Turkey, Israel's president visit

Israel’s president visits Ankara to restore ties with Turkey

Herzog was received by Erdoğan with a ceremony in Ankara. This is the first visit by an Israeli president to Turkey in nearly two decades.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog arrived today in Ankara , where he was received at the presidential palace by his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdoğan, thus beginning a two-day official visit to Turkey, the first by an Israeli president to the Eurasian country in nearly two decades.

Herzog and his wife Michal landed in Ankara on Wednesday, where after a welcome ceremony he met with Erdoğan at the presidential palace to discuss various bilateral issues, including relations between Israel and Turkey and the possibilities of expanding cooperation in many fields, as reported in a statement by the office of the Israeli presidency.

Tomorrow, March 10, Herzog is scheduled to visit Istanbul, where he will meet with representatives of the city’s large Jewish community. Herzog is the first Israeli politician to visit Turkey since 2008, and the first Israeli president to pay an official visit to the country since 2003.

Herzog’s visit comes at a key moment in which both countries are trying to resolve their disputes and begin a rapprochement process after years of estrangement, which began in 2010 as a result of the brutal boarding by Israeli commandos of the Mavi Marmara ship, which was transporting aid to Gaza and that resulted in the death of 10 activists; and above all, because of the killing of Palestinians during the protests in 2018 for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The reconciliation process between Turkey and Israel, which began last year as a result of the conservative Netanyahu‘s departure from power, includes the exchange of ambassadors – both countries had kept only a low-level diplomatic representation for years – and the launch of cooperation agreements in various areas of mutual interest, especially in the fields of economy, trade, investment and energy.

Precisely, one of the possibilities that opens up with the restoration of ties between Israel and Turkey, and which will be one of the topics to be discussed during the Israel’s president visit to Ankara, refers to the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline, which aims to transport Israeli natural gas directly to Europe, something that is not possible without the collaboration of Turkey, as Erdoğan himself recalled last January.