hosted several senior officials.

Ankara has ruled out abandoning its commitment to supporting Palestinian statehood, despite toning down its criticism of Israel ahead of Herzog’s trip.

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