Israel's Herzog to Visit Greece Next Week to Allay Concerns Ahead of Turkey Trip

Senior Turkish officials are in Israel to discuss a longer visit by Israel's president, which his office has yet to publicly confirm

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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President Isaac Herzog at a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in Kiryat Moriah, in November.
President Isaac Herzog at a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in Kiryat Moriah, in November.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

President Isaac Herzog is slated to visit Greece next week before his trip to Turkey in March, in order to emphasize that warming ties with Turkey will not affect relations with its foes Greece and Cyprus.

The president's residence has declined to comment on the matter.

According to Turkish media, Herzog will visit President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on March 9.

Two Turkish envoys, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal arrived in Israel on Wednesday, but spent most of the day in Ramallah, where they met with senior Palestinian officials.

While in Israel, they are expected to meet with Director General of the President's Residence Eyal Shviki and his senior staff in order to discuss Herzog's visit.

In addition to Herzog's planned meeting with Erdogan in Ankara, the sides are weighing the possibility of extending Herzog's stay by one day, so that he can visit Istanbul and meet with members of the city's Jewish community.

The Israeli statement noted that this was a reciprocal visit after Alon Ushpiz, the Foreign Ministry's director general, visited Turkey in December to discuss plans for Herzog’s visit to Ankara.

During their visit to Ramallah on Wednesday, the Turkish officials met with President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Palestinian media, the envoys emphasized Turkey's commitment to Palestinian rights, but the meeting reportedly ended without any concrete moves.

Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey is looking forward to a visit from Israeli President Isaac Herzog, which comes after several years of strained Israel-Turkey ties.

The Turkish Daily Sabah reported Erdogan's comments, which he gave during a visit to the United Arab Emirates. "We had positive phone conversations with the president of Israel, Mr. Herzog, on various occasions," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

"He is expected to visit our country in March. Of course, we welcome this visit. Hopefully, taking such a step after a long hiatus will be good for Turkey-Israel relations."

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