Turkey, Israel turn page on choppy relations as presidents meet

Ankara, Mar 9 (EFE).- Israeli president Isaac Herzog’s visit to Ankara on Wednesday marked a turning point following a decade of turbulent relations, the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

It is the first visit by an Israeli president since 2007 and brings to a close 12 years of ups and downs, which included a spike in tensions following Israel’s deadly raid on the 2010 Gaza flotilla, in which 10 Turkish activists were killed.

Bilateral relations, historically strong when it comes to economics, politics and the military, were restored in 2016 only to deteriorate again two years later when the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Erdogan at the time accused Israel of carrying out a “genocide” of the Palestinian people, prompting the erstwhile Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to brand the Turkish leader an “anti-Semitic dictator.”

The two leaders on Wednesday turned a page on those traded barbs.

“This is a key moment in Israeli-Turkish relations,” Herzog tweeted.

“We won’t always agree on everything, but I expect us to work together towards the stability, prosperity, peace and security of our region, for the sake of all nations here. Good neighborly relations in the Eastern Med are important to us all.”

Turkey and Israel maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, making their position since Russia’s invasion of its smaller neighbor an awkward one.

At the request of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Moscow last week to speak with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, Russia and Ukraine’s top diplomats, Sergey Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba, are due to meet in Antalya, Turkey, for peace talks. EFE


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