President Isaac Herzog will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday during a two-day visit to Turkey, the Israeli president’s office confirmed on Saturday.
According to the Israeli statement, the two leaders will discuss various bilateral issues involving the potential for expanding collaboration between their respective states.
Previous discussions in preparation for the meeting revolved around energy cooperation and ways for both countries to work together in carrying Israeli natural gas to Europe.
During the visit, the Herzog will be received with a state welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Complex, and will also travel to Istanbul to meet with members of the Jewish community.
President Isaac Herzog will be the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since 2008 and the first Israeli president since 2003.
Herzog visited Cyprus and Greece within the last two weeks ahead of his planned meeting with Erdogan, in order to convey a message that Israel’s rapprochement with Turkey will not come at the expense of its relations with the two countries.
Both Cyprus and Greece have long-standing tensions with Turkey, exacerbated over recent years due to the discovery of natural gas deposits off Cyprian shores.
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Since entering office, Herzog has established a communications channel with Erdogan, and the two have spoken several times on the phone.
The first was when Erdogan called to congratulate Herzog upon his election and the second were part of the efforts to release the Oknin couple, Natalie and Mordi, who had been arrested in Turkey. The third time Erdogan called to offer Herzog his condolences on the passing of his mother.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke with Erdogan, thanking him for his personal involvement in the release of the Oknin couple, the first conversation between the Turkish leader and an Israeli Prime Minister since 2013.
Erdogan has been signaling his desire to restore relations with Israel since the inception of the Bennett-Lapid government. Diplomatic sources estimated that Turkey’s unconditional release of the Oknin couple might pave the way for ambassadors to be exchanged, but that did not happen.